Gone Coastal

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Work in progress

Though we won't always admit it, even to ourselves, there are times when watching over a baby or small child can feel like watching paint dry. Except you can't leave the room or the paint will crack, or drip into the electrical outlet, or, if you're lucky, just get really messy.
I've started to recognize that for myself, this often comes when I'm tired. Okay, a little more overtired. Maybe the baby's been teething. Or she dozed for twenty minutes on a dogwalk and hence skipped what might have been a solid two hour nap. Or you were up late at night running a steam bath to soothe a croupy cough. Or maybe it wasn't even the baby. You just had paperwork to be finished by a deadline. Or some car on the next street has had its rotating car alarm set off in the wee hours three days in a row. Or the neighbours mophead dogs won't stop yapping. Or some national comm provider had a misprint on an ad and people from all across the states are calling your house at all hours, looking for a deal on voice over IP service.
Whatever the cause, I sometimes find myself sitting on the floor, legs apart as bumpers with her sitting somewhat upright between them, looking at her looking back at me, and thinking, "Now what?" She's been recently fed and changed, and yet she's unsettled, not content with the toys at hand, knowing somehow that I'm at a loss for any fresh entertainment. I run over and over the mental checklists, but there's nothing new in my mind.
Now I can't make her nap at will (wouldn't that be a big money skill) but whenever that next window comes, I need to think hard about setting aside my to-do list and just settling into that cozy chair, closing my eyes and letting a snooze take over for awhile. When I do that, I usually wake up a better mom. Sometimes even the briefest doze will refresh me, and I may even get to something on that list, like lunch.
And when she wakes and we resume the routine, my eyes are a little less fuzzy and I can see that this paint is no roll-on contractor job on another wall (no offence Jack), but just a little piece of a masterpiece in progress. I'm not the artist, but I get to add a few brush strokes here and there. And this is the highest quality artist oils (some miracle version with no fumes) so it dries very slowly. If my own brush strokes land in the wrong place, or my brush is dry and it just doesn't fill the space, the master is able to work it into the overall scheme. And if I let him guide my hands and fill my pallette, I can rest assured the end result will be a wonder to behold.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A prayer

I have two sick babies at home right now. The Bear went for a long deep dive the other weekend with insufficient woolies and got a chill. Which left him wide open for the first bug he encountered back on dry land. Whether it's truly a nasty bug or it just got fully entrenched before his body could fight it off, he's been dragging his weary shell around for a week now.
Somewhere along the way, Tweety picked it up. It took me a couple of days and a rough night on her part to clue in, as she's also working on her two upper front teeth. Low-grade fever, crankiness, and reduced appetite are not unheard of during teething, and were all present at some point as she pushed the first two out. Vomiting, not so much. Fortunately, the Bear can talk and that gives me at least a clue to what she may be dealing with.
All that to say I've been spending time praying over both of them in recent days, but especially the one that fits nicely over my shoulder. Those captive moments spent holding her offer time for reflection, and after praying for healing and comfort I find myself praying things like this:
Lord, I pray that you would comfort her, that your presence would surround her when I'm not with her. And Lord I pray that that presence, your Spirit, would become familiar to her, long before she can understand in our 'intellectual' terms who you are.
You speak in your word of revealing your truths to little children, that the kingdom of heaven belongs to them, and even that we must become like them to enter your kingdom ourselves. Lord, I don't fully understand all that you mean by that. Please give me wisdom. Teach me. But above all, Lord, help me not to stifle that childlike trust and understanding in my little girl. Humble me, so as she grows and begins to speak and act from that place, I wouldn't simply dismiss her thoughts and actions as childish. Help me to listen to your voice in her.
Show me what I used to know.

In Jesus' name


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Bear awakes

and joins the rest of us bloggers. Find my Bear on his very own blog at osok.ca.

A hat tip to the Badger for setting up the hosting.


Monday, April 09, 2007

All I want for Easter

"...is my two front bottom teeth." Wish granted. The right hand mate was waiting this morning.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

We interrupt the previously half-written post to bring you this newsflash. She has a tooth! Which explains the fussiness, the many feedings punctuated by intermittent loud cries. Apparently cutting teeth is hard work, because she gave me a two and a half hour nap after fighting for a couple of hours to stay awake, and has downed two bottles since practically falling asleep in my arms close to her usual bedtime. She squawked again after sucking the last one dry - so I've got another on standby but I think sleep has finally won out for the night.
So, after about four months of practice, the first of many teeth has finally poked through. Now we'll see if there's any truth to the story that after the first, teething doesn't bother them so much until the molars come through. I'm not holding my breath, but we'll see. T's pretty tough all round anyhow - she did a face plant from a sitting position earlier today (right in front of me - I blinked) and only cried until the Bear made her laugh.


Be Still

It was late January, I think. Sleeping through the night still meant I got a few end of day tasks done after putting T to bed and got more than my full four-hour cycle of sleep before getting up for a feed and putting her back to sleep and deciding whether a shower or more sleep was more important to me that day. I'd developed a habit of using those minutes feeding her when no-one else was around or awake to pray. Praying for missionary friends, concerns and issues I knew about, people I'd lost touch with, our new family. It was always a bonus when I found myself done whatever must do task I'd assigned myself for the current 'window' and was expecting the next call to duty sooner than would be useful for 'real work'.
I'd sit in the chair in the nursery and rattle off the list of prayer items, dwelling on persons or topics as I felt led. In the days after it happened, I knew I'd have to post about it, and I remembered all the details of the moment in my mind, but had no idea how to put it out there. Now the details are much fuzzier. I think I was particularly harried that day, as I was rattling far more than I dwelled. I think, in fact, I was more than a little overwhelmed with the chaos around me, the demands of motherhood, the tension between my roles as mother and wife. I took one of those bonus moments where there was a physical break in the day, and came before God in prayer. My thoughts tumbled forward in my mind. As I paused for just a second to catch my mental breath, two words came back.
Be still.
Be still, yes. I have to take advantage of these times to come before you Lord, to present my concerns, to lift up others in prayer.
Be still.
Yes. I must leave the laundry for now and the dogs will have to get walked in the afternoon because T will be up any minute. Should I go start a bottle warming while I wait?
Be still.
Yes, okay, leave the bottle. Yes, Lord. I know that you are God. That verse was in a song I knew as a young Christian. You are God and you're in control. Thank you. I know I couldn't do this without you.
Be still.
Yes. Set everything aside and talk to you.
Be still.


For just a few moments, just long enough for it to sink in, I managed to just be still. In the next window I looked up the passaged I'd remembered, but soon forgot it again. The words echoed around me through the next week, and I took time again to search for the phrase in the word.
The passage that was familiar, the one I expected, the one I knew from songs, "Be still, and know that I am God,"came from Psalm 46:10. The psalm speaks of the Lord's protection, his power, his sovereignty. I was pretty comfortable with God being big enough for the challenges that come (not that I don't often need reminding in the storm).
There was also a reference in Nehemiah that didn't seem to apply, and references to stilling the storm. But then there was another psalm, and it stopped me short. "Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.." The psalm speaks of trusting the Lord when it appears from our view, that things are not as they should be. It speaks of letting him guide you to do things his way, and wait patiently until he does whatever it is he has planned.
That sounds an awful lot like giving over to him the things I haven't dared to believe for. The hopes that seem too far off to ask for. The works in progress that I can't actually see progressing.

In the months since, I've tried to keep that perspective in mind. I've tried to take time to be still, not just sitting still in my chair, but still in my mind. I thought of it again this weekend as I attended Good Friday and Easter services with a seven month old child. Your focus is not entirely (not even close) on the speakers and events before you. It reminded me that even as we look to connect with a local congregation again, the responsibility to take time to listen for God's direction for me, as often as I can, is mine alone.
Here I am. I'm listening.


Thursday, April 05, 2007


I'm itching to get to some of the other posts in my head, but I really must start by giving kudos to the Bear for arranging for me to be spoiled rotten yesterday afternoon.
It all started before Christmas, where we were headed for a second buy nothing season. But I made a suggestion that maybe avoiding material gifts might still allow for a little treating, hinting broadly that I could really use a massage to soothe those freshly developed mommy muscles. Those of you who know the Bear know he never does anything half-@ss, so I really shouldn't have been surprised when he got me a certificate for a half-day spa retreat! The only thing that's kept me from using it these past three months, of course, has been finding half a day.
So, when my MIL was planning to come down to the nearby mainland to visit her newest grandson, the Bear enticed her to come over for a few days to help sort out the piles that have kept the living area far from a child safety showcase (need to find the floor before you can install that fence and gate ;). And while she was here, she could watch the baby for the afternoon while I was being babied.
I was up early, had all the creatures fed, the trio walked, and Tango bathed in the tub. Queued her up to doze off in the car en route so she'd sleep awhile for grandma. Then the indulgence began. It started with a light lunch, followed by a full-body aromatherapy massage and wrap, a facial, and a hair styling to finish things up. Very relaxing. I was so relaxed by the time it came to the hair, I gave the stylist free reign to play (there were no scissors involved, so if I really didn't like it, I'd just wash it out).
If I were to go back and pick just one thing to do again (and again, and...) it would be the massage. Of course, I could also be talked into trying some of the other massage options offered, and I haven't tried the hydrotherapy, or any hands or feet options (perhaps a foot treatment?). And if I should someday find myself in maternity clothes again, you can bet I'll be fishing for the Expectant Mothers' Retreat.
Funny thing, I seemed to be much more in tune with T today - catching the cues left, right and center. Either that or she enjoyed the little break from her wound-up mommy and was thus more clear in her cues. Perhaps a bit of both? All 'round, it was a very good thing.

Thanks for a great day, Bear!


So many bloggables...

... so little time. But as a teaser for my loyal readers (have I lost either of you yet?) watch for the following in posts coming soon (and in no particular order):
  • A slice of heaven
  • the Potty Post
  • Fun with food
  • Be still
  • Connecting
  • Construction
  • Drawing to a close
Yeah, it's been busy 'round here, but things are good, and I hope to talk to you all some more soon!


Monday, April 02, 2007


Yesterday I attended a funeral. A former colleague had passed away from a sudden illness. I never worked closely with him, having only a few overlaps where I was tasked with something he had worked on previously, or vice versa. But you didn't have to work closely, or very long, around this man to appreciate his dedication, his warmth or his sense of humour. This was evidenced by the incredible turnout for the service: standing room only at the reception hall of the golf club where he was a member. They had to open the back doors and overflow into the common area of the restaurant. Colleagues, both from his current and former careers. Family. Golfing buddies. People he grew up with. Many from out of town.
The service was a wonderful celebration of his life. Those who spoke shared many stories of his humour, and how he treated everyone around him, whatever their role or abilities, with equal respect. He will be missed.
To my knowledge, he has never known the Lord.

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