Search This Blog

Saturday, 14 November 2015

A Little Brother's Deliverance

I remember that night just over two years ago...

It had been months since I'd spoken to my younger brother, Eric.  It wasn't out of the ordinary... we barely ever spoke to each other anymore.  It seemed like we were worlds apart now, but the distance felt different this time.

Back when I was four and five years old, I would beg my mother "please, please, please Mom... please can I have a little brother?"  My poor mother would be hounded by her fifth child who was actually willing to share the "glory" of being the baby of the family!  A sad smile would cross her face as she explained that another baby was not in the picture at this time... but my heart told me otherwise!  Little did I know that my parents were struggling with their marriage and it would be a couple of years later that my siblings and I would be sitting in the living room when I would learn what "divorce" means.  At seven years of age, I learned that hope can disappear before your eyes like a mirage.  Everything changed as did any dreams of being a big sister.

Or was it?

To my surprise, after the big move from the farm to the city, my Mom shared the news that she was pregnant.  I would be eight years old when my long-awaited little brother was to arrive... I was convinced it was a boy from the get-go and I pleaded with my mother that his name would be Andre.  For several months of the pregnancy, I asked to live with my Mom and I loved praying for the baby and talking to the baby... at seven years old, I was quite convinced this baby was being born just for me!  LOL!!

I was too young to understand the significance at the time, but when my mother was five months pregnant, she pulled over on the side of the road to help my older brother with a car issue.  A woman driver struck my mother who went flying fifteen feet through the air and landed on her pregnant belly.  She lay there not knowing if she was about to get driven over... As a little girl, all I knew was that Mom had been in an accident.  Having borne six children of my own and knowing intimately the tenderness of a five month pregnant belly, I cannot describe the feeling that chokes me when I think of this event.

In the hospital, Mom was spitting out teeth and they warned her that they could not locate the baby's heartbeat.  She asked to be left alone with her unborn child for just a few moments...

When Mom tells me this story, her eyes are sombre as she recalls reaching deep within herself prayerfully to stir the life in her womb through Christ Jesus.  Finally, like answered prayer, she felt a little kick.  He was alive!  He was delivered from the threat of death!  And her soul was affirmed in knowing that this little life was precious and meant to be!  But the rest of her pregnancy would be delicate with random bouts of bleeding.  Doctors made it clear that this would be a fragile time and not without continued risk.

When the time came for my brother to be born, I could hardly wait!  Finally, I got the news that he was born and off we went to the hospital to meet my long-awaited brother.  I fell instantly in love and we all passed him around.  My eldest sister got this look in her eyes as she gazed at him and said "He just doesn't look like an Andre."  My face dropped... no, no, no... this was Andre!  "He looks more like an Eric."  I zipped my face to look at Mom who seemed to be considering this!!  I was anything but gracious in my response... downright having a crying fit.  My mother consoled me by saying "when the time comes for him to be baptized, you can be his Godmother."


Only problem is that by the time Eric turned six, seven and eight, we couldn't stand each other!  And when did Mom decide to baptize him?  Yep, right around this time.  Oy!  When she asked if I wanted to step up to plate as Godmother, I replied "No way!"  There was nothing godly about my heart towards him at that time.


Teenage years hit and Eric became gangster style, skipping school, tattoos, and partying with friends.  He'd swagger around demanding respect but not willing to show respect to anyone nor behave respectfully.  We really started drifting a part... and yet there always seemed to be moments of reconnection.  Perhaps that whole "blood is thicker than water" bears more significance than we realize.

Young adulthood and Eric was hardly seen.  He barely came to family gatherings anymore and he was now into drugs.  Even though he is our "half-brother," he has always been my "full brother."  But perhaps gatherings were becoming stranger as these often happened at my father's home who, despite not being his father, always welcomed Eric among his children.  What was this growing chasm and could anything ever close it in again?  The brother I'd always prayed for was truly now being prayed for... but it felt as though my prayers were falling on deaf ears. And then the news...

"Eric is eloping."

"WHAT???  Married??  To whom?  Mom, have you met her?  Has anyone met her?"

"Only a couple of times but she sure doesn't like me."

"Oh Mom, I'm so sorry.  Surely that mustn't sit well with Eric."

That August, Eric eloped and married a woman ten years his senior whose reputation and current behaviour left us hoping and praying for a miracle... after all, anyone can become a new creation when they find Yeshua, right?  There's always hope, right?  After all, some of the strongest testimonies of faith I've ever heard came from people who'd had very brutal pasts!

Alas, now I bring you back to the distance that was beginning to feel different...

It was now two months into his marriage, I decided to take a chance and reach out to him via text.  I couldn't remember the last time I had texted him and for whatever reason, he was on my mind something fierce.  Wherever he was, whatever he was doing, I needed him to know he was loved and prayed for (in every sense of the word).  It was an autumn evening.  I remember because the feel of impending winter-death was in the air.

"Hey Bud... wherever you are, whatever you're doing, I love you and I'm praying for you."

To my surprise, the phone began to ring.  It was Eric!

"Rita, did you talk to Mom?"

"Hello to you, too!  What do you mean 'did I talk to Mom.'?"

"Did you talk to Mom?  Did she say something?"  His voice was shaken up and upset.

"Eric, what's going on?  Are you ok?"

There was silence on the other end then suddenly, my little brother broke down and I asked him "please come over right now."


Within thirty minutes, I sat across from my kitchen table looking into my brother's brokenness as he shared such horrible things he was being subjected to in his marriage, things I didn't know could be said or done.  I cried, too.  And then he confessed:

"Rita... when you texted me, I had tried to take my life and had failed."

My baby brother.  The one I had begged God for... whose life was so wanted... whose life was spared in the womb... whose life just now was narrowly snuffed out...

Something had to be done.  And something deep in my spirit knew it.

"Eric, I don't have anything of this world to give to you.  But I do have something out of this world that will equip you and armour you to face what you are facing.  Will you allow me to text you bible verses as the LORD reveals them to me?  The more you know His word, the more it will protect you like a shield.  It's His promise, Eric.  And God keeps His promises."

Normally I would hesitate about offering someone the Hope of faith in Yeshua so boldly, but my brother's life was at stake and all I could do was turn to the Author of Life, the giver of life and introduce my brother to Him.

"Sh*t, Rita.... why not?  What the he** have I got to lose?"

Duane and I laid our hands on my little brother and prayed over him.  My brother left that night and the prayer stirring from deep within continued to pour forth from my heart that night.  "Yahweh, you alone open eyes and ears and hearts to see and hear and receive you.  Please, Father, let this be your timing to reveal yourself to my brother.  Please, give him life, true life, in you.   Be his helmet of salvation, his breastplate of righteousness, his belt of truth and shoes of peace, his shield of faith and his sword of the spirit, which is your word.  I ask this in your son Yeshua's holy name... amen."

The verses the LORD revealed to me throughout the following weeks were amazing!  He knew exactly what Eric needed to hear and made sure I just so happened to "stumble" upon them.  Within weeks, my brother was phoning me regularly proclaiming the miracle of the protection he was experiencing!

"Rita!  Even when she's yelling horrible things at me, all I feel is peace!  I feel protected, like in a safe place and instead of being angry and yelling back, I just feel sadness for her brokenness... I love her so much."

Every ounce of my being wanted to tell my brother "Run away!  Get out of there!  Come live here if you need to!" but something told me it was important to be quiet and keep these feelings to myself.  I tamed my tongue (not an easy task for this gal!) and said:

"Eric, what do you feel the LORD is telling you to do?"

"I know it doesn't make sense, but I feel like He's telling me to stay.  I can't leave her.  It's like He's telling me to love her just as she is the way He loves me just as I am."

Gulp!  I feared for his life.  I wanted to talk him out of what he was feeling called to do, but it is when we trust our own will instead of submitting to the mystery of His that bad things happen in the first place!  When we elevate our human logic above His authority over the realm of impossibility, we fail to see His fingerprint, His mighty works.  Did I want Eric to trust in my logical counsel to flee or was I ready to trust God's fingerprint?  Did I trust His promise to be a shield?

"Ok, Eric.  If that's what He's telling you to do, then it's very important that you obey."

I meant those words... and somehow, realizing I believed them brought a surprised sense of reassurance.  If my brother was being called to love when it is hardest to love, doesn't that have God's name written all over it?

Deep breath... trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  If God is truly with my brother, what can mere mortals do?

By Spring, Eric said "Rita, you remember that bible you bought me a few years back?  Well, I feel like a jerk but I lost it.  But if you buy me another one, I promise I'll read it cover to cover and not lose it again."


I gave him his bible at the end of June.  By mid-July, he was the one sending me bible verses!!  LOL!!  It was wonderful!!  But his wife would try to rip the bible out of his hands so he would have to read it locked in a room while she'd yell at him "Pick!  It's either me or God!"  To which Eric would reply "Don't you understand that if I love God first, He will equip me to love you more than I ever could if I put you before Him?  I want to love you by God's power, not by mortal efforts!"

He pulled out his bible at work during lunch and coffee breaks.  The LORD stirred his heart into a treasure hunt through His Word.  By September, Eric was convinced it was essential to keep the 7th day Sabbath as made holy by God and to uphold His everlasting covenant... His Torah (instructions) including His holy feast days.  His wife was livid.  There was an incident that required 9-1-1 intervention and my brother came to stay at our home until things settled.  The family rallied together to support Eric in many various ways and it was a great reminder that no matter what, we as siblings are there for each other.

But Eric's wife decided to leave my brother for good and made arrangements to move out East in another province.  This was happening during the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall and Eric notified me on a day I just happened to come across this verse:
"To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her... the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband... But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so.  In such cases the brother or sister [in Christ] is not enslaved.  God has called you to peace."  (1 Corinthians 7:12-15)
My brother had accurately understood God's nudging to stay and now He was granting him peace by having her choose to leave him!  I genuinely believe that it is my brother's faith that finally opened that woman's womb that three months after she moved away, she became pregnant... the very reason she claimed to be so angry with God in the first place, was lifted.  I watched my brother pour forth powerful prayers for her despite the sufferings he endured.  I understand why Love covers a multitude of sin!

Today, Eric is passionate about the Word of God, studying the Torah diligently and seeing how powerfully it is upheld in the New Testament and by Yeshua's words in red.
If you believed Moses, then you would believe me for he wrote about me.  But if you do not believe his writings [the Torah of God], how will you believe my words?  (John 5:46)
With growing confidence, my brother believes the words in red because they testify to the truth of God's everlasting covenant, His Torah, His righteous law with which He governs us, through which He executes His justice and through which He shows us great mercy!  Today, he shares his story boldly and testifying to the power of God's Word.  His coworkers draw near and ask questions which Eric answers with the caveat "but read His word and put my words to the test against it.  If He can teach me, He can teach anyone!"  My brother is a walking testimony to the New Creation promised by faith in Yeshua!
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
All of this to say that my little brother, whom I have loved since before he was ever formed in the womb, has also been loved by the Father long before his soul was knitted to bone in the womb!
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.  (Psalm 139:13-16)
If our Potter could give this little 'ol pot the means to understand love before physical creation, then just imagine the power of the love of our Potter before He forms us physically!  Our name is known, we are called forth, we are all knit from a place of "knowing."

May you never doubt that you are loved and wanted.  May you never believe the lie that you cannot be loved or forgiven because of the things you've done or seen or thought.  It is a lie!  Every moment you seek Him through His Word, this very Word will wash away your sins with your tears of remorse... you will watch your filthy garments be exchanged for linens white as snow!  And you will look upon the shining face of the Word made flesh, Yeshua, and know that He has the authority to give you these white linens because of His atoning work of shedding His blood unto death on the cross.  He has conquered death that He might deliver you from death... even from the womb!

So my beloved brethren out there, accept this love and let it humble you.... do not fear the pain of being refined for He is treating you as children whom He loves.  In your current sufferings, remember who is calling you and rejoice.  God bless you all out there!

Here is picture of my brother I took after seeing two planes leave cloud dust in the shape of the cross in the sky.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Gift of Hearing

It's been a while!  I've missed you!  It still amazes me that I type out my thoughts and without speaking an audible word, you hear me way out on the other side of the world... next door... a few towns away... my thoughts connecting with yours.  The complexities of "connection" never cease to amaze me.

Sivana is turning five this Fall and she is such an eager learner.  She is quiet and sweet but her determination makes her impatient with being taught... so she tackles learning hands-on whether we're ready or not. :)

There is an FM device that schools typically provide for children with hearing aids.  A receiver hangs around the neck of the person wearing hearing aids which connects to the microphone on the teacher which allows direct connection to the hearing aids.  A brilliant way to ensure that despite all the noise around, a clear voice is heard directly.  Well, there is a wireless bluetooth technology approach to this same concept.  Unfortunately, we found out that despite paying school taxes, because we homeschool our children, we are not eligible to be provided with this technology.  So we have been saving up for several months to buy Sivana her own Compilot.  Once purchased, we visited the audiologist who set it up with Sivana's hearing aids.

Then, the moment... trying it out for the first time.

The device hung around Sivana's neck as we turned the button on and a little blue light appeared.  Then I put the microphone on my shirt and turned the button and watched the little blue light flash until it was in sync.  Then I spoke.

"Sivana, can you hear mommy?"


I wandered into another room where she couldn't see me and I spoke again.

"Sivana, can you still hear mommy?"

Her beautiful giggle warmed my heart as she joyfully said "Yes!  I can!"

We held hands walking back to the van and giggled together about how much fun this was.  She climbed into the far back seat, put her seatbelt on and I looked into my rear view mirror at my beautiful little girl and I got to speak to her.

"Sivana... can you still hear me?"

Her eyes looked up at me in the mirror and she smiled with reassurance "yes Mommy!"

Our van is so noisy that I have given up trying to converse with Sivana while driving.  Even with her hearing aids, my voice simply cannot carry to her adequately.  But that day... oh my dears... that day we talked about everything we saw on our drive.  We sang songs and I choked back tears of joy at the barrier between us that was no longer there.


It was more than connecting sound to ears, it was more than connecting thought to thought, understanding and being understood... it was heart to heart, joy to joy, mother to daughter.  I praised God for His provisions... for the ability to purchase such a device.  It seems so simple but what it accomplished is immeasurable.

Sivana is adjusting very well to it.  The last time I sat with her to homeschool, I wore the mic.  On her receiver, she has a + and - sign to control the volume.  I burst out laughing as we were wrapping up (but not yet done) our lesson and I watched her click the - button to turn my volume off!  Too funny!!  She giggled when she saw that I'd caught on to what she was doing... Ok, Ok, I can take a hint.

Another really cool aspect to this technology is that it allows Sivana to sync with the teaching iPad so that the sound goes directly to her hearing aids.  It is a great tool.

Aside from the new technology, Sivana is visited monthly by a Speech Therapist and a Teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  We are so grateful for the skill sets these lovely women contribute to Sivana's learning and adapting.  The other day, as I was walking the teacher back towards her vehicle, she turned to me and said "I have been teaching for over twenty years.  I have never seen a child as bright as Sivana.  You've gotta set the bar high for her... she deserves it."


She has done three different assessment/aptitude tests and Sivana is above average in the category of hearing children, let alone those dealing with hearing impairment!  See what I mean by my statement that she is an eager learner?  Oy!  The LORD has blessed her and I cannot praise Him enough for the strength He gives her and the gentleness of her heart.  Even during one of the aptitude tests, the person asked "What is your favourite color?"  So Sivana answered but before the woman could continue, Sivana says "what is YOUR favourite color?"  The woman looked surprised but answered her then continued.  "What is your Father's name?"  "Duane... what is YOUR Father's name?"  The woman smiled and shared her father's name.  By the end, this woman looked at me and said "I've been doing this test with many children some as old as seventeen.  Never have I experienced the questions being asked of me!  Your daughter is thriving and is so engaged."

My dear ones... I delight in these, my special children.  I cannot thank God enough for trusting them in my care, allowing me to be witness to their lives.  I feel so privileged to be their mama and I just pray that He equip me for the task, that He keeps me humble and open to reason, just as eager to learn.  It is a level of connection that exceeds capacity for words... but quiet understanding keeps good company with it.

Wherever you are, thank you for connecting with me just now.  I pray that you are blessed this day and always... that you are eager to learn and to be engaged with others... to care more about the details of who they are than your own details being known.  I pray that you be rich with connection.  God bless you!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Marriage Vow

It's fast approaching... this summer, it will have been nine years since I entered a marriage covenant with my husband.  We laid out the conditions of faithfulness to each other and made promises according to those vows of faithfulness.  We signed a contract that made those conditions legally binding... so much so that any of you who have been through a divorce knows full well the extensive legal requirements to "absolve" those legal vows.

It's a legally binding contract of faithfulness.  Even Yeshua taught that the only grounds by which this legal contract between husband and wife is broken is either by death or on the grounds of sexual immorality... infidelity.


Now remember that He also taught that if we ever have a lustful thought towards anyone else other than our spouse, we've committed adultery in our hearts!  That's a whole lot of keeping-in-check with our eyes, our thoughts and our heart.  How many of us pass this test?

Now imagine if the consequence for this unfaithfulness meant a death penalty.  How many of us would be alive today?  Does that make the vows evil?  By no means!  Did temptation find a footstool in our heart THROUGH those vows?  Yes!

Thousands of years ago, God redeemed a people by His grace and He brought them out of slavery in Egypt, not by any works of their hands but by His sheer mercy and grace.  But then He did something very special... He entered into marriage vows with them at the base of Mount Sinai.  He said "I am the one who redeemed you.  Here is my covenant vow, my Law.  Keep it in your heart and DO this because it is what faithfulness towards me looks like.  It is a legal contract and when you walk in faithfulness to it, the world will know that I am your husband for I am its Author, your Redeemer."
Then he took the Book of the Covenant [Law] and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words."  (Exodus 24:7-8)
But sin seized an opportunity THROUGH those vows.  Because God now revealed to us what faithfulness to Him looks like, and more specifically, what INFIDELITY looks like... suddenly temptation had a foot in!  And its consequence is Death.

Does that make God's Law, His marriage vows evil?  Or did temptation find a footstool in our heart THROUGH His vows?
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.  (Romans 7:7-12)
Now imagine our husband becoming human in the form of a Son.... a Son whose destiny is to inherit all that belongs to His Father.  He has come because of the INFIDELITY of His bride to spare her the fate of death for her breach of faith.  He takes on death and conquers it three days later by being resurrected, the first fruits of the harvested souls that belong to God.  Now His bride, when covered by the holiness of His death, cannot be touched by death of the soul.  The legal demand of infidelity has been conquered!  She is freed!  But be very careful with what message of "freedom" is being proclaimed!  Freed from the legal demand of death... but are His marriage vows still there?
The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void."  (Luke 16:16-17)
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.  (Romans 3:31) 
For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.  For the LORD has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.  For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you.  In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer.  (Isaiah 54:5-8)
So what does continued faithfulness to our Husband look like?  Did our Redeemer abolish those marriage vows or did He safeguard them from the legal demand of death?  If adultery begins in the heart, where should those vows be?  Are they the same vows or different ones?
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people."  (Jeremiah 31:31-33 The New Covenant)
You would not believe how many people have accused our family of being legalistic because we live by these marriage vows of God... His law... whom He gives only to His REDEEMED.  Redemption first and then His marriage vows... that's been the pattern established from the beginning.  God's law does not save us, God's law is the wedding band on our finger that testifies that we have been betrothed!  Our heart towards it determines our FAITHFULNESS to our Redeemer, our Husband.
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.  The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.  (Psalms 37:30-31)
I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.  (Psalms 40:8)
“Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings.”  (Isaiah 51:7)
We are saved by grace, but we are JUDGED by our works of righteousness/faithfulness.
By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.  (1 John 3:10)

And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.  (Deuteronomy 6:25)
All Scripture [old testament] is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill [teach] them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5:17-20)
Claiming to be saved by our Redeemer yet reviling His Law is infidelity.  And He will seek our mind and heart to see who is faithful to Him and who is not, for in our heart and mind should be His law...
“I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds."  (Jeremiah 17:10)
"Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works."  (Revelation 2:22-23)
Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.  (Isaiah 5:24)
Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it.  (Jeremiah 6:19)
So the next time someone is inclined to accuse you of being legalistic, ask them if they are faithful to their spouse.  If they answer you "yes"... then ask them if that makes their marriage legalistic.  For me, it is my DELIGHT to keep His vows.  I'm always learning, ever growing as He grants me understanding... I find out more breaches of faith as I seek and study His word, but I know His grace covers me in those moments of ignorance that I may truly "go and sin no more."

Do you find it burdensome to be faithful to your husband?  Nor do I find it burdensome to be faithful to mine.
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments and His commandments are NOT BURDENSOME."  (1 John 5:3)
Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul."  (Joshua 22:5) 
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses 'seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice."  (Matthew 23:1-3)
God bless you all out there!  May your marriages be blessed, fruitful, humble and ever growing like a tree.  And may your betrothal to our Redeemer make you eager for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb upon His return!  Praise be to God for His faithfulness to us!  In Yeshua's name... Amen.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Projectile Projections for Family Vacations (part 2)

The drive back home...

Snacks?  check.  Water bottles?  check.  Charged iPods?  check.  Puke buckets?  check.  GPS?  check.  Ok.. I think we're ready.

Four hours of driving to Fargo and everything went well.  No one got sick, praise be to God!  It was a time-crunch as we were arriving in Fargo for 12:30 so a quick stop at Costco for tasty, cheap lunch, bathroom break, and a quick shop and we'd be heading off again.  

Unfortunately, my husband contested my initial desire to update the maps on GPS prior to leaving for this trip and I had reluctantly abandoned my hope of doing so.  Well, my friends, Costco in Fargo is in a new development and we drove around for thirty minutes asking people at gas stations for help only to get about five or six different directions!!  

At 1:00 pm we finally peel the children out of a loaded (top to bottom) van and make our way into Costco.  Bladders cleared and bellies hungry, we anxiously sit at a picnic table with food for everyone, sing our Thank-You-Yaweh song to bless the food and begin to eat.  Avalyn is sitting between Anika and me and after a few bites of her hot dog, she begins to cough that cough... you moms know what I'm talking about... like something is trying to climb up their throat and it's making them cough.

No.  Please no.

That tiny little frame erupted with so much vomitous mass (yes, I just made up a word... trust me, it's deserved)... and it wouldn't stop coming out!  Onto the table, down the side, dripping onto her pants and floor.  Duane, being the calm person that he is, makes the observation "gee, I see the soup we had two nights ago!"  Duane and I tried with the napkins nearby but the sheer volume of vomit was too much.

In my head, I did not want to run back to the van to attempt digging through the mass of things to access the luggage AT THE BOTTOM.  So in what seemed brilliant at the moment, I said "that's it!  I'm grabbing an outfit right here and we'll hose her down in the bathroom and get her changed!"

I left my husband with four children and a mountain of vomit (yes, I see the folly to my plan now) and head straight to the neatly folded piles of kids' clothing.  I am burrowing through them looking for a size 3T outfit that has a sweater and pants and shirt only to discover that these people either discriminate against this size by not carrying it or every mother who has a 3-year-old daughter decided to simultaneously buy Costco out of this size just prior to our arrival!!  Finally I find ONE and run to the checkout only to be greeted by a very laid back checkout personnel who then takes his sweet time looking the outfit over... this side, inside, the other side, the back side, inside again... eegats, man!  I'm about to consider theft if this takes any longer!!

"Hmmm, this one doesn't appear to have a tag.  Manager!  I need help over here!"

To my dismay, the manager casually walks over only to do the exact same thing!!  "Hmmm, this one doesn't seem to have a tag.  Oh and look, it has a stain right here."  I finally say "FORGET IT!  It's OK... I'll go find another one!"

Back I go to the piles of clothes, flinging them around at this point, I grab a boy's outfit and run back.

I get back to Duane who tells me he watched as the poor manager gagged while mopping up Avalyn's chunky vomit.  And as people were walking past, they would suddenly realize what was going on and they would start gagging, too! 

When we finally got home (we refused to stop anywhere else and drove straight thru the remaining few hours), my mother was patiently waiting.  She had taken care of our puppy, Josie, while we were away.  We walked thru the door exhausted only to have dear Josie jump around so excitedly that she proceeded to pee all over the place.  I hadn't even taken my jacket off and I was already on the floor cleaning up dog pee.

Welcome home, indeed!

Honestly, I’m happy to leave any notion of a “holiday” behind me for a little while… sigh…. or at least until my long-term-memory kicks out again and we forget what these are really like and decide to plan another one.  At least my joy can come from knowing this is at least getting some chuckles out of someone!  I know, I know… I’ll be laughing before too long, too. 

For now, it is home sweet home!

Projectile Projections for Family Vacations (part 1)

I must be an eternal optimist, have no long-term memory or simply not have a terribly high IQ...

Duane and I decided to attempt another trip with the kids.  We kept it simple: few days in Grand Forks then a few days in Minneapolis, indoor water parks, indoor theme parks... life is good, right?  Not only this, but for a week before leaving, the kids all cycled through high fevers and illness.  Good!  Let's get that out of their systems BEFORE the trip!


Diary - Day 4 of trip - morning

True to form, on this vacation, the kids seem to be taking turns discovering a whole new virus causing them to vomit for 24hrs!  I haven't slept in 3 nights... It began with Avalyn a couple of nights ago who decided to "bless" my just-newly-purchased fancy pyjamas... and every towel we had in the hotel room... sigh.  I've been cooped in a hotel room for days now while Duane tries to take healthy children down water slides in the water park; however, ...

Yesterday, Duane decided to take all four kids (all of whom were feeling fine) all the way up ten flights of stairs to a "family raft ride."  With small children and grill flooring, Duane had to carry our youngest, Avalyn, up ten floors!  The lineups were huge, it seemed to take forever but finally, finally, finally, when they were third in line, Sivana tugged on Duane's shorts and said "my tummy hurts!"  

Duane assessed the situation to see if she could handle waiting and go down the ride or if they needed to manoeuvre their way back down ten floors through the crowd.  Judging by the look on her face, he deciding on the latter.  No sooner had they taken four steps did Sivana throw up!  Duane caught most in his hand, but he watched as some fell through the grid flooring to the people entering the water slide right below... unaware... likely assuming more dripping water from above... oy!

Down, down, down he goes with four children... vomit cupped in his hand while people are gagging and lunging away with disgust as he goes by.  The occasional knowing mother looks at him sympathetically.  Where was I, you're wondering?  This was the one moment I seized to have alone time... argh!!

But wait!

The whole point of the trip was for today, the last day, to be spent at Nickelodeon amusement park.  Sivana appears to be on the mend, but Ethan is complaining of his tummy hurting this morning.  Do we dare venture onto rides and more potential puking on others?  Is it sad that I'm so flippin determined to go that I don't care anymore if we do end up with a public display of tummy upset?  At least I won't have to talk to the poor lady at front desk again (with whom I am now on a first-name-basis)!


Diary - Day 4 of trip - end of day

Well, we decided to attempt Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America.  Duane left after lunch with the little girls (who still weren't feeling great).  This morning, I clarified with hotel front desk about their shuttle to and from the mall of America, where the theme park is.  Their wording threw me off "every forty passed hour"... What the?  Every forty minutes?  Or every X:40?  "And which mall doors do we wait at?"  "East doors right at Sea Life exhibit."  "Right at those doors?"  "Yes ma'am."

I felt safe sending Duane back with the van because I figured Ethan, Anika and I could shuttle back later and bring supper with us.

Ethan wouldn't eat lunch but insisted he was well enough to stay and ride.  He's pretty self-aware so I took him at his word.  We spent four more hours at the park without any glitches and finally decided to pick up supper and make our way towards the East doors to catch our shuttle.  With relatively mild weather and not wanting to spend extra money on huge lockers for big winter jackets, we had decided to wear only sweaters.  Within a couple of minutes of shivering outside, I told the kids to sit along the wall just inside the main East doors where I could see them while I stayed outside trying to keep my eyes open for the shuttle with the hotel name on it.  It was 5:20 pm.

Well with the flux of traffic going through those doors I was twisting my head every direction making sure Ethan and Anika were safe, and trying to watch both directions for a shuttle, fearful of missing it... all with my black hoodie on tight around my face and carrying a big bag.  I either looked like a paranoid psychzophrenic or someone about to make their first drug deal!  Oh you think it's funny, but sure enough, 25 minutes later, cops show up where the kids are sitting...

I yank open the door and ask "is everything ok, officers?"

"Are these your kids?"

"Yes!  I'm trying to keep them warm while I watch for our shuttle."

"We got a couple of calls about abandoned kids.  It's good to see that's not the case.  But shuttles get picked up down by the metro.  You gotta cross the street and head down underground at that sign."

Flip floppin' frick fractor!!!!  (Don't worry, I didn't say that in front of the cops)

The kids and I politely excuse ourselves and race down across the street and head down some escalators to some shady metro station... If the front desk lady meant at forty passed each hour, then my little cop fiasco would have happened right at that time.  I see no "shuttle" signs anywhere and now fear that I missed the shuttle back up on the main floor!  Argh!!

I finally cave, turn on my cellular data willing to incur whatever roaming charges will haunt my next bill and call the hotel to get Duane to pick us up.

Finally back at the hotel, Duane drops us off at the doors and I start heading in with all four kids while Duane goes to park the van.  The little girls fight over who will push the elevator button to get to the 2nd floor for the umpteenth time while we wait for the painfully slow elevator.  I'm chilled to the bone and ready to chew through my arm as we finally get on the elevator only to look over at Ethan...

"Oh no, Buddy!!  Can you hold it til we get to our room?"

(Swallows uncertainly as his face turns more green) "I think so"

Stupid elevator door opens reluctantly slow as I push the two little girls out of my way and make a mad dash for our room door... Ethan on my heels... If I can just open the door, there's tile flooring right inside!  I scramble trying to get the card into the door, yank down on the handle just as vomit ricochets off the door and carpet... So close... and yet so far away.

"Hello front desk?  This is room 209... Again.  I've got another one down!  I repeat... I've got another one down!  I'm so sorry.  He almost made it but I'm afraid he got the hallway carpet just outside our door."  The all-too-familiar voice replies "Wow, it's just going through all those kids, now isn't it?"

I'll laugh about this eventually, I just know it... but in that moment... NO THANKS!

I run back to shuffle the girls inside while Ethan drags his lunch bag through the vomit.  "ETHAN!!  Pick up the bag!!"  Poor guy drops it and runs for the toilet.  

I quickly grab his "covered" shoes and start washing them in the sink when it dawns on me "OH NO!  Quick... Open door before Duane arrives and steps in..."

Door opens and there's Duane standing full blown in Ethan's vomit, a smile on his face unaware of the madness of the past five minutes or the mess under his feet.

"Oh Duane!!  You're standing right in it!!!"

All calm, he looks down at the squishy carpet under his feet and simply asks "oh... Which one?"



From the bathroom, Ethan yells "it is NOT cool, Dad!!"

Duane heads back out moments later to bring stuff back to van.  Once again, while "momentarily" away, Avalyn decides to fart and I stop what I'm doing when I hear it's odd sound and I say "oh no, Avalyn... Did you just poop in your pants?"

All indignant she stands up and replies "no I didn't!!!"  But as she starts to walk away from me indignantly, I smell something foul, and sure enough, her indignant walk begins to look uncomfortable like something's not right. Sure enough, she turns around surprised and says "Mommy?  My bum is all wet!"

Folks... This has been a puke-filled, sh*t-your-pants kind of a day.  I'm ready to come home and trying not to fear the worst about the trek back home tomorrow!

Uplifting... literally!

Last night, I picked up my six-year-old son for a big goodnight hug and said "oh my son! What will I do when you're a grown man and I can't pick you up like this anymore?" 

Without skipping a beat, he said:

 "then I'll be the one to carry you." 

Gulp!  Those moments catch my breath in my throat... chocking back surprised tears... Talk about "I'll Love You Forever" book!! I love being a mom!!!!