Courage, daughter Matthew 9:22

3 things I learned from raising my boys

Boys

I raised (am raising) three boys. They are mostly grown, but I still feed them and occasionally buy fuel for their vehicles. Goodness, it happened in a hurry. I was thinking, as I watched my bearded oldest son studying for an exam, that there must be some parenting wisdom I’ve accumulated over the years. I mean, if someone asked me for advice, what would I say? I don’t know. I think I was smarter in the raising than I am in the having-raised. I read the books and spent the time and tried to make the moments count. I had some sort of a parenting style, I suppose. But really, it mostly just happened. Minute upon minute, they grew up and here we are. If I had to say something, though, this might be it: If you teach your kids to think for themselves, they grow up to think for…

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if I wrote a poem today

If I wrote a poem today, this is how I might begin. I might start with blue skies and bursting fields and the extravagant joy of nature throwing open her arms toward heaven. I would do my best to describe the wide laugh-smile of my mother when she’s tickled by a funny story, or the open-armed open-hearted joyfulness with which she enters a room. What rhymes with Shirley? Fun, that’s what. I would stare into the lives of my sisters, by blood and by bond, and I would search among the perfect phrases for the most perfect one to describe the thing that makes woman cherish woman. Friendship, no. Deeper. More womanly and gritty and blessed and beautiful. I would agonize over the journey from mother-of-babe to mother-of-man and exclaim the often exclaimed, where did the time go? I would search for words to describe the curve of my husband’s…

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hospitality, according to Jesus

When the kids were younger and we lived on our acreage with dogs and cats and donkeys and lamas and goats and chickens, our door was always open. We had company often – friends who came for lunch and stayed for supper, kids who spent the night and then the weekend – and it was beautifully chaotic and wonderful. I was a kitchen mom, baking brownies and banana bread, and feeding a crowd was my jam. “This is hospitality,” I thought, then. Now, we are in a new place, literally and figuratively. It’s a new season, as “they” like to say. New home, new community, newly-adulting children, and I’m a working mom. I gotta say, I’ve felt like a hospitality failure. A few weeks ago a woman stood up in church and announced a bible study which would begin in the new year. I walked out to the foyer and…

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how to be a good mom

Janelle's Boys

I saw an internet article the other day with the title, “Fifty Things You Should Never Say to Your Child.” I didn’t read it because, oy, fifty things? I can guarantee I’ve said a bunch of them. And I can also guarantee that, after reading the list of Nevers, I would feel like a terrible mother. I would feel guilty and awful and wish I could go back and re-parent my three boys so I could get it right. Because obviously I’ve done it all wrong. The internet is unhelpful, sometimes. Friends, there are a lot of detail-y kinds of things you can decide for yourself about being a good mom. You can decide whether to breastfeed or not; whether to public, private, or homeschool; whether or not to take them to Sunday school; when to buy them a phone. There’s a lot of years of decision-making that go into…

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What would happen if you just let go?

I bought a poster once, when I was a kid, from a christian book store. It said Let Go and Let God. It was the 70’s version of an internet meme, and I thought it was profound. I don’t remember the inspirational picture – balloons flying off into a blue sky, or a lone airplane, maybe. Something like that. But the message seemed important to me at the time. Now, I’m older and not-really-wiser, and I’ve been thinking about some things. I’ve let some stuff go, recently. And by stuff, I mean stuff. I’ve decluttered and downsized like a crazy person, and it’s been good. I feel lighter. I like feeling lighter. But there is more to letting go than making “keep or go” piles of clothes, or holding a garage sale, or giving away the unused milk frother. I mean, saying sayonara to the stuff is part of it,…

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submissive urination and Happy Thanksgiving

Hello. This is my dog, Bruno, and he has submissive urination. This is how I introduce myself at the vet’s office, and everyone takes a step back, because submissive urination means if Bruno is intimidated or excited or in a new place or meeting a new person or who-even-knows-why sometimes, he’ll pee. He’ll pee on the floor or the carpet or the couch or maybe your brand new shoes. “Why don’t you take him outside and let him pee on our bushes and, you know, empty him as much as possible, and when you come back in just stand here in the middle of the room so he can’t pee on anything.” This is what the lovely and kind vet assistant asks of me. “Okay,” I say, and as I get ready to leave Bruno takes a big ole poo, right there on the floor. He’s really nervous, poor guy,…

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oh paperwork

I’m behind on my paperwork. I’m procrastinating. I’m procrastinating on my paperwork by writing about procrastinating on my paperwork. I have a problem. I may continue procrastinating on my paperwork by doing laundry and making muffins and watering the flowers. And the dogs. The dogs will need to go for a walk and the supper will need to be made. Today is the day, though, when this paperwork must be finished. I have given myself this deadline. I will finish my paperwork today. I am reframing my paperwork-dislike as thankfulness. I am thankful for this paperwork because it represents meaningful work and income. I am grateful for this paperwork. I adore this paperwork. Nope. Sometimes, it’s just Big Girl panties and gettin’er done. Bless you, Friends, who are getting it done today.

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how I accidentally started my own business

I’ve done a bunch of things in my life. I’ve been to school, worked for government agencies, worked in the private sector, raised kids, loved foster kids in my home, written stuff, talked about stuff… Basically, a varied and eclectic job history. But about two years ago, I did something I’ve never done before. I started my own business. By accident. We’d moved, you see, and there were financial needs and the kids were getting bigger and I thought it was time to reenter the work force, as they say. I checked the online job ads and eventually I responded to a mom who was looking for a Behaviour Interventionist for her son who was on the autism spectrum. The work seemed to be in my wheelhouse and the hours were flexible and the pay was decent. I dusted off my resume and a week later I was, indeed, a…

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new words in a new place

Boys

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, I used to write stuff. I wrote about my kids and about life in a small Canadian prairie town and about Jesus. There were times when writing saved my life in a way nothing else could, back when I was a mom with little boys and all the struggles of marriage and, well, you know. Life. Then we moved. It’s a long story and I’ll tell you about it one day soon. The bottom line, though, is that moving and making a new life in a new place has been hard. Not all the time, of course. But a lot of the time. I’ve tried to write now and then, but I couldn’t seem to put words together and losing that thing that had saved my life for so long was one of the hardest things in a season of…

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