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Thursday, 24 December 2009

Most wonderful time of the year!

I have been amazed at what a gift it is that I love (and mostly get along with) my family. Every family has its quirks and sometimes you sit and stare at each other and wonder how on earth you came from the same gene pool, but in the end when you discover the loyalty and underlying commitment to each other through thick and thin, you can praise God for this network you are bound to by blood for the rest of your life.

I have three brothers and two sisters ranging from the ages of 42 to 22. I bug all of them about the fact that I am the favourite (which got blown out of the water when my own father forgot to invite me to a family gathering once... sigh). Ok, so maybe I am not the favourite, but I like to think I am the favourite "spicy" and "flavourful" one forcing them to lick their plates on my birthday "because it's my birthday and I said so" and to raise our glasses to toast my mother's uterus who housed each of us...

I know, strange thing to toast, but fascinating none the less!

It's been an amazing journey to love each other unconditionally, embracing our differences (and butting heads about them, too) and GROWING from the challenges we've been faced with. This is why I say it is a GIFT. My family has taught me to love someone so much that you want to connect with them through heart and soul beyond skin-deep issues or differences, arguments or set backs. My family taught me to believe that I could do ANYTHING because they would ALWAYS be there for me in the end.

Last night was no exception...

Duane and I hosted my mother's family gathering and as the house filled up with people, noise and love, a meal was being created that tailored completely and totally around Ethan's allergies! Considering his 20+ allergens (most are key ingredients to tasty meals), this was an incredible feat! Alas, it became an incredible feast... wholesome, simple and delicious.

I have come to meet some people whose child has a life-threatening allergy (sometimes several) and the horror stories I hear of their family members coming with foods and dainties riddled with LIFE-THREATENING allergens, showing no concern about crumbs, touching the child afterwards and even cross-contaminating his/her foods by sampling his/her "special plate" of food! These parents are loving and understanding of the fact that their family just doesn't get it (and as I pointed out in previous entries, sometimes you just CAN'T get it until it affects your life directly). This is why what my family did for us and our Ethan far exceeds anything I ever expected!

So to my beloved brothers and sisters (and mom, too) I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my network of support, for always loving me for wherever I am at in my life, for jumping on board when life takes me to dark and challenging places and finally, for being my family! I love you so much and pray that I can be as much a gift to you as you have been to me.

And for all of you out there with your own quirky, head-butting, unconditional-love-testing families... I pray that you also find PEACE in knowing that whether your family is good at showing you their love or not, I hope you KNOW it is there... that YOU not hesitate or hold back in showing YOUR love for them, that you find strength in knowing you are not alone. And should you be faced with those stubborn siblings (or even parents) who just like to make it challenging to love them, I pray that you embrace that challenge and be the gift to them you hope they can someday be to you or someone else. May you be the first to be the gift and bring FREEDOM to those bound to you in blood. It means a major embrace of humility, taking a deep breath and walking into the storm knowing you may get pushed around (just like when you were kids) but you may just walk through it and discover they had been waiting for YOU all along!

Bottom line, I pray your family can be YOUR gift, too. I would be lost without mine and I guess I just want EVERYONE to have that same support and love around them. And if you DON'T have that? Then I ask that you accept my love for you, as my brother and sister in CHRIST bound by HIS blood for all eternity. I will love you and praise God for His very breath that breathed purpose into YOU. Thanks for being here...

God bless you!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Mr. Lead Foot

Much to my husband's chagrin, I am now going to post a little rant on my frustration with his LEAD FOOT! Since we have gotten married, my darling husband (who was ALWAYS early for everything... until he met me) has accumulated approximately ten traffic infraction tickets.

Yes, you read that correctly... five or more (I have stopped counting).

Being the humble-hearted person that he is, he blames me for each of them despite the fact that I was in the vehicle for only two of them (one of them being MOTHER'S DAY...sigh). Nice try, hon!

Now you need to know something about Duane: I can count on one finger the amount of times he has gotten outwardly excitable/upset. Duane is steady like the sun. Nothing gets him worked up... except when I try to talk to him about his new expensive hobby of collecting traffic tickets.

And if I could just keep my mouth shut trusting that his ego is bruised enough with each new infraction that gets mailed in, I am sure that he would maintain his cool and calm composure. But being the extrovert that I am, I need to "express" my frustration at the fact that we actually have to BUDGET for this new-found hobby of his.

Poor Duane. He came home a few months ago looking sheepish and finally admitted that he had been pulled over for a rather LARGE speeding ticket (I seriously did not know they could legally charge us that much for a stupid ticket!). I think my husband was attempting lift-off with the speed he was going! And of course, there just had to be a lovely cop waiting like a bird of prey to scoop down and kill any potential flight with the harsh reality of LEGALITIES!

Duane insisted he would take care of it and I (being not at all a poker-faced person) clearly indicated my "okay..." to this statement with a flawed attempt at a trusting smile.

Here is a tangent for you... why o why does our lovely legal system require that we pay these traffic infractions between two specific dates that occur nearly two months down the road?? Are they plotting to have the guilty person forget to pay and incur an additional handsome fee? Will they eventually collect our children and demand ransom, too? SHEESH!!!

As the date approached, I kept reminding Duane, who of course gritted his teeth and sternly said "I SAID I would take care of it. Do you not trust me or something?"

Um... NO!

But being the lovely wife that I am, I grinned and said "okay, hon."

And now the reason for the rant: the magical window of payment opportunity has come and gone so I simply asked Duane how making the payment went. He was quiet for a moment and then admitted he had to pay via credit card (which is an additional nominal fee, I might add) because he waited to the last minute.

And being the lovely wife that I am, I growled at him and said "SEE??? That's why I didn't trust you!" Ok, not my finest moment as a lovely wife but now do you see why I am rightly a control freak? I get things done! I meet deadlines! I make charts of my own monthly cycle for crying out loud! Wanna see our budget spreadsheet? I have scanned copies of our receipts and matching serial numbers for all items in our house! I can't be on time for anything for the life of me, but I can sure micro-manage the crap out of anything!

Yes, I need help, but that is not what we are talking about here. This is all about the fact that I was right... and Duane was wrong.

Hee hee hee... now I strongly recommend everyone step aside as I get struck by lightning!!! And why this rant now, you ask? Because I am starring down at the mail we just picked up and there in the little familiar envelope I have come to dread is yet another speeding ticket for Mr.Lead Foot himself. I am just waiting for a personally signed Christmas card from the Minister of Finance thanking us for putting thirty Canadians through college.

So here's hoping you are all safe and abiding in your local speeding limits and if you see someone zipping by at irrational speeds, smile and wave because chances are, it's my husband, Duane! Hee hee hee... and cue the lighting rod! God bless you!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

His bigger picture through Ethan

The more I read labels and research the SOURCES of foods in hopes of protecting Ethan, the more I am discovering that ALL OF US are in need of protection! I cannot believe the TRUST I had that our government and our "farmers" had the integrity and to ensure that what they were producing and marketing was healthy and valuable. After all, doesn't that make sense?

The deeper you dig, the sicker you become in discovering that the drive and motivation is not nutrient-dense foods to NOURISH our nation or better yet, our local people but to PROFIT. Are you serious? Does money replace looking into the eyes of your HEALTHY child? Or that of your grandchild? Does money make you homemade cards or flash you a toothy grin with twinkling eyes? Why is there such a draw for money? And why is it becoming more important than the public's safety and basic rights to GOOD food?

Ethan has certainly had a purpose and he has suffered a high price to bring us a new depth of knowledge we never dreamed. I used to complain that we couldn't order pizza on Friday nights anymore... now I am counting my blessings! After a long hard day, the last thing I wanted to do was spend another hour or two preparing another meal FROM SCRATCH (making my own mayo with kosher ingredients, homemade broths from our own grass-fed beef bones or raised chickens, etc...). But I am realizing now that God has granted us the most valuable gift! Proper health!

Despite poor sleep, I still feel more energized than I have in years. Despite a limited diet, my skin is the nicest it has been since I was a teenager (pre-zit years, of course!). Mental clarity could still use some improvement but my overall health and vitality is at an all-time new level!

Because now I KNOW where our food is coming from!

Duane and I just finished watching a film documentary called Food Inc. If any of you wish to borrow it, we can certainly make it available to you! Or feel free to come over for a gluten-free raw sunbutter bar and watch it with us! But it is an eye-opening educational tool for us to know the VEIL that has deliberately been placed between us and our food and the BULLYING taking place between our ethical and hard-working farmers and major corporations that control our food chain... I am sure you know who they are... If not, Food Inc. won't hesitate to inform you. Did you know farmers are not even allowed to save their own seed anymore?

Doesn't that seem creepily wrong to you? I'll have to look back and see if I posted about my "dream" I had back in July about five major combines that were devouring all the world's crops... they each had their designated colour and while the world was blinded by a performer or speaker, behind them our world was being devoured in a pillar of fire generated by these five combines.

And so God has answered our prayers, as He always has, and always in a way that we least expect: "Father, help us to be stewards of the land, to produce nutrient-dense food to loved ones and beyond, to be healthier and be close as a family. And help me lose my 'baby weight'." Yes, a little selfish in the end, but He delivered that one, too by completely changing the way we eat.

I have officially lost sixty-six pounds since I was nine months pregnant with Ethan. AND while nursing which is a first for me!

So here is my prayer for you: "Father bless all of your children here on earth and help us to find the wholesome food you created for us. Lead us away from foods that have been altered and that now suffer the consequences of working outside of your perfect creation and bring us back to the simplicity and beauty of your food and make it accessible to ALL people. May we all find health and peace in knowing you have provided for us. In Jesus name... amen."