Erica online

Wednesday, May 30


Next week is already the start of beach volleyball season. I hope the weather warms up quickly. Its kind of chilly in Winnipeg this week. I was just thinking about volleyball and I remembered that I never did post a picture of my winter league volleyball team on my blog.
Oops. This is a photo of us right after we won the championship game on March 30th!
We are also the winners of the prize for the most children! Here we are with our off-spring!
And there is going to be one more added to our team next year! No! Not me! One of our power hitters is expecting so we'll be looking for a sub in the second half of the season!

Erica at 10:49 PM

Monday, May 28

My Interview

I asked Rebecca to interview me, so I have answered the very insightful questions she asked me. I gotta say, I'm a little disappointed with my answers, I'm sort of one-dimensional tonight!

1.Tell me the reasons that you get up in the morning, besides your children....and when did you realize that you needed to take this simple step for yourself?

Truth be told, if I didn't have children I probably would sleep in as much as humanly possible. So besides my kids...hmmm...that's tough! I guess its the list of things that pop into my head that I need to get done on any given day. I know that I have the most energy in the morning. I get up and get productive until the wave of energy subsides and then I pray that I can have a nap!

2.Now that we all know that Wal-Mart and many other companies use slave you find that affects your shopping habits or not. If so, why, if not - why not...?

Yes and no, but mostly no. I shop for items at 10,000 Villages (which features fair trade stuff) because I like the stuff in the store. But at heart, I'm a bargain hunter so when I find a good deal, where it was made does not enter into the equation. I know it should but I've never done the research so I'm ignorant of which companies have fair trade and labor and which do not. And I don't generally shop at Wal-Mart because its too far from my house, Superstore is closer. Is Superstore bad? That's why I like 10,000 villages, I don't have to know anything, I can buy anything in the store and its all good. I can be ignorant and socially responsible at the same time.

3.If you could run away and join the circus...which one would it be, where and why?

I didn't know there was more than one circus. It wouldn't be the Shriner's cause I've heard some bad stuff about their behaviour in Winnipeg. It wouldn't be Cirque du Soliel because I can barely touch my toes, I would not qualify. I wouldn't join the carnies in a travelling show because they scare me. I guess I'd have to join Ring Ling Brothers or something generic that doesn't frighten me. (carnies - small hands, smell like cabbage) Where? I would hope they travel around and see interesting places. I don't know where the circus goes, but if there was one that went to Mexico in February I'd be all over that! Why? I probably wouldn't ever join a circus. I think the circus is weird, and I have no circus-like talent so I'd end up being the girl in the aisle yelling "Get your POP-Coooooorrrrnn! Heeeee-aaaaarrr!" Not my dream job! I know I'm boring.

4.If you could spend a day by yourself, no kids, no husband, no friends...what would you do, where would you go and why?

I would probably go to a spa. I get bored quickly so if I could spend a day going from treatment to treatment, and be pampered and just absorb being cared for, I would loooovve that. I would love it because I could rest and feel taken care of and not think about anyone else ALL day! Ooooooo! Such a naughty, selfish girl I am!

5. What is your saddest memory...tell me about it. Why it was sad and what effect it has had upon your life....

Oh there are so many to choose from, I don't know where to start. Just Kidding. That's an interesting questions because there are different kinds of sad. There is hurt-sad, angry-sad, dejected-sad, lonely-sad, disappointed-sad, grieving-sad, disillusioned-sad: so many forms of saddness. I can't pick one!

So now the chain continues on...

I am willing to interview you if you should care to join in the fun....come on, take the risk!

Here are the rules.....

1. Leave me a comment saying "Interview me."

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Erica at 10:23 PM

Sunday, May 27

That's The Way I Heard It!

This post is not about gossip. Its about the way children hear things just a little differently.

The other morning, I was trying to wake up while Isabella sat their happily chattering away to me. Before I'd even opened my eyes, she asked, "Mom, do you want me to read to you?"
I said yes as I thought I could keep my eyes closed for a precious few more minutes. She came back with her kiddie Bible and started with the story of Adam and Eve. By the time she got to Jesus, I had opened my eyes and I was listening to her. She was adorable, reading the stories as she remembered them told to her.

When she got to the story about Jesus and Zaccheus, I asked her if she knew a song about that story. If there is anything I love more than listening to her read, its listening to her sing.
She excitedly told me that she did know a song, and would I like to hear it. Indeed I did.

She sang a song that many people have heard in Sunday School with one minor change...

Zaccheus was a wee little man
And a wee little man was he
He climbed in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see
And as the Saviour passed that way
He looked up in the tree
And He said, "Zaccheus! You CALM down!
For I'm going to your house today."
For those who are not familiar with this little ditty, the words are "you come down" but I think I like her version better!
Erica at 11:34 AM

Friday, May 25

My Big FAT Manifesto

Its time for me to tell the truth. I know it is more P.C. to say that a healthy attitude and self-esteem will allow a person to love themselves no matter what, and that its what's inside that counts.
I've said it myself.
I have taught this to my daughters and will continue to do so.
This is not how I really, truly feel deep down. The truth, the real truth is that I don't want to be fat. I don't want to look down in the shower and peek at my toes over the bulging roll that used to be my flat stomach. I don't want to catch a glimpse of cottage cheese when I pull my jeans over my outer thighs. I don't want to be fat.

There I said it. Now where do I go from here?
I know in my head that I am an average size although by Hollywood standards, I am obese. Since I don't live in Hollywood, who cares?
I care.
I see the magazines, the ads and commercials. I want to wear that cute little sundress or the white capris with the tight shirt that comes to the waist with a BELT!!! But wearing those things do not make me comfortable, I am more comfortable hiding under my big sweaters and jeans that pull in my gut and slim down my butt. When I hide, I feel safe. If nobody knows about the cellulite, or the rolls, I am still acceptable, "maybe I am slim, maybe not, you don't get to know!". That's just it...hiding is where I am comfortable.

Here is where the dilemma lays! Running, biking and swimming is not comfortable. Finding time to get in a decent workout at the end of the day when I'm tired is not comfortable.
Food is comfortable. Ice cream is comforting. Warm toast with honey is comforting. Ketchup chips washed down with sugary iced-tea is comforting.

I want what I want without any consequences. I want to eat junk food that gives me a sense of being full and not gain any weight. I want to fit in my jeans, have a tight, tiny butt and flat stomach and eat s'mores three at a time.

I know what you're thinking, "You and the rest of the world. Boo Hoo! Get over yourself Erica!"
Of course that's right, metabolism is a natural law, there is no way around it.
You eat too much, its gotta go somewhere. You live a sedentary lifestyle, your body doesn't burn fat, your capacity for cardio goes down and so on it goes. There is only one way to have the healthy, slim body that I want and that is to be responsible for my choices.

I know that is true. I even know how to do it. I have the tools. I know which foods are healthy and which are not. I am not ignorant of this information. I know how to run, bike and swim. I even know how to stretch properly (although I rarely use this information).
So where is the problem?
Those who Right?
There are two major issues that interfere with what I know how to do.

Issue #1
I live too often by my emotions.
When I feel good, confident and empowered, I run, bike or swim. In return for my good deeds, I get an adrenaline rush and feel even better.
Good feeling=Good choice=Good reward.

The flip side is that when I feel bad, I spiral downward into the bad place.
You know that place? That deep, dark void where you are NOT good enough, or smart enough and you're convinced that people DON'T like you.

This is the place where hiding under a blanket, vegging out in front of the t.v. and eating your weight in cheese seems like a perfectly rational thing to do.
Bad feeling = Bad Choice = Guilt, Shame and more Bad Feelings = Bad Choice =
This is the part where I start lying to myself. I'll run tomorrow. I'll only drink water tomorrow, and maybe some grapes. Yes, water and three grapes will make up for this little indiscretion. When I know perfectly well, tomorrow I'll feel so guilty about this little charade tomorrow that I'll probably add bacon to my burger and super-size the fries tomorrow. I lie to myself, "Oh what's the point? I don't care anyway." That's not true. I will care tomorrow. Somewhere, deep down I actually care right then, even in the bad place.

When I am feeling okay, making good decisions is easy. Its the tired, stressed or angry Erica that binges and hides under the blankets. She is the one who should get fat, not ME!!

It seems to me that the solution here is not a better diet, or better education about food. Its not joining a gym or putting my kids in daycare so I'll have time to work out. If I had the time but I was in a bad place, I'd just make bad decisions about how I spent that time anyway.

It seems that the solution is in how I deal with negative emotions, what I do when I am not in "my happy place". Food should not be my joy and comfort. All I can do is bring those empty places to God and ask Him (again) to fill me up. Fill up my longing, my hurt, my lonliness, my disappointment, my anger, my need with something. I don't know what it is that I wisdom? perspective? grace?
Whatever it is, He's got that feeling, that joy and calm so I don't feel the need to stuff my cakehole looking for a moment of joy.

Issue #2
I've always had a very forgiving metabolism. Yes, this can be a problem.
(this is the part where people who've always struggled with weight issues want to scratch my eyeballs out --fair enough--feel free to send hate mail, if it makes you feel better)

I'm like a rich heroine addict. Someone who can afford a fix, still have a nice house, servants to do my work so my addiction is not interfering with my life. Its still unhealthy but I can keep it a secret and no one is the wiser. Compared with the drug addict on the street who could never afford a fix in the first place, this addiction has taken away their life, their home, family, everything. Life for the poor heroine has become a living nightmare. But they are both addicted and engaging in exactly the same behaviour.

I'm addicted to food. I'm addicted to a good binge, and the feeling I get from feeling full. I think about food, how much I'll eat, what I will not eat, what I plan to eat later. Since I'm not hugely overweight, I can get away with it and keep my little secret. Not eat too much in public and binge in private. As long as I'm not obese, who needs to know?

This is an issue because I have unhealthy behaviour patterns that have not given strict consequences before. However, since turning 30, some consequences for my actions have begun to show up. I now need to learn to deal with natural law like other mortals.
It is also an issue because its easier for not-so-chubby people to cover up bad eating habits just as the rich can hide their drug habits, so people don't confront them about it or hold them accountable.
Accountable for what? What's so bad about size 8 jeans? Nothing, lots of people would love to be a size 8. But what have I done to get here? And where would I be if my gracious metabolism was taken away? Would I feel that I deserved to care for a body that was fatter than it was?
Undoubtedly, I know I would flog myself (emotionally) to bits even worse than I do now if I were to get any bigger.

I want to find the place where I eat right, and exercise because its the right thing to do for my body. I want to do it because my body is a temple that I love, and I want to honor it and know that it is worthy, and deserves to be cared for. That is not how I feel about myself or my body right now. Here is the truth of my current motivation for exercise:
I am motivated by the fear of being fat and unlovable. This motivation is the friend that spurs me on to run and the enemy that whispers ugly lies in my ears when I can't sleep at night.

I don't know what brought on this manifesto but the truth as I know it, has been spoken.
I don't want to be fat. I don't want to live in fear of being fat. I don't want food to be my lover. I want to enjoy who I am. I want to think I deserve healthy choices when I'm good and when I'm not. I want to be free. I want to be healthy. I don't want to be fat.
Erica at 9:04 PM

Monday, May 21

Tearful Election

We have an election happening in Manitoba tomorrow. I was reading the outline of each of the parties issues and promises to keep myself apprised of the situation.
As I was reading the paper, my little Rebecca came and asked what I was reading.
I explained about the election, and she had lots of questions.
(Basically, that they all makes various promises and then we pick the one we believe the most or the promises we like the best.)

I thought that would be the end of conversation, but she was fascinated. She asked me to read information to her. She sat there and listened to the issues/promises from each of the parties.

She thought for a few seconds and decided that she was Progressive Conservative because "they are nice to want to help the people who are new in Canada."

With that, she was ready to go vote. I had to explain that she couldn't vote because she was only six and voters must be eighteen. She BURST into tears and wailed that it was not fair.

I hope she will continue doing her research when she actually is eighteen and able to vote. I will have to find ways to keep her interested in the meantime.
Erica at 8:16 AM

Friday, May 18

Camera Tricks...

DJ set the camera on a setting that takes a bunch of pictures really quickly so the action doesn't blur the image. We took pictures of Rebecca batting at her baseball game last night. The pictures are really neat, you can clearly see the ball in mid air as it approaches.
PLUS...isn't she so cute in her jersey? The pants are way too big for her skinny little butt!
ha ha I just think she is so cute, the way she concentrates sooooo hard. She is really enjoying baseball because its a new challenge. She is a fun kid to raise!
Erica at 2:29 PM

Thursday, May 17

Back to the Drawing Board...

I've been away from my regularly scheduled life since Tuesday morning.
There is a three day training on managing volunteers (but also applies to staff) that
I was attending.
The content was on how to motivate, direct, recruit, train, encourage, evaluate, manage, supervise, and failing!

It was alot of information in a little space of time so my brain is pooped out!
I've learned what I'm doing well in my job and where I could improve.

Many of my friends came to mind as we discussed the different topics. I would think "oh this friend is good at that" or "that person would really like to hear about this topic".
Some examples:
The best workshop faciliators have high energy and humor- Rebecca came to mind.
Good teachers can relate the material to their own personal stories- Yvonne does that well.
Setting the tone of a meeting can be done by preparing the environment with attention to detail, like snacks and decorations -Lynne always does a good job of this.
Trainers need to read the room, get a sense of the audience, and train according to the ability of the workshop attendees - my mom is a marvel at this skill.
I know Vanessa does a great job of managing people and encouraging them so her co-workers always appreciate her!
My sister Cheryl was on my mind a lot as she is quite amazing in all the areas we studied. She can motivate anyone to do anything! She is always professional, and innovative in her approach. Many of the skills come so naturally to her that she thinks they are common sense, but they are not. She's just really amazing at what she does.

I know many amazing women and I'm not sure how often any of them hear how impressive they truly you read it here first...these are some incredible women!
Erica at 5:34 PM

Monday, May 14

An Engagement!

My little brother is getting MARRIED!!! Can you believe it???
He got himself a diamond ring and asked the girl of his dreams to be his wife.
She said YES!!!
He gets a wife, DJ and I get a new sister-in-law and my kid's get a new auntie...what a deal!

Page is a wonderful young lady, and we will be thrilled to welcome her into our family!
She is funny, kind, generous, sensible yet silly and fun, hardworking and gentle. My girls are thrilled that she will be their auntie! Good choice Floyd! YAY!
Hooray for romance! Hooray for weddings! Hooray for family!
Erica at 9:55 PM

Signs of Life

The perennials in my front flower beds have awakened after a long winter's nap.

The view from our deck is a beautiful blend of green and yellows all tangled up in the struggle towards the sun.

The (crabapple?) tree in our back yard is in full blossom. Every time the sun comes out it releases a fragrance that is completely arresting. Sitting on our back deck has become a spiritual experience. Waiting for the sun to return for the next breath of fragrance to blow my way.
As Rebecca says, "it is delicious!"

Erica at 9:19 AM

Thursday, May 10

Move Over Babe Ruth! Its Rebecca the Babe!

Tuesday night was Rebecca's first baseball game. She was very happy, and proud to be playing her first sport. Here she is picking out her bat.

The silver bat is prettier than the black one. Look at her smile. She is so happy, and she loves posing for the camera.

When it was time to bat, the parents were allowed to help their kids. She had her daddy there to show her how to hold and swing the bat. This is good because mommy is NOT good at baseball.

Look at her! Ready to do it all by herself! My baby girl looks so little
out there on her own. I can't believe she's doing this big kid stuff already!
I'm so proud of her.

She did it! She hit the ball and ran
like the wind, all the way to
first base. She stood on first base and then figured out how to play the game from there.
She is really fast so the running won't be an issue.
And just when you think it can't get any cuter than this, just wait.
This week she gets her baseball jersey. You better believe there will more pictures of my princess in her baseball uniform.

Erica at 2:10 PM

Indian Giver

This article was published on-line by the Winnipeg Free Press this past Monday, May 7th.
I think it would be very cathartic for anyone who has ever uttered, heard or been denigrated by the slur, "Indian Giver!".

Indian giver? We gave until there were only empty promises left
Mon May 7 2007
Colleen Simard

INDIAN giver: I first heard those words around Grade 4. They got tossed around the schoolyard as recklessly as the battered yellow tetherballs kids lined up to take swings at.
Kids can be mean. The white boys hurled it, pony-tailed girls sang it, and even a few of the aboriginal kids shouted "Indian giver" at each other once in a while. The words stung, but I didn't know why.
Not that it mattered. It had more to do with the tone and the surly curl of the lips when the words were doled out. The underlying message was clear: You're poor, you've got shabby clothes and your DNA makes you inferior.
Indian giver. Great.
What did we ever give that was so bad?
My best friend -- a girl from Berens River -- explained the slur was supposed to be used for someone who gave you a gift, then turned around and took it back. We both agreed Indian giving was a bad thing to do, but then a silent shame hung in the air.
Did our people really do something like that?
We move on. Most people stop the name-calling, and don't pass it on to their kids. Bitter words get forgotten. But the term Indian giver came back to me in an unlikely place.
It was when I was at a Sundance in Saskatchewan last summer. I don't know much about sun dances, but the invitation was too good to turn down. It was on the last day of the dance, when the giveaway was held.
A family came into the inner circle of the lodge. Some young guys brought a folded tarp in. When it was opened up and spread out there was a mound of bright blankets, pillows, towels, small appliances, tea towels, kitchen utensils, and even toys for the kids.
The announcer introduced the family to the people. I realized this family had worked hard all year to buy or make these gifts. They asked for nothing in return, except the good blessings of the community.
Family after family came into the lodge after that, each with gifts for everyone. Some wanted to honour deceased family members, and some wanted to celebrate a child getting their Indian name. I'd never seen such generosity. At the end of the day, my car was stuffed with gifts to take home.
The giveaway is undeniable proof that generosity is one of our traditions. Yes, we often defended our territory in times of war, and even engaged in unnecessary wars like any other people. But as individuals we were always taught to put the needs of our community above our own.
According to the old ways, an Indian is wealthy when he can give to his community. That's the true definition of what an Indian giver should be.
We weren't perfect, no one is, but giving was part of our culture.
Many of our ancestors welcomed newcomers to what used to be called Turtle Island. We offered to share the land with them.
Our scouts gave when they guided "great explorers" down our waterways and trade routes. Maybe they shouldn't have because these explorers were charting the country to claim it for their homeland. We even hunted for many of the early traders so they could survive the harsh winters. Read a Hudson's Bay diary from the provincial archives if you don't believe me.
Indian giver.
We were forced to give up our children, our languages, our livelihood, our ceremonies, our connection to the land. We were forced to conform to survive. Resilient people, we gave up almost everything that made us who we are.
And it was all in the name of "progress" and assimilation and justified by ordinary people thinking they knew what was good for us. We gave until there were only empty promises left -- unfulfilled even today.
I know who the real Indian giver is. Do you?
Erica at 1:10 PM

Monday, May 7

The DaVinci Code

I'm aware that this post is a little behind the times as all the hype and controversy over the Davinci Code has already come and gone.
However, I hadn't had the chance to read the book or watch the movie until last weekend. So my husband and I rented it on Saturday night as it was rainy and we had no where exciting to go.

I can see why the church was in such a fluff about the movie. (besides the fact that churches often like a good "fluffing" for no good reason)
I understand that the premise of Jesus being married and having children being blaspheme and sacrilege etc. etc. yadda yadda yadda
Clearly, nobody in the church is going to like that idea.
This did not offend me.
I thought, "well that's an interesting idea, highly improbable since the word of God says nothing at all about it, but the author took the time to think about the world-wide reprecussions of such a "discovery" and that was creative of him."

But I was not offended by this. I just shrugged it off as total nonsense.
This is not to say that the movie did not offend me. It did. I was offended for different reasons than the outrage offered up by the church on behalf of Christians.

This is what offended me...

The idea of the church being the source of violence, war and oppression on the earth is a disturbing claim. The notion that ending the power of the church (by disproving Christ's divinity) would end all war, violence and oppression on the earth is disturbing to me.
It is a subtle sort of hate-mongering aimed at Christians. To me it is reminiscent of propoganda against one particular race or religion, and that never ends well.

This is very dangerous in light of an "emergent church generation" that is frustrated with the structure of the church as an organization. Its too easy to hop on board the church-bashing wagon these days. I'll openly admit that I have my beef with the church at large, but to say that they are the source of of violence, war and oppression is both unfair, and untrue.

This is untrue because there are many civilizations and cultures in the world that experienced war, slavery, violence and oppression before, during and after the introduction of Christianity.
I do not believe that the world without the church would have been an utopian holiday.

This is unfair because we live in a culture with a growing social pressure towards tolerance for all races, ethnicity and religions except Christianity. This philosophy seems reasonable to many people who work in the humanities because "Christianity had its turn being the majority and look at the damage it did." (Again, not arguing that the church has done no damage to our culture in its hay day)
My point is that this age of tolerance can not exempt Christians from having a voice. Simply because past church practises have left much to be desired, this does not mean that all Christian principles should be dismissed as antiquated or irrelevant.
In fact, if such a film had been produced about any other religions, there would have been riots in the streets and the film would have been widely disreputed as hate-mongering. But since the target was the Christian (mostly Catholic) church, its fair game.

The other thing that I thought was interesting was that the author claimed that the key to disempowering the church was in it's separation from the divinity of Christ. Ie) Without Jesus being God-Incarnate, Christianity would have no basis as a faith and the power of the organized church would dissolve.

Wouldn't it be nice if that were true?
Sadly, the power of the various world-wide Christian denominations would not fall to pieces by being separated from Christ. This is the difference between Christianity-the relationship with Jesus and Christianity (whatever the denomination) -the Church Culture Club.

This is sort of the point of the emergent churches. When is the church "an organic being formed in worship with a connection to God" and when is it a social club with membership fees and a political agenda?

I thought the movie was thought provoking (obviously) but I did find it disturbing. The fact that blatant hate-mongering against any religion went unchallenged in our super-tolerant society upset me. And that is my two cents about that!
Erica at 10:31 PM

Thursday, May 3

My Little Timbit

Isabella has just begun soccer in the Tim Horton's sponsored Timbit league. It is so fun to watch her and her little friends play soccer with their coach telling them which way to run.

I took tons of pictures and I think they are all adorable... is my tough little soccer player!

Here she is ready for action!

And of course, playing with her little buddy from pre-school is a highlight.

An action shot of her running....

The coach gives them last minute instructions like "how soccer is played" and "which way to run" and "this is a soccer ball."

Its too cute because most of them have never played before, they had one practise and then straight to the game. Many (like Bella) aren't really sure what they're doing yet but it sure is fun to run lots!

After the final instructions, 8 four year olds converge on the ball and run until its snack time!
She loved every minute of it and can't wait to play again!
Go #8! You rule!!!
(I plan to be the loudest and most annoying fan on the field!!!)
Erica at 5:49 PM

Tuesday, May 1

New Information

I had posted about our van being broken into, and that they thieves also stole our antenna.
Well, that is sort of what happened.

Apparently, the theives unscrew the antenna and actually use it to open the lock.
The antenna can fit in between the door and the window and its strong enough to push down the
unlock button on the vehicle.

Not only did they steal our antenna, it was the weapon used against my van to get in.
Those evil, little geniuses!

The ironic bit is that we got a letter from MPI, three days after the break-in. The let us know that Windstars are being broken into so we can get a free immobilizer.
Erica at 11:03 AM