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Wednesday, May 31

But At Least I...

I had a "but at least I" moment yesterday that was rather eye-opening. You know what I mean by, "but at least I" don't you? Its that statement of judgement that soothes a wounded ego.
For some it can be, "I don't work out but at least I don't eat fast food" for others it could be, "No I don't read the Bible but at least I believe in God" or "I'm addicted to shopping but at least I go to church"

No matter what the vice, it can be justified because we can always find something worse that someone else is doing..."sure I drink alot but at least I don't beat my kids".

I think everybody uses this from time to time to make themselves feel better about their short-comings but I think its even deeper than that. When I think about some of my "but at least I" statements, I find what it is about myself that I think is valuable. Someone who drinks but doesn't hit their kids, could value their self-control, their skill as a parent, the way they love their kids or their improvement in parenting over the way they were raised.

Yesterday I had an "inner dialogue" (who's a psych major?) with a but at least I that I didn't like. The essence of the but at least I was very religious!!! (anyone who knows me well, understands that being religious is one of my least favorite things on earth!)
Well, that just sent me praying like a raving lunatic...
"Oh God! I can't believe this crap is still near to the center of what I think about myself. I hate that! I hate that I still think that my praying, my committment to God and church over the years has anything at all to do with the blessings in my life. AHHHHHHH!!! So what if I read my bible??? Half the time , I don't even understand what I am reading!!! There's always more than I know! When will I really understand that it is God's grace that supplies all my needs, and my goodness is really, truly, like filthy rags. When will I get it into my head and my heart?"
So here I sit, still religious but trying to get it. What if my "but at least I" was "but at least I am loved by God in spite of myself"? What difference would that make in how I see myself? Would I even need to justify all my mistakes?

Remember the parable of the prodigal son? "Sure I work all day, waiting for you die so I can have your money dad, but at least I didn't run off and take it all while you were still alive!"
What a hero!
Yesterday I was the older brother. I hate that. Today I am remembering my need to help from dad, like a prodigal...perhaps that is the first step to understanding my value as a person?
Erica at 10:57 AM

Tuesday, May 30

The Stars of My Show...

Excited about running onto the bridge!
Posing for the camera.
Taking a bow after the dance.
Swimming in fridgid waters...brrrrr!

Going for a walk on the trail.
Erica at 8:20 AM

Monday, May 29

Weighing In...

In working alot, I haven't had time for working out. In the past few weeks, my schedule has allowed me to eat here and there, and I just eat whatever. As a result, I've put on a few pounds.
Yesterday and today I read a book about losing weight. At the beginning, it sounded pretty good.
However, as the build-up continued on to the answer to losing weight and keeping it off forever came to a crescendo, the solution was this....just don't eat any fat. Ever. Never.
Oh, and sugar is also bad.

Alrighty then!
Moving on!
Erica at 3:59 PM

Wednesday, May 24

Sucessful Children...

Many people want their children to be lawyers or doctors, so they can be professionally successful. Others want their children to be famous as proof of success. I figure, the only real proof of success is to win on Jeopardy!!! They can put that cocky Alex Trebek in his place and make some serious cash doing it!

I've decided to start training my kids early...

Erica at 7:52 AM

Tuesday, May 23

Thoughts on Community...

I've been thinking about this notion of community, and what it is and what it is not.
I spent a few years hearing about community in church, the idea that was presented felt
like a mirage that never materialized for me. This left me feeling frustrated and angry, because I was focused on an version of community that I had not experienced and could not seem to connect with or create in spite of my efforts.

After being angry and frustrated, I'm ready to toss that idea of community and re-define what community could be for me. Or rather, what it already is...

As I was on this big search for "community", I realized that community was something I had had all along, in some form or another.

Here is my new definition. (I realize this definiation may change as my life changes but this what I understand right now)

Community is like me. The ability of a community to give or take is transient, it will change according to the will (and ability) to help or receive help.
Sometimes, there are alot of resources that can go out, there is lots of time, energy and money and sometimes, the bank account is empty, there is not enough stuff to meet the needs.

This year, I've discovered that time and energy have kept me from building up friendships as I've worked more and more. I don't have the time I'd like to spend talking to my friends, but when I do have it, I do my best.

Sometimes, I am exhausted and I need more from other people and can't provide much in return. This is how community is as well, its give and take, and there are times and seasons. Ultimately, if community (like me) does not find its resources in the right places...everyone in the community will end up empty, unable to give or receive what they need.

Instead of looking for that place where people are able to help and receive my help, this "planet community" where everyone is healthy and happy, I will look to what already exists in my life.

I have a network of family and friends that are real, and loving. Whether or not they love me is not the deciding factor in whether or not they help me or let me help them. I have a wonderful group of people who love me all the time. Sometimes they are able to help me, and sometimes they can not but they still love me no matter what. These same people can call me when they need help, sometimes I will come through, and sometimes I won't but I will still love them even if I can't meet their needs.

Its in this place where love is real, and the intension of the heart really matters that I've found "safe places". We may not all live together in paradise, none of these people (including me) are perfect but we all care about each other and do what we can to help and encourage each other.
It is a safe place, not a perfect place but a safe place to be known and know the heart of people.

I'm not looking for eden any more, I've already got bits and pieces of it that I've found in loving, imperfect people. In this fragile world of friendships, I'll just pray that the grace to forgive will abound as I know I'll need to be forgiven and to forgive, and let people in again.

This community to me, what is it to you?
Erica at 1:49 PM

Friday, May 19

Intellectual Butt-Whoopin!!!

My theory is this...Mensa should be made up of a group of five year olds. Their memories are ridicuously amazing.

Today I played the game "Memory" with my five year old and I got a good old fashioned butt whoopin!
Rebecca - 21 pairs
Erica - 9 pairs (and a couple pairs were pure fluke!!)

Her mind is amazing. I was stunned at how many times she remembered where the cards were, or how she was right when I thought she was wrong.

If you ever feel like making yourself feel a little dim-witted, just play memory with a five year old.
That'll take the old ego down a notch!
Erica at 4:31 PM

Wednesday, May 17

Total Nonsense...

Schmoosy poopsey toodle-dee doo.
Loppity, sloppity, gootel-nee-goo.
I haven't blogged in a couple of days
because I'm living in a crazy daze.
Poodle me doodle dee dum doodle doo.
If I don't get some rest I'll go postal on you.
or me.
or my kids.
or my husband.
Running, running, running
This is not a haiku
Sean will be sadly disappointed but
its okay cause he's annointed
I need to pick up my kids from school
and keep my eyes open and try not to drool.
Off I scamper...
Erica at 2:33 PM

Sunday, May 14

Mother's Day and Counting...

This was my 6th Mother's Day as a mother. It was the first Mother's Day where I felt like I deserved to be honored, and I received special treatment with gratitude and joy.

Mother's Day 2001 too surreal. Rebecca was a month and a half old and I hadn't the slightest clue what I was doing. I was sleep deprived, I threw my back out and I wanted someone to take "that baby" for a few hours so I could sleep. I didn't feel like a mother, never mind a good mother.

On Mother's Day 2002, I had a 13 month old and a belly full of baby. At 7 1/2 months pregnant I felt like was getting into the swing of things, I hoped I was doing okay with the first and praying labor wouldn't be too awful with the second one. If honor was due me, it was simply the fertility prize because the results of my mothering weren't yet visible. Too early to tell you know!

Mother's Day 2003 found me with a 25 month old and a 10 1/2 month old. One was always running, and one was always eating. I was too tired to remember that it was May, and probably needed to be reminded it was Mother's Day. I don't remember it but I'm sure I was tired and stressed and not feeling like a successful "June Cleaver" figure at all.

By Mother's Day 2004 I had successfully potty trained a three year old, and attempting to keep an almost 2 year old from destroying all of her sister's things. I felt like I was getting the knack for communicating with these tiny people, but now prayed without ceasing that they would learn to communicate with each other without screaming and crying. I was still in "take them away" for a few hours mode, and felt unworthy of honor as a mother because of the recurring desire to run away from home.

Mother's Day 2005 found me trying to balance work and children. I felt guilty on all fronts, not enough time for work and not enough time for the girls. Honor was the farthest thing from my mind as I felt like a failure as a mother, and an employee. With an added income we could afford to eat out on Mother's Day but I ate my burger with a side of guilt.

Today I sit at my desk on Mother's Day 2006 with a sense of joy in motherhood. I've learned how better to balance things (although my mother and mother-in-law would both say I work too hard) and accept that I can't do it all. I am enjoying my children and see some of the early fruits of my labour. My children are happy, and full of life. My work is growing and producing.

When my husband took me out to a buffet breakfast I felt like it was earned.
The honor and the bacon!

I can see where I do a good job parenting and I can accept that I am not perfect at this and I never will be. I will always need to pray for patience, grace and endurance but that doesn't mean that I've failed. It simply means that I love my kids and I'll always want to do better and be better for them.
There are now times of peace in my baby-less life when it is quiet. I can rest and enjoy my kids, and let them enjoy me because they think I'm the best mommy in the whole wide world!
I'll just take their word for it!

to all the other mom's out there who are learning as they go along.
Erica at 11:30 PM

Friday, May 12

No Witness, No Crime...

The problem in dealing with my pre-schoolers is not the lack of crime but rather the shortage of reliable witnesses when the rules are broken.

Yesterday Rebecca came wailing up the stairs (she has a knack for drama). She relayed the tragic tail of betrayal by her sister. Part way through the dramatic saga, her little sister came running into the room yelling, "I did-nnnt do anything!".

Innocent until proven guilty.

The judge allowed the plaintiff to continue her case while the defendant wiggled nervously with her eyes as big as saucers. When asked to enter her plea, the defendant said, "I didn't do it".

Since the accuser seemed much more adament than the accussee (who was still wiggling-a sure sign of guilt in most courts), the judge asked, "Are you telling the truth?" to which the defendant replied, "'t do what she said."

At this point, the judge needed to restore order in the court as the plaintiff began yelling, "Yes SHE did! She did! She is lying!!"

The judge asked one more time, "If you are lying, you will be in bigger trouble than if you just did what your sister said, this is the last time I'm asking, did you do it?"
After some consideration the defendant replied, "Well...I didn't see myself do it."

Ah! So there are only two witnesses to the crime, and one of them didn't see anything! How convenient!

The defendant is being held without bail and awaiting sentencing. The plaintiff got her hug and apology. The judge is considering a change in career, as each case comes down to the same old thing, "its her word against mine". Thankfully, guilt can often be determined by assessing which one is wigglier! I guess guilt just makes you wiggle.

Well, I should get back my little micro-society, my blog-recess is over. If you leave the inmates too long, they can start a riot.
Erica at 11:24 AM

Thursday, May 11


I am woman! Hear me whine!

It is May 11th today.
I should not have to wear socks on May 11th.
I should be wearing sandals right now!

Hurry up summer!
Erica at 3:49 PM

Wednesday, May 10

Inspiring Stories...

Tonight I went to see the Watoto Children's Choir perform.

They tour around the world singing and dancing, raising money for Watoto in Uganda, Africa.

It is a community of about 1400 children who have been orphaned due to AIDS run by 400 staff and volunteers.
The choir was made up of children who had all lost one or both parents to AIDS.

The children who spoke all seemed to beam with joy as they spoke about having been broken and abused by finding hope again in Jesus, and the reality of a Father who loved them and would never abandon them! It was clear that they had hope for the future and they were so excited to share their stories and their hope.

I sat there thinking of many youth I see who are devoid of energy, obesity rages on. The African kids sang and danced HARD for an hour straight. North American kids filled with hopelessness are killing themeselves while these children fight to survive and they are full of hope and joy.
The contrast between our western (over-indulged, lazy, passionless, unmotivated) kids and these amazing little orphans was painfully clear. What have we done to children in North America by putting them in front of the t.v., feeding them commercials and telling them never to be happy with what they have. There is always something more.

The children from Africa have next to nothing but they have joy and hope. They are energetic and excited about their own potential. They are motivated to work hard and make the most of the life that others are putting into them.

How do you fight lethargy, apathy and hopelessness in youth who have too much, have no expectations and are unfamiliar with the sensation of gratitude? I sat there thinking we should ship our North American kids to Africa and let them have all their goods and hopelessness stripped away. Maybe they could trade in their nintendo for some joy and peace?
Erica at 9:43 PM

Tuesday, May 9

Passion and Life...

Tonight I worked at a youth drop-in center for the first time in a couple of years! I came home feeling energized and excited! I LOVE working with youth and I get so much out of it!

The more I give, the more I feel filled up! There is something about working with youth that multiplies energy, and life for me.

I am passionate about meeting the challenge that every new moment can present. I think its a little bit of an adrenaline rush but its also so rewarding.
Example: tonight there were two boys who were chasing each other and fighting all the time. I set up a basketball game (around the key) in which they played against the girls as a team, and they had to play like a team in order to win.
After 10 minutes, they were cheering each other on and working together. That is such a great feeling.

I still find adolscent girls (12 to 14 yrs) terribly annoying but I even enjoyed them tonight.
I had to have a little chat with one particulary mouthy one, but we came to an agreement which was me anyway! I gave her a cordial invitation to go home or to stay and speak to the staff respectfully. She chose wisely and we had her company for two hours.

My dad dropped by and played basket ball with a couple of little boys for awhile. That was nice to see too! Although I think he may be sore tomorrow! But the boys really enjoyed playing with him.

I'm so happy to be back with the youth, even if it is only for a short while.
Erica at 11:27 PM

Monday, May 8

Fishing At The Lake...

Now that the girls are older, its time they learned about being Canadian. As part of our cultural heritage, it is a parent's duty to teach their children how to cast properly.
Obviously, I am NOT the person to do this task so DJ is working on it. We spent an hour on Saturday "fishing" (no real hooks yet) off the pier at the lake.

Here is a shot of the girls with their fishing rods...

Rebecca was fascinated with improving on her cast, and trying to cast even farther each time. She turned into a competition to see how much she could improve. hee hee

Isabella lost interest after about 15 minutes and started baking a sand cake instead. But she loves her fishing rod like a doll!

Erica at 3:25 PM

Wednesday, May 3


We want to be politically correct and not just play HangMAN, perhaps it should be called Hangperson? Read on...

Now that my girls have the concept of letters making up words, we've been playing Hangman with them. Depending on who is making up the words, the game can vary alot.

When I make up the blanks, I use simple words like CAT, RAT, MAT or BAT.

When Rebecca makes up the blanks, she uses the only two words she knows how to spell, so her answers are either R-E-B-E-C-C-A or B-E-L-L-A. So if you are ever playing this game with her, E and A are always a safe bet! No one's been hanged on her watch yet!

When Isabella is the person making up the words, things get interesting. When we guess letters, she just randomly says "Yes" or "No" and writes in letters where the blanks are.
So far she's invented words like E-G-V-A-R-A and E-Q-O-P-N. She likes words to begin with E for some reason.

I always enjoy playing this game with the girls as I find their rules highly amusing. However, Isabella made me laugh even more than usual yesterday when she asked about the name of this game:
"Mommy, why do they call it just hangman, why don't they call it hanggirl?"

I had no wise or insightful answer to her query. Therefore at her request, we played a game of Hang-girl, followed by Hang-Grandma and Hang-Papa and Hang-Aunty etc.

I'm glad that she is concerned about denying at person's right to execution based on gender or age, I think that is very generous of her.
I'm not sure if this inclusion is about equal opportunity for all people to be hanged or if is just reflective of homocidal tendencies, but I'm hoping its the former!
Erica at 7:33 PM

Monday, May 1


As the girls get older, the cute way they mispronounce words becomes less and less frequent.
I suppose I should happy that they have a good command of the english language, and they won't be mocked by their peers for "talkin' funny!".

However, I'm a little saddened by this sign that my babies are growing up so fast.
For posterity's sake I've decided to save a little dictionary of their cute little vocabulary.

Aluctant : being cautious over trying something new ie. "I'm aluctant to try broccoli"
Bref-tisk: the first meal of the day
Broo-lella: contraption for keeping the rain off your head
Caaller-piller: a small larva that turns into a butterfly
Dead-Alive: the state of being in eternity eg. When you are dead/alive in Heaven....
En-joining: participating in a group ie. Why don't you enjoin us?
Fab-o-luss: something really great
Fuss-trating: being aggravated by something
Gey-or-juss: something beautiful
Glubs: hand coverings used in gardening or protection from cold weather eg. garden glubs
Gratitude: a royal ball eg. Welcome to the royal gratitude!
Gubber Boots: boots you wear in the rain or muddy areas
Hostible : a place where you take sick people for treatment
In-tempting: trying something new eg. I'm intempting to tie my shoes
Mess-a-min: stuff they give you at the hostible
Mines: "that belongs to me"
New-dose: various types of pasta
*Opportunity: when people talk to each other
Obligations: a secret password used when playing "fort"
Perftik: with any faults
R-X: a pharmacy ie. "Look mom, there's another R-X, that's where we get messamin!"
Re-dik-ooluss: something odd or outrageous
Soil Sauce: a brown sauce made from soy beans used to flavor rice
Sonya: A hot room built out of cedar
Smorers: toasted marshmellow with chocolate on a graham cracker
Telescope: a medical instrument used to listen to your heart
Vitamin Seeds: Vitamin C

*Isabella confused the word opportunity with conversation so she spent a week saying, "Rebecca! Don't you remember? We already had this opportunity!"
Erica at 9:00 AM