Saturday, April 28, 2007

Home Again!

We just stepped out for a bit, but now we are home! We enjoyed a bit of a vacation, and while I had planned to keep up with my blog while away, it just didn't happen!

We met the rest of my small immediate family at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada for a family celebration of Mum's 65th birthday! It was wonderful to have all the cousins together and they had a wonderful time at the water park. What an exciting and fun place for children and grown ups too! We took Mum on one of the rides and she fairly made me deaf with screaming, but she survived - a bit frightened, but she had fun too! We had a family dinner out, birthday cakes and gifts and two days of water park fun before we had part ways. My children loved spending time with their cousins and they were really sad to have to say goodbye! It is hard living so far apart.

Our family didn't come away empty-handed though! We 'Grammy-napped' my Mum and she enjoyed a bit of a holiday with our little family. We re-visited beautiful and serene Holmes County, Ohio and explored the rolling farmland of Amish country.

With Grammy and all of our stuff loaded in the back of the van, we didn't have room for many treasures, but the looking is the most fun anyway! We found some great books at bargain prices and some wonderful household items at Lehman's Hardware store in Kidron, Ohio - what an amazing experience that is! We ate a lot of really yummy simple home cooked food and thumbed through many Amish and Mennonite cookbooks. We reverently touched quilts that were really works of art and sampled cheeses that made our taste buds sing! We learned about the cheese making process and watched some Plain men plow a field and turn over a garden by hand. We were delighted by the quiet rhythm of 4 Plain girls push mowing their lush green lawn.

All in all it was lovely and we would have liked to stay for many more days, but had to get home. While we were away our renovation slowed a bit - the drywalling process is time consuming to be sure and really is an art - getting it all smooth and straight.

Peppermint was glad to see us when we got home! I do believe he was a bit offended that we had left him in the care of others, but he was well fed and watered and really lacked only the laughter of the children and their kind attentions. He greeted us at the door and was very vocal in his welcome, just as we hoped he would be.

So, now we are home! Many loads of laundry have been processed, and the items we purchased are gradually finding a home in our home! I have a heavy cold - The Historian feels that we are to share in all things apparently! It is tiring and bothersome, but I think I am on the mend. There is nothing like a good night's sleep in your own bed! At least I didn't suffer as much as he did since he came down with the cold on our way to Niagara Falls and had to endure the fun and games with a pounding head - in fact he was too unwell to join us on Monday, so he really missed out!

I have pictures to share another time! I am too tired tonight! As my mum says, vacationing isn't for the faint of heart! Our refrigerator, which is just over a year old, died today. We were thanking the Lord that it didn't die while we were away, and that we have a second fridge out in the Grammy Flat that is taking up the slack until Sears can get here to fix this one for us. The other fridge is smaller and so it was a game of using up what we could and condensing the contents. I made apple sauce, juiced 3 dozen oranges, made potato salad and zucchini bread in and effort to reduce the bulk. Again, we feel so blessed to have an abundance of food! God is good!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Settling Dust

It's hard to believe we are at the point where paint colors have to be chosen, but we are! The dust is beginning to settle and the drywall is beginning to look smooth - sort of! There is a lot of sanding to be done (and a lot more dust!), but the end is in sight - if you have a lot of faith! We have chosen neutral shades of tan and warm brown for the flooring and wall tile, appropriately named 'macadamia' and 'milk chocolate', and we will have 36" panelling which I have chosen a creamy white for, but now the wall color must be decided upon.

I have been staring at these shades for almost a week, but am no closer to a decision! Oh, to have the boldness to throw caution to the wind and just pick a color! It took 10 minutes to pick the tile, which is a permanent feature, but the paint, which is really quite easily changed, is another matter. Funny how that is ...

Our bedroom walls are a dark olive and the fabric behind the color wheel is our duvet cover. Decisions, decisions ....

Monday, April 16, 2007


We picked up this little dress last week at the outlet mall for about $9, but the yoke was 'too white' and plain next to The Dreamer's fair face. I tried my hand at silk ribbon embroidery and this is the result. She is really pleased and can't wait until it is really warm to wear it! It was fun to work the simple stitches with limited materials on hand to make something plain into something unique for our very special girl!

I am also in the process of finishing some 40-50 year old works of art that my mother in law began in the cold winter months spent in her hand hewn home in the untamed forest of Northern Ontario. When she passed away, I couldn't bear to part with all the unfinished projects stashed here and there throughout her home, so I carefully packed them in acid free tissue for 'some day'.
In cleaning out my craft closet recently I came across them again, and have taken up my needle to complete these. Since I have never been taught to embroider, it is a challenge, but an enjoyable one! I need to ask my mum for her expertise, since this was a past time of hers when she was filling her 'hope chest' so long ago! I have completed two and have 8 to go, but amidst the dust of renovation, they may just get packed again for another 'some day'.

Monday, April 9, 2007

A Proper Apology

We recently added another 'step' to our family's apology process, and I was sharing how effective it has been for us with my Mum, who in turn shared it with her Beth Moore Bible Study group, comprised mostly of young mothers, many of them homeschoolers. As I was sending Mum my written 'plan' complete with examples, I thought it might be something for my blog, so here it is! I hope it is helpful to you!

Hint: It works really well for grown-ups too!

A Proper Apology

To be made by the offending child to the offended child, looking directly at one another.
This process takes about 5 minutes, but will reap eternal rewards!

1. “I am sorry for ……………” (Inappropriate ACTION or WORDS)
Examples: “I am sorry for hitting (pinching, biting, sitting on) you.” “I am sorry for not sharing with you.” “I am sorry for being bossy and unkind.” “I am sorry for lying to you.” “I am sorry for accusing you of something you didn’t do.” etc.

2. “I was wrong to …………………(Name the SIN). I know my sin hurt you and did not please God.”
Examples: “I was wrong to get angry with you and say those angry words.” “I was wrong to be selfish and try to take that toy from you.” “I was wrong to have a mean spirit toward you.” I was wrong to lie to you.” “I was wrong to accuse you.” “I was wrong not to forgive you when you asked my forgiveness.” etc. If this child continually struggles with the same sin, we require that they neatly copy appropriate Scripture verses in full and memorize one.

3. “Will you please forgive me for …….(Inappropriate ACTION or WORDS)?”

*** Humble acceptance of the apology by the offended person is required here. If the offended child is unwilling to forgive, both children have BREAK TIME on a chair in their rooms and start the process again when a willingness to forgive is reached.

4. “I’d like to help make it right by ……….. (Plan for simple restitution).”
Examples: “ I’d like to help make it right by reading you a story book of your choice.” “I’d like to help make it right by helping you clean your books or toys up.” “I’d like to help make it right by sharing this special toy with you for today.” “I’d like to help make it right by paying for the toy I broke.” “I’d like to help make it right by unloading the dishwasher for you.”
*** My kids are super creative here and come up with some great ways to make restitution - let them be creative but within reason since one child need not become a slave to the other.

5. “Next time ……………..“ (Positive Conclusion)
Examples: “Next time I am upset with you I will remember to use my words and not my fists.” “Next time I feel selfish I will try to be more sharing with you.” “Next time I feel like our game should go exactly how I want it to, I will try to reach a compromise and that way we will both be happy.”

The Counter Apology
Often, both children bear some fault in any given scuffle and the offended party quickly realizes that he or she owes a proper apology also for instigating the incident. MOST of the time they spontaneously offer this apology, but sometimes a gentle reminder is needed. We use the same process, but often omit the restitution step #4.

We don’t go through this process for an accidental hurt, but we do require that they fully apologize for what they did and come up with a positive conclusion.
Example: “I’m sorry for shutting the door on your foot. It was an accident. Next time I’ll try to be more careful and watch out for your toes. Will you forgive me please?”

BREAK TIME: Don’t get angry - take a break! Sitting ALONE on a chair in their room, no toys, music, stuffed animals etc.. Three minutes alone with God, praying for strength to do what is right. Repeat as needed!

Also, please note, A Proper Apology does not mean there are no concequences for the OFFENDER - they loose priveledges, have loving discipline and suffer the natural concequences for their sin, but somehow it all seems a bit easier after they have made A Proper Apology.

A Proper Apology
Looking directly at one another.
1. “I am sorry for ……………” (Inappropriate ACTION or WORDS)
2. “I was wrong to …………………(Name the SIN). I know my sin hurt you and did not please God.”
3. “Will you please forgive me for …….(Inappropriate ACTION or WORDS)?”
*** Humble acceptance of the apology by the offended person is required here.
4. “I’d like to help make it right by ……….. (Plan for simple restitution).”
5. “Next time ……………..“ (Positive Conclusion)

I suggest printing this on cardstock and placing it throughout your home until the children master the 5 steps of A Proper Apology.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Resurrection Sunday

Happy Resurrection Sunday tomorrow! We are lifting our heads out of the dust of our master bathroom renovation to spend some time celebrating the most important declaration of the Christian faith,

"He is not here. He is risen, just as He said."

On Thursday evening we roasted a little lamb shank and celebrated a simplified Seder Meal, with The Storyteller asking the age old questions and The Historian reading the passages of Scripture that reminded us of the Messiah.
It was really meaningful and wonderful, though our tenderhearted Dreamer could not enjoy the lamb. We just couldn't help but think of Jesus' last supper with His disciples and it brought joy to our hearts to explore the deeper meaning of the bread and the cup.

On Friday, my husband was asked to take part in the community Good Friday service and the Word of God was preached powerfully, as the 7 Statements from the Cross were expounded by 7 local pastors and lay leaders. It was a long evening for the children - two hours of sitting still in very uncomfortable pews. I was so pleased with both of the children, but in particular, The Storyteller's behaviour was really pleasing. I think the Lord is allowing us to see our boy's slow but steady maturing in the area of self-control as others have been commenting on his improved behaviour.

Today we are resting, and later we will decorate eggs with the symbols of the Resurrection to use tomorrow as we celebrate with a small family meal together. We are not able to get together with any of our immediate family because of distance, and our home isn't exactly 'company - ready' since the renovation mess seems to be spreading itself to all corners, so we will be alone. We actually went out for a short while today to a local toy store that is having a big sale this weekend. It is a small locally owned downtown business and our children's favorite place in the world to shop. They each bought a new Playmobil toy to go with their sets. They had $5 each burning a hole in their pockets!

We feel that we have much to be thankful for as we celebrate quietly and enjoy a weekend of focusing on our faith in a special way. I've had some good news from my doctor concerning my health issues this week and that was really encouraging. Her 'prescription' for me includes a two week vacation - which we will have to squeeze in after the renovation is complete. In the meantime, I am trying to rest more, worry less, and find ways to lessen my load a bit. God is so faithful and we are so blessed.

My prayer is that all who read this simple blog will know God and the power of Jesus' resurrection in a real and meaningful way. May your Easter weekend be blessed with family, friends, the laughter of children and much love! If you don't have any little ones of your own, be sure to 'borrow' some for a couple of hours, since all children are a gift from God, and you can't help but feeling joy when you spend time enriching their little lives.