Celebrities, Sparks and Snowshoeing. I can explain. 

I read a news story recently …  well, maybe first I should clarify that when I say ‘news’, I kinda don’t really mean ‘newsy news’, I mean more like whatever graces my timelines and feeds type of news … okay, back to the news. I read that what keeps the Smith, as in Will and Jada, marriage spark alive for Jada, is seeing Will act out love scenes in movies.

And while I’m not one to  judge, because you know, you be you and I’ll be me, I am one to make all things about me, so I got to thinking, what keeps the spark alive in my marriage?

Vince and I met when we were in high school, and married when we were in our mid twenties. He’ll want me to tell you that I was twenty five while he was a mere twenty four. (It’s the small things that make my man happy) So how do we keep the spark alive after twenty three glorious years together, you ask? Or maybe you dont, but I’mma tell you anyway.

It’s quite simple really; we laugh, we cry, we pray, we fight, we forgive, we love, then we pray some more. We keep true to our beliefs, yet we leave room for our beliefs to grow and mature. We forgive each other’s faults, although truth be told, Vince is better at that one. We serve each other, our kids, our friends, our school, our community. There’s nothing that makes me love my husband more than when I see him love, serve and help others.

And the best, the absolute best way we keep the spark alive? We laugh. And laugh. Like a lot. At just about everything, and almost always, at ourselves.

So while Ms. Smith and Mr. Smith, find joy in their own way and in their own reality, Vince and I will stick to ours. Like today, for example, Vince has put down his tool belt, and has joined Big’s class in a snowshoeing adventure. I can’t begin to tell you how that small act of love for our son, in the freezing cold, in the middle of a freezing rain warning, fuels our spark.

A big thank you Mr. and Mrs. Smith, for making it into my news feed, sharing so much of yourselves and inspiring  me to do the same. 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas From My Village To Yours

A while ago, I was reading an article that went on about how parenting has become a solo act and how the idea of ‘it takes a village’ no longer exists in today’s culture. The article went on to say that in the business that is North American parenting culture, we, parents, can no longer make the deep connections necessary to establish our villages and therefore have to navigate through the journey of parenting alone. Our only source of ‘connection’, the article stated, now comes via technology in the most probable form of our smart phones and therefore the true meaning of ‘it take a village’ has been lost forever.

It was an interesting read, yet I could not disagree more.

As with many things throughout our lifetimes, things, issues, people, evolve, take different shapes, but at their core, the concepts remain the same. We may not have a literal or physical village anymore, thanks to modern advancements in housing, and electricity, but the concept of the village remains.

Take, for example, the first time mom. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of local ‘mommy groups’ she could join, not to mention the overwhelming amounts of online support groups she could reach out to. When Big was first born, I was a mess and just happened to be reading one of Tracy Hogg’s Baby Whisperer books. A quick google search pointed me towards an online Baby Whispering community where I immediately connected with a group of moms who had babies of the same age. We would log in daily and share all of our fears, our successes, our worries, our lives! It was amazing and this online community quickly became a part of my village. Today, nine years later, we still use the internet to keep our village alive.

Of course, since we’re social beings, and y’all know that if I don’t talk, well, I’d probably explode, I needed to expand my in-person village when I became a new mom. Parenting is hard, and can be lonely. A quick trip to my local community centre and I was registered for a new parents class. There we were, twenty or so new moms, awkwardly handling our new babies, making new friendships that will last a lifetime. We connected with more new moms via online community parenting groups and our village expanded. Sure, some of us have returned to work by now, some of us are still at home with our kids, some have moved, and life has taken over, but the village remains.

And the village isn’t just a mommy concept, dads are also creating their own villages and supporting each other. My friend Chris, over at Canadian Dad is a great example of how dads are helping maintain the village concept alive for dads and for all parents.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been born into a village-believing family. My parents and my sister are my original village. My sister and I have been raised to always, always, always support each other. Vince and I don’t parent alone. This immediate village is always around to support not only us, but our children. The boys get to see and experience first-hand how a village functions.

And I’m not alone, my personal story of village support is not unique. Friends, acquaintances, internet-only friends fill my timelines on different social media platforms. All of them creating and keeping the village concept alive. And me, having the privilege of being a small part of their village.

So maybe our lives are busy, and our kids’ programming requires spreadsheets and database management degrees, but when the day comes to an end and you need support with the serious things that fill our lives like illness, job loss, divorce , or when somewhere in the middle of that day you really need the name of that author that wrote that book about that guy, or when your friend needs an American Girl Doll two days before Christmas and you offer to help her search the ends of the earth to find one, your smart phone will quickly connect you to your village. And your village will put everything aside for just one minute, and they’ll reach out to their village, and you’ll get your much needed support with the serious issues, and you’ll get a much needed laugh about that author’s name, and your friend will get her doll, and then life will resume until another SOS flashes on your timeline, and the village will spring into action again.

Our gadgets and the internet have not, in my opinion and experience, abolished the idea of the parenting village, but have rather made it more accessible to all of us. If you feel alone, unsupported, scared or have good news to share, you now have more options in how you share your story. Some people say that technology has robbed us of the connecting and emotional piece of human relationships, yet I can assure you that the tears of joy that rolled down my face when my Baby Whisperer village member posted the photo of her new baby girl were real, very real indeed.

As we gear up to celebrate Christmas, I’m inspired by the original little village that came together to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Mary and Joseph, the three wise men and some local shepherds. This group of people formed a little village and showed support to the new parents. Of course, there’s more to that story but the imagery and feel of village support is there.

So at this magical and most amazing time of year, may you and the members of your village, be blessed with love, support, joy and most importantly each other. I thank you for being a valued member of my village and I thank you for allowing me to be a part of yours.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Girlfriend! You with me?

A couple of weekends ago I had the awesome pleasure of attending a Beth Moore simulcast. Beth Moore is a fast-talking, evangelical teacher who overuses the word girlfriend, but  you can  overlook that because she’s real. She lives what she believes and loves telling other people about it.

This particular simulcast was on the topic of doing womanhood well.
She made many, many great points that day, but one thing stood out for me the most.

She spoke about how it’s so important, vital even, for women to have girlfriends. Not just any old girlfriends, she said, but rather friends who celebrate with you and not just for you. There’s a difference, she explained. The people who just ‘like’ or ‘favourite’ your latest post celebrate for you and are different than those who genuinely experience emotion when celebrating your success. Those who celebrate with you actually feel and experience joy in their hearts. It’s okay to have heaps of followers on a social media site, she said, but it’s even more important to have one or two or more friends who genuinely feel things with you. And the best part? She pointed out scripture that actually highlighted the importance of friendship among women.

So as I was taking all of this in, I immediately started going through the names of my friends. I started to think about friends whom I’ve shared details of my life with, friends with whom I’ve shared my highs and my lows with, friends who have held my hand through some dark times, and friends who have laughed along with me during the fun times. A smile not only came across my face, but also in my heart.

I’m so fortunate to have friends from all different walks of life!

Friends who believe and walk along with me on my faith journey.
Friends who don’t believe in God, yet respect the fact that I do.
Friends who call me on my pretentiousness and remind me that humility suits me best.
Friends who listen to me go on and on (and on) about just about everything!
Friends who understand that my family will always come first.
Friends who appreciate my need, and I mean need, for constant laughter.
Friends who respect my fear of silence and aquariums.
Friends who get my jokes and friends who don’t.
Friends who banter with me for the sake of a good laugh.
Friends who show me grace as I grow and learn.
Friends who aren’t afraid to hurt my feelings.
Friends who humour me.
Friends who love me.
Friends who out of the blue think of me and send me this because they knew it would mean something to me.

And it does.

It all means so much to me.

Girlfriends who celebrate life with me and not just for me.

Girlfriends are important.

Vital, even.

It’s in The Bible.

Back To School – 2014

It’s the night before the first day of school.

Although, this isn’t my first time around this old block, it feels different this time.
I guess that’s because it is different.

Small will be at school all day, every day.

Gulp.

I’ve barely gotten used to Big being gone all day, every day, and now Small is off too.
I’ve cried once, maybe twice, today thinking about how lonely it will be without them.
But one look into my boys’ excited eyes, and I can’t help but be excited with them.

Grade one, grade four – we’re coming for you.

Happy Back To School Eve!

It’s pretty simple, vote.

Today is Election Day.

Today, many in Ontario will exercise their right to vote.

As far as I can remember, I have taken time for each election, wether it be municipal, provincial or federal, to vote. I’m one of those that truly believes that every vote matters. And it does.

Vince and I make sure that we take the boys with us so that we can role model the importance of the democratic process. And more importantly, to teach them to never, ever take it for granted.

So if you live in Ontario, Canada, go vote.

Your vote matters.

And take the kid(s) with you!

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A letter to my boys…

I tell my boys I love them every single day.
In fact, I probably tell them I love them several times per day.
Truth be told, I tell them I love them a nauseating amount of times per day.

This week, I was inspired to express my love, my hopes for them on paper, so to speak.

I hope they read this one day.

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To my boys,

Being your mom means I get the amazing privilege of helping you grow. I get to be a part of your amazing journey. I get to enjoy encouraging you as you go on your way to fulfill your purpose. I get to experience seeing you accomplish things that you put your mind to. Being a mom has forever changed my life, my heart, my soul.

Sometimes, in the chaos that is our daily life, I feel like I forget to tell you both what dwells in my heart.
It’s important for you to know…

God loves you forever and always…He loves you, just the way you are, more than you’ll ever know. Put your trust in Him, and you’ll experience true love the way you were meant to.

I will love you forever and always… Nothing, absolutely nothing, can or will ever change that. I think you know this already, but just in case, there it is.

Live your life in humility… A humble heart knows that without God, you can do nothing. A humble heart rejoices in celebrating others’ successes and has no room for selfishness. Put other’s needs before your own; a servant’s heart is a helpful heart.

Pray… You are never alone. Prayer and meditation will immediately fill your heart and mind with the peace and stillness you’ll need to face this world. In times of joy, in times of hurt, pray.

Live a life of extended grace… Nobody is perfect. People will let you down and will hurt you, intentionally or unintentionally. Show them some grace. Remember that your purpose here in this world is to love, and to truly love, you must forgive. You need to extend grace to all people, you don’t know where they’re coming from, show them love and kindness.

Never underestimate your existence… You were created for a very specific purpose; always remember that. There will be days when you’re feeling down, lost, or even find yourself drifting through – it’s at those times that you must draw on the fact that you are not here by accident. You have a purpose, your life has meaning. You will make a difference in one life, ten lives, maybe even a million lives, but you will make a difference. You already have. You’ve changed my life and I could never, ever, express in words how thankful I am for that.

Be yourself… Never change. Your personality, your soul, was meant for you, just you. The world will try to change you, will try to make you fit – resist it. Stay true to yourself, always. You were created exactly the way you were intended to be, don’t ever compromise that for anything or anybody. Don’t ever let anyone steal your joy, don’t give them that kind of power.

Always try your best… No matter what you take on, give it your best shot. Sometimes you’ll be tempted to give up, tempted to quit, but don’t do it. See whatever it is all the way through. Hard work always pays off. You’ll never be satisfied in half attempts.

Every day, every single day, I pray a prayer of thanks for you. Truth be told, I’m still, after all these years, in disbelief that God would trust me with something as precious as you! For a person who is never short of words, I usually find myself speechless when I think about you and how blessed I am.

Know that you are both loved, always and forever.

Mom

 

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The End of The Bunny

I knew it would eventually happen.
I just didn’t think it would happen this soon.

Big, 8 – “Is the Easter bunny real?’

My heart sank. And not because we put stock into the bunny, but because it means it’s the end of an era.

The end of his innocence.

Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but it’s kinda what I do.

Vince and I came clean and identified ourselves as the Bunny.

We did ask that he keep this information to himself since his little brother, Small, still believes in the bunny magic.

Big promised to keep the info to himself, stating that he was older now and was responsible enough to not kill the magic for the ‘little’ kids.

Umm, when did this happen?
When did Big become a non little kid?

More importantly, when did I become a parent of a child old enough to no longer believe in the blasted bunny?

See what I did there?
Brought it right back to me.

Again, it’s kinda what I do.

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Big, 8, no longer a ‘little’ kid