Monday, December 29, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words...or pouts.

Okay, so enough of the 'deep' thoughts, and onto some current random happenings.

My husband and I decided to go out shopping today with all four kids. (please don't tell me to refer to them as children, because sometimes I'm convinced they are baby goats!) We were careful to go over the riot act with them (I should probably write it down one day, you'd get a kick out of the details!), and reminded them that when we passed the toy isle, "looking is with your eyes only."

I had in mind to pick up a large canvas print, as our basement wall needed something to make the room looked 'lived in'. All prints were on sale at our local Superstore (Canadian chain), and I found one that was 50% off! I proudly showed my husband the awesome deal and told him how perfect it would look on our empty wall downstairs. When I looked up, his face did not display the 'Sarah, you have such an eye for art...what a wonderful selection for our home' look that I was expecting. Instead, I was given the "you dragged me all the way out here for that?!?" look.

I tried to clarify the look, in case I read it wrong--nope, he confirmed he was not enthusiastic about the print.

I wanted to submit to him, like a 'good' Christian wife would. You know, by placing the print back on the shelf smiling, then say, "Okay, dear. We'll find another one, I have patience."


Yes, it was a loud sigh. Followed by a pout. I dragged my feet a bit (okay, a lot) as we continued to look down the grocery isles for hors d'oeuvres (oh my goodness, I just admitted that I act like a two year old!).

I know God was telling me to pick my battles, but the urge to act like a kid (yes, a baby goat) was stronger at the time. As my husband turned down the isle to find Jalepeno poppers, he asked, "Is this the right way to turn, or is it down the next one?"

"This is the right one," I replied in the most pathetic, defeated voice I could muster (there may have even been a 'bleating goat' in the background).

This is the moment that my husband proved again why I love him so dearly--he cracked up laughing! I couldn't help but giggle too. We both knew I was overreacting and not handling my disappointment well over a silly picture. He gave me a big hug, and told me to buy my picture. There was even a promise to hang it that day!

Yes, I felt very sheepish--or, should I say "goat-ish".

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My wedding day

I was the little girl who dreamed of one day marrying a Prince (he didn't have to be handsome or charming, just hold the title that would make me a Princess). I had a white pillow case that I would use as a veil, and Mom's clogs (the real wooden kind) were my high heeled shoes. I loved how they made the clicking noise on the ground as I balanced for each step.

I would pick flowers (dandelions) from our front yard to form a bouquet, and hum to the tune of "Here comes the bride" as I walked down our sidewalk to the driveway.

I told myself that when I grew up, I'd buy the fluffiest wedding dress to get married in. The train would be longer than Princess Di's, and my hair would frame my face with curls (with one annoying tuft of hair that I'd have to keep blowing off my nose). I would have the biggest, most brilliant bouquet of roses and daisies......and the Church would have the loudest organ. My father would smile upon me proudly as he gave me over to my awaiting Prince. Oh yes, I spent many hours planning each detail of my fairy-tale wedding day.

I was convinced that a good marriage always began with an elaborate wedding day.

God sure has a funny way of teaching what is truly important in life......

I became pregnant at 19 years of age. I had been dating my boyfriend for just under a year, and we had begun to discuss marriage just the week before. He was facing at least 18 months of military duty for his country, so we had planned to wait until he had fulfilled that obligation before organizing the 'big' day.

Although the baby growing inside of me changed some of the dynamics, we decided that we should continue with our plans to wait to wed. I still dreamed of my white wedding, and a baby bump just didn't jive with that picture.

My husband left to begin his military duty in the Czech Republic when I was 6 months pregnant. We wrote to each other and spoke on the phone once a week. Those 3 months were the hardest 3 months of my life as I faced each day alone and pregnant. It was in that timeframe that it became clear to both my husband and I that marriage was something that should happen sooner rather than later.

After a 24 hour flight, my fiance was picked up at the airport by my father, and sped to the hospital where I was in active labour with our first born. He arrived at my bedside and looked every bit the part of the Prince I had always dreamed of. I was in tears apologizing that I couldn't hold off on the birth in order to say our vows before the baby arrived. (I was induced for medical reasons)

My wedding day finally arrived....eight days after giving birth to our son. I was not dressed in white, it was actually a pale green maternity dress--I couldn't fit into the 'regular' clothes yet. I did not have a brilliant bouquet, but it did have roses (5 to be exact)...the church had a large organ, but it was not played on that day. There were a total of 6 people in attendance, and the entire ceremony took less than half an hour. Our newborn son slept the whole time, covered head to toe in white--we both recognized he was the true 'pure' gift that day for us.

My pictures were taken by my father on a disposable camera (and were ready within one hour!). There were no details about my day that even remotely resembled the fantasy I built up during my childhood. There was something, however, that made my day even

God so loved us, He blessed us even though we were sinners.

To this day, the Priest who married us tells the story of our wedding as a sermon. He has yet to preside over another wedding that was so full of joy, peace and love as the one that occured 10 years ago last May 30th.

Friday, December 26, 2008

In the beginning....

There seems to be no good place to start. I have no qualifications as a writer, nor do I have any skill when it comes to relaying my thoughts succinctly.

How does one find meaningful thoughts to jot down when given a blank slate and 30 years of life experience? I guess every story has a beginning and an end....but my story has two beginnings with no end.

My first beginning was 30 years ago (almost 31!). I came into this world screaming at the top of my lungs and, according to my Mother, I never toned it down. Some people might think this a bad thing, like the lady who wondered aloud where I would ever find a husband. It turns out I had to go all the way to France to find a man to take me on. The great thing about my volume is that I can summon my children home within a 10 mile radius. (That's 16 kms in Canada)

My second beginning, and when my real life began, was about 10 years ago. I had just recently been married, given birth to our first baby, and moved to the Czech Republic--away from all that I knew and loved. I was scared and alone in a strange country where I didn't speak the language or understand it. We didn't have a T.V. or phone, and I soon fell into the darkness of isolation and depression. My days were spent writing letters back home and reading the Bible (because it was the only English book I had!).

One special day, I had been reading the book of Romans, and one story stood out. It was the story about Paul praying for a Gentile, and the Holy Spirit descended upon the whole family. They were filled with The Spirit and were jumping for joy. I thought, "That's it? All it took was a little prayer and it made them happy? And, what the heck is this 'Spirit' thing?"

It was time for my afternoon nap (I learned quickly to nap when baby napped), but before I lay down to sleep, I got down on my knees. I said a very simple prayer, "Lord, whatever it is that you gave to those people in the Bible, I want it....I need it." I was NOT expecting what happened next.

I felt a strong downward draft of warm air fall upon me, beginning at my head and enveloping my entire body. As the warmth embraced me, I felt lighter than air with a Peace that lifted the weight of the world off of my shoulders. I had carried so much shame for my actions, and as I was shown the errors of my ways, I was simultaneously shown that my debt had been paid in full, and I was forgiven for each offense.

It was in that moment that I understood my calling in life, and my purpose. I no longer just 'believed' in God and in His Son, but I 'knew' Him from within. From that moment on, I have attempted to pursue His Will for my life. That was my True beginning.