uncovered beauty, part B

I wrote a post and published it, without actually finishing it as intended. Weird.
Why I did that, I cannot explain. I think it has to do with the fact that I'm not an accomplished writer (by any stretch of the imagination), and so this process of blogging is flawed. I have ideas, antidotes and lessons to share, but my ability to express them is very limited. Recently I have found myself frustrated by that limitation. Or maybe I'm getting pickier about what I'm writing and how I'm writing.... not sure.

At any rate, one thing I am completely certain of is that it is 4:30 in the morning, and I can't get the above mentioned post out of my mind. My intention for "uncovered beauty", was to describe how the elderly ladies protected skin was a visual allegory or metaphor, for how God shields and protects His children. Our earthly bodies may experience extreme pain and suffering, but ultimately God promises to protects us from utter and complete ruin.
But...then I couldn't end the blog with a sweet, tie it all up with a big blue ribbon, kind of ending. I struggled to articulate my thoughts about the "ruin" part, and decided to leave out any sort of spiritual parallel.

I know that with God in my life, nothing is impossible...no darkness to dark and no depth too deep. However how does or how will that play out? Really play out?

Did God promise to shield me from the harshness of this world?
"God only gives us what we can handle?"
Is that true..who said that anyway?
Here's my thinking sometimes...my daughter won't get cancer, my son diabetes... and my husband won't have a heart attack all at the same time...right? Maybe someone else, but not ME.

Lets ask lots of questions. A post of questions...from a sleep deprived woman. Helpful.

But seriously, as a believer, is my heart impermeable to devastation?? Am I deluded to think there are some dark evils and nightmares that will bounce off my life... like rain on an umbrella?
How does that work again?
Alzheimer's disease is pretty devastating....as was the Jewish Holocaust. What about terminal illness, a motherless child, an unloving spouse, or 9-11? What about the woman with 3 children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities, will God's protection save her from a mental breakdown and broken spirit?

And why am I thinking about my blog in the middle of the night anyway?
So frustrating!! I need to stop drinking coffee at 11:30 pm and telling people that I doesn't affect me.

Since I am obviously feeling the weight of my fatigue, I will end this confusing post of questions with reference to an article... I really like what she has to say. I hope you do too.

Good night.



Mad Men
The t.v. show.
Not something you'd want to watch in front of your children.
Lets just say, the morals in this sitcom aren't exactly.....moral.
there is an outpouring of:
-excessive drinking
-disrespect to women
um......and probably much more.

Problem is, I can't stop watching it.
I have a serious love for the historical timeline of the 50's and 60's (Nixon, Kennedy, Martin Luther King, records, penny loafers, black and white t.v.'s, the dresses, the hats, the toys, the music....need I go on?).
Seeing life depicted during that era, not only in the advertising world of New York City, but in the lives of the house wives, and in the rumblings of the civil rights movement, is incredibe and capdivating.  I find it all so FACINATING.  I'm not surprised the show has won numerous awards...the acting, the "costumes", character development... very well done.

I 'm working my way through 4 seasons of episodes (thanks to Netflix), and so far have reached the mid- point of Season 3. Sunday night I was home alone, and so without having to tend to anyone but myself, I plunked down on the recliner and proceeded to watch 6 episodes. You can imagine my horror when I realized it was 4:10 a.m.! Who does that? WHat a terrible waste of time! The funny thing is, that I wasn't even tired-i could have literally watched all night. SAD SAD SAD.

Now, before everyone runs out the door screaming to the world that I am evil. I do have a reason for admitting this gluttonous, outrageous behavior. A reason for openingly proclaiming that I get a kick out of a show that (unfortunatly) parades promiscuity as chic and unavoidable in our society (actually much like today)......
And here it is:
Never before have I watched a t.v. show OR movie, where a voluptuous, curvy woman was convincingly accepted as beautiful...gorgeous! To the point where media is sitting up and noticing (applauding the casting director). There is a character named Joan who works in the Ad agency (along with all the MAD men), with whom everyone highly respects and admires. She doesn't have a tiny waist, tiny chest or tiny hips......she has curves.  And she looks amazing. STUNNING.
The Actress' name is Christina Hendricks.  Her bio states that she wears a size 14. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!

I don't have to tell you that I have always struggled with my "curves".  I look at other busty, larger women and admire their beauty... wish for their confidence and appearence. But I somehow exclude myself from that acceptance..... and not 100% comfortable in my own skin. *That's also what happens when you've  REALLY admired the looks and style of people like Audrey hepburn and Twiggy, ever since you were 13...
Anyway...I am aware (now), that  i will never look like Audrey -unless i live on a diet of cigarettes and celery...and never intend to...STAND. I wholeheartedly accept that this body won't be skinny. NEVER EVER EVER. I've inherited some fantastic Neufeld genes which just happen to secure my body shape for life.
And I'm ok with that.
Yes i am.
(Go Neufeld's!)

Its just wonderful to see a glimpse of the "average woman" on the big screen....
Confident and respected.

I must say, if you decide to tune in next season to Mad Men-or watch on Netflix, I don't recomend taking in a 5 hour succession of episodes. As much as I have enjoyed watching the dynamics of a (somewhat) typical urban family of the 60's...the mutliple affairs everyone seems to be having, makes me sick to my stomach after awhile. The yuckiness of of all the unfaithfulness, creates a strong urge to remove my brain, and throw it into the "pots and pans" wash cycle of the dishwasher!
Or I guess more realistically, it makes me want to spend time affirming my devoted husband, (who looks pretty fierce himself in a suit and tie).
He's always been a fan of my body shape.
thank goodness.


hidden beauty

Many years ago (during my summers home from university), I worked as a Health Care Aide in a nursing home.
I loved it.
I loved the ability to help people in a real and tangible way.
I loved how simply stopping and crouching down to speak with a resident in a wheelchair, seemed to transform their vacant stares into bright expressions.

So many beautiful elderly ladies.
They reminded me of my Grosmama.
Soft white hair braided and pinned into a "schups" (bun).
Soft smiles.
Wisdom behind the tired, sparkly eyes.
Assisting, guiding, transfering, feeding, bathing, dressing, lifting, comforting, hugging, caring.

Carefully i would help frail arms through dress sleeves...
Gently, with respect for the person before me,
I would button-up clothing, and comb thinning hair.

I couldn't help but notice...
The arms and faces of these women,
how they revealed evidence of aging, stress, and thousands of sunny days.
Working out on the field, exposed to the heat.
Wrinkles, sun-spots, calloused hands.

Yet underneath the fabric....on the shoulders and back,
appeared the skin of a much younger woman.
Such a contrast.
Completely protected over the years from the earth's elements,
A beauty that was covered and hidden.
wrinkle free.
Unblemished and ageless.


halfway opinions

I've started reading a thousand gifts, by Ann Voskamp, and I'm not 100% thrilled with it.
Yes it has reminded me to be grateful in the everyday, and to be mindful of giving thanks when talking to God. I am moved her awakening and discovery of "euchoristo", as the doorway to contentment and a full life.
But the style of writing is incredibly.......intense, and tiring to read after awhile.
Each sentence carries a great deal of weight, and I find the lyrical and descriptive style better suited for a blog, than a book.

I'm  grasping, underlining, and appreciating, many of Voskamp's discoveries and antidotes...
However overall, I find the continuous imagery that she creates and spins, a bit distracting.

Am I alone in this?

I am going to read it to the end, and perhaps my opinion will change at that point.
But until then,  i"m curious to hear what others thought of the book-
Did you love it??
Were you disappointed??
p.s. i'm wondering if i'm put off because she can raise and home-school 6 children, and always seems to be making soup, bread or a quilt.... whoops, maybe those are just MY ugly insecurities/jealousies?.



I've been feeling overwhelmed (as i just mentioned in my last post....no, nothing has changed).
I detest that feeling. Its like a bad taste in my mouth that just won't go away.
It makes me wallow and think only of myself.
I hate it.

We sold our home quickly, for which I am incredibly thankful. The last home we tried to sell (5 years ago), sat on the market for 2 months. And with a baby and a busy toddler under my feet, it was torture to clean and prepare last minute for each and every (pointless) showing. SO, this recent experience of selling successfully within a short period of time, was a blessing not to be overlooked or forgotten.

However (there is always a however), even with the positive selling experience under our belt, and the prospect of finding a new home, I am still fighting off the urge to head down a path of discouragement. Every morning, I wake up to the weight of "what if's" and "what''s next?" pressing down, threatening to take over and capture every thought.
I don't want to fixate on something I can't control.
I don't want to obsess about finding another house.
I don't want to feel sorry for myself.

I'm trying to remember (actually memorize) the words of Philippians 4:8, where the bible tells us to think intentionally about things that are "excellent and praiseworthy"...
and that has brought reassurance. (I really should write that verse down 50 times and tape it all over my house-so it really STICKS).

Then yesterday, a package arrived in the mail with the book "one thousand gifts", by Ann Voskamp.
I had ordered it before I hit this slump, and now it seemed like its arrival was perfect timing.
An answer to my prayers ....
Its like a treasure map disguised as a hardcover book.
Inside each chapter is an opportunity to redirect my gaze, and thoughts, from the "poor me's",
to a new place and home of refuge and peace.
A place of gratitude.

Can't wait to start.
Have you read it?

By the way...I paid 10$ for this book.
Free shipping anywhere in the world, from the Book Depository.
NOT a bad deal!


pruning away the worries (and any mysterious looking plant life)

My little garden patch in the backyard did not get the usual crop of vegetables and flowers planted this spring. I literally threw a few sunflowers seeds along the fence line, and then planted a couple dozen sweet smelling marigolds and petunia's to provide some colour. I was able to enjoy the pretty rewards of my intensive planting regime initially, yet after several weeks of HEAT, low and behold this is what happened...
Can YOU see the marigolds? I can't see the marigolds..... (Think stain commercial). 
A massive clump of greenery that hardly resembled sunflower plants (more like a cross between a tomato plant and a weed), GREW and completely hid my sunshiny faced marigolds from view.
What happened?
My (limited) gardening instincts told me these were NOT a new kind of self-populating/pollinating sunflowers (?), yet I refused to pull them out. I felt it would be a waste to kill such an interesting plant, and secretly hoped they were actually tomato plants that had miraculously grown from sunflower seeds.....(have i mentioned I haven't been feeling well lately?).
Then today, for some unknown reason it dawned on me that perhaps that logic was ridiculous!! Interestingly enough, I also realized that there was a parallel between keeping those silly plants in my flower garden, and allowing my personal crop of useless worries to linger and grow in my brain.
Sadly I've been worrying about the future lately a little too much.
To the point where I can't sleep, and seem to walk around a bit dazed.

And so...there was only one thing left to do.
I marched right up to those overly confident (smug) sunflower/tomato/weed plants, 
and ripped them right out. 
It proved to be quite satisfying.


deep thought

i like coffee.
i drink it all the time.
it helps me relax.
it enables me to enjoy a good book, a good movie, a good visit, a good baseball game,  a good sermon, a good car ride, a good breakfast, a good camp fire, a good gardening/weeding session, a good slab of fudge/cheese cake/ice cream/ pie/ coffee cake, and a good dose of computer time....

even more.


Bedtime story

One of my favourite bedtime stories is Because of Winn Dixie
It is such a beautiful story; about a motherless little girl, her dog,
and the lonely (unlikely) people they befriend along the way.

Brontë and I watched the movie together.
She loved it.
But the book, yes the book, is far superior.
You should read it, if you haven't already.


time for patience

Looking back on tonight's events:
sleep deprived children, overtired mother, father off to camp for a week... 
sleep deprived children, overtired mother, crying children, crying mother.
(doesn't get much better after that).
       and reviewing the ugly bedtime battle....
I wish, during the worst of it, I could have somehow pressed *pause*.

Stopped time.
Held myself back, taken a deep breath.....
and THEN proceeded with caution.

But Caution, like self-control, and patience; is a virtue I still struggle to find in my
(limited) emotional tool-kit.

Tomorrow evening, when things begin to look like another bad t.v. rerun... I should just try lightening up (hey guys, you want to eat your entire tube of toothpaste? sure why not? I do that too occasionally when I can't sleep)...

or better yet, call for backup (who could resist that pretty face).

{** Bought this book because I loved the title...but sold it at a garage sale before reading it. Mistake?!?}
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