cuban style {small style}

sorry i haven't posted one of these in a while... thursdays seem to fly by before i notice! but i have found a solution... pre-prepare posts earlier in the week & schedule them to post later in the week!  love these blogger gigit gadgets!
we recently flew down to cuba with just our fourth baby, little livi verona.  we loved it!  she loved it! lots of time bonding happening on this trip... i so wish i had done this with the twins.  i totally encourage any new mom with other youngin's to make sure they get a little bonding trip in with just their newborn.  it will work magic! i also loved this trip because we finally finished sleep training!  i don't know if it was the fresh ocean air or the sun but it also worked it's magic.  slept through the night every night {except the last one} & hit every nap on cue! whohoo!
love these pics because eva {our oldest little girl} & livi were born in opposite seasons... so this was my only chance of seeing livi in eva's summer wear... you know, those sentimental outfits that bring back so many memories.  anyways, without further adieu, here are some pics of miss livi in some of her cuban stylings.
{sun dress} roots {blankie} carter's - a gift
from dear friends in england
we've started teething!

{bathing suit} children's place {hat} joe

sound asleep!
{sweater} roots {jumpsuit} babygap
perhaps daddy could use some stylin' tips

{onsie} petit lem


head in the clouds

“… and our in flight entertainment this morning is a dolphin’s tale…” the flight attendant trails off into the background.  heads bob in & out of sleep.  the snap of seat belts relieve passengers from their rigid seats. tray tables lower by a click.  seat backs recline.  and baby sleeps soundly, sucking her susu. asleep in the seat in between her dad & i, in a nest of clumped receiving blankets & sling.  a makeshift basinet, perfectly fitted between the two of us.  safe. peaceful.  quiet.

life is good right now a way up in the sky, amongst the clouds.  airstreams bend effortlessly over the wings of our tired plane.  it flies constantly, four round trips day & night with out rest.  only rests when it’s broken.  too expensive to afford the luxury of a day off.
i read.  i dream.  i nod off myself.  i could stay up here forever.  up here where the sun always shines regardless of the temperamental weather brewing below.  anxiety creeps across the chest as i begin to think of all the worries that await me below.  i shove those thoughts into the overhead compartment with our hand luggage.  i just want to keep my head in the clouds.  up with the sun & the stars.  above it all.  whirls of white cloud spiral & dip. blue sky as far as the eye can see. 

baby girl reaches elbows above head as she stretches spinal cord & limp muscle & then settles back into her happy slumber.  after such a glorious respite, one must have a glorious return.  i must come back changed i repeat to myself.  i can’t come back the same way i left.  all frazzled, frustrated, exhausted.  life had worn a hole through me.  i’m scared to come back to what i left.  i get out a pen & attempt to scribble out a plan.  locate where i went wrong & right it.  paper blank staring at me.  i don’t know.  i don’t know what went wrong or how to fix it. 

booming voice startles as it cracks through the pa “this is your captian speaking… unable to land for another 20 minutes due to severe fog, we’ll circle around for a bit until we can make our approach…”  the cabin pressure intensifies as parents begin to regret their children’s early start to the day.  babies fidget & fuss.  children unravel at the thought of staying stationary much longer, ready to get back to living real life they are, convulsing at the thought of living life from a quiet, thoughtful chair.

half an hour passes and a hush befalls the cabin deck as we rapidly descend for our approach.  it is eerily foggy.  we cannot see a thing.  no light other than the blinking beacons on the tip of the wings and then… boom as rubber collides into asphalt. touchdown.  everyone claps for our captain who landed us without a visual… but certainly not without sight.  as we all know, it was the air traffic control tower that should really get the credit.  the pilot just had to trust. 

and now the rubber hits the road for us all as we roll our carry-ons off the hanger.  dream collides into reality & reality contends for the dream.  i may not have it all together, all organized & labeled.  i don’t quite know what my life is suppose to look like yet… but it’s a good thing i have the best traffic control tower at my service.  sometimes all you need is an afternoon in heavens to know where to look while grounded on earth.     


all creation waits

we step off the plane onto scorching tarmack.  an instant wall of sweat hits the body.  the heat swells over me, sweaty baby swaddled around my middle in the snuggly.

“this way… bus 4 miss…” we are quickly ushered onto a ventilated bus & begin our long journey to the keys, down the coastway.  we drive.  my eyes squint to take in my cuban surroundings.  it has not rained here in some time.  we wind through burnt brown hills bloched by black ash.  it is midday yet sunflowers hang their heads... waiting.  dusty towns, chickens askew, thickets ripe with thistle guard yards.  goat & cow teathered to the ground... waiting.  a thin, ribbed horse, tired & weary, sighs & snorts as it carries expectant visitors to their destination.  barren field of brown after barren field, plowed by ancient machinery & leathered skinned, brown browed farmers.    we leave the charred country side & our massive tour bus sways its way down through the cobbled streets of Remedious {translation: the Remedy}.  a cowboy stares us down as he straddles the muscle barren back of a young colt turned old... waiting.  thread bare linens crowd intricately webbed laundry lines in a small cluster of paint chipped housing.  an old wrinkled lady in bright, frilly skirt sits smoking a cigar at the square, where two churches share a corner.   the first church’s door is giantly old but splinter thin.  it is empty, full of the echos of a zealous past... waiting.  we begin down the winding causeway, a thin penisula of rocky soil & bridge winds across still ocean for as far as the eye can see.   a lone pelican stands guard upon a stake... waiting.  blue spreads clean across water.  but it looks all wrong.  no white waves.  not a sound.  it is quiet & eerily still.  the eye catches on grey clusters of fish slumbering beneath the blue... waiting.  we are getting closer to the keys as solitary bushes appear unexpectantly amidst the salty stillness.  bushes evolve into clusters of bramble with vines casting them selves into the depths... waiting.  but still not a breeze, not a move, not even a ripple.  we leave our ocean platform & head into our final port of call.

waiting.  waiting for the rain to pour down & flood this earth, for restoration to sink deep into dry root. for the wind of the holy spirit to blow across parched, deserted ground, breathing life to the given up & forgotten.  for fresh, green sprigs to sprout & flourish through the cracks, binding broken earth together with strong fibrous root, healing & holding it's ground.  for branch to bow low with bountiful fruitfulness, with the deliciously fat spoil of God goodness. the fruition of fertility.  for the revealing of the sons of God, girding up to take their rightful place.  for the one & only Remedy.  waiting.

a few days later we retrace our steps back across the ocean & through dusty villages, load luggage onto our trusty plane & fly home.  as we step off the hanger into the airport we are greeted by line upon line.  our customs forms are stamped, luggage is gathered once again & we slosh into slushy grey snow.  a wind whips the warm right our of the bones.  it is rush hour & people, cars, taxi & bus spin a jigsaw of patterns across the roads & highways... waiting.

"for all creation, gazing eagerly as if with outstretched neck, is waiting and longing to see the manifestation of the sons of God." 
{romans 8:19, weymouth new testament}



we loved cuba.  loads of sunshine full of vitamins, plenty of soul restoration, bonding time with sweet miss liv & glorious sleep.  after getting some strange looks this week while strolling the mall, i realize that i have a perma-smile plastered on my face.  a big one.
as i am unpacking our suitcase, i am beginning to process the experience.  the things God spoke & revealed, things he whispered in the swaying palms & thundered in the crashing waves.  suitcase is almost unpacked, but my spirit will take some time to fully unpack all of this revelation into real life.  a real life that will never be the same.  smile.

thank-you Lord for your divine provision, your clear voice & anointed sabbath.  


"internet sabbath"

just a little note... i will be taking a brief sabbatical from blogging as i will be away with my hubby & my youngest taking a quick little cuban tour while the rest of the gang is chilling with the grandparents.  quiet is good.  disconnecting from all forms of technology, is necessary & mind renewing sometimes.  looking forward to reading & not writing.  feeling inspired by this article which i have already posted in my ponderings, but perhaps take a gander & clear your head.
rest well even in the busyness of life!

the clammer & the quiet {letters to livi}

you are totally at home in the noise, in the chaos, in the clutter of your older siblings.  crumpled laundry often lines the end of your bed, a gift from your older sister.  but you don't mind.  your diapers often stolen for someone's dolly, your susu's borrowed by your brothers, your blankets paraded around the house as a cape or fashionable scarf.  but you remain undisturbed.  drums, whistles, giggles & shrieks shred the silence of your nap.  but you sleep deeper, harder when you know we are there.  when i finally lay you in your basinet in a quiet corner upstairs, away from the clammer, you cry unconsolable for the others.  you are soothed by the sounds of life & long for the company while you dream.
but my dear sweet livi, the time has come for you to slip into restfulness all on your own.  soon you will learn the life long lesson your mama is still learning.  sweet solitary is a gift.  soul soothing salve is the quiet, if you let it.  there are things you can only hear in the silence.  things you can only think in the quiet.  but don't fret your little furrowed brow... for you are never actually ever alone.  there is the One who fills the stillness, who whispers in the wilderness.  He is always alongside, always listening, always speaking.  and remember, just because you seem alone, doesn't mean you have to be lonesome.  there are many others who are cheering you on, even when you can't see them.  like the great crowd of witnesses or your mama... ever praying, ever cheering, ever there.


the big red button

the BIG red button.  we all have one.  located right in the centre of our chests given with a blinking red light begging to be pushed.  and our children are little red button pushing experts.

the BIG red button: any parenting pet peeves really {whining, tantrums, sibling rivalry, a messy room, any non-compliance, irresponsibility, disobedience or disrespect... take your pick, the list is long & limitless}

when a child hits the big red button, we loose control. it makes us go crazy! it's in moments like these, i realized i needed some equipping. i needed a language, a way of interacting with my kids that is empowering, where they understand what i am trying to say. i have found it helpful to have a little bank of phrases ready to roll on the tip of my tongue and shift my brain into neutral. no rise of boiling anger needed. no heightened emotion or volume. just a calm, cool response. this is crucial, as i know all to well, when my child is upset, out of control, looking for my buttons, the best friend i have is a thinking brain. i have all to often given over the control of my emotional life to my 2 year old toddler. it's time to get back control over myself, time to stay away from the emotional cesspool and be able to think, to be the adult. time to disconnect the BIG red button.  phrases that i have personally found helpful in creating a mental pause for myself, preventing the inevitable rocket launch, have been some of the following: no thank-you, you have the freedom to make a poor choice or wise choice here..., nice try, fun or no fun?{the no fun option is room time}, you choose or i choose, that's ok you've made your choice.  they are like tongue tattoos, ready at a moments notice. a soft answer turns away wrath, my own wrath that is.  it's just a parent grabbing control of herself instead of a parent attempting to control a child.  sadly, we cannot control our kids.  we can certainly try but that usually ends in frustration.  control was never meant to be the goal.  the goal was to give them a well put together role model for whom they can model their own lives after if they wish to.  the goal is to teach & to train them how to manage themselves.  and they can only do that, if i give them the tools to do so.  a picture of what that looks like, from our own lives.

disconnecting the BIG red button, disconnect the ability of any other person to control our quality of life starts with what is going on inside.  whether it's your kids, an inconsiderate friend or family member, it all works the same.  guard your mind & guard your tongue.  i find how i see things in my minds eye, greatly affects my emotional response.  providing a context is crucial.  a context like how does God see this person?  every time i ask that question, my heart melts instantly.  love quickly disarms anger or frustration. love conquers all.     


she is my jonathan

"and saul's son jonathan went to david at horesh & helped him find strength in God." {1 samuel 23:16}

jonathans take many shapes & forms.  jonathans are a life time in the making, a rare find, only a fairy tale to some.  a jonathan is someone who encourages the soul, stands alongside, defends the Word over your life, shares a life covenant with vision & heart, fights for your victory, pushes you into your dreams, sharpens you like iron sharpens iron, closer than a brother, a deep that cries out to deep.  a fellowship that withstands the tests & trials of time.   reminds you of the call of God on your life in their own faithful & unrelenting pursuit of the kingdom.  it is difficult to build a relationship that is exempt from jealousy, resentment, bitterness, competition or any other plights of human nature.  and few relationships exist where the other is truly preferred, celebrated, strengthened & loved.  so when you find a jonathan you hold onto him or her as the case may be.

one of my jonathans is moving out of the city tomorrow to passionately pursue the call of God on her life.  selfishly, i want her all to myself & couldn't bare the thought of her leaving.  but after a few tears, i have come to a firm resolve that this will change nothing.  although it is typical of a long distance relationship to stray away, this is not true of a jonathan & david relationship.  distance only strengthens my heart toward her as i cheer her on from here.  she has always held the father's heart in her hand and delicately extended it to me.  she is a testament of grace & strength.  and i know there are many others that need the God-deposit in her.  and for that i am excited, waiting in anticipation for the fruit that will come from her obedient pursuit of the kingdom.

jonathan & david's bond was so great that at one of their partings, "they kissed one another, and wept one with another, but david more so..." {1 samuel 20:41}.  and i find myself as david.  tearful departing on the outside but just brimming with pride & hope & anticipation on the inside.

you can read about some of her adventures on her new "secret"... now not so secret blog.  i think you'll love her just as much as i do!


a blogger's birth plan

i found this amusing little video the other day & thought i would post it as penance for not being the most committed blogger over the holidays.  i don't have any recollection of this video being taken but steve said he thought it was so ridiculous he had to get it on tape.  all i can say is a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to get that baby out! and the weirdest thing is, i think this post actually made sense.

{side note: this is after two days of being in the labor & delivery ward... i am not usually that unsympathetic or snippy or frowny!}


take my life {a song diary: a new song for a new year}

and the new year lurches forward, marching obediently to the thrum of time.  with hopes held high, ideals polished & passionate promises in hand, we step into our future, that illusive future.  futures are slippery things.  always escaping the will, slipping through the fingers of the well intentioned.

january holds out its hopeful hand & beckons us to be more.  but how long does it take for the fervency to fizzle, ideals to melt down into compromise?  february follows and the long lines at subway dwindle. by march, gym madness has settled back into the dedicated few.  and april rolls out a parade of lost hope & in the spirit of rededication we get up & try again.

over the years, being an avid goal setter myself, i have become wise to this cycle.  i could promise to be kinder to my children, visit the Word more often, swear off the lattes & dedicate myself to a whole new life makeover.  but i’ve been there, done that, came up empty.  in all my years of goal setting, i don't think i have ever stopped to ask Him what His plans for me were.
 if 2011 was the year of try then the year 2012 will be the year of surrender.  i give up.  i give up on my nicely laid out plans.   the feeling of sweet surrender.  an offering to Him.    
the year of surrender
year of control:  "if you need to be a control freak... then start by controlling yourself"- danny silk.
time to bridle that innate,undeniable fight for control in my life & use it for good.  if i need to control something, i can work on controlling my self: my tongue, my attitude, my time, my mind, my emotions, my will.  

  • surrender of perspective: be thou my vision.  seeing them like He sees them.  seeing me like He sees me.  putting on blinders to all else that hinders.  seeing the world from right here & putting my world into it's rightful place.

  • surrender of pace:  hurry hurts kids, hurts me.  hurry robs moments, stunts joy, cripples a life lived always short. there is no where i need to be that is more important than relationship.  relationship over rushing is the new rule.

  • surrender of emptiness: no more neglecting the storehouse.  a time to militantly guard my well spring of life, tend my garden with diligence.  too often running on empty, time to pull from plenty, if for no other reason than i crave being full, long to be full.

  • surrender of mind:  no more anger, no more anxiety, no more frustration, no more raging storm inside.  i place my hope in the One who never disappoints, who is my soul salve.  time to quiet, to still, to listen not talk.  to trust & to know who is the Saviour of my soul.      

  • surrender of indulgence:  giving life to the tiny pleasures. the right kind of pleasures.  the tiny indulgences that make a big difference. gone are the days of the chocolate bar & tv feeding my soul.  i know it sounds silly, but making time for long bubble baths, getting properly dressed for the day, outlawing the ponytail {miss christy is helping me out with that one over at pintuck}.  lighting a candle & reading & reading & singing & reading some more.  these are the tiny indulgences that feed the soul.

  • surrender of moments: it’s not in the one dramatic resolution that we live our lives but in the 10,000 mundane everyday moments that follow it.  oh how i wish i could sweep those moments under the mat, my sin exposed so regularly, so obviously.  but that is where we live, in the moments. and so i choose to embrace all the moments, even the ugly ones, as my teacher.  holding each moment captive to change & giving thanks for every single one.  
take my life Jesus... i'm done with it, done living for self.  it has been a long, lonely, tiresome fight to live for me.  who knew giving up would feel so good?  i surrender, i surrender all to Him the Worthy One.  

{take my life & let it be...}
by: frances havergal, 1874

  1. Take my life and let it be
    Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
    *Take my moments and my days,
    Let them flow in endless praise.
  2. Take my hands and let them move
    At the impulse of Thy love.
    Take my feet and let them be
    Swift and beautiful for Thee.
  3. Take my voice and let me sing,
    Always, only for my King.
    Take my lips and let them be
    Filled with messages from Thee.
  4. Take my silver and my gold,
    Not a mite would I withhold.
    Take my intellect and use
    Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
  5. Take my will and make it Thine,
    It shall be no longer mine.
    Take my heart, it is Thine own,
    It shall be Thy royal throne.
  6. Take my love, my Lord, I pour
    At Thy feet its treasure store.
    Take myself and I will be
    Ever, only, all for Thee.