All is Calm, All is Bright


It is early morning on the day of Christmas Eve and all is quiet in the house … for the moment.


Very soon the air will be alive with voices and activity:

Gwamps,Gwamps! Let’s play, Gwamps!              Gwumma, what we gonna do next?

A contented baby’s chatter will sprinkle through the rooms. The kind of chatter only other babies understand, but we grown ups joyfully listen and respond to because this is the beginning of good communication. And really, it’s just plain fun chatting with a tiny one who thinks they know what they are saying.

The piano will resound throughout the house as Gwumma and Little Man play and sing their unique rendition of Jingle Bells, which consists of Gwumma singing and playing the notes while Little Man tinkles the higher keys, singing the same phrase over and over at the top of his lungs.

Gingerbread houses may or may not get decorated today.

Christmas goodies may or may not get baked today.

Some outdoor activity will surely be included because it’s snowing, and the marshmallow world is begging for new footprints and happy voices.


There will be some kind of sports blasting from the tv for those who don’t understand that Christmas means lovely Christmas music, and Christmas movies, and fragrant candles burning. This is the result of adding sons to the family, much to the Cowboy’s delight.

There will be good conversation snatched here and there among the busyness of little people.

There will be naps to smuggle, goodies to munch, and a new boyfriend to meet.

There will be a seafood feast for dinner, followed by a Christmas Eve service. Then time spent around the tree, the traditional gift of new pjs opened just before bed.


But most of all there will be togetherness. There will be living, laughing, and loving. It will not be forced. It will be achieved through the knowledge that, being scattered across three provinces, we rarely get to be all together in one place at the same time. So these moments will be cherished. Treasured up in our hearts, as Mary treasured up all that occurred around her on that very first Christmas Eve. And we are grateful. So very grateful.



If you would like to read a Christmas poem I wrote this year, you can find it here.




What I Know For Sure



Today is my birthday.

As a gift to myself, I will be spending at least an hour in a favourite bookstore. Then we will meet some family and friends at a restaurant where they serve varenyky and farmer sausage almost like Mom used to make.

The day is made even better because I’ve come to the conclusion that I finally know some things.

This is important to me because I have lived most of my life outside my comfort zone. Never completely sure of myself. (A common plight for introverts, apparently.) Most of my life – from choosing a breakfast cereal to parenting – has been I don’t know what I’m doing, but let’s try this. I admire people who are so sure of themselves, and I wonder how they do it.

Now, having reached the unremarkable age of 54, I am happy and relieved to say that there are actually a few things I do know for sure. Someday I may expand on them but for today, at the risk of being too simplistic, yet in an effort to keep it simple, here they are:


Life is a series of seasons. Some seasons are good. Some seasons are bad. That’s life.

The dirty dishes won’t go away. The baby will. Leave the dishes, hold the baby.

It takes less than a second for life to change forever.

Those you love the most have the most power to wound you.

Doctors are not God. They are just people, with a medical education.

Everyone must walk his own path. Most beloved, dearest child, friend, or foe, I cannot live their life for them.

Traveling the world is exciting, but coming home is everything.

The only way to learn perseverance is to persevere.

The way I respond to what happens to me is my choice.

God can be trusted with my life – even when I can’t see Him working.


So, Happy Birthday to me. Here’s to many more years of Joy!






A Good Name, Sweet Thing


Proverbs 22:1 – A good name is to be more desired than great riches.


A good name … hmmm.

Our newest addition to the family has a good name. She arrived 8 weeks ago and was distinctly named for her story – her backstory as well as her future story. (Yes, a newborn CAN have a backstory.)

Although her parents knew in advance that she would be a girl, and what her name was, everyone else was kept in the dark until her arrival, long awaited.


It’s such an odd sensation, driving to the hospital to meet a new family member for the first time.

Who are you, sweet thing, and who will you be?


Version 2

Her own DNA.

Her own name.

Her own voice.

Her own little bud of a personality.


Her own struggles.


Oh, it’s so hard to think of someone this little having to go through struggles; she’s such a sweet little thing.

But she will.

That’s the thing about living … it’s not struggle-free.


Yet, it is our reactions to our struggles that determine whether or not we will have a good name. The good name spoken of in Proverbs.

A good name is a good character. A good reputation.

Anybody responds well in the pleasant times.

But that kind of good name is built on one’s responses in the hard times.



So, while we would never wish strife and hard times on this new life, instead we pray that her responses to her struggles will form her character and build her good name.





Incidentally, her name is Hanna Joy.

But to me she will always be Sweet Thing.


Version 2

Lessons From a Two Year Old



There is something about 2-year-olds that is so raw and honest. They are still uncorrupted by the world, in that they don’t really think about what others are thinking about them, or whether or not their opinion will rock the boat. Or even whether or not they should have an opinion. They just have one.

They live in the moment. They feel all the feelings – the highest highs and the lowest lows. And then they move on.

We could learn a lot from 2-year-olds.

Here are some things I learned during my ten days with Little Man.


1.  Know who you are.

Several times on our outings, friends, store clerks, and perfect strangers would comment to him, “You are so cute!” or “Aren’t you a sweetheart.” Each and every time he would look at them seriously and reply, “No. I Deklan.”

At one point during his visit, he and The Cowboy were practicing counting. First Gramps would say a number, then Little Man would say the next number:

G: One

LM: Two

G: Three

LM: Four

… and so on.

Then Gramps decided to switch it up.

G: Okay. Now you are One.

LM: No, I Deklan.

G: No, I’m Two so you are One.


We all need the confidence of a 2-year-old to know who we are, despite the pressures of the world to influence us otherwise.


2.  Remember that your Father delights in you.

One day, after we had FaceTimed with Mommy and Daddy, Little Man had a hard time going to bed.

“I go MY house,” he kept saying. We had some extra cuddles that night. We talked about all the people who love him. We talked about how, in a few days, Mommy and Daddy would come pick him up and take him home in Daddy’s truck.

As I laid him down and covered him up, he looked at me with those innocent eyes and said, “I make Daddy so happy.”

I know for a fact that his Daddy tells him this all the time. How wonderful that, in his hour of difficulty, Little Man could remember that his Daddy delighted in him.

Our heavenly Father tells us all the time, “You are precious in My sight.” (Isa. 43:4).  It would serve us well to remember this when we go through difficult times.


3.  Recognize the feelings and state them for what they are.

Wrestling with a wiggly 2-year-old during a diaper change is as hard as the hardest workout I’ve ever managed. It can be frustrating and nerve-wracking for all involved.

On one such occasion Little Man had had enough and suddenly hollered, “Gwumma! I haf no patience!!”

You and me both, buddy boy, but thanks for putting it out there.

Sometimes it helps to stop and identify the feelings in a moment of frustration. As so many psychologists are wont to advise — figuring out the problem is half the battle. So, recognize it. Name it. Then choose how to deal with it.


4.  Slow down and appreciate.

2-year-olds are experts in being aware. Even the most everyday, mundane thing gets legitimate recognition. We can be busy doing something important, like playing on the train table, when the garbage truck drives into the neighbourhood. Then everything stops as we run to the front window to take it all in and give an enthusiastic WHOAH!

So many little wonderful moments pass us by in our busy, important worlds. We need to be present in the moment, and fully aware, so that we are able to thoroughly appreciate life’s tiniest of gifts.


I am definitely appreciating the gift of a certain 2-year-old.