A Therapist in the Mother Zone

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two years with two children!

two years ago right now, i was still waiting for aaron peter to make his appearance. his due date was June 30 or July 1, and i was convinced he’d come early….and the evening of july 2 i was still waiting. at 11.30 pm, just as i went to make one last bathroom trip before bed BAM! my water broke, and a crazy hour and a half later aaron peter made his appearance outside the womb. poor guy was purple, he came out so fast….fortunately the purple faded:)

purple baby

purple baby

isaiah meeting aaron

isaiah meeting aaron

no more purple:)

no more purple:)

he's been our smiley guy for a long time (fortunately the rob ford resemblance has also faded!

he’s been our smiley guy for a long time (fortunately the rob ford resemblance has also faded!

these two years have been very challenging. i haven’t had a good night’s sleep in two years. my mood issues have worsened because of that, and because of the constant, incessant demands of two children. i (and we) have in a lot of ways been living in survival mode for two years.

and yet….these of been two years full of the incredible, almost inconceivable reality that a creature came out of my body, and a whole person is evolving out of that strange alien baby. and what a person! aaron peter exudes joy, delight, enthusiasm, and cuteness. he’s outgoing, clearly an extrovert, unafraid of people, of life, full of love. he gives the sweetest hugs and kisses. overall he really is truly is the laid back southern boy i requested! (though it must be said that he moves a little bit more quickly at this point in his life, than his southern daddy:))

last summer

last summer

he loves getting messy

he loves getting messy

beach baby

beach baby

i have no idea why his face is red

i have no idea why his face is red

DSCF5956 DSCF6031the cuteness just overwhelms me….God’s beauty shines through



the picture of aaron with a paintbrush in his hand kind of stresses me out, given aaron’s lack of willingness to stick to the ‘only on paper’ rule. the second picture, though, brings delight to my heart:)wpid-img_20140528_155721.jpgimage

loving my neighbour

below is a series of quotations that have arrived in my inbox over the course of the last month, thanks to a daily email service called inward/outward,  provided by church of the saviour in washington, dc. i’m collecting these passages here because of the contentious relationship we have with our neighbour–literally our neighbour, the person with whom we share a wall of the house.

as followers of jesus, stephen and i believe that radical love is the path to walk….but that’s always so much nicer in theory. when one’s neighbour is not easy to love, when she is becoming more and more aggressive in her hostility towards us, because of our children, it gets very difficult. when you hear her call out into the back yard for you and your children to hear “you’re a fucking asshole isaiah”….well, that takes love to a whole other level of difficulty.

dealing with my neighbour is the last thing i have time and energy for right now, but the escalation that has occurred over the last months is not losing steam, so i know we have to do something. and these darn quotations about love keep coming into my inbox!

Trying to Love
I find that it is better to love badly and faultily than not to try to love at all. God does not have to have perfect instruments, and the Holy One can use our feeble and faltering attempts at love and transform them. My task is to keep on trying to love, to be faithful in my continuing attempt, not necessarily to be successful

Morton Kelsey
Source: Companions on the Inner Way

Gestures of Love
A gesture of love is anything we do that helps others discover their humanity. Any act where we turn to one another. Open our hearts. Extend ourselves. Listen. Any time we’re patient. Curious. Quiet. Engaged.

Margaret Wheatley
Source: Turning to One Another

Death Into Life
We feel small and weak, but we are gathered together to signify the power of God who transforms death into life. That is our hope, that God is doing the impossible: changing death to life inside of each of us, and that perhaps, through our community, each one of us can be agents in the world of this transformation of brokenness into wholeness, and of death into life.

Jean Vanier
Source: Brokenness to Community

jean vanier also says everyone is beautiful. oh lord, help me to see her beauty.



Evidence that sometimes, they do play happily together!

a little rainer maria rilke

something i want to ponder:

Let Everything Happen

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.
Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.

mommy, where is god?

last night, isaiah and i read part of the story of the last supper, focused on jesus washing the disciples feet, and jesus tells the disciples that he’s going back to god.

(this picture is from the jesus story book bible, which is what we mostly use)

this is part of the discussion which followed:

isaiah: is god real or pretend?

me: he’s real

isaiah: no, he’s not real. we can’t see him, he’s pretend!

me: he’s real. just because we can’t see something doesn’t mean it can’t be real.

isaiah: where is god?

thus began a several minute conversation about where god is. as you might imagine, since i was having this conversation with a four year old, it was a pretty vague conversation. holy abstract concept batman! (not to mention, what does isaiah even mean by real and pretend?)

i made some attempts at answering his question–things like god is all around us, and he’s in our hearts, and in the love we have in our family etc–but he wasn’t really satisfied. so finally i said ‘you know what we could do? we could pray and you could ask god to show you where he is.’ so he did.

and then he informed me that he was going to write god a letter in the morning. (he has a whole one-sided letter writing relationship with the tooth fairy, having lost his first tooth via extraction earlier this year, so i think that’s what gave him the idea:))

he did write the letter this morning, but didn’t tell me what was in it. later, though, when he overheard me telling my friend kyra about this god conversation, he piped up with ‘i said “i want to see you god”‘

(for the future, stephen and i talked about how writing letters to god could be something we all do as a family, and that we could share them with each other sometimes.)
but in the present, i am curious about ways other people have found to talk with their kids about god.

i know the same things won’t work with every child, but i’m curious: what kinds of conversations have you had with your young children about god? specifically, how would you answer the question, ‘where is god?’ are there books for children your family has found helpful?

i did remember tonight that we have this wonderful book which may be helpful:

and one of my ‘things’ when it comes to god is that i don’t do black-and-white very well…i’m not wanting to give my children ‘let’s kill the mystery’ answers about god. i don’t even necessarily want to give my children answers, so much as i want to facilitate exploration….so i guess this post is a way of treasuring these moments with isaiah, and pondering them in my heart.

first ever family trip to a sugar bush!


i love maple candy!

i love maple candy!

me too!

me too!

mommy snuck this picture

mommy snuck this picture


donkey! (at the no petting petting zoo)

which comes first….

i found this quotation some time last year. i have had occasion to use it with clients a few times, and again today. i’m just realizing that this is a good one to ponder for lent, and fits well with the idea of ‘preparing for more’ that dale ryan speaks about in my last post.

“Surely one must repent before forgiveness is granted.” This is one of the primary errors common in American Christianity, because it assumes that forgiveness is obtained through our prerogative: we make the first move by repenting, and God reciprocates by forgiving. This is upside-down. Forgiveness is already granted. Christ granted forgiveness to those who crucified Him even as they were committing the act of crucifixion “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” It doesn’t matter what evil thing you do — up to and including murdering the only begotten Son of God — God forgives you. Repentance is necessary not in order that forgiveness may be granted, but in order that forgiveness may be received. If we don’t recognize our sins as sins and don’t want to be rid of them, we won’t accept God’s mercy because we will feel that there is nothing to forgive.”

today for the first time i looked up the woman who said this. her name is melinda selmys, and it turns out she has a whole story, a book, and a blog, about finding new ways for catholics to talk about homosexuality. i have no idea if i’ll like what she has to say, but some day i’d like to spend some time with her blog, because professionally and personally i am interested in finding truly helpful ways for talking about the intersection of faith and homosexuality. sexual authenticity she calls it!

i think that what selmys says about forgiveness preceding repentance is freeing, and so liberating for our image of God. he’s not the angry old guy waiting for us to apologize and then grudgingly forgiving us. he’s the waiting father, ready to run out to greet us with the forgiveness that has already opened his heart, just waiting for us to make room in our hearts to receive it!

lent 2014

i think lent began a little more than a week ago. wasn’t ash wednesday something like march 5? anyhow, i’m just now developing a sense of what i’d like to do over the lenten season, in preparation for easter.

one of the things that has helped is watching this video by dale ryan :

preparing for more

i think this man’s words may be the most helpful EVER in my life for helping me understand lent, for giving me a framework that i really grasp in my core. we have lived with enough scarcity, so don’t give up things you enjoy, experiment with giving up things that are actually harmful to you, things that do prevent you from truly receiving and experiencing christ’s resurrection life.

i’m going to ponder what those things are for me, and try some experiments with ‘giving them up for lent.’ maybe shame? maybe fear of being rejected and excluded? resentment? stress? mistrust of god? we’ll see where the spirit leads….

and in between posts that reflect on that process, i think i want to make an effort simply to post other things that help me, speak to me, encourage me and challenge me in the lenten season. that might be quotations from books, poems, songs etc.


today was a day with the boys…a total mom day. mom days can be a bit of a blur, or a bit drab, or a bit je ne sais quoi…. but there are moments from this day worth remembering.

i’m not sure if it’s good or bad–definitely memorable– but i learned today what to do with a leftover half a can of sweetened condensed milk:

6 minute caramel recipe
1/4 cup butter 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 cup light corn syrup 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to med-low, stir every minute or two to prevent scorching, pour into buttered small pan (8×8 or smaller), cool, cut into pieces, & twist in small pieces of wax paper – so easy!

the day began delightfully with a jodi-and-haddie playdate. lovely to connect up with jodi, and also lovely to see our kids play together.

today the weather was an incredibly sunny, a balmy 10 degrees celsius, and with the increase in light we have now, i finally am beginning to experience the shift in myself that i promise myself is coming all through january and february. it truly affects my mood and energy! even though more snow is coming tomorrow, i am dismayed! just being able to hang out in the backyard with the boys, without us all in pain from the cold, was so amazing. i can really tell the change in myself because despite the fact that aaron kept me up most of the night last night, and then had only a short nap today, i was actually in pretty good shape all day.

tonight isaiah asked me to read the winnie the pooh story about poohsticks. of course i’m talking about the original stories, not the disneyfied ones. and reading milne’s work i was once again delighted and surprised by the humour, the whimsy, the complexity, and the sarcasm! so SO not disney. (piglet: ‘oh eeyore you’re so wet.’ eeyore: ‘perhaps someone could explain to piglet what happens when you spend a great deal of time in water.’)

there are so many things i’m loving about isaiah being 4 (i have a whole post i want to write about that!), and reading long story books at bedtime–at his request–is one of them.

i’m sure there were other moments from this day i had thought about including….but of course i can’t remember them now. time to head to bed, for tomorrow we do it all again!

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