puzzle pieces

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Ben

My baby is turning 8 today....and I'm sad and glad.
I know 8 seems so very young yet, but my 15 year old WAS JUST 8!!!!!
Time goes way too fast.

To Ben on your special day.....

.......to the boy who taught me about puzzle pieces
and likes to play hockey and ski with me.....

.....my walker and hiker and explorer.....

......the boy who loves to swim and laugh and wake up singing......

...i love you buddy.
(note: above picture is when I got home from Mexico...he is NOT normally THAT pale:)

Going to swim, have cousins along, play hockey....eat cake.

Have a super day and wonderful new year!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another Part...

You know that verse, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver"? Well.....at the very beginning of this trip I experienced that exact verse!
Honestly....when we arrived there were very MANY things that went wrong. On top of it all we had been up for almost 36 hours straight because of our flight times and I definitely cannot sleep on the plane...or very well at an airport during our 3 hour wait in Toronto.
Add to lack of sleep- hotel mix-ups, westjet problems, a CRAZY one hour drive thru the streets of Mexico, no food consumed for at least 11 hours, (do Bits and Bites count?), construction under our room, internet costs and time restrictions in trying to alert our travel agent....it made for an interesting Dawn. (Poor Mike!)
"We" decided I needed food, so we went down to the buffet in our resort...it was 10pm. The food was unappealing because I had reached my point of total exhaustion. I wanted to go home to my bed and my kids. I was ready to start walking!
Our first "meal" there consisted of Mike trying to eat while I stared off trying not to let the sweet waiter we had see my silly tears I could NOT stop no matter how hard I tried. I finally went to get up to go sleep.....Mike was still eating, and our waiter came running. All I could think of was that I didn't want a thing....just sleep.

"Can I get you anything at all?"
No, I said, I'm fine.
no. (trying to sniff back tears)
My heart literally bounced back into place! How could I have forgotten COFFEE? I hadn't had a cup all day. Nothing sounded more comforting and familiar!
I sighed, wearliy sat down, my tears stopped, and I sweetly (I think) said,
"Oh yes, Please!"

He proceeded to bring out a small table covered with all different utensils, glasses, bottles of yummy stuff, and then he lit a dish on fire.
It took him almost 10 minutes to prepare the most delicious coffee I have ever tasted! Ever!

I wish that waiter knew just what that cup of Mayan Coffee did for me.
(And I think Mike was EXTREMELY  grateful to him as well:)
His one word, "coffee", made my weariness seem distant.
And it helped that it was completely delicious.

I just wish I knew what was in it and how I could make it here.....

A word filty spoken.....

(Don't worry, most of all our other "Trip Stories" do not
include me being so dramatic...at least not that I will tell of:)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Trip- Part1

Well....the truth was, I wasn't going to come back to blogging. I sort of had become discouraged with it all and was beginning to wonder why I did it at all. It was turning into something for me that I never intended it to become.
But....a few out there have asked to see my "back home" pictures, so...here they are. Beware, it's more like a photo album you need to wade through.

I have to say I'm quite glad I wrote on Hope vs. Expectations BEFORE I left....I had to hold on to that thought a few times while we were there.
Seeing as I have never traveled to another country before....outside of my "comfort zone"....for some reason I found it a bit tricky. It was frustrating not knowing one word of Spanish...not understanding how to convert American dollars to pesos....and a bit unnerving to walk by guards in the street holding machine guns at every corner.
Maybe this all means I am not cut out to travel? Maybe I am just a "home-person".

Thousands of people go south every year on vacation and I have never heard one of them analyze their trip like this! I DO think too much....

But overall I thought the trip a fun adventure and loved seeing what I saw and doing what I did. We met some wonderful people while we were there and I even learned some Spanish. Still don't understand pesos very well though!

Here are just SOME of the 400 pictures I took.
(Notice I titled this post, "Part1" ? :)

Above the clouds

Just another couple of tourists:)

Ferry ride we took to Cozumel one day

Sights we saw

Animals we saw.....
(missing photos: crocodiles, tropical fish, and mannatees:)

These were walking around while we ate at COCONUTS,
 overlooking the ocean in Cozumel.

A stop at a "Cold Coconut" stand in the middle
of no where.

One of my first ever tries at snorkelling in the ocean.
It was beautiful...I saw literally thousands of fish!
(Mike says I am pretty loud when I yell thru my snorkel....)

The smart car convertible we rented to zip around
 Cozumel in.

The streets were narrow and scary. There seemed to be no guidelines
or safety measures used while we were driving in Mexico....
I never helped the stress of the driving. Mike informed me I was no
help to him at all..... when all I did was warn him not to ding up the car or kill us.

Here I asked him why he wasn't smiling.....he said he had to concentrate because
I had scared him with all my "positive encouragement" for the driver:)

Hehe.....this is when Mike decided to go do Braclet Making at our resort.
He was the last in line of about 15 kids.:)

We found these hammocks down by the ocean when we went to Xel-Ha for the
day. I could have sat there the entire trip!

Almost every morning we got up around 6am...(no one seems to sleep where we were...) and
we walked miles down the beach before breakfast.

One day we tried boards out when the waves were especially high. Only one mishap....I
almost lost my shorts when I got thrown to shore by a gigantic wave.Thank GOODNESS I
will never see anyone from there again!

I never knew Mike liked wave-jumping as much as he did!

Our last beach photo the day we left....

Around our resort...banana and coconut trees.

Where we spent a good part of our time!

My favorite salad.

Mike's favorite dessert.

Our favorite Mango drink.

New-found fun friends and Fire Shows.

Now that I've shown you an entire photo album ....you 3 out there may wish
you never asked for this post!
(and this is only Part 1...;)

As much as I enjoyed my first-ever "Hot Holiday"...it was so very
good to get home.
There is no place quite like it!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Random thoughts on This and That

As I type this, I'm about 15 minutes away from my 36th birthday. I don't feel 36- I feel about 19.
I think I'll like this Birthday. For one, my favorite number is 10.
January 10th, 2010 seems like a good day to have a birthday.

I have already recieved some very sweet birthday wishes from some very dear people in my life.  And thank you to you all. It has already made my day a little more special!

I think I get a little more contemplative around my birthday then I do around the whole "New Year" thing. Yes...I like starting off a brand new year with goals and plans, but for some reason I see my new year starting when I begin a new age.

I honestly thought that 35 would be a better year than it was. I think that I could have done without year 35. But maybe therein lies the problem.
I always expect things to be a certain way...and then when it isn't as I think it should be, I fall farther than I would have had I not thought anything! I frustrate me!!
I do this with everything.....expectations on myself, others, certain situations- ESPECIALLY relationships! How much easier my life would be if I didn't expect a THING!
I DO want to expect more from myself  (and work on getting to where I should be), and less from others -this 36th year.
Maybe I need to use the word HOPE instead of expect?
("Hope" IS a great word!)

I wanted to share this picture next....I never Expected anything this day. It was my family's New Years Day brunch. I did HOPE it would go well.....but for a change I didn't expect it would. In the past holidays around our place have been quite stressful for one reason or another. It seems when I look back on holidays or special times....I remember the bad and not so much good.
This past day was different. I never expected it to be one way or the other....I simply hoped.
I wasn't dissapointed.
It was a wonderful family memory.

This is Molly and I last night....watching Ben on his first night in Rec. Hockey.
I HOPE my kids turn out alright. I Hope they stay safe, and grow up into mature, responsible people.
I Hope they love God with their entire beings.
I will have Hope.

And this.....
this is a picture of hope for me.
It's a very long story....
but for those of you who know of the last year or more I've had...even parts of it....you may understand why this is hope.
This picture is actually of Snow Angels...one is mine- the other....my husband's.
I took this only about a month ago.
It's huge for me...I never dreamt I would see the 2 of us making this picture. Never. I definitely expected to be a snow angel- alone.
As I type this, my husband keeps coming into my room to throw clothes in a suitcase. We are going to the Caribbean later on tonight.....together.
And oh how I am tempted to have expectations on this trip.
I want to expect that it will go the way I think it should...and things will turn out the way I want....
But no.
I am now 36. It's time to implement my new goal for this new year.
I will not have expectations for this time together.
But I will HOPE in it!

(When I looked at this picture, I noticed something kind of neat- and it wasn't even planned! Behind the snow angels up on the hill right beside the fence- is a rock. That was the rock where Mike asked me to marry him...isn't that sort of special-meaning?:)

Goodbye for a couple of weeks.
And may we all expect less...and Hope more.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jo's house...


plus this.....

plus this....

is this.....

I want that "old" telephone....the one that our kids don't know how in the world to dial.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Teaching = Learning

I love teaching.
It's one of my favorite things to do with my kids.
I love watching them learn, and seeing their faces flicker with the understanding of some new concept, idea, or fact.
I like watching my 7 year old write numbers and add them.
I like hearing him sound out each letter to make a word.
I enjoy seeing my oldest kids read to the younger ones.
I love reading chapters from our favorite book.
I like teaching them science, and how wonderfully God made each part of the world....from the microscopic up through space and beyond.
I like it when I can use supper preparation to teach home economics.
I enjoy taking walks and hikes to teach biology.
I love reading thru their nature journals and seeing what it is that captures their hearts in this big, old, beautiful world.
I love gym class in our backyard and surrounding fields.
I have to say I like our field trips that can go on for 10 days!
I love seeing them learning.
I love learning along with them.
I also love it that they teach me!

Happy Learning Day

Monday, January 4, 2010

My neighbor....

Puzzle Pieces....

they can be complicated. Like the 3000 piece ones that take you a long while to complete and consist of many (tiny) frustrations over the course of its completion.
They can be super easy, like the 10 piece-sized puzzles which i did over and over again with my kids when they were 3- to teach them ABC`s, colors, and numbers.
They can be a lot of fun, especially if done together.
They can be frustrating- especially when you lose the last piece to tie it all together.
They can be rewarding- when you look at the end result and see it as it was actually meant to be.

I was out with my youngest about a week ago. He finally wanted to cross-country ski with me, so I gladly (even though i was shivering in bed fighting my bug) got up and out and I was so very glad I did. We had a wonderfully perfect time together.
His little heart opened up to me, and as we skiied one in front of the other, we talked.
He told me what he thought of skiing. He talked about the full moon that was almost in the night sky. He talked about the wild animal tracks we kept skiing by. Then he told me I should be a writer one day because I write so much, and that if I stacked up everything I wrote it would be higher than our house. THEN he told me about how dissapointed he was because he hadn`t got to use his new telescope he recieved as a Christmas present yet- because the sky had been cloudy every night since he had gotten it.
On this topic...he all of a sudden seemed to get very old. Ìn his 7 year old way, he went on to say that everything in his life seemed like a puzzle piece. Sometimes things didn`t fit together the way he wanted. Like his telescope, he said. He had it, wanted to use it, but hadn`t been able to. Even though he wanted to fit this piece in (and use his scope), it wouldn`t fit. Just like when he`s playing with his older brother and they finally decide on a fun game to play, but you (me- his mom), tell him it`s time for bed. ``Life just seems to be full of pieces that don`t always work for me.``
I was quite astounded this thought came out of his head. Maybe it was the fact we had been working on a difficult puzzle over the holidays together...and you know when you`re always doing something, walk away from it and close your eyes....you still see what it is you were working on. And your thoughts keep going back to it because it seems that is all you have been staring at for the longest time....
It was his way of expressing how he felt about the frustration of not using his new toy...it was a comparable  frustration to what he felt not getting a piece into it`s spot.
Maybe his words were put there for me so I had something more to ponder.

And I am.

Life does seem to be full of pieces we`re just not quite sure where to put. Or not sure if they`re to fit at all. Sometimes....the pieces seem to come from a completely different puzzle box!
Then when we DO place one in the correct spot, what a relief and satisfaction we feel. It`s one step closer to figuring something out. It`s one step closer to being completed!!

I was introduced to a wonderful dvd by a truly great and caring friend last month. It`s called EPIC by John Eldridge. Amazing. It talks about this very thing....except it comes across as our life as a story....every day, week, year as a chapter in this story. And it`s huge. And we all have a part in it. (I highly recommend this dvd....and if you want to borrow mine you are very welcome!)
But this year I want to live like this. Every situation, issue, problem, delight, and wonder that faces me in every moment of each day....needs to be seen as a puzzle piece that I`m putting together in some way. If ever it DOES get completed... what a sight it will be to look at!
No....Some pieces won`t fit where I want them. Not every angle will work. So I need to try to look at it differently.
Some pieces aren`t quite ready to be placed yet. So I need to wait.
And maybe....some pieces really don`t belong. And I think that`s ok too.

Anyway....enough contemplating and pondering. I just wanted to share what was shared with me on a ski with my sweet little guy.

Hope you have a wonderful week ahead. I am planning on a busy one.....so my postings may still be a bit sporadic. Feel free to comment or e-mail me with your thoughts on puzzle piecing and stories of life.

This is going to be a growing year for me....i hope!
Isn`t it exciting (even though frustrating and awful at times!) to wonder and imagine just what it is our puzzle will be in the end of all this!

Happy Day and week to YOU! :)