Friday, June 29, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - 38 and Still Kicking


One month ago today I was floating around a pool.  I was in charge of a cabana for a short time.  I didn't have a care in the world.  Why because it was my birthday and we were on holiday without any of the kids.  I have to say so far my 38th birthday was my favourite.  No one screamed at me.  I didn't have to do any laundry or cook dinner (I made Leroy clean up from lunch without any guilt).  It was a great day.

Now you may wonder why I didn't change my age on my profile until now.  Not that I was trying to deceive you.  I just forgot.  It wasn't a top priority thing to do.  I actually don't have a problem turning 38.  I have more of a problem with getting grey than with getting older.  When I turned 30 I had a good cry, not because I had totally wasted my 20s.  I cried because Friends ended the week before.  What would I watch every Thursday night?  Thank you Grey's Anatomy for correcting this problem.

There is one thing I haven't gotten used to as I have gotten older.   When I was younger I was always the youngest person in the office or among my friends.  I now find myself becoming the oldest.  I actually got excited when I was the youngest person at a lunch put on my the senior ladies study at my church (I told them I was going to crash more of their luncheons if they made that good of food each time).  Not everyone I talk to gets my humourful references.  I referenced Fat Albert yesterday and only one of the girls got it.   I am one of the oldest moms in the hall when picking up the kids from school.  I used to think maybe I had my kids late in life (I was 29 when Nicole was born), but I've come to the conclusion that everyone else rushed having kids too early in theirs.  I will be in my mid 50s when Sam turns 20 and at the perfect age to enjoy traveling and keeping up with the grand kids.  I won't be in my 40s and be a grandmother (hopefully I didn't just tempt fate).  

I'm looking forward to turning 40.  I spent my 20s doing nothing.  My 30s having and raising my kids.  My 40s are exciting possibilities.  I could travel more, write a book, take up a new hobby, etc.  God has great plans for my 40s and I can't wait to see what is in store.

Me relaxing in a cabana!

What did you do for your birthday?  What does your favourite birthday look like?  What are you looking forward to this year?

Come and link up your randomness today.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Messy Mondays - One Year

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life. It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow. It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy. It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.

Sometimes a year can go by so quickly.  Sometimes nothing changes in that year.  Sometimes everything changes.  A year ago this week we packed up our belongings, loaded them in a truck, said good bye to our dear friends and little town and moved back to Alberta.  We had made the decision to move to get more help for Thomas.  He had just been diagnosised with Autism.  His speech was almost unintelligible, even for those closet to him.  He couldn't deal with large crowds.  Socially he was so far behind his peers.  He had very few friends and those that he did play with were 2 years younger than him. 

We hestitantly placed him in kindergarten.  It was not something we wanted to do.  We were sure he wasn't ready for it.  However, to get the funding for him we needed to.  We lucked out in getting a great teacher, Mrs. B.  She was a lovely woman.  She was the grandmother everyone wanted.  I was to find out later that she was a believer, which just made her even greater.  Whenever anything came up, she would contact me immediately.  When she felt that something was being done that wasn't in his best interest, she would call me at home and support the decisions I made.  She nurtured Thomas.  She encouraged him.  She pushed for his best.  She was part of the team that only wanted the best for Thomas. 

We also were blessed by the therapists and aides.  They engaged Thomas the way he needed to be.  Encouraging him to push beyond the limits.  To seek out more than what the world wanted for him.  Thomas blossomed.   We saw changes in him almost immediatey after the start of school.  For a little guy scared to even sit on the table, he started to climb up to his sister's top bunk to read with her.  This spring he became evil knievil, putting on his helmet and racing down the hill behind our house on his plasma car. 

He made friends among his peers.  He was a very popular fellow.  He had a few close friends that seemed to know when he needed sensory stimulation.  Even though we as adults were trying to teach Thomas to high five his friends instead of hugging them.  These little boys knew when Thomas needed to wrestle and get that stimulation.  They made a game of it.  Thomas was included in their parties.  One of the moms told me that he was so good at the party.  That she wished the other boys were like Thomas.  He listened and did what was asked of him.  She didn't worry about him at all. 

Thomas still needs further therapies.  We still need to work on his speech and his fine motor skills regarding hand writing need further work.  He still gets disorientated when he is in large crowds.  One year though has made a complete difference in his and our lives. 

I will admit that last year I thought he would be repeating kindergarten.  Not that I underestimated him, but I knew we had so much work to do.  I am so proud to say that he is going to Grade 1 next year.  His report card was above average (I might be exagerating a bit, but it was awesome).  He is working on reading.  He is using his laptop to write out his sentences and work. 

God has blessed us with the people around us who want Thomas to succeed.  Where others may have wanted to put him in a box, God is tearing that box apart and is showing us what inclusion should be through Thomas.  Thomas is one of God's sons.  He is perfectly and wonderfully made.  God has great plans for Thomas and I have been able to view these over the year and hope to see more of His plans through the next year.
Thursday, June 21, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - More than just a sister


Last week I found a picture on Exceptional Family.

 Change the picture around to an older sister and a younger brother and you have our daughter, Nicole.  She is one of the boys biggest advocates.  She takes her role as their big sister very seriously.  She loves her brothers probably as much as we do.  

Nicole was very excited when Thomas came on the scene.  We did not have any sibling rivalry.  She was proud of her brother and very possessive.  He was her toy.  I have pictures of Thomas with Easter stickers on his head thanks to his sister (she was decorating him).  She constantly was trying to pick him up and hugged him and kissed him all the time.  

When we told her about our next pregnancy she was overjoyed.  She wanted another baby.  When we had our miscarriage, she was shaken.  She wanted to know if we would ever get to see the baby.  I told her when we get to heaven the baby would be there with Jesus to welcome us.  

During our pregnancy with Sam, Nicole was overjoyed.  She sang to my stomach and hugged my stomach.  She made big plans for the baby.  At the hospital she ran to Sam and wanted to immediately hold him.  She sang to him.  When we got home she was my assistant (or boss depending on how you see things).  When he cried, she told me what to do.  

Before Thomas' diagnosis, she was our translator.  She still maintains this position.  She knows what he wants when we are unsure of what he is asking for.  When I was at his assessment, the therapists were quite impressed by his ability to play.  I informed them it was because he played so much with his sister.   She had become his first therapist.   Thomas learned how to play on the computer at 2 1/2 through watching her. 

Nicole reads to her brothers and plays with them.  She watches out for them.  Her heart breaks when she hears of injustices to them.  She is very protective of them and doesn't like things happening to them.   She has seen Thomas playing by himself during lunch and has told me she wishes they had the same lunch time so they could play together.

Since we live in a neighbourhood that doesn't have a lot of other children, the kids play with each other.  They actually enjoy it.  They play on the computer together.  They watch the same tv shows.  Thomas now wants to be a paleontologist like his sister does so that he can assist her.  I laughed at that one because she'll be bossing him around for the rest of his life.

Nicole is a compassionate and kind young woman.  She is independent and stands up for injustices.  She is not a follower, nor is she in the popular crowd.  She knows what she likes and how to express herself.  She is exactly the sister both the boys need.  God gave us her first, because he knew that we needed her as part of the team to raise the boys.  She has been an important part of the boys lives and will be here when we are gone.  She will care for the boys when we are no longer able to.  She will do so with love and understanding.  

My dream for my children is a complete inclusive society.  Where people are judged on themselves and not what they bring to the table.  My daughter views the world this way.  She sees others for themselves and not what society deems them to be.  I am so proud of her and the young lady she is becoming.

Come link up and share your random stories of sisterhood this week.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Truly Random Thoughts...


I was trying to think of what to write about this week.  I know during a discussion with a friend that I had a great blog idea.  I didn't write it down.  Hopefully I will remember it one day.  So today you have pure random thoughts coming from my head (I'm going to put my King Julian cap on).   

While I write this I am sitting outside on my deck.  The breeze is whistling through the new leaves.  My little Sam is humming a song only he knows the words to.  It is a beautiful spring day.  Because that is what season it is, not summer.  The older kids still have school.  This is one of the last few quiet afternoons I will have for a while.  For anyone that knows me to actually admit that I am sitting down during the day is not like me.  I am usually doing something.  There is laundry that needs to be finished and put away.  There is vacuuming that needs to be done.  I could be prepping dinner and setting timers on my oven.  I could be washing the floor so I don't have to do it tomorrow.  But I am outside enjoying my Dr. Diet Pepper, watching Sam and typing.

I know I have blogged about doing the Good Morning Girls' study on Proverbs 31.  I am truly enjoying it.  I didn't think I would.  I have always thought of the Proverbs 31 woman as the 50s housewife - June Cleaver and Donna Reed all wrapped up into one woman.  It appears that she's not.  She is just a woman who is in-tuned to God and His will and ways.  That's a woman I can long to be.  I have been slowly working on trust and praying constantly.  I'm doing laundry, I'm praying.  Thanking God for my front loader.  Praying over my family as I fold their clothes.  Praying for friends who are struggling.  I'm cooking, I'm thanking God for the blessings He has given our family.  I'm studying the word and loving all the twists and turns it is leading me down.  Most of the time the things God is telling me through the study are not at all similar to the book by Courtenay - quite the opposite.  This is because I'm not Courtenay and never will be.  I am Me.  Messy, broken, searching me.  He knows exactly what He needs me to learn and what I need to hear. All who are seeking God and learning to know Him and follow His ways and commands are true Proverbs 31 wives (ok maybe not the men).

This week I tried a Prairie Woman recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup.  I have tried a few of her recipes before.  Her meatball recipe is really good.  For the most part though I have not jumped on the Prairie Woman bandwagon as a lot of people I know have.  I have written that I'm not a 'wagon jumper.  One could get hurt.  As well, I don't want to be a lemming.  What if there's a cliff at the end?  I may fall and get hurt.  I'm scared of heights.  I mean really ....  Ok, I digress.  I just find that in the bloggy world there is so much gushing around things.  I mean if I like it I will tell you.  If I don't, accept that and be ok with it.  I think that is why I have a rule about following people.  Unless it is a truly exceptional blog (GMG, Time Warped Wife, etc..)  I won't follow.  I may drop in from time to time.  I try to encourage people who don't have a larger readership.  Sometimes it's not about being famous or popular but about what God is telling us.  

WOW did I really digress , anyway back to the soup it was yummy.  I will definitely be making it again during the summer.  Even though it is a warm soup, it has that summer feeling I like.  If you are going to make it be warned that it makes a lot.  I could have feed 6 to 8 people with that soup.  I think I will half it next time. 

I want to thank all the new followers and linkers (I hope that's a word).  I am so blessed that people are sharing and actually visiting the prairies.  Your stories and ideas are awesome and I have been truly blessed through them.  

I think that's all the randomness I have this week.  What's been on your mind?  What have you been making lately or thinking lately?  Come join into the mindful chaos this week. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Messy Mondays - Dragonflies

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life. It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow. It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy. It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us. 

Two weeks ago, my husband and I went to Phoenix, Arizona for a week of rest and relaxation (meaning, without the kids).  We toured many of the sights in and out of Phoenix.  One of the places we toured was the Heard Museum.  It is a museum celebrating the Native American Culture of Arizona.

While walking through the exhibits, I saw a write up about the Navajo tribe and dragonflies.  The Navajo believe the dragonfly symbolizes pure water.  When I saw the symbol for the dragonfly, I knew they were right.

Water is very sacred in the desert.  It can mean life and death.  I experienced this while walking around Phoenix and driving the Apache Trail.  For miles around there is cactus, dirt and rock.  When you are around water you can tell immediately.  You smell the earthy smell that appears at the start of a spring rain.  You see the lush oasis like settings by rivers.  Without water, you become parched.  You can't live without it more than 2 days.

Through this, I was fully able to appreciate that Jesus is the pure water that we need.  Without Him we cannot survive.  When we are close to Him, all our senses are awakened.  We are focused on Him.  We long for Him.  We crave Him.  Only through His cleansing water are we washed clean and renewed.  Without Him we are dead.  We cannot truly exist without Him.  We are dead.

The woman at the well understood this when she met with Jesus.   
Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans). Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 
 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4:4-15 NIV84)
She knew after talking to Jesus that she needed the water that only He can give us.  That when she drank from that water, she wouldn't need to look for it anywhere else.  We can search for relief from thirst in many things and in many ways, but we will continue to search and search.  Until we acknowledge where the pure water is from we will continue to thirst and not be filled.  Jesus offers us relief from the heat.  He offers us eternal life in the water He provides. 

Are you parched?  Are you searching?  Have you accepted that water?

I am linking up with Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood this week.
Thursday, June 7, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - If you can't say something nice.....


We all remember that line.  It's the one that Thumper's mom asks him what his father says, after he makes fun of Bambi - If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all.  I'm sure we all heard this growing up in some form or another.   Most of us abide by this today.  Sometimes we let things slip.  I'll admit I do, especially when people are rude or line jump.  But the one place I have noticed that people are not following this rule is on the internet.  

This week I read some of the most disgusting comments ever.  Not on my blog, but on Bristol Palin's blog.  For those who have been living under a rock, Bristol Palin is the daughter of Sarah Palin who during the presidential announced her unplanned teenage pregnancy.  Part of the reason was because people were claiming that Sarah Palin's youngest son was actually Bristol's (turns out people still believe this).  Bristol is now a single mom, going to school, working full time and supporting her son.  She is a remarkable young woman of Christ.  

I was first introduced to her blog by my husband who had read a news article regarding one of her posts.  It was about the call Obama made to Sandra Fluke, the young woman Rush Limbaugh called a S***!  Bristol wanted to know when she would receive a call.  She has been slandered maliciously and unprovoked by comedians and the media for years.  I felt this post well written and well warranted.  I, however, did not read the comments at that time.  

Last night, I was playing and decided to "pop in" at her blog.  I saw a post regarding President Obama's decision on gay marriage.  There were 3,063 comments on this post alone.  Most of them were not nice.  They were horrible and offensive.  As I read some of them I thought about the amount of hatred people had for someone they didn't even know; that they only heard about through the media.  Most threw stones at her being a single teenage mom who promotes abstinence (of course a teenage mom would, they know the actual consequences for premarital sex).  Some called her ignorant and stupid, with all the atrocious grammar that only someone who is ignorant could use.   Most of the negative comments came from people who are on the "left."  Those same people who within hours of her mother being named vice president candidate, questioned her decision not to abort her youngest son, Trig, who has down syndrome (I was so disgusted, you can imagine who I would have voted for right there and then).   I have gone back to her original blog I read and discovered just as many disgusting comments.  

Bristol, however, did the right thing and wrote a blog about the bullying.  That is exactly what it was and is when we use words to take down people. 
Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it. (Ephesians 4:29 Amp)

What is worse is when we hide behind our computers to do it.   The victim cannot retaliate.  The victim cannot confront the bullier.   When I read people who bully through comments and Facebook, I always want to question them.  I want to know why they would use words and actions that they wouldn't use in public (at least I hope they wouldn't).  I was taught the same words that Thumper was and I believe they apply to social networking world as well.    We need to stop cyber bullying, no matter who the victim is.  It is wrong.  When we see it, we need to stand up for the victim.  We need to support them.  We live in a society that calls for freedom of speech, however, only when it supports their side.  This needs to stop!  Everyone has the right to speak, as long as it is not harming another person.  Doesn't matter if we agree with them or not.  Nobody has the right to make someone feel less than they are.  We are called to lift others up with our words, not tear them down.  

If you don't have something nice to say, don't say nothin' at all.  Wise words.  Something we need to start reminding people of.

Have you been a victim of cyber bullying?  What are your thoughts of commenting on social media?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Restaurants


Food.  One of the absolute necessities for our whole well being.  I love food.  The size of my clothes can attest to that. 

I love going to restuarants.  I don't have to clean.  I don't have to prep.  I don't have to do anything but sit and look at the menu and decide what I want to eat.  There are very few foods that I don't like.  I can't even tell you what my favourite food is.  I can tell you what I won't eat - salmon and coconuts.  That leaves so much to try.  I've eaten sushi and sashimi (which are different).  I have tried Indonesian, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Mexican, Southwestern, French, English, German and, of course, Dutch.  Everywhere I go I love to try something local and new. 

This last week I have been in Phoenix, Arizona.  I have tried some authentic Southwestern at this little cafe in Tortilla Flats.  But what I'm super excited about is that I got to try Chick Fil A, Cracker Barrell and Cooperstown.  I know they aren't very exotic but we don't have any of them in Canada.

I first found out about Chick Fil A on Twitter.  Beth Moore is constantly posting that she's at Chick Fil A.  If it's good enough for Beth than it's good enough for Michelle.  I ordered their original Chicken Sandwich.  It's not fancy, but it is yummy, especially with their Chick Fil A sauce.  However, I have to admit that I love their fries more.  They were the best waffle fries I had ever had.

Cracker Barrell.  What can I say?  It was love at first sight.  Now, I know this may sound funny, but where I am from Cracker Barrell is a brand of cheese, not a restaurant.  My hubby had heard of this restaurant from a co attendee of a conference that he went to a few years ago.  He enjoyed it and wanted to go on his Birthday, which we did.  I had the Sunday Night Chicken Special with mac and cheese and coleslaw.  I love their mac and cheese.  I found a copy cat recipe that I will be trying as soon as I go home so that I can relive the experience.  I'm hopeful this recipe is close to what I had on Sunday.  I'm hoping before we go home to go back and try the hashbrown casserole.  I have heard that it's just as good as the mac and cheese.  Oh yeah, the chicken was amazing as well.

Now Cooperstown.  This isn't a chain restaurant.  It's where rock and jocks meet.  It's a sports bar which is owned by Alice Cooper.  Now before you get excited I have to tell you that No we didn't get to meet Alice.  It would have been exciting.  I would love to know what book of the Bible he is teaching at his Sunday School class and because I'm doing the Good Morning Girls study on the Proverbs 31 Wife, I would like to know his thoughts (bet you didn't know he was a Christian?).  Beside all that, this was the best place to eat.  Hubby and I shared the potatoe skin appie.  One of the best potatoe skins I have had in a long time.  Then I had the cuban sandwich.  It was so yummy and I couldn't put it down, even when I knew I was full.  But then just to top it off I had the funnel cake fries sundae.  Yum O!!!  I ate it all.  I'm surprised I could eat all today, but I made room for lunch. 

The other thing I like about restaurants, especially, those far away is when you get home and try to recreate the recipes.  I have been inspired here and can't wait to see what I can copy cat at home.

What is your favourite restaurant when you're away? 

Come and share your randomness today with the Caffeinated Junkies! (Just thought of this name for us.  How do you like it?)

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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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