best beginnings

some thoughts, insight & wisdom while reflecting on new years & resolutions...

"what if all tomorrows are just more of all our yesterdays?  a thousand times i've told myself, 'i simply must try harder.' try harder to be more organized, try harder to educate our children better, try harder to be more after God's heart.  but i know it: trying harder only results in harder trials.  self-striving nurtures self-hatred.  toiling flesh produces foiling in the soul.  looking back on the trail tromped through the other years, i can see that to forge new tracks across this year will need more than simply sheer effort, gritty determination... to track new ways, one needs wind's hope, His Spirit.  His spirit wind covers our muddle tracks.  the grace of His Spirit, fills our empty spots, intercedes and gives us a fresh start every day." {ann voskamp}
"God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible.  what a pity when we plan only the things we can do by ourselves." {a.w. tozer}

"Jesus said... you can't put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. seize the day." {luke 9:62 msg}

cheers merry friends, to a clear vision, a bold confession & a bright future covered in His grace!


little mother {letters to eva}

"opsies!" you exclaim at the sound of your wee baby sister in the next room.  you run to her aid pressing her susu softly against her lips. you bend low to give her your kiss.

your brother throws a tantrum in the other room. "opsies!" you run off to tend to your motherly duties.  he is stuck in his coat. you use those tiny fingers of yours to unzip his jacket & promptly begin removing it from his shoulders. you garble a few nonsense sentences which only your twin would understand & then toddle into the other room.

i follow.  you pick your baby doll off the ground which older brother has carelessly ejected out of the back of his tractor. you hold her by her neck. rocking her, swaying back & forth patting her back with your tiny palm. "shhhhhh!" you sing her to sleep.  you find a place for her in an empty baby swing. cover her with one of little sister's blankies & place a discarded susu on her chest.

you grab your purse & a dirty diaper left on the floor, clutch them both under your arm & toddle off to you next mothering duty.  although it is not duty to you.  just pure joy.

and this is who you are, mother in miniature growing into mother mature.  you will comfort those who cry.  liberate those who struggle.  lift weighs off of the oppressed.  speak life to those who are dead & don't know it.  you will bind up the carelessly discarded & broken hearted. sooth them with your song.  you will find a place for them.  you will gather them under your wing & shield them with your faith.  you little eva joy nouvelle, with the Christ in you, will be great hope to those in great need of mothering. and in all this you will find your great Joy.

{eva, 19 months}    

behold love that passeth knowledge...

”He was poor, that he might make us rich.
He was born of a virgin that we might be born of God.
He took our flesh, that he might give us His Spirit.
He lay in the manger, that we may lie in paradise.
He came down from heaven, that he might bring us to heaven….
That the ancient of Days should be born.
that he who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle….
that he who rules the stars should suck the breast;
that a virgin should conceive;
that Christ should be made of a woman, and of that woman which himself made,
that the branch should bear the vine,
that the mother should be younger than the child she bare,
and the child in the womb bigger than the mother;
that the human nature should not be God, yet one with God
Christ taking flesh is a mystery we shall never fully understand till we come to heaven
If our hearts be not rocks, this love of Christ should affect us .
Behold love that passeth knowledge!”
~Thomas Watson


christmas' are for counting

christmas' are for snow curled mops of hair, rosey noses & icy eyelashes. for friend & family all huddled round the puzzle table, a good game & bowl of nuts. for chocolate indulgences & fireplace fancies.  for the gasps, the giggles, the grins, crackle of christmas paper shredded by uncontainable excitement.  for matchbox cars, clementines & brightly coloured socks.   for decedent meals, turkey laced with cranberry, sweet potato stuffing & rum raisin pie, shared between kindred spirits.  for soul restoring hibernation, snug amungst the twisted blankets & billowy pillows.  for memory making, memory staking, memories relived & reinvented.  for story telling, tale spinning under the silvery cold moon.  for little linus' proclamation, for the grinch & his heart now three sizes grown, for drummer boys & wise men gathered under a star.   for pear trees & partridges.  for chimney smoke, roasted pine & maple embers, candles dripping long with ambience. for snow weighed branches bowed low in reverence of the winter wonderland bestowed upon their laden limbs. for long fireside chats, dreams all a glow. for sleigh rides & parkas fringed with fur.  for wet mittens, woolen hats & drippy floors.  for movie popcorn popping nights, snug as a bug in a rug nights, laughter lighting, soul inspiring, long winter nights.  for burrowing deep in books & ideas & companionship. for grizzled soul now rendered tender.  for window watching, snow snug hills & footprint setting.

christmas' are a noisy yet quieting place, a dreaming yet sobering place, a rushful yet restful place.

oh yes, i have received many gifts this christmas.  some of them wrapped in boxes & bags, perfect packages. some enveloped in warmth & seasonal colour. others wrapped in blankety snow & chill. but all wrapped in love.  from a father to a daughter.

thank you Lord Jesus.  for how you love me so.


twin fashion {small style}

anyone who has ever dreamed of having twins, has probably dreamed of them in matching outfits.  so cute, so perfect.  on special occasions this is super fun.  on an everyday basis, this is exhausting.  with the ever increasing laundry demands & mealtime clothing spoilers, one can find that the once fun matching outfit idea is just a frustration.  and so i have given up the matching outfit dream & embraced the unique personal style philosophy.  it helps that they are boy-girl twins & that they could not be more different personality wise.  kai is a go getter & eva is, well, a girl.  try to dress kai fancy & he'll shred that outfit to bits.  try to dress eva fancy & she struts around like a peacock, smoothing her ruffles & frills.  she LOVES clothes, shoes, clips & bows.  kai couldn't care less.

so here is a little snapshot of their unique personal style:
{kai}: i like to call this indestructible style, the only thing that would make this outfit more practical is if it were flame retardant: {whale suit} babygap {slippers} no sure, thrifted

{eva}: i like to call this fru fru style: {tutu body suit} old navy {leggings} children's place {headband} ardene's {ballet slippers} joe, only $3.94! i love finds like this!
evie trying to put on the world's tiniest dutch clogs
{they were attached to a key chain}


her favourite "pacifier" next to her ruby slippers

*i realized how different the twins were this past week, when leaving instructions with a babysitter, i said "if kai's upset just give him his susu... if eva's upset then just give her a pair of shoes, the frillier the better" and i wasn't joking... shoes are her pacifier at the moment.

for bad days & weary heads {a song diary}

this one is for today... no history with this song prior to today, just heard it today on the radio & sobbed & sobbed & sobbed some more... isn't that always the way it happens?  you feel defeated, empty & alone and then you turn on the radio & He is right there.

yes Lord, i hear you... You are with me.   i come to you for You are all that i need.  You are my everything.  You are my hand to hold, my Peace, my Rest, my Steadfast.  i keep my eyes on You.


endings & beginnings {letter to davith}

"mom. i busy." you say.

"but dav, i just want a little cuddle?" i say.

"but mom. i too busy. just for a little while, k?" you say.

you indulge me for a moment and crawl up on the couch beside me & throw those small arms around my larger middle.  my heart soars.

"will you stay little for me forever?" i ask facetiously.

"only for a little bit mom.  just a little bit for you." you bounce down & busy yourself with the busy work of building barriers of toys so your siblings can't come in the room without knocking over a toy apocalypse.  piling box upon car, pillow upon baby doll you work fervently until it meets your expectations. hands on hip, you grin with approval. your contagious giggle follows.

sigh. how do i make it last?  how do i slow time down? your childhood flashes before my very eyes.  so fast.  too fast. how could you be busy already? when it feels so much like your babyhood has ended, i desperately try to remember it is also a beginning.  beginnings often masquerade as endings & endings as beginnings.  they are one in the same.  you can't have one without the other, i soothe my crumpled spirit.  i know all to well i have been the one to teach busyness, to exemplify hurry, to push forward. but no need to panic.  just slow.  a pausing of time.  so i can see, i can experience, i can savour the way those blue eyes sparkle when they get into mischief.

"i be right back! but don't miss me mom cause, cause, cause i be riiiiight back!" you climb your tower of toys & jitter off into the kitchen.  my heart hurts just a little, knowing this won't be the last good-bye.

it was you, no so long ago who made me a mother.  who welcomed me into womanhood.  oh the things you have taught me so far, so invaluable. a lifetime of things in just your short little life.  how will i face the rest of my life, the rest of my womanhood, without a babe clutching to my hip - or rather me clutching to my babe?  and i forget, it was Him who grew me through all of the diapers, all the sleepless night, all the will breaking tantrums.  and it is Him who be there through the next phase. isn't that just life's journey? life's purpose? to grow. to grow up.  to grow old & wise.  to move on, move forward, move homeward.  to gaze upon Him who never changes & change.

and so let's gaze together.  let's begin together. let's grow up & walk brave, humble & onward towards maturity together in this long life of adventure.

you return to your mountain top of toys, blue eyes grinning over the precipices & you giggle as you push through to the other side.  "i back mom. no missing me. i back!"  


lessons in the losses: pregnancy & all it's curves

lessons in the losses #6: some jeans will never fit the same way again but that just means i need new jeans that fit the new me

for most women, i think pregnancy brings up lots of body issues & insecurities.  even if you had been in reasonable control of your weight before getting pregnant, you are suddenly ferociously hungry at all times, exhausted & more emotional than you have ever been, & gaining weight at an alarming rate.  not exactly a formula for staying secure. you're not your self.  the strategies & coping skills you may have turned to before are no match for spiking hormones & the hungry little hippo which now calls the shots.  there are more than enough warning stories of those who "just let themselves go" after baby.  i think most women would agree that it can be a touch unnerving to take the plunge into parenthood trusting that you will be able return to your small self again.  but no one stays the same after becoming a parent.  it truly is an incredible transfiguration.  when i look back at what my ideals were about becoming a parent, i am proud to say that most of those have successful transformed into life giving realities.  but they didn't start that way & it certainly doesn't mean everything went as planned.  we definitely had some altering & compromises to make.  but the essence of our goals & intent as parents, was fairly intact in the end.  without the generous covering of grace & a committed attitude to change, i don't know that we could have become what we are today.  we have by no means arrived as parents but we are not where we were which is the important thing.
so even though i am dreading having the baby pudge hang around for awhile, i am determined to change it.  even though i occasionally entertain thoughts of "the fourth one always does a woman in", i refuse to give up on who i want to be.  not just in the physical appearance department but in the overall, who He has called & is continuing to chisel me into being. do i miss the mark? daily.  that's what grace & a vision for the future is for.  i know that even after having baby & losing the baby chub & perhaps a bit more, i know my body will never be the same shape.  And i don't mean that in a bad way.  just a different way.  there will be bulges where there wasn't before.  curves which were formally straight lines.  but then there will be the signs of change, the signs of life of where i housed three little lives.  my body did that.  i did that.  and i can do this.

legacy & ceilings

keys to the past
what is the difference between restoration, as both a historical & biblical concept, and romantisization or nostalga?  what instinctively make us want to return to the past?  to the golden age of our lives or history?  what have we left behind of value & use?  what did they work hard to pioneered, fought for or invent that we have overlooked and undervalued? what have we lost touch with and what have we gained?

i recently followed a historical documentary series entitled ‘victorian farm’. the series project required that three historians give up their modern day lives for one year and live as authentically as possible to 19th century victorian custom & culture.

at the series end, they interviewed the three historians about the effect the experiment had had on them. it was life changing, eye-opening, transforming to say the least.
i was inspired & i began to ask questions.  how would it change my life perspective if my family had the opportunity to live in the victorian era?  how exactly would it transform us & our ideals?  how much is my family a product of the culture & era i currently live in?  how would our quality & purpose for life be altered? what would be restored in the process & what would be lost? 

we would leave behind convenience & obvious medical & technological advances, certain definitions of comfort & leisure.  but in order to accurately assess, one would have to carefully consider the yardstick by which one measures the quality of their own life, which is of course a very personal concept leading some to many differing conclusions.  

how would the fabric of my life, the very meaning & purpose, be changed?  identity closely formed around the necessity of our productiveness.  homemakers who literally make their homes with their own nimble, knowing hands.  character personified in the tarnished, calloused crease of tired fingers, the patient, fearless brow.  our heart's pride woven into a basket, dripping from a beeswax candle.  the self satisfaction that me & mine made this home.  we wove it together using our own knitting needles, the hum of our own sowing machines, kneaded by our own palms.  how much more creatively satisfied would we be?  art as a way of life instead of a hobby.  beauty & imagination blossom.  originality & function flourish.  abundance of conviction & drive, integrity to the family unit.  what would that add to sense of dignity & pride?  sense of resolve & identity?

and whatever happened to the lost art of savouring?  would i enjoy my toast & honey more if that honey came from the careful, tending of my own hive?

i look at the victorian era & i realize i am subjected to all kinds of luxuries that take away from quality of life… like tv, leisurely afternoon naps, skinny vanilla lattes, facebook.  i had always thought those things increased my quality of life but at closer look, i see that i have been sucked into the complacency or habit of these daily routines. as separate once-in-a-while, special events they are wonderfully enjoyable but as they have become habitual entitlement, i have allowed them to steal my contentment when i don't get them.  i am spoiled by them.  spoiled to appreciate or be grateful or just be happy with what i have.  always on a quest for more, for special, for extraordinary & loath the ordinary, the same.  qualifying my happiness by a belief that i can't enjoy this day unless it was better than yesterday. addicted to a constant quest of self-coddling, self-indulgence.  making myself feel good, feel fulfilled by empty things.  materialism that robs, that rusts the soul.  when leisure becomes so much a part of an everyday expectation, we loose respect for it. we loose enjoyment of it. we loose the fulfillment it was intended to provide.  we loose the moments.  how many times have i bought into the lie that leisure will restore my soul?  there is only One that restores.

what does entertainment mean to me? seeing the victorian folk all gather in community to tune instruments before a lively dance or fellowship over quilted cotton looms makes me realize that most of my entertainment is a lonely activity usually incased in a dark movie theatre & drizzled with butter.  what do i live for, what do i wait & want for, look forward to & protect?  will i settle for a glass of wine & a good movie at the end of the day?  will that be enough?  is that what i live for?   my self-centred, pampered, indulgent life?

there seems to be missing a push, a drive, a simplicity, a self-dignity, a being needed-ness in our modern lives.  would discontentment, depression & disorders & syndromes be so prevalent if we could know the gift of working with our hands? when good old fashioned elbow grease is replaced by dishwashers, chainshaws, mp3 players & blogs, we loose relationship & community.  we loose who we are when we no longer know how to relate to our other.  there is a completeness that can only happen through fellowship, through relating.  when individual autonomy is valued more than community, both are robbed.  the community inspires & sharpens the individual, just as the individual defines & enriches the community.

the past. what makes us look back?  why can’t the past be the past? we excavate it, study it,  preserve it, bring it back to life, re-live or live the past again and again, history’s story.  can we enhance it? build on it instead of just forgetting it, loosing it, letting it decay in the grave? how do we withstand the currents of time or cultural assimilation? how do we progress in our pilgramage forward with losing our past progress?  without cutting our life giving roots off? 

harvest time
i believe biblical restoration is more than just nostalgia, more than just the fear of our ever corrupting society,  more than just romanticizing. it is a righteous dissatisfaction.  restoration is not preserving or freezing the old.  it is the old as new.  it is a very real conundrum. a return to the original intent & yet a calling into the future of things we have never seen before.  restoration, not like salvaging an old piece of furniture.  it is something alive & new and yet has been laid in the hearts of men before time.  it is not a dusting off doctrinal conviction.  no, that's just religious fervency.  it is the very breath of God speaking now for our time, our life.  the time has come to live life to the fullest.  the fullest of then & the fullest of now.  restoration,  not a retreating back to the days of old but boldly moving forward, confronting, creating & calling the future into now & yet never giving up on that original vision, that creative word. their floor our ceiling.  

this is the house that love built

i've been thinking a lot lately about the role that love has in my mothering.  i recently found this paraphrase of 1 corinthians 13 from jean fleming's {a mother's heart}.

if i keep my house immaculately clean, and am envied by all for my interior decorating, but do not love in my family - i'm just another housewife.
if i'm always producing lovely things - sewing, art; if i always look attractive, and speak intelligently, but am not loving to my family - i am nothing.
if i'm busy in community affairs, teach sunday school, and drive in the carpool, but fail to give adequete love to my family - i gain nothing.
love changes diapers, cleans up messes, and ties shoes - over and over again.
love is kind, though tired and frazzled.
love doesn't envy another wife - one whose children are "spaced" better, or in school so she has time to pursue her own interests.
love doesn't try to impress others with my abilities or knowledge as a mother.
love doesn't scream at the kids.
love doesn't feel cheated because i didn't get to do what i wanted to do today - sew, read, soak in a hot tub.
love doesn't assume that my children are being naughty just because their noise level is irritating.
love doesn't rejoice when other people's children misbehave and make mine look good.  love is genuinely happy when others are honoured by their children.

it cuts right to the heart.  ouch!
all is empty without love.   all is empty without love. all is empty without love.   all is life sucking, soul draining without love.  love is the meaning, the reason. love endures all things.
i will have to meditate on this one daily i think.

Lord, teach me how to build this house out of love not out of competition, selfishness, frustration, martyrdom or any other man made concept.  teach me how to love like you do.


internet, where fore art thou? {blogging blip}

dear loyal follower,

i am having some technical difficulties with my internet as of late & so i apologize for the lack of posting.  we are looking into getting it fixed over the weekend & then hopefully we'll be back in business.  i am still writing, just unable to post for some reason. so once we get it fixed, there will be a big surge of posts all of a sudden.
thanks for your patience!



count the ways i love you

growing up with three brothers & a sister, it became necessary to think of various extra ways to provoke or annoy one another.  or i think if we were honest, ways to passive aggressively show our affection for one another.  roughhousing was a big part of our everyday shenanigans & still are when we see each other now as adults.  we roughhoused so much we broke our banister, which my mom still hasn't fixed. i think because she secretly loves all of the memories that lead to it's gradual decline in sturdiness. i'll never pass up a chance for a good wrestling match... which i think came as quite the surprise to steve when we first got married.  he actually prayed for kids just so he would have a break from all of the constant pestering! poor guy!

another way us siblings showed our affection/provoked one another was in making up nonsense names to call one another.  mostly because we weren't allowed to swear or use bad words, we would substitute the silliest thing we could think of.  i think a qulill was one of the worst "offenses" a rickey could call another rickey.  that was just asking to pummeled!  i can't remember half of the little nonsense names but i wish i could.  it was such a fun game.    

i love being creative.  i thought of all the times during the day i have to say "come here please..." & wanted to spice it up a little.  i was easily bored with the traditional nicknames of sweetheart, honey & dear and so starting early on with davith, i began to experiment with little love names.  not to provoke of course, but as a different way of saying i love you.  multitasking if you will & occasionally being intentional about my confession over them.  i have often heard parents or grandparents jokingly refer to their young as trouble or bums or whatever the negative expression is & i think what a waste!  when "come here" gets transformed into "i love you" it just makes the whole day fun.

so here is a record of all of the little nonsense names that in wilkins' tongue translates into i love you so, so much!  they are just jibberish to anyone but us.  but that's okay.  kinda like our own secret language that at the end of the day, means you are loved.

come here my little... tika masala, pickle, sausage roll, milk dud, cream puff, jube jube, jellybean, moya mascha {beautiful girl in dutch}, jiblet, chicklet, marshmellow, peanut, mon petit chou {my little cabbage in french}, patty cake, bubble & squeak, skinny vanilla latte, mission 3:16, string bean, chubbly bubbly, poopy snoopy, mint julep {not even sure what that is}, mighty man of valour, prince-a-pacea, pretty princess, marvel, bright spark, pup, crab cake, chicken bhuna, sundae with a cherry on top, miracle, squigglet, feisty one, bon jovi, warrior woman, sleeping bunny, christmas come early, mr. or miss flavishim, charlie brown, lucky duck, chucky cheese, smartie pants, ju ju bee, slinky winky blinky bear, taco salad, tuna wrap with mayo on the side, spicy meatball, fruit of my loins, bottomless pit, overflowing vessel of the king's goodness, rumple rouser, bangalore, fru fru, tooty fruity, snoop doggy dog, loved one... & still creating daily, the list continues on & on...

* i realize upon reflection that most of these are food items... perhaps i have a suppressed desire to eat my children? yikes! i promise i only nibble on them now & them!          


eyes to see, eyes to change {letters to micaiah}

i meant to post this last week but our internet has been badly misbehaved the last number of days... my apologies!  this post is about unwrapping everyday moments to fully dwell in their loveliness. like a net catching all of the moments that flutter by so quickly.  i am holding them captive.  making the most out of them.  see {these are the letters that love wrote} for more info on this new little addition to my blogging life.
"eye, eye..." your little chubby finger tickles the end of my eyelashes.

"eyes, eyes..." i repeat after you.

"no, no..." you gently pat the end of my nose with your open palm.

"nose, nose..." i pinch your cute button nose.

"mou, mou?" you tap my chin with your tiny little hand, trying to close my mouth.

"mouth, that's right kai!"

and you start over again... "eye, eye..." your sweet little features squint.  there is nothing sweeter than your gentle touch, your tiny lips trying their best to sound out each syllable.

i look deep into those dark eyes of yours & i think of all the things you will see in your lifetime.  all of the wonderful, incredible things awaiting to be seen by you.  all the vibrant colours of countries laid deep in your heart.  they wait for you.  all the ugly, scary things wait too only they wait for the Christ in you.  as your mother, i cringe as i think of all the ugly, all the terrible.  it is only instinct to want to shelter, to protect you.  but i know i can only shield you from it for a short time.  for soon enough, you will see the decay, the overwhelming need.  you will smell the stench of death, the terrible oppression & putrid poverty.  you will only be overwhelmed, not overtaken, momentarily.  this is necessary. but you will come to see that you have the solution.  deep down inside of you.  you are the change.  the bittersweet, sour turned to sweet, savoury. you might man of valour, you with Christ in you, will change the world with those eyes.


winter wonderland wear {small style}

to see their faces light up the first morning it snowed was something i'll treasure forever.  when davith looked out out bathroom window that morning, he whispered "it's christmas outside.  mom, can we play in christmas today?!" they bounced & sang all through breakfast, diaper changes & patiently waited until they were all tightly bundled in their fleeces, hats & mitts. and then, with their big bright eyes & chubby cheeks, they exploded out the front door to greet our snow dusted wonderland.  pure joy.  davith leaped down the steps ploughing the way for the others, as only firstborns do.  evie climbed down quickly to dust the trees saying "uh-oh!", my little mother in the making & kai, a little more trepadacious, slowly slinked down, step by step, taking in every little snowflake. each taking in all of winter's splendor in their own way. warms a mother's heart.  here are some pics of their winter wonderland exploration in their winter wonderland wear!

  {davith}: winter coat {gap - this is his second winter with it & it's still big!}, snowpants {children's place}, mitts {dollarama}, boots {joe}, hat {kidditown}

{evie}: snowsuit {columbia - i just unzipped the fleece from the shell}, boots {joe}, mitts {carters}, hat {kidditown}

{kai}: snowsuit {columbia - inner fleece separated from the shell}, boots {joe}, hat {joe}, mitts {dollarama}

{livi}: safely snuggled inside by the fireplace taking a nap!