The mutterings of a busy working mother

Learning to Soar

I have often thought of blogging, but never got around to it. Then when I did, I kept thinking about what I should title it as? With the business of my life I am often reminded of my favorite bible verse: But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 On those days when I am just plain tired of it all, I am reminded that He can and will give me strength. I am hoping to share about my experiences here, good and bad. I hope you enjoy.

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Bible Illustrated

Shortly after Christmas Day I found it quite entertaining seeing everyone post about the colouring books they got and how relaxing they are. I actually got a few myself and have pulled out my markers, and coloured pencils to join in. I can sit and watch tv and colour away… Feeling the stress of the day melt away. 

I have a few favorites that center around bible verses, and they have become a great source of worship as well as stress release and relaxation. 

  
Early in December I found a page online with a devotional centred on illustrating a bible verse for the day. While I enjoyed others posting their works I found it difficult to do my own on a daily basis. The creator of this devotional has since created a weekly devotional aimed at creating a page weekly. Now this is something I can do…. Early in the week; late in the week; a little bit each day. 

http://seasonsillustrated.com/

Right now we are studying Esther.  She is such a wonderful example of courage and how faith in God’s timing can guide you through the moments of your life. We have done two weeks of the study, and two illustrations:

   
 

The above are my interpretations. Like I said this is more than just a study; it is worship. A way to focus in on God’s word. 
I have so enjoyed these first two weeks, and have made a personal resolution to continue this study for this year.  I have never done bible journaling before this, but have seen others post. It can be deeply personal, or incredible works of art. It can be images, or portions of scripture artistically designed. 

I read the scripture, and pay particular attention to the focus verse or verses. I usually do an Internet search or two for image ideas, then start drawing. Apparently Esther seems to be inspiring shadow or silhouette figures. I am finding this a great source of personal bible study and a new avenue of worship. 

Looking forward to next weeks study…

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Still My Noah

It is every parents fear and nightmare to be told there is something wrong with their child….

It is by no means that I think my children are perfect, but they are mine, and I love them unconditionally. So when it was suggested that my son Noah had behavioural issues, the “mommy claws” started coming out.

We have been struggling with Noah and outbursts of anger and temper tantrums from an early age. Now four years old, though he still has episodes at home, they were becoming fewer and we felt that we could be turning a corner with him.

But at daycare things weren’t going so well. Seemingly without warning Noah would have episodes of anger directed at his classmates or his teachers. The tools that we’re working at home just weren’t cutting it in the classroom. He was like Jekyll and Hyde….going from a sweet little boy to a screaming, enraged, furious child. It was heartbreaking…

What were we doing wrong as parents that we could have a child so out of control? Why couldn’t we figure this out? Why were things seemingly improving at home, but going so horribly wrong at Daycare?

After several visits with a Speech pathologist and Occupational Therapist, we were then directed to a pediatrician. Although she did not observe anything hugely significant, she forwarded our case to the Pediatric developmental clinic here at our local hospital.

Through all these appointments we were hopeful for a logical explanation, but continued to struggle with a clear answer. So when we finally got the call for an appointment with the developmental team I waited with anticipation for the day.

My husband and I had tossed around the idea of autism on various occasions. There were some signs, but Noah was progressing really well academically as well as with his speech. It couldn’t be autism….could it?

The day arrived for the assessment and Noah walked in between Greg and I hand in hand as we walked in to the hospital. We had just seen the Lego movie recently so he was singing “Everything is Awesome!” At the top of his lungs. He was in a good mood and was his usual charming self throughout the entire assessment.

They asked him questions and played games with him. Noah thrives on one on one attention and did so well. Greg and I sat to the side, able to observe his activities and hear his answers to their questions. Most of the questions were pretty routine. My heart broke though when he said it made him sad when his friends didn’t want to play with him, and sometimes he felt lonely and alone.

We took a break for lunch and then came back to meet with the entire team including the pediatrician to discuss the results.

We sat across from the team as they discussed how the assessment had gone…then came the diagnosis….”your son fits within the spectrum of autism”.

So there it was…a diagnosis…there was something wrong with my child…

I had been texting my sister and a couple friends who I had been confiding in all morning. Asking for prayers and support. It made their diagnosis so much easier. As I texted the results to my friends and sister the support continued to come, and I am so thankful for all their words of encouragement. All their advice and words were God given for sure.

My take home notes as I look back on those texts:
1. A label just like anything that happens in life is what you choose it to be. If you take it as something wrong or negative then that is how you will experience it. If you take it as just powerful knowledge on how to parent your child best and use it to help them, then it will be a positive experience.

2. He is still MY Noah…no different than he was before the tests.

I am so thankful for God loving and God serving women in my life to encourage me through this. Even the developmental team dealt with the diagnosis as a positive thing; as a stepping stone to help bring out his true potential that is being held back just by how his thinking is wired.

Keep the prayers and encouragement coming ladies!

Shopping with Mommy

So all you Mommy’s out there know that it is an adventure every time you venture out with your kids. Are they going to behave? If they start misbehaving can you get them to the car before YOU have a meltdown…

Then there is the adorable little things they do and say that melt your heart and capture the hearts of those around you.

With the wonders of technology we can now capture these moments on our phones and upload them to share with family and friends.

Most recently I took the boys on an errand run to the dollar store and grabbed a hand basket to put my items in. The boys each wanted one for themselves and I figured it would keep their hands busy and away from the products on the shelves. Shortly after Noah was given his he put it on the floor and crawled in to it exclaiming “I’m ready Mommy!”

Of course I let him know that I wasn’t going to carry him around in the basket….

…then I asked him to smile for the camera.

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Music of the Heart

My family has always been involved with music.  I remember singing with my grandfather around the piano growing up.  My mother sang in the church…oh how I loved to hear her sing.  She taught my sister and I to sing from a young age.  We followed in her footsteps singing solos and duets together at the church.  I even played the trumpet in Junior High and High School…still play it on occasion, though I am a little rusty.  I have learned to play the tin whistle, and have a fiddle just waiting to be learned to play.

Music is what kept me sane through school.  With all the academics and the Calculus and Organic Chemistry, my love of music helped to settle my mind and my heart.  I even used to play music when I studied.

Most of all I remember the worship time at church.  It was what filled my soul each week.  I could feel it from the tip of my head to the bottom of my toes…

…which is why it nearly crushed me when I was unable to take part for months on end.

With no active nursery when we were in PEI I found it difficult to keep the kids controlled during a service.  First I couldn’t help Greg with the worship time, and then I found myself unable to even take part while in the congregation.  The boys were just too busy for me to focus on the worship time.  My heart ached as time went by.

Since moving to NB and being part of a church with an amazing worship team and fabulous children’s ministry I have finally been able to have my worship time back.  I feel like I can literally BREATHE in the presence of God on Sunday mornings.  I found myself in tears the first couple of weeks because I had missed it so much.

The boys are still busy, and my new job here keeps me away from church on some Sundays.  But when I can make it to a service I find myself basking in His presence.   Singing from my heart; raising, and clapping my hands; saying “Amen”, “Thank you Lord” and even a “Whoo-Hoo!” now and then.  Dare I even say it, I have even found myself close to dancing…..

“I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.”  Psalm 13:6

Life turned upside down

It has been far too long since I wrote a blog so I thought I would write a quick one to catch everyone up with what is up with me.

It has been a wild several months to say the least. My husband resigned from the church we had started, we announced we were moving to NB and I resigned from my job of eleven years, then found a new job…I believe that all happened in March and April.

It is amazing how fast life can turn a completely different direction.

My new job started May 1st, with training. But we weren’t ready to put the house on the market yet. I travelled away from home to work Monday to Thursday and came home for weekends. Thanks to my new employer I had a wonderful peaceful place to stay, but it was hard being away from my family. Sure I enjoyed it for the first couple weeks…but it was hard knowing Greg was at home trying to care for the boys, get the house ready to sell, and start packing. I felt helpless to help him.

We officially moved in July and though we have boxes still unpacked I think we are starting to settle in and it is wonderful having us all together again.

Life is starting to have some normalcy…albeit a new normalcy. New house, new job, new church, new friends. My life that seemed turned upside down is finally settling.

I hope to touch on more details of everything new but for now I will have to keep you all in suspense…stay tuned.

So Tired…Need Coffee!!

Those who know me and are my friends have noticed one thing about me…I pretty much started every day with a large cup of coffee….

Not sure when this habit started, though it really took hold when I was in pharmacy school and had three Tim Horton’s within walking distance of the college.  I am freely willing and able to admit that I enjoy it and even crave a good cup each morning, especially if I haven’t gotten much sleep the night before.

This was particularly true after Noah was born and seems an issue of late…I think he is going through a growth spurt or something…waking up at least once a night.  It is amazing how well a body can function with so little sleep, as long as I have a good cup of coffee in hand.

My husband has helped to feed this habit by getting me a Tassimo machine for Christmas.  Now I can make my own Lattes and cappuccinos in the privacy of my home.  I think he was just trying to keep me away from the expensive options at Starbucks!

But seriously…I am tired.  Many months ago Greg taught Nate to respond to the question “what does Mommy say?” with “So tired….Need coffee!” complete with the drawn out whiny voice.  I can’t help but laugh.  I am busy, and often exhausted, but I pour my heart and soul into my work and my family, and seem to find some kind of fuel to keep me going day after day.  I love my job.  I love my boys.  I love my family.

Recently I was recognized within the Canadian profession of pharmacy as having a “Passion for People”…I was honored and touched.  I think it has made me realize how helping people seems to fuel me…push me through even my worst day.  In some ways it can even lift me up out of a cranky day (come on, admit it, we all have them!).  Maybe by knowing this I can cut back the caffeine…..NAH!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Recently I had someone ask me why I went in to Pharmacy and it got me thinking about how I ended up where I am…

To be honest I wanted to be a geologist for the longest time…I had a great rock collection as a kid.  Then I remember my mother showing me an article showing how few graduates got jobs and obviously I had to rethink my career goals…it is more of a hobby now.

After that I thought about a health profession…physician, nurse, pharmacist…I had the marks so I could really go for whatever I wanted…but why did I want a health profession?

Growing up, my family was very supportive of various missionaries who came to visit, and we often had them stay at our home for the weekend.  I loved hearing the stories of people they were able to help and the different cultures they were able to experience.  There was one in particular who was a nurse in Haiti who really affected me…I am not sure if she even knows how much.  I wanted to be able to help people the way she did…in particular I really wanted to help the people of Haiti.  I love to help people, and I knew a health profession would be perfect.  I wasn’t really interested in being a physician, but nursing and pharmacy really interested me.  Neither of my parents are health professionals, so I had nothing to compare, but for one reason or another I choose pharmacy.

I knew I would never be a full-time missionary staying for years at a time, but I knew I wanted to be involved in short term trips…one to two week projects. I knew that I particularly wanted to be involved in medical missions, but if I could go for any reason, I would.

My first trip was when I was in High School…grade 10.  My father had been to Mexico the year before working construction on a church in Mexico City.  When he came home all excited about the trip, with his hundreds of pictures, one of the first things he said is “Do you want to come with me next year?”.  I still remember that trip…there were only 7 or 8 of us on the team…I was the only teen and the only girl.  It was construction on another church in a small village an eight hour bus ride north of Mexico City.  I had a bucket of water to wash with, as the women’s watering hole was not suitable for me to use; everyone spoke Spanish except for a couple who came with us from the city who knew a little English and a spanish-english dictionary we brought with us.  So many memories…even better was spending that time with my Dad.  After that trip I was hooked.

Since then I have been to Jamaica in 2005 on a medical team, Azerbaijan in 2007 on a humanitarian trip, and Guatemala both in 2009  and 2010 for construction, children’s work and some medical related activities.

This is why I went in to pharmacy…and I know God has blessed me with the opportunities to go.  Being a pharmacist has provided me with the income to go, as well as the special skills when needed.  I look forward to seeing where God is leading me next…maybe Haiti….maybe somewhere else I have never even thought of…

My Gift from God and My Comfort

So I was wandering around Facebook today and came across a friends posting using an app that shows the meaning of her name.  It reminded me of when my husband and I were looking for names for our sons.  We already had names picked out for middle names, we just had to find just the right first name.  Both times we looked for names that we liked as well as at what they meant.

We waited a while before starting our parenting adventure.  They say a woman has an internal ticking clock, but I became more of a ticking time bomb.  As my husband is a pastor in a church plant, we chose to support our family solely with my wages, which as a pharmacist are pretty good.  That way the funds from the church could go towards the church and the ministry we wanted to offer to this incredible city we have grown to call home.  At the time it was thought this would be a short-term sacrifice, and we could concentrate on our family when the church was well established.  Years past, and though we built incredible relationships and what we felt was a strong core group, the church was still unable to offer a salary to my husband.  We wanted to wait until he had some sort of salary, so that when I was on Mat leave we would have something to bump up the substantially lower wages I would be getting through unemployment.  So we continued to wait…

…and wait…

…and wait…

Any newly married couple knows that from the moment you say ‘I do’, everyone starts asking you when or if you are having kids…after almost ten years of marriage it nearly drove me nuts.  Not because it wasn’t their business, but because I desperately wanted to be a mommy.   I can remember several occasions where my frustration brought me to tears.  I felt that I was being selfish…Here was my husband ministering to a city with me by his side wishing the church would just pay him, so we could have our family…

I was waiting for the right time and circumstances…and wondering when God would let me know…

I remember the day when a good friend sat me down because she could sense my burden.  She didn’t know what was wrong but she could tell something was up.  It was so nice to be able to speak about my feelings…I found myself weeping as I shared how ashamed I felt.  How I felt I was taking away from the ministry of my husband.  With her help I suddenly realized that the money didn’t matter and that God would help provide what we needed when we decided to have our family…and He certainly did.  As a pharmacist my Mat leave from unemployment was topped up by my employer, so I was able to stay home for six months, after which I eased my way back to work.

My first-born son’s name is Nathaniel…it means Gift from God.

When we found out we were expecting our second son, we had names picked out that we liked, and it wasn’t until Noah was born and home that the meaning of his name really came to mind.  Noah means Comfort…

Noah has not been the easiest child by any means…we had it easy with Nate, but Noah…completely different.  He didn’t (and still doesn’t) sleep well, he has had several infections over the last year, and had a terrible time with teething.  He has this high-pitched, loud cry that goes right through you…especially when it wakes you out of a deep sleep in the middle of the night.

But he is my little snuggle bug…  Where Nate can hardly sit still on my lap for more than five minutes, Noah loves to cuddle, and will sit on my lap or in my arms for hours at a time.  There is just something about a child snuggling into your arms that settles your heart and mind after a long day.  He is often the first one to come running to the top of the stairs when I get home from work…reaching up his arms for me.  He is a comfort to me as much as I am to him.

They are my Gift from God and my Comfort, and I can’t imagine life without them both.

Are you home mommy?

The first time my oldest son Nate asked me if I had to go to work, it struck me straight to the heart. I am a working mom and I absolutely love being a pharmacist, but it really hit me…and still does whenever he says it.

When Nate was born I stayed home for 6 months and then went back to work part-time before coming back full-time when he was a year old. When Noah was born I stayed home for only 17 weeks before going back to work full-time. That has been a much harder adjustment.
Sleep deprivation, poor eating habits, mountains of dirty laundry, dishes and housework…none of that compares to the look on my child’s face when I say I have to go to work…

But then, when I walk in the door at the end of the day I am greeted by a resounding “Mommy!” as both boys usually meet me at the top of the stairs. And both are eager to sit with me on the couch, or lift them up to hold them.

“Mommy, are you home?”
“yes sweetheart, I’m home”

But I don’t want to!

Picture the above comment spoken by an adorable little boy with big beautiful round eyes and a definite whine in his voice and you have my little Nate.

My perfect little Nate, was the perfect child pretty much until he turned about 2 and a half (he will be three next week).  It is like a switch went off in his cute little head.  His first answer to everything now is “no”, and he seems to take great joy in terrorizing his little brother….

Greg, my husband, had great fun with Nate one afternoon…after a string of “no” answers, Greg asked Nate if he wanted some chocolate and as usual Nate said “no”.  Then very quickly you could see him processing what the question was asking and changed his answer to a resounding “yes! I do want chocolate!”.  He has his mother’s sweet tooth.

I know he is testing us as parents, and we do discipline him…we use a naughty spot most times.  I even have a Time Out Pad, which is a battery operated pressure pad that has a timer and an alarm that goes off if he gets off before his time is up.  We have taken away games or toys as punishment.  When he has a full-out tantrum we put him in his room and tell him he can come out when he settles down.

I know that he is testing us as parents and learning his limits.  It is part of his development.  The unfortunate part is that I also know that a little jealousy for his little brother is affecting his actions.  He tends to act out if either Greg or I is holding Noah, who by the way is my little cuddlebug and loves to snuggle.  I also know that some of it has to do with both Greg and I being at work, and the boys being at Daycare all day.  We only have a few short hours at the end of a week day to feed them, spend some time with them and then put them to bed.

As I was sitting here thinking about what to blog I thought of Nate’s comment…”But I don’t want to”….The funny thing is after a long day at work I often find myself thinking the same thing.  I am tired and worn out from a work day and poor little Nate is just looking for attention from his mommy.  I am his world right now, and it is important for me to spend time with him playing, and reading books…and watching Disney’s “Cars” for the millionth time.

The discipline is important, but quality time with my kids is even more important.  A good friend once gave me some great parenting advice:  The dishes can wait.  She was right.

I may come home from work tired from a day, or feeling like I want to get a head start on the mountain of laundry and dishes waiting, but it is more important to spend that time with my boys…I may not WANT to, but as a mommy, I NEED to.