From Starbucks

I’m feeling as refined  as I’ll ever feel, sitting here at Starbucks in Dawson Creek, looking out at Shoppers Drug Mart’s red and grey front with white lettering, having just eaten a chicken chipotle panini and an Almond Coconut Cashew Chai fruit and nut bar. I am drinking a caramelized honey latte and wearing a circus red scarf, a gift from my sister-in-law Kim. I don’t really do Starbucks, but then again I guess I do once in a while. I planned to spend the day at home, putting sheets through the washer, sitting in the big chair and actually remembering my dad, calling Mom, catching up on my diary, folding jeans and towels if I felt like it.  But Dan had cheques to deposit and bills to pay and I knew that my help would help to make up for the day he took off yesterday to take Bryant to an auction.  So I went to the bank and gift shopped for Hannah, my niece (I’m so excited about my find for her at Faking Sanity, the used bookstore.  But I’d better not say what it is because she might read this.) I ran into my friend Carol at Safeway when I stopped there to get Nabob coffee on sale for 9.99.  And being at Safeway, I grabbed a plant with orange flowers and a card in honour of the newest Peachey baby. I got to see the new little guy for just a minute…and his precious young parents so brave and proud.

Life has been such an overwhelming muddle of death and birth and marriage and death and lovely music and death and engagement announcements.  I feel breathless from trying to keep up, tired from being stetched thin washing clothes and packing and preparing and planning and crying and scrubbing mud boots and singing in the choir and making floor beds and flying to Portland.

To try to write of the last month feels insane, narcissistic, a veritable marathon of events that could make us appear super human, which we definitely aren’t.  Just ask our children, whom I lost my temper on the other night-the first night there finally wasn’t something that had to be done-for the simple reason that I get tired of them Always Having to Have a Bedtime Snack.

And if we’re comparing hard things, my life is a breeze compared to Job, my sister Twila, or  the young woman whose cancer journey I read last night on Caringbridge. To name just a few of the people my addled brain can think of. Nothing heroic or super human here. Just a lot of grace and kind support of friends and family.

I guess if you read only here and not on Facebook, I should insert into this muddle that my dad passed away on March 29.   He is Home and at peace. The chain of events since then are only part of this defective world the rest of us still call home.

I’ve been wishing to write again, to write real things. But I don’t know where to start.  This quote by E.M. Forster guides me:  “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” 

It also makes me laugh, describing the many long conversations Dan and I had while driving the road between here and Edmonton.  At one point he looked at me and said, “Did you know you talk too much?”  But talking  or writing is my way of thinking. It’s an annoying habit, I’m sure, one that needs to be seasoned with a sense of otherness.

One thing that I want to say is this:  I have been a judgmental human a lot of my life.  I have often been judgmental of people and their words, especially as expressed to people who are grieving.  I remember when my brother Kevin died at age 27 that I felt like laughing bitterly when people said, “I know how you feel.  We lost our baby after she lived for only two days.”  Or:  “I know what you’re going through.  We buried my grandma a year ago.”

Kevin was in the prime of life and it was taken.  There is no comparison,  I felt like saying.  But there is, actually.  Death hits us all deep and hard.  It causes guilt if we don’t love the person who left us like we know we should have.  It causes loneliness and deep holes and weird emotions and unexplainable aches.

And planning funerals is Just Hard Work.  With a wedding, you plan in anticipation for three or six months, taking care to honour the people you care most about with important positions, thinking about flowers and colours and time honoured traditions.  Funerals give you about five days in a state of blurred shock or unseeing tear-filled eyes to try to bring together something just as beautiful and meaningful and honouring to the people the person who died cared most about.

I am starting to cry here in Starbucks just thinking about all of these things again.  Don’t look at me, man with the white cell phone case  and grey sweatshirt and black bill cap.

I have become a stuck CD it seems, speaking so often of the beauty of life in the midst of pain.  But the last month truly made that real again to me.  So I guess you get to keep hearing it if you bother reading here.

We had a wedding that Dan officiated at and we sang at on the Saturday after Dad passed away. It was pretty, simple, and happy.

After the whirlwind of viewing and funeral for Dad down south, memorial service up here in the Peace Country he loved so well, burial at the little cemetery just down the road beside Kevin, hugs, songs, cards, flowers, friends, family I-love-you’s said…. After that Dan and I went to Oregon to support my sister Twila and her family at another funeral.  Twila’s husband Brian lost his father and stepmother to a fatal accident.  So Twila’s five girls lost both grandfathers in four day’s time and then their grandma on the day they buried their Grandpa Peachey.  The grandma was taken off of life support (as per wishes in her will) and died shortly after.  Twila and Brian’s daughter Hannah lives with us this school year, teaching special ed at our church school.  It was fun to walk in and surprise them on that sad day.  And I got to meet Dorcas Smucker.  She is tiny.  I was wearing heels that day and I’m average height, but when I hugged her, I felt like I was overwhelming her. She has kind eyes.

Oregon in springtime is delicious, full of wild color and gentle green.  I saw so many good friends in our brief stay there.  And made a few new ones. And I started to eat again.  Poor Dan, having to pay for airport food for his ravenous wife.  Everything tasted SO good, starting with the fajita bowl at Chili’s in Denver. Zesty Ranch snack mix on United Airlines, heuvo ranchero (eggs, taco chips, zesty beans, salsa) in Portland airport on the way home,  fruit crepes at Elmer’s across from our Portland hotel, Asian cashew chicken cabbage salad, cheeseburger soup at the funeral, a parfait in San Francisco, Wendy’s Asian cashew chicken salad, bacon cheese baked potato, and frosties in Whitecourt, Alberta.  Everything Tastes Good again. My legs feel strong again.

After we were home, we got ready for SMBI (Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute) from the hills of Pennsylvania, who graced us by coming north to sing for us.  We slept ten girls in our basement and it was so much fun.  Black and green choir dresses hung all over the house that night, drying after their midnight washing.  And the music?  Awesome and beautiful.

The day SMBI left, our little Peace River Community Choir sang at one more celebration of life for a well-respected man we didn’t know well, but who was very well loved and honoured by all who knew him. I tell you, funeraled out as we were, it was a privilege to sing there and all the memories touched us in deeper ways than we knew existed because of fresh grief of our own.

I might write about being with Dad when he left this world, of our messed up family and the ways death brings us closer, of Mom in her quiet house, going through Dad’s footwear.

Or maybe I’ll just write about other things.  Like Natalia saying, “Grown up ladies always say, (insert prissy voice) “Oh my! It’s already 2016.  And it’s already the fourth month.  And we’re already halfway through it.”  And they say things like “My!  You’ve grown so much!”

Ain’t that the truth, said Luci cliché-ly.

I must get home to my children and towel folding! Tomorrow there is another wedding to attend! Life goes on!!!

Said Luci like her expressive friend Sharon whose letters are adorned with exclamations.  Life is really full of them, isn’t it?

I am publishing this without proofreading.  Because it’s 4:01 and I said I’d be home by 4:00 and it’s a 15 minute drive home. 😦

It’s majorly haphazard

My dad has stage 4 cancer of the pancreas and liver and for people who want details (mostly boring ones), you can go here.

I’ve written quite a bit about my feelings on the whole deal on facebook too. I know there are a few of you who read here who don’t read there….but I so badly don’t want to belabor the issue. It’s big and it’s real and it hurts.  But long medical explanations quickly become monotonous for some of us.  And he’s 79 and has lived a joyful and generous life.  The family is rallying around him and the neighbors are offering products for healing and bringing in food and flowers and songs.  He is back and forth between wanting to get strong enough to take some chemo for prolonged life and telling Mom who he wants to preach his funeral message.  I cry sometimes, walk around in a daze sometimes, hug my kids extra tight, and stare out at the northern landscape pondering life and death.

I was able to spend about four days with Dad and Mom last week and it was precious to rub Dad’s feet and back and tummy and bring him another pillow to make him more comfortable.  We weren’t a family with a lot of physical affection growing up, so it seems extra poignant now.  Time softens and widens us, doesn’t it? Dad feels like his body is a prison and I long to see him soar free. But of course it hurts like crazy to think of letting him go.

I need some lightheartedness today. We’ve all been in a funk after a Very Long Flu and the news about Grandpa and the coming of muddy March, which is almost more than my weak constitution (weather-wise) can bear.

So I’m going to post photos of my children (and their classmates), taken by their cousin Veronica at school.

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Speaking of children. We’ve got some tough things going on here with growing up and yesterday I spent the day in town with Bryant. Occasionally we all need a break from the grind of life–maybe especially when we’re 13.  We ate lunch at The Chopped Leaf (it’s new to Dawson Creek) and went grocery shopping and finished out the day at Starbucks. He didn’t want me to take a selfie (or technically”usie”…that’s actually a thing) of us with our lunch, but he let me snap a coolish-for-me shot of him at Starbucks with his mocha and their very Starbucks-ish wall mosaic behind him. (Not that I know much about Starbucks.  I don’t go there much and it’s relatively new to our town too.) When we got home,  I wrote up a goodish-for-me description of teenage life…and unfurling personalities…and becoming…and I posted it on facebook with the picture of him.  Knowing the touchy nature of teenagers, I posted it and then quickly went to okay it with him.  What I’d written was okay, but there was absolutely no way that I was allowed to post the picture.  None, zip, zero. I didn’t even plead very long, deleted the whole thing, nursed my wounded heart, and thought wryly to myself that that in a nutshell is what life with teens is like, that delicate balance between making them face reality and suck it up and grow strong–and the need to respect them as people with big feelings and preferences and deep longings for identity and power. Ok….I sound like I’m trying to be a therapist here and I’m not a very good one.

This is a quote from Alec the other day, “Mom, DON’T let Dad become a grumpy, conservative old bishop.”

Dan isn’t a bishop and doesn’t hope to be one.  And grumpy is not a word that would ever describe him.

But I take these warnings to heart.

I have to add when it comes to teenagers that it is just wonderful to come home after being gone for over a week to a clean house and a baked potato dish in the fridge for Sunday dinner and little children bathed and people relatively sane and happy.  A big, big shout out to Victoria.  She did it with the help of her cousin Hannah–and I know the big boys and other kids pitched in too.  She runs a house better than I do.  Sorry to brag.  She has her limitations too, of course.  But I’m so thankful for her.

My brother Kevin’s funeral was 8 years ago this past Monday.  He died on the 7th of March and I think his funeral was exactly a week later.  I miss him. ❤ He seems closer lately, somehow.

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This morning my neighbor Linda Funk was here for coffee and I told her I’m fasting today and would try to especially remember her brother in law who’s so sick with cancer in prayer-especially when I got hunger pangs.  Then I felt bad because Jesus talks about not letting other people know you’re fasting and going on with life as usual.  They have their reward on earth, those people who want to look righteous. Anyway.  At lunch time I was writing about Dad being sick and wanting to get better and also wanting to go home to Jesus. And I was hungry and thought about this rye bread I got for 50 percent off at No Frills.  I got hungry enough that I thought maybe God would be gentle with me breaking my fast because my Dad is dying and so I ate two slices with lots of butter and cream cheese.  My weakness is very strong today.

I thought I had so much to write today. Then I wrote about Dad on caringbridge.  And a little of this and that here.  And now I’ve already run out of all the excellent things that were pounding on my brain and I’m remembering the messy fridges, the tomato seeds that need to be started, and the lunch table that isn’t cleared yet.

Adieu.

 

How I Found a Remedy for SAD

I share a guest post for you today, a treat from a girl named Luci-spelled-with-an-i…just like mine.  The reason for the i is because her full name is Lucinda…just like mine.  Often when I read her blog, I feel the strangest rush of kinship and I think I have a twin-a pretty, younger twin-who lives in Wisconsin.  She is a twin who writes oftener and more articulately than me. But she is a small-church Mennonite like me.  Like me, she cares too much and thinks too much sometimes.  And in February she is often SAD.  We have our differences too, of course. 

But this isn’t about Luci and Luci.  It’s about a guest post by Lucinda Miller, about wishing you could swear and nursing home singing and  joy.

Luci in Wisconsin writes:

Some peculiar malady often falls across me in February. Dreary skies stretch on to dreary skies. The weather makes me sneeze. And snow lies on the ground, all crunchy and crusted and dirty, its December sparkle long gone.

Around this time of year, my bed grows strangely comfortable–so much so that I have trouble getting out of it in the mornings. Life takes on a gray tint like the surface of the snow outside and, with the panicky feeling that if I stop moving I will melt into a muddy puddle, I pack my time with activities and tasks that absolutely must be done.

I used to call this malady the winter blues until just this winter when a friend clued me in to the fact that its proper name is Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

SAD. Sure, that’s fitting. While I doubt my feelings of listlessness are prolonged enough or immobilizing enough to be classified as medical depression, there is no doubt the seasons affect me.

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Last Sunday, I woke up SAD. I hadn’t gotten enough sleep and my head held tired at its back. I decorated Valentine’s cookies for the carry-in at church and, when the decorating took twice as long as planned, grew grouchy enough to swear. There are times when I wish my conscience allowed me that–not actually to take the Lord’s name in vain, but a few short and effective four-letter words. It would be a great satisfaction.

But I rushed around and managed, without swearing, to get ready on time and out to my  car.

And my steering wheel was locked.

I sat in the bitter below zero cold; pushing, turning, jamming my key into the steering column; little flecks of yellow leather from my gloves grinding off onto the key ring because I was  trying so hard. Nothing happened. That steering wheel was locked up tight. Maybe it had frozen.

I wanted to cry.

I went with my brother to church and walked in late with tears just below the surface.

After church and after the carry-in meal in the basement, while the others talked and cleaned up dishes, I snuck away to the baby room. I curled up on one of the toddler-sized crib bunks, made with slatted sides that slid up and down to keep the baby inside, and tried to take a cat nap. And lying there, staring at nothing in the dimness, not the curtains, not the bright sheeted cribs, not the toys overflowing their tote or the wooden rocking chair, I saw only my unhappiness, my deep tired.

“I figured out that you might be religious,” a non-Christian friend told me recently, “but your everyday life is just as stress-filled as mine.” Her words bothered me quite a bit. I worried that it meant I had been a bad witness, that I had portrayed nothing to her but words and emptiness, that my relationship with Jesus was nothing but ritual and she could tell it. That worry became part of my SAD week, my failure as a Christian, my lack of a devotional life lately.

I stared at the curtain empty and prayed that God would give me joy again.

And then it was time for church people to climb into vehicles and drive uptown to sing at the nursing home, and I forgot about my prayer.

I forgot myself in trying to make the old people happy. I watched their sad sleepy faces–the lady with the neck brace, Norma with the bright smile and stiff arm, the mumblers and the nodders and the sleepers–and put my whole spirit into the words and the music. Smiling, trying to wake up the sleeping ones, shaking hands afterwards down the long row of tired faces. Theirs is a permanent SAD, I think, caught in the longest season of winter.

When it was over I felt as though I had been taken from my body for a while, a liberating sensation.

At home, I went upstairs, changed into pajamas, and napped.

When I woke, I felt…joy.

I lay in bed marveling at it. It was the old joy, the genuine overflowing from God and in God that I can never imagine beforehand nor manufacture on my own. Heart like lightning bolts, if lightning bolts could be peaceful and gentle.

It had been so long since I had felt this way, and why now?

And then I remembered my prayer.

Truly God is good. He’s never failed a prayer of mine yet.

Oh, and by the way, the locked steering wheel that caused me grief? Turns out I had been using the wrong key. My brother’s looks almost the same.

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Lucinda J. Miller writes from Rusk County, Wisconsin, where she lives with her parents and siblings on a small dairy farm and teaches the tiny school held in the basement of the Mennonite church just down the road. She is learning, little by little, how to put to practice Christ’s words: “Abide in me,” and finding the joy that comes with that. Lucinda blogs at Properties of Light and would love to hear from you there.

 

If you’re looking for some spice

It’s just me here in the quiet house again this afternoon.  Because I function best with the pressure of have-to dangling over my head, these quiet days (though I love them) have a way of making me feel a little lost and alone.  In the busiest years of our lives, I got used to learning to ignore the things I wished I could get to and learned that life actually goes on with a messy pantry and an unpainted basement.  Now the day has come when I should be attacking all those things with Force and Vigor.  But I don’t have the heart, somehow.

(I DO clean my pantry.  It’s just that it needs to be cleaned again and there’s no excuse for not doing it but lack of initiative.  Maybe tomorrow.)

Of course now there should also be lots of time to pursue writing.  But guess what? Lack of initiative.  Also: 1) Too many blogs out there already 2) More questions than answers about how to have a happy family 3) I feel boring lately.

Since I feel kind of blah today, I thought I could share some happy stuff with you from others.

Two wonderful foods that I’ve learned to love in the past year are:

Chicken Tortilla Soup

and

Pots de Crème.

They are both courtesy of Ree Drummond, the famous Pioneer Woman.  The soup was one my sister ate at her sister-in-law Pearl’s place in Raymond, Alberta.  She came home and told me about it and one day she wanted me to message Pearl on facebook for the recipe.  Naturally I tried it too.  Listen to Ms. Drummond.   The toppings really are what make the soup.  Try them all! At once! That’s what I do.  The only thing I do differently than the recipe?   I have no clue what Rotel tomatoes are, so I just use diced canned tomatoes and a can of green chilies.  And I just use bouillon instead of chicken broth.  (Do you know how many times in my life I have looked up how to spell chicken bouillon?  The other day I tried to memorize it, but had to look it up again just now.  My mind is not as sharp as it was in grade 8.  Spelling was always one of my favorite subjects in school.) We also eat this soup with corn chips (the little Frito type are best, but regular taco chips are fine too) instead of corn tortillas.  The crunch adds a lot.

The fancy pots de crème?  Pronounce it Poh da Krehm.  And make your helpings tiny. It is very rich.  Our niece Hannah is living with us this year and she introduced us to this delectable, indulgent dessert that has raw eggs in it.

And listen to Hoziana if you don’t do anything else today.  Be transported into heavenly realms.  And read the words too.

Here’s another one.

There are days when I think God made a mistake when He made me with white skin and started me out in a Mennonite community.  🙂

I’ve been talking to God about purpose and what He has for me in this stage of life.  Foster parenting? Volunteering somewhere?  Just catching up after the years of operating in the pressure of the urgent?

Soon the children will burst through the door and I won’t be wondering about what I want to be when I’m mature.

Here’s a picture of Monday morning’s dish stack, a testament to good food and new friends the night before.  We even ate with paper plates, but that didn’t take care of the reality of mountains of dishes.  Those are the kinds of dish stacks that make me happy, though.  A sticky crockpot that held taco dip, cheesecake pans, popcorn bowls. Bryant started them before school and I finished them after the children left.

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I’m reading a good book called Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp:  People in need of change helping people in need of change.  I love that.  I really want to help and listen and give good advice, but my own neediness often screams loudly and I feel inadequate.

Thanks for reading this.

–Luci

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have loved you

It’s a quiet Friday night at our house.

The young people are gone to be with friends or watch cousins performing in a Mary Poppins musical.

Dan-the-man is in Wisconsin with his family for a few days, helping his parents with fun things like retirement plans.

Those of us left here played a round of Take One and a round of Dutch Blitz and now I’m letting them have some computer time.

I should be addressing envelopes for Christmas letters.  Or sewing trim on a white dress for a Christmas angel.  Or cleaning.  I should always be cleaning.

The children remembered last night, the 3rd night of Dan’s five nights away, that DAD lets them sleep with him when I’m gone.  I didn’t tell them (or did I?) that I was kind of enjoying my quiet moments and didn’t really want bedfellows.   {Now this sounds like I don’t like sleeping with Dan and don’t miss him. I DO (extremely much) and I DO!! But there’s a bit of uncanny luxury in a bed all to myself and the freedom to read and eat dill and sea salt Triscuits  (or roasted tomato and olive oil Triscuits) with swiss cheese at 11:00 p.m. if I feel like it.}

But. DAD lets them.  So Andre happily climbed in with me and the freedom is over because Liesl and Natalia need a turn too. (By the way, both of those Triscuit flavors are worth trying.)

The younger children were all excited the other night after we decorated a bit for Christmas.  They were planning dreamily about turning off all the lights and just having candles and turning on the Christmas music and dancing to it.  So they did.  They each took a battery candle and began.  It wasn’t more than 3 minutes into O Come All Ye Faithful when a horrible rumpus broke loose and everyone was fighting and not dancing right and hurting their legs and singing too loud and  blaming everyone else.  The candles were put back on the mantel.  I am grateful that “our lowly nature He hath not abhorred” because in that moment I saw it in full force and wondered how God can bear putting up with the racket of humanity.

My facebook friend Dinah shared this photo the other day and something about it, something about it not being the typical sleeping Jesus with Mary sitting serenely nearby, that feeling I know so well of a sweet baby mouth at my shoulder…

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(It is painted by Liz Lemon Swindle and I hope it’s not against the law to share it here? I just looked up more of her work and oh my word. Here’s another one, likely a more realistic depiction of the wisemen bringing their gifts to Jesus than we normally see.)

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I guess the reason He doesn’t abhor our lowly nature is because He had one too.  Well, I guess that could be argued, but you know what I mean.

I am still in hiding from politics.  Oh, I read THE NEWS. Somehow the tension between staying informed so I’m not an ignorant, naïve Mennonite, so I can pray and hopefully DO something when I/we need to–the tension between that and just having peace in my soul and hope in my heart and not letting all the fear and prejudice and militancy and hate ebb into my soul–that tension almost breaks me.  I don’t enter political discussions because this is what I see from the outcries on social media:  “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

But I’ve got to watch out.  Because my blood boils over certain people and their views and I forget that God loves them.  I’ve always struggled with feeling God loves me, I’m afraid He’s kind of busy for me and my stuff.

Just today, I was reading Biblical promises (inspired by you, Judith) and one of them in Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

And on the way into town, I was crying a little bit and asking God to show me that it was true, and then I thought about everything I read and see each day and I thought of Him saying,

“I have loved Barack Obama. I have loved Donald Trump. I have loved Mr. Putin. I have loved Rachel Notley. (She’s the premier of Alberta, the Bill 6 lady, the object of hate for many Alberta farmers, with recent threats to her life on social media.)  I have loved Justin Trudeau.  I have loved al-Adnani.(America’s most wanted person, the man behind the horror of recent terrorism in Paris and California) I have loved Mr. Bush and Jennifer Lopez and Prince William and Bill Gates.”

And he loves me, indecisive and worried about what everyone thinks of me, struggling daily with patience and discipline and negativity.

He loves you too.

 

 

 

Please don’t use that word in my presence

If you don’t see much of me on the interwebs these days, it is because I’m:

a) Steam cleaning carpets

b) Buying toilet paper and sandwich bags again

OR

c) Hiding away so I don’t have to read the Canadian election frenzy.

{Don’t you just love the word interwebs? I know I’m not up on things, because I was just introduced to it the other night by my brother-in-law, Dennis.  Urban Dictionary says it’s a slang term for internet.  And I love this little nugget:  It was said by Bush during the 2004 debates.}

Anyway, I’m serious.  The hoopla surrounding an event as big as an election does things to me.  I can’t handle all the information, all the propaganda, all the hurrahs and all the blasting.  I guess it’s hyper-sensitivity or something, but it gives me a big, bad stomach ache.

The kind of suspense surrounding a Very Big Thing like an ordination or a federal election is too big for my little mind. (For your information if you are not or have never been a conservative sort of Mennonite:  An ordination is a service in which the church votes for a leader and by majority vote one or more are chosen.  If there are several candidates with high votes, there is a lot to determine who God chooses for the position.) I can hardly stand to think of those moments of tension in the church while the votes are being counted for the prospective leader, not to mention the weeks of prayer and wondering beforehand.  And the same feeling surrounded this election for me.  I should have just taken a news fast, but I didn’t.  I subjected myself to reading bits of the hype and the fear and the controversy.

I kind of miss the good old days when Dad would read the Time magazine in his big chair and sometimes we’d discuss politics together, very rarely with our neighbors or church friends.  We knew a little because our dad loved the news, but we didn’t even have a radio when I was growing up, so the news was old by the time it reached us.  And besides a few scathing letters to the editor, there wasn’t this constant stream of propaganda entering our lives.  We didn’t know every friend’s political leanings and the world seemed smaller and safer.

I can’t imagine the courage and charisma (and of course the $$$$$) it takes for someone to run for office.  It’s got to require a certain personality and it’s not a personality like mine.  When I analyze my hatred of the suspense and the hype surrounding important moments like these, I realize that one of my problems is just that I really love for everyone to be happy.  And I know that there will be sad and angry people no matter what happens.

I also kind of want to stand up and scream, “Don’t you think that God’s got this? Do you really believe that all your fear and noise and ranting and trying to convince the unconvinceable opposition is doing anything?”

I think it’s good to listen to each other in these heated moments and it’s good to give grace and space to people and their feelings. And of course it’s always right to stand for truth. But you know what Jesus said is the way people will know if we are His? By our “shares” about Him or what we believe is truth? By our blasting of the government leaders we disagree with?  By our sad shaking of the head and negativism about a world going to the dogs?

No. He said people would recognize us as His by our love.

We are human and passionate and we want to be heard and we want to be recognized and we want weight to come with our words.  If we are Christians, we want others to know about freedom in Jesus and the truth that sets us free to serve Him.  We want a country that is well respected and that follows God’s principles and we get kind of fiery feeling when we see them defied.

So I guess we can give grace to each other and our opposing views on things like politics.

But I am so very angry when I see direct mockery of leaders, memes that picture them as idiots, words that defy everything the Bible teaches about loving our enemies and respecting those in authority over us and honouring our leaders and praying for them.

I shrink when I hear the word “idiot” used for anyone.  Do you know anyone who would take a photo of their worst enemy and plaster it on the web without their permission and put smart remarks under it that degrade the person?  They’d be in trouble from all sides, I’m sure.  But people do that all the time with the likes of Obama and Harper and Trudeau.  They’re our leaders, people.

My boys have to pay me $5 if they use the word idiot in reference to each other or any other person.  Jesus had harsh words for people who called others fools.

And you know who was governing in the days when Paul wrote those words in Romans 13 about the powers that be being instituted by God?  And when he wrote that when we resist them, we resist God?  Nero.  Nero, who was rumored to have had captured Christians dipped in oil and set on fire in his garden at night as a source of light.  “Nero’s rule is often associated with tyranny and extravagance. He is known for many executions, including that of his mother, and the probable murder by poison of his stepbrother Britannicus.” (so says Wikipedia)

Get a grip, Paul.  You’re telling us to honour people like this?

I don’t know what all honour entails and I’m not here to do any kind of debating.

But please don’t call our country’s leaders idiots in my presence.

Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it.  Let Him work through you to help do that.

I’m looking over this post and seeing that I started half the paragraphs with “I”.  I may be needing lessons in humility.  Rant over.

This article is full of grace and class. Read it if you are a Canadian Christian. 🙂

See you later, love you all.

Maybe I’ll just go into real hiding until the 2016 election is over in the USA.  :/ Gah.

I’ll leave you with a picture of the brothers talking about tillage on an October day.

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A little of this, a bit of that

I was cleaning in our bedroom this morning, dusting it for the first time in way too long.  I found this picture from a school event about four years ago that was resurrected for Alec’s graduation last May.  (And yes, it was still at large in my bedroom.  Do you have a problem with that? I do.)

Meet Abe Lincoln, Sacagawea, and Johnny Appleseed.

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I also reread a report Andre wrote last week about his minister. It is written in pen and full of scribbles and crossed out words.  Excerpts:

“He has a beerd and has a plesent smile.  He tells me about God.  And helps me understand things.  I can help him by listening to his sermins.  And when he needs another boy to help around the farm.  I LIKE MY MINISTER VERY MUCH.  THE END.

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I was going to write about Victoria turning 16 in September and everything that went with that. But it didn’t happen. Now she’s actually bought her first little car and I’m just kind of in shock with kids growing up like crazy all around me.  Bryant shot a deer and Alec has a second vehicle and Liesl is reading.  I’m left in the dust, spinning desperately, trying to keep up with them.

One afternoon my sister Linda and I drove an hour to the Peace River, where we sat in the sun and read and then took a walk.

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Golden September is gone, replaced with brown October.  Because the mighty wind took most of the leaves already.

The sky is so blue, though.  And here and there a few brave bits of brightness still flame.

Our butcher friend gave us some purple potatoes.  Here they are before they are baked with seasonings and olive oil. Eating purple potatoes gave me a funny feeling, but they tasted fine when I closed my eyes.

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Little girls using cameras=glamour shots of all kinds:

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Autumn bounty.

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This is what happens when we try one of those “natural” shots when taking family photos.  You know the ones.

It got worse than this, actually.

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I wish I had something brave and insightful and encouraging to say about the news right now.  But I don’t. My heart is saddened and fearful and angry by turns.  I vacillate between being way, way too engrossed in it and just wanting to bury my head in the sand and turn off the internet forever.

It is easier to tell you that we tried bear meat (Dan shot a small one in his oats field) and despite the feeling I had about not being able to stomach it, it was actually very good.  We didn’t tell the children what it was and they all ate it down without a problem.

I am sad about our color choice for clothes for family photos.  We got ready in a rush, took them in a rush, and….and….  Later I wondered why we didn’t go with brown, black, grey, a touch of yellow, maroon….whatever. I am wearing an old dress and shirt I don’t even like because the girls told me to in the flurry of trying for blue and green.  And there is no way the males in the family would ever consider a redo. Oh well. In light of school shootings and AIDS in Zimbabwe and the refugee uproar, it really doesn’t matter much.

Pray always. Care for one another.  Speak gently.  Trust God. Be kind.