Hooligan Zoo

Two Zookeepers… many Hooligans… It's always feeding time at this zoo!

So long, farewell Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight

I have been blogging since about 2003, when I was pregnant with Ephraim, refusing to use capitals (I thought it was cool…), Ja was finishing university, Zi was a baby.


Much has happened since then.  Another baby in our house, Ja losing his brother, moving 3 times in 6 months, you name it.


I haven’t been blogging much in quite a few years.  I’m not totally sure why I haven’t.  Writing has always been a huge outlet for me, and for a long time, this blog has been that outlet.


When I had the business, the wonderful Cynthia over at Webwurks designed this purdy blog, did it on a budget I could afford, kept it going, updated it… talked me through things when I “broke” it.  It’s been a good thing, this blog.


I’ve gone back and read through some of my *shudder* old posts, and I think it’s time to let that all go.  I pay for this little piece of the internet, and I don’t use it enough to make it worthwhile for anyone.  I don’t know if I got caught up with feeling like I had to have pictures in every post, or that I had to censor what I really wanted to say because I had too many people that knew me personally who were reading.


Maybe I just started to be present instead of thinking of everything my hooligans did as being blog fodder.


Maybe it’s simply easier to post tidbits of our lives for family to see on facebook.


Regardless of the reason, it’s time to say good bye.  This has been a wonderful space for working things out over the years.  Last week I got the invoice to renew my hosting services, and I will not be renewing it.  Paying for this space is not motivation enough for me to write in it more often.


I may be back one day, in a new space, but for now, it’s time to let this go.


I don’t know when this space will disappear, but I imagine it will be soon.


Thanks for being a reader, thanks for any positive comments, and heck, for even the negative ones that made me re-evaluate.  I’ll be over here in my little corner of the world being present with my family as much as I possibly can.


If anything, looking at my old writing on this blog has shown me exactly how fast time will go.


Many blessings to all of you,






Juice Fasting – Day 1 (aka, wishing for death)

Well, Day 1 was yesterday.  And ooeee, was it a doozy.


Not a pretty doozy either.


I was spending a goodly amount of time trying to figure out who to blame this crap on.


Amy – 16 oz AM juice (swiss chard, apple, lemon, cucumber), hot black tea to thirst re-using same tea bag all day (lots), Kids Cliff Z bar at 10:00 AM, 16 oz lunch juice (swiss chard, apple, lemon, cucumber, ginger), Subway 6” 9-grain wheat with ham, spinach, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, vinegar, and black pepper), ice water. Scared to do this because of how terrible I felt on Thursday. However, I ended up feeling pretty good today. No weird yawning. Sinus/tension headache still around. Took no medicine. Chiropractor at 4:00. Bed at 10:00.


Jamie – AM juice (apple, pear, lemon, beet, sweet potato, celery, carrot, ginger)  Brief burst of energy around 11am.  Lunch juice (apple, pear, cucumber, spinach, carrot, lemon, beet, sweet potato).  Went for groceries just after lunch, steadily crappier, headache getting worse.  Tried a teeccino when got home, felt worse.  Nausea and aura, felt like another migraine coming on.  Had crockpot chicken, carrots and potatoes for supper.  Really wanted to die.  Did not feel better after eating, felt much much worse.  Couldn’t stomach peppermint tea.  Ended up taking advil and gravol and going to bed at 8:30.  Was up several times during the night, thinking I had to go pee.  Felt shakey all afternoon.


 Jason – AM juice (apple, pear, lemon, beet, sweet potato, celery, carrot, ginger), Teeccino, Lunch juice (apple, pear, cucumber, spinach, carrot, lemon, beet, sweet potato). Really tired, crazy huge yawns, headache, foggy, cranky. “this sucks, and I don’t want to do it anymore.”



I think that we’re all feeling slightly more hopeful today.  I’m hearing the Bob the Builder song in my head, “Can we do it!”  “Yes we CAN!”  and then the guy who always says, “Um, I think so!”


I really think my migraines were caused from the caffeine deprivation.  Which is weird, because in all forms other than tea, caffeine gives me migraines.  I also noticed that my jaw is really tense today…  (I have tmj).


It’ll all be worth it in the end!


(I hope!)



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Sister of the Heart

I am a very blessed woman. I have friends. I have good friends. I have friends who hold me up when I’m down, who laugh with me at the joys of life, heck, who laugh AT me when I deserve it. I have friends who keep it real, I have friends who are there no matter what. I have friends who are local, and then… then I have friends who are far away.

We met online, the lovely AmyJ and I. I even remember how it first went. She had sold me some yarn dye. Asked me if I had messenger. We hooked up, and I felt so shy at first, the great AmyJ was talking to me? Even seeking me out?

Ja thinks we have a strange relationship, and I suppose we do. On our second time meeting, we shared a hotel room with another strange woman. On our first time meeting, she dragged her entire family on a trip to Canada. I’m still pretty sure that her husband thought we were a bunch of axe murderers.

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Our relationship has grown, in spite of our distance. There is very little that we haven’t discussed. From family history, hurts, foibles, joy, to our own immediate families. I can trust AmyJ to keep my secrets, can trust her to really hear what I’m saying, even though I may be a whiney brat sometimes. She knows when I just need her to say, ‘you know what? That really sucks.’ and when I need her to say, ‘Stop being a baby. Buck up.’

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A couple of weeks ago, after a lot of planning, I hauled my whole family down to her, and invaded the Junkins household with everything I had. We were there for four glorious days of togetherness. Where, instead of just seeing words on a page, and hearing her voice in my head, I could hear her actually talking, see how she interacted with her own hooligans, how she mothered me (I was sick). How they all opened their hearts and home to us. Crazy interlopers from the Great White North.

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What was really amazing about the trip? (In spite of the fact that we did not need splash pants?) Was really how WELL everyone got along. Talya and Eliana were inseparable. Keyzia and Amari have been crying about how much they miss each other. Ephraim taught everyone how to make paper airplanes. There was giggling, chasing, creating, and just enjoyment at each others company all around.

AmyJ took us to the Ohio Caverns, to the local Children’s Museum. We had Kewpie burgers for dinner, and toured the local mall.

Casting on together! Wheeee!

We cooked together, we cleaned together, we laughed. We watched the kids play. We knit. We browsed a yarn store. We watched our oldest girls begin to create the kind of relationship that her and I have.

Knitting buddies!

It was an amazing vacation, and even though I cried when we left (I always cry…), even though we were exhausted when we got home, I absolutely can’t wait to do it again.

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Sometimes? Connecting on the internet, or talking on the phone just isn’t enough. The link that you make by being together? When you feel the same way about the other person, even during an extended time together? That’s how you know that God gave you another sister.

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To Market, To Market!

I know, I know, it has been eons since I last wrote. I skipped Eph’s birthday post, and then went into a blog funk… there have been loads of changes in our household, and when I am overwhelmed, I tend to not do anything!

SO! In a nutshell, I got a part-time job, planned a Harvest Festival, and went to Houston for five days!

Since Houston is fresh on my mind, let’s go there, shall we?

My very good friend Bonnie who is an amazing pattern designer, asked if she could fly me down to help her out with the Fall International Quilt Market. I hmmd… I hawed… I debated… then I asked Ja what he thought. He politely and emphatically informed me that I would be stupid not to go! Arrangements were made for my friend Theresa to watch the hooligans, the ticket was booked, and 6 months later, I was on the plane!

I flew out on Thursday evening (it was supposed to be Thursday late afternoon, but it moved to evening… was an extra long flight… and I landed fairly exhausted… and with a terrible cough and chest cold.) BUT, it was SO GOOD to get to spend time with Bonnie! We’ve been online friends for years and years now, but had only met in person one other time. In May of this year, actually. Five days together was so much fun!

Admittedly, I had a hard time with homesickness on Sunday morning… was a wee bit (shut up, Bonnie) weepy, needed to talk to Ja and the kids. I was overtired, had that terrible cold, and woke up with a headache. I do have to say that I rallied! I had a little nap and abandoned poor Bonnie for most of the morning. Joining her when I felt a wee bit better.

Quilt market was crazy. I had no idea how huge this thing was, how huge the convention centre was, or how many people from how many different places there would be. We met people from New Zealand, Australia, the UK… And, amazingly, while it is still somewhat of a competition, everyone just seemed to want the best for each other. We hear, “how is your market going?” in genuine concern so many times that I lost count. People really wanted to listen, wanted to know about you, took a personal interest. It was really really lovely.

A few things that I learned about the South, in no particular order,

  • people are very very polite.  Willing to help.  Holding doors open.
  • apparently I was the one with the accent!
  • I say “eh” way more than I thought I did.
  • The highways and interstates are crazy.  Stacked on top of each other in layers.
  • Palm trees are kind of ugly.
  • You should not watch the movie The Birds this time of year while down South.
  • GREEN.  I left dead grass and most of the leaves off the trees, and went to green!
  • Texas Barbecue is to die for.
  • Old Texas men like to hit on young women.  (Although they jokingly say that once they’ve caught a woman, they’re too old to remember what to do with them…)
  • 64 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold to set the air conditioner at.  (note: don’t let the Cdn. be in charge of the a/c!)

I was actually really surprised at the culture shock to my system.  Granted, I am no jetsetter, prefer to stay home in my yoga pants and have friends over who don’t care if I’ve brushed my hair, but I was surprised at the differences.  In food, in culture…  The one hour time change was really hard for my body to get used to as well.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of pictures to show you…  we were so busy at the convention centre!  I only have ONE picture of Bonnie, and NONE of the two of us together!

Her booth looked amazing.  She is such a talented designer.  I actually told quite a few people how spoiled I am with her easy to use patterns.  Bonnie has ruined me for all other patterns!
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People LOVED the underwear. Really really loved it. (It’s actually one of my fave patterns too. I even make it for my girls to wear under their skirts… little bit of stretch lace around the legs instead of cuffs, and voila!)

We of course made a visit to Joann’s where I got a healthy bag of fabric for a ridiculously good price…

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Some of the other booths at quilt market were beyond amazing. Huge, almost like cities… A few of my favourites were,

The entire Riley Blake booth,

I think they have some of my favourite fabrics. The designs are gorgeous, and there are so many coordinates. It makes it easy to put things together.

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How awesome is this Dr. Seuss fabric? (I think it was by Michael Miller… but I’m not 100% on that one)

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Michael Miller also had a car in their booth…

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Yarn and fabric together, who could ask for more?

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This booth by Jane Simmons was stunning. That dress…. drooooooooooooooool….

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This yarn was amazing too. All hand dyed, but was very very expensive. Even at wholesale prices.

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Oh Birch Fabrics… all organic… I MUST get some of you!

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Sandy Henderson’s ridiculously cute booth,

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Adorable, although I don’t remember whose booth it was…

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On our last night in Houston, we found a little out of the way barbecue place… where I got my one and only picture of Bonnie!

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I thought it was terribly flattering getting her shoving her mouth full of stuffed baked potato. heh.

It was a great trip. A little bit long to be away from the family, I missed them terribly, and all I seem to want to do now that I’m home is sit on the couch and be a part of the chaos and bustle.

Texas was a wonderful, warm place to visit. But Canada? Canada is home.

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Photography Friday – Perspective Edition

Ah perspective. This is something I can get behind! I already really like taking pictures from unusual perspectives, so this wasn’t a huge stretch for me.

Business end first, you can see previous posts here, find my Mama here, and Shari here.

Since I’m not feeling very wordy today, onto the pics!

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The bows on the back of Talya’s new bike.

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Big old pine tree in our front yard.

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And our beloved bird feeder.

As a bonus, I just really like this one… they aren’t fighting!

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Shari has chosen “magic” And since my mama has had access to grandkids this weekend, it seems to me that hooligan pictures should be acceptable!

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Multitude Monday – One thousand gifts

What an insanely crazy and busy weekend. One of those weekends where you need a vacation from your vacation.

It was busy for a purpose, however, we managed to, after much trial, and a very late start, get my beautiful baby sister all married up. Married to a lovely man who now insists on calling me “sis”.

I have to say that I always wanted brothers. You know, the stories of the big brothers who, while they torment their little sisters, protect them from the outside world… I always say that I had to get married to get brothers. What I didn’t think about was that my sisters might someday find mates whom I’d be happy to welcome as brothers in our strange and batty family.

The wedding was fraught with drama and disaster. Okay, okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but there was some craziness going on.

First, the bride was running late. We can cut her some slack because she has a five month old.

Then the flowers were forgotten at the bride’s house.

Then the hooligan’s outfits were forgotten at the bride’s house.

Then there was the thunderstorm that turned the tent into a mangled mass of metal and canvas.

But, oh, how the bride glowed! Oh how the groom looked at her! You could feel the love between them, and I am so very very proud of her. She has chosen a good man, and they will have all the happiness in the world.

451. daughters who don’t put underwear on when they get up in the morning… meaning a mad scramble before she does her flower girl duties in her lovely white sundress.
452. my very own husband who stepped up to the plate and did so many things that I can’t count them all
453. patient guests who waited an hour before the ceremony actually started.
454. so many helpful people, I can’t begin to name them all.
455. Russell and Todd, you know why.
456. A teary dad, dancing with his baby.
457. A mum who would. not. sit. down.
458. aunts, uncles, cousins, great aunts, great uncles, all who travelled great distances to be there
459. working air conditioning in the van.
460. sweet baby snuggles
461. an uncle who brings some of his gear for a very pleased little boy to try on
462. a sister who absolutely adores her nieces and nephews… tackling them and playing with them

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Photography Friday – Hand edition!

Whew! Friday AGAIN???

So, to recap, my Mum and I have challenged each other to take pictures following a basic set of rules…

The rules are,

1. Cameras have to be on the same “master” pre-agreed upon setting, no Auto. Within that setting it’s okay to manipulate some of the other settings. Like shutter speed, iso, etc.

2. No pictures of hooligans, unless it directly applies to the subject chosen that week.

3. One week one of us chooses the subject, one of us chooses the setting (P, S, A, M)

4. No editing of the pictures in any kind of photo editing software.

5. 3 pictures that must conform to the above rules have to be posted on our respective blogs by midnight on Friday.

This week, I chose the A or aperture setting, and Mum chose the subject of “hands”. All pictures were taken with a Nikon D3000, and the standard 18-55mm kit lens.

Aperture is something that I’ve had a hard time getting my head around. Aperture combined with focal length is a bit difficult to understand… taking loads of pictures was definitely helpful.

Without further ado, here are my top three pics! (As always, click through to a few more on Flickr)

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Hands Challenge

Hands Challenge

This was a really fun challenge! I enjoyed it, and enjoyed learning a bit more about aperture… (The P setting on my camera is still my favourite tho.)

Join us next week for the subject (chosen by the lovely AmyJ) of “Out”. I think she thinks we’ve been going to easy on each other. Check out Mum’s blog, Momsideup, for what the setting is supposed to be.

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Multitude Monday – One thousand gifts

With finger nails encrusted with dirt, and happy children streaked with more dirt, I watch them listen and learn… learn the way that I did from my Great Aunt, their Great Great Aunt.

A woman who is wise in many ways, with whom I share a love of the fibre crafts. Who used to come to our graduations, parties, and was always a definite fixture in our lives while we grew up. Now she is a fixture in my children’s lives. And I am glad.

416. Traveling Aunts. Who come bearing gifts of green.
417. The hooligans, gathering around her, learning about planting right alongside me.
418. Watching a newly planted garden form, take shape, and grow.
419. The gift of family.
420. Green. Oh, I am still enamoured with the green after the oh so long winter.
421. New patio sets from other aunts and uncles.
422. Laughing and enjoying a meal together.
423. Filthy mosquito bitten legs.
424. Shoes on the wrong feet.
425. Dirt under fingernails… a sign of hard work, the fruits of which are yet to come.

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An Adventure in the US

Most people that know me, know that I’m a bit of a home body.  I like to be at home.  I love it when people visit me, yes, but I plain and simply just like to be at home.  So, a few weeks ago when the opportunity to make a big drive to Michigan came up, I, well, I freaked out.

A good friend who lives in Toronto decided that she was going to go, and had room for me in her car.  The biggest problem?  I had no passport.

After a good bit of running around, jumping through hoops, and the like, a lot of prayer, frantic emailing to check on the status of said passport, it was finally clutched in my grubby hands.

Commence freakout.

Was I seriously going to drive 8 ish hours to see a bunch of women who I’d never even met before?  Was I going to get to meet my old business partner??   Was I going to attempt to cross the dreaded border?  Risking life and limb to drive across that very very long bridge?
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(Click on any pic to see it full sized on Flickr)

There it is! The Michigan sign! After four hours of delightful conversation, some slight panicking at the border, a border guard who was very surprised that we were meeting with people that we had met on an “online cloth diaper sewing board,” here we were in the US!

Can I just say that I am oh so very glad that I went?

These women, these women are amazing. I adore each and every one of them.

I am no stranger to meeting people in person that I originally met online. One of my very best friends, AmyJ, visited us two years ago. We’ve been saving up so that our whole family can go and see her since that trip, and when this opportunity came up, I was able to go!

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This is Bonnie and her little guy Charlie. That baby is about the snuggliest sweetest little thing you have ever seen. Bonnie and I used to have a business called Fishsticks and Jam, and we’ve been online friends for many years now. I was pretty nervous about meeting her, you know, all those thoughts of, will she like me? What if I’m not really the same in person?? What if she bans me from her friends list on facebook? I would be devastated!

Now, I can’t say as to what she thinks of me in real life, but I feel like my friendship with Bonnie is even more solid. She is absolutely just as lovely and sweet in real life as she is online. Even though she talks funny.

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I am very thankful to be able to count her as one of my very closest friends. It certainly doesn’t hurt that she’s such a talented pattern designer. heh.

And then there’s AmyJ. And her sweet little girls. It was so amazing that they completely remembered me and were instantly comfortable. The first morning, Amari climbed right into bed with us, and curled right up in my arms. It is never awkward with AmyJ and I. Even tho we may be physically apart for long stretches of time, it’s just so natural when we’re together.

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And oh the other women there. Dawn, and Katie, and Katie, and Laura, and Gina, and Jill… and a bunch of other people that I’m sure that I’m missing.

I received an official babywearing lesson from Dawn. AmyJ’s Eliana was my very willing model.

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She kept saying, “Turn that way, Jamie, I want to see what’s over there.” And whenever I asked her if she wanted down, she emphatically said no, and snuggled even closer into my back.



It’s kind of funny when you know someone online. You think that you know what they’re like, but oftentimes, you are completely and totally wrong. That weekend? I was wrong about so many things and in such good ways.

I was not, however, wrong about the way most of those United Statesians talk. We had many many laughs about the slight differences in our speech and ways of life.

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This is Bonnie, Gina, Samantha (Bonnie’s adorably sweet 13 year old. Beth would not let me try to smuggle her back to Canada. sigh.) and Beth.

Gina was a hoot. And her very very tall husband was such a good sport meeting up with all these potential axe murderers.

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Her kids were beyond adorable as well. Really, all the kids were. There was some running amok, but all in all it was such an amazing time.

It’s funny how sometimes you just feel like you click with people. I definitely felt that way about Gina and her sweet kids. It’s really too bad that she talks funny, or we could really be good friends. heh.

There were just so many people that I chatted with that I can’t even begin to remember everyone without leaving someone out. Jill went to the yarn store with us, and we all happily fondled yarn there. Fondling is free, you know.

After some tears in the leaving, and a small meltdown from Eliana who thought that I was going back to Ohio with her, Beth and I were once again on our way.

To Joann Fabrics.


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Beth and I walked in the doors, and stood there for probably two minutes with our mouths open.

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We have nothing, and I mean nothing, like that here.

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Then we hit Target, and Trader Joe’s, and filled up on super cheap gas.

I do have to say, as awesome as the weekend was, we were very happy to see Canada in the distance.

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Looking back at the weekend, I still can’t even believe that I did it. That I got to connect with so many wonderful women, that they really were wonderful. It’s amazing how people from such diverse backgrounds, belief systems, heck, even countries, could connect and chat and craft together so nicely.

I can’t wait to do it again.


Multitude Monday – One Thousand Gifts

Today I was at a friend’s house. Our hooligans were running amok, and we were conversing. Talking about parenting, as women who are with their children all day every day do sometimes.

We had our tea in our hands, and as an armour plated knight ran past, she looked me in the eye and said,

“You know, sometimes I am shocked by how selfish I am.”

And I looked around her house, I saw the evidence that her children are a priority in her life. My mind flashed back over times when I had seen her calmly and patiently correct her children, deal with strife between both of our children. I thought about how I knew how much she thought through her homeschooling plan, how she worked hard for her children, her family. As an onlooker, on the outside of her family, I thought to myself in that moment, “Selfish??”

And then she elaborated.

“I get angry when it’s MY agenda that’s being disturbed. When the kids are too noisy and it makes me crazy, it’s because I WANT it to be quiet. I want things a certain way. When I’m too stuck in what I want, THAT’S when things don’t go well.”


It’s so true, isn’t it? I know I post a lot of happy stuff here, tend to not get too deep in the nitty gritty, in the days where I would happily ditch it all and fly off somewhere warm with a cabana boy to hold my yarn and bring me cold drinks. All while I lounged, the sun shining down, sparkling off of the clear blue waters…..

Some days I want them to just obey. Blind obedience would sure be helpful. I say that, but then I also say that I want my children to learn to THINK. To make good choices. To be helpful and take initiative. How can they do that if I’m barking orders all the time to get them to mould to my agenda? My agenda that changes? Seemingly on a whim?

Is that selfish?

Sure it is. It makes our family all about me. Not about us. Ja and I, as parents need to be firm, not harsh. We need to raise these children up to be good adults. Adults who are grounded in faith, who know that we love them more than the things they screw up. Adults who know that they are loved, and in the knowing, can spill that out onto others, making the world a better place.

And so, I, once again, resolve to create firm boundaries, but to allow the hooligans to have freedom within those boundaries. To help them to learn from their mistakes, and not to be fearful of them. To learn that giving of themselves is glorifying to God. That showing grace to others is what makes people smile.

They will learn this best when I start modelling it. When I let go of my own agenda, and adopt God’s agenda.

Because frankly? When I put God at the centre, things tend to go my way regardless of what else may be happening.

371. visits and heart to hearts with good friends
372. small knights rescuing small princesses
373. green. hazy, fleeting, but there…
374. a life well lived
375. talking over worries, even when it’s scary to do so
376. fear
377. new books
378. homemade bread
379. knitting sleeves
380. curtains billowing in the breeze
381. Trees showing the promise of spring
382. small boys, content to dig… and dig…. and dig….
383. the glee of that first spring bike ride
384. laughing children
385. sweet neighbours who come to play

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