Sunday, April 30, 2006

Soccer starts in May, and so does the rain!

It's here. I'm not referring to the spring rain that's falling, but rather to the outdoor soccer season, although those two occurrences seem to be synonymous here in Winnipeg. "April showers bring May flowers" doesn't quite work -- it's more like "Soccer starts in May, and so does the rain!"

With 4 boys playing soccer on 4 different teams, that means 4 different schedules to keep track of, and sometimes needing to be in 2 or more places at once. It becomes a bit of a challenge, especially when Eric is on the road so much. I appreciate so much the willingness of others to drive my kids to and from games as I need extra help.

I wonder sometimes how I can keep up the hectic pace for 2 months, but somehow I do. And I have to be honest and admit that I enjoy watching my kids play soccer and interacting with their teammates and friends. I also enjoy spending an hour or so with these other parents that through the course of the season (and sometimes many previous) have become my friends.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Good-bye Golden Girl

My indoor soccer team is named the "Golden Girls". Obviously not because we're the "winningest" team, although we do fairly well. Moreso because the average age on our team is probably around 48. Since December/January it was discovered that one of my teammates, Laurie, had cancer. This past Thursday, Laurie lost her battle with cancer and passed away.

She started the indoor soccer season with us in fall, coming out to practices and I think even played a game or two. It's hard to believe that in the space of 5 months, she's gone. She was only 45. I didn't know Laurie very well -- only interacted with her during practices and games, but I liked her very much. Laurie had spunk and a lot of energy. She had a real joy for the game and enjoyed her teammates. She will be missed by all of us.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

My sense of adventure

My husband has sometimes said of me (and this line he borrowed from someone else), "Lisa's idea of an adventure is having coffee on the deck." I think I'm much more adventurous than that. Sometimes I have my chair on the grass and only have my feet on the deck!

One of my favourite things ...

One of my most absolute favourite things to do is sit outside on a sunny day and read a good book. For me, that's the epitome of relaxation. My kids already know the drill ... "Don't bug Mom. She's reading." There's something about sitting outside in a comfortable lawn chair, with the warm sun beating down and getting lost in a story of someone else's making that is very appealing to me. I will actually schedule my daily agenda to fit in these little "getaways".

My favourite authors? I just finished reading "House" by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. Good book! I'll read just about anything by Ted Dekker, Karen Kingsbury, Francine Rivers, Lynn Austin ... just to name a few.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Joys of Chocolate

So I finally started exercising again. A couple of years ago I was doing really well and was fairly disciplined with doing my weekly workouts. I think it's a fair assessment to say that I lack self-discipline when it comes to exercising. The spirit is usually willing, but as the saying goes, the flesh is weak ... or too sore to do it another day. I've actually managed to do these new workouts for 3 weeks now, which means getting up extra early on the days I go to work ... so why am I gaining weight instead of losing it? Oh right, muscle weighs more than fat. Yeah. Keep thinkin' that way! I think it has more to do with the fact that I still eat just as much chocolate as I ever have!

Ah, the joys of chocolate. I love it -- too much, really. I have a magnet on my fridge door that sums up my sentiments: "I'd give up chocolate, but I'm no quitter!" Chocolate is my comfort food, if you can call it that even. About 8 years ago I was diagnosed as having celiac disease, which basically means that gluten (a wheat protein) is harmful to my intestines. I was asymptomatic when I was diagnosed but decided to start on the life-long discipline of adhering to a gluten-free diet. (There's that "discipline" word again!) I found it really hard to cut out some of the wheat products that I now couldn't have and to compensate, I turned to chocolate. It didn't help that I was 5 months pregnant at the time and pregnancy/hormones can make you do strange things. I ate so much chocolate -- it's a wonder I still enjoy the stuff. Eating chocolate may be the only thing that I'm really disciplined about!

So I guess my dilemma here is that I want to lose some weight and get into better shape without giving up the chocolate. Any suggestions??

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bandaids ...

This afternoon my youngest son, Zackery, came in with a scrape on his arm after falling off his bike. We went to the bathroom and cleaned it up – it’s amazing what a little Polysporin and a couple of bandaids will do for the healing process.

But at some point our kids grow up and they realize that the “bandaid” just doesn’t cut it anymore. A bandaid typically isn’t a pain reliever – it just sits on top of the wound to protect it and hopefully keep the wound clean until it can heal. When our kids are hurting emotionally, that “bandaid” might be our love, our prayers, our best intentions, or it might be a change in surroundings, a change in friends, limitations on privileges …

So how do I, as a mother, help my kids learn to cope with the pain of life? Because face it, LIFE ISN’T FAIR. We’re all going to get hurt, get a raw deal, get the short end of the stick, at some point in our lives.

The “Christian” answer to that is to pray for them and love them and blah, blah, blah. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good answer and I want to pray for them and love them. But how do I practically point them to Jesus in the midst of their pain? Maybe I don’t. Maybe that’s the work and power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Maybe all I do is pray, and love, and be there to hug them and hold them when they need to feel arms around them, and trust that Jesus loves them more than I ever could.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Words of Wisdom?

This weekend I had two wedding showers to attend ... both the same evening. I think the last wedding shower I went to was in 1998, so it's been awhile. You know you're getting older when the bride is the daughter of a friend.

At the one shower, we were to write down words of advice to the bride. I arrived late to this shower (it was the second one of the evening) and so my piece of advice never got written down. I did spend some time thinking about what on earth I would write. What advice could I give?

Eric and I have been married almost 17 years -- we were introduced by a couple of friends on a blind date. Before I even met him, I had a very strong sense that this was the last man I was going to date; this was the one. I can only credit that to God. So here's my Top 10 List of Things to Remember as a Wife:

1o. Flirting is OK. Actually, flirting is a great tool to keeping romance alive!

9. You'll do a lot of things together as a couple, but take time to do things for yourself as well. It's important that you maintain friendships with your "girlfriends". They're a huge support system.

8. Laugh a lot. Inside jokes are great. Not a year goes by at daylight savings time that Eric doesn't say "Gee, it's 10:00? It only feels like 9:00". It wouldn't be daylight savings without that little joke.

7. Sometimes you need to give up your agenda. I'm incredibly agenda-driven and that was fine when I was single, but when there is someone else to consider, there have to be concessions and some give and take.

6. Be mindful of your husband's needs. Serve him. That doesn't mean wait on him hand and foot and be at his beck and call for every whim. It means consider what he needs and how you can best minister to those needs. Be the hands and feet of Jesus to your husband.

5. Be a good listener. Be patient and ready to really hear everything he says, and doesn't say, for that matter. And then once you've heard his heart, pursue him to let him know that you've listened, and that you still love him.

4. Pray for him. If the prayer of a righteous man availeth much, just think what the prayer of a righteous wife can do!

3. Extend him grace. When he pisses you off and when there are days that you just can't stand him or don't know what to do with him, extend him grace. And if you're not sure you have any grace for him, ask Jesus to give more to you. He gives it freely and abundantly.

2. Be best friends.

1. Love as best as you know how. I am only able to love my husband because Jesus loves me. Tell him often -- in words and in your actions.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

"Aslan is not a tame lion"

Last night we were watching the movie "Narnia" again. A line near the end of the movie jumped out at me -- it was after the battle in which the White Witch is defeated and Aslan has left. One of the children asks if they'll ever see Aslan again. The response that comes is "Aslan is not a tame lion." My interpretation? "God cannot be tamed". We can't quantify God or put Him in a box. He cannot be contained. He is that big and that powerful.

The power of prayer ... and the study of it

Recently it was reported on the news that a scientific study had concluded that therapeutic prayer for patients undergoing surgery had no effect. "The results showed that prayers had no beneficial effect on patients' recovery 30 days after surgery. Overall, 59% of patients who knew they were being prayed for had complications, compared to 51% of the patients who did not receive prayers. The difference was not considered statistically significant." (Click to go to the entire article this is taken from,,1,3169049.story?coll=la-headlines-nation&ctrack=1&cset=true)

I thought it interesting that $2.5 million dollars would be spent on a study of this kind; a study basically trying to understand faith and the power of prayer scientifically. I know from experience that there is power in prayer and God answers ... but we cannot manipulate God with our prayers. He hears and answers, but sometimes it isn't the answer we're wanting, especially when it comes to the healing of a loved one.

Home Free -- Song by Wayne Watson
I'm trying hard not to think you unkind
But Heavenly Father If you know my heart
Surely you can read my mind
Good people underneath the sea of grief
Some get up and walk away, Some will find ultimate relief
Chorus: Home Free, eventually
At the ultimate healing we will be Home Free
Home Free, oh I've got a feeling
At the ultimate healing We will be Home Free
Out in the corridors we pray for life
A mother for her baby, A husband for his wife
Sometimes the good die young, It's sad but true
And while we pray for one more heartbeat
The real comfort is with you
You know pain has little mercy
And suffering's no respecter of age, of race or position
I know every prayer gets answered
But the hardest one to pray is slow to come
Oh Lord, not mine, but Thy will be done

1 The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. 2 The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. 3 By faith, we see the world called into existence by God's word, what we see created by what we don't see. (Hebrews 11:1-3, The Message)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

First sign of spring

To reprise an earlier blog,

Spring has sprung,
The grass has riz,
My basement ...
That's where the water is.

Thankfully, the water is gone and the carpet is now dry. Our yard, however, is still very, very wet. The boys are eager to be outside and playing tag or riding their bikes, for which I am very thankful. They need that kind of outlet ... especially after a long winter. Yesterday I got a real kick out of Zackery. Here was his recipe for a good time:

Take one old small piece of panelling lying around in the backyard (was supposed to get on the garbage pile at one time)
Add to one large puddle of standing water in the backyard
Take a running leap onto the board
Make like a surfer, dude

It was great fun to watch him. Even when he fell on his butt in the puddle, he still had a huge smile on his face.

These are the signs of spring at my house: boys on bikes; boys in rubber boots running through puddles; muddy footprints through the house to the bathroom; and oh yeah, the wild crocuses that come up each year in my front yard.