Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas everyone!

I'm in Courtenay...aka, the flooded land...where we might not have a white Christmas, but it sure is a wet one. I was feeling a little mopey yesterday about not having a white Christmas and then thought about how most of the world doesn't have a white Christmas. So really...

Stockings are opened.
Breakfast eaten.
Presents shared.

And now...
puzzle.
movie.
dinner.

all to recognize this...

(thanks to carleigh for this one - I miss my davey family today!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

just when you need a little pick-me-up...

The other day I was sitting with Charlee, reading her favourite book. It's a large board book about the different types of farms...complete with flaps. Under those flaps are anything from moles to mice to kittens...it's pretty much every 4-year-old-girl's dream book.

So, for the 50th time this week, we were looking at the book, and Charlee created a little story about the animals. She decided she and I were characters as well, and pretended we were two farming dogs. To clarify, these dogs were were dressed in sweaters and made to look like "human animals" - if you get what I mean - think "Little Bear" or "Arthur" - and if you still don't get it, you probably don't hang out with children watching Tree House on tv.
And that's okay.

Upon Charlee's decision that I would pretend to be a very masculine looking Farmer Joe "dog-man", I turned to Charlee and said:
"Wow, I'm kind of ugly, huh?"

To which, with much concern in her face, she quickly looked me up and down and said:
"Oh, no, Kaleen, you're very pretty!"

Quickly realizing she hadn't fully "gotten" that I was in pretend mode, I thanked her for the compliment and explained how I was pretending. I'm not too sure she got it...but I have to say, it was sweet.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

blogger's block strikes again

How is it that when I'm working four days a week, working on my masters and fulfilling volunteer duties, I manage to keep my blog updated...and then when things slow down, so does my blogging?

I hereby solemnly swear to post something wonderful within one week.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

maybe we do...

Today I stayed home from work - an attempt to kick this flu bug in the heiney once and for all.

Carleigh needed to run out for a bit, so I came upstairs and spent some "school time" with Charlee and Bodhi at the dining room table. While they were practicing their hand-eye coordination copying lines on paper, Charlee was spouting off some silliness, so I said "do we need to send you to the looney bin?"

...to which Bodhi replied:
"I live looney bin!"

"You live in the looney bin?" I turned to him.

"Yup!" he grinned at me.

So I guess it's true.
We are the looney bin.
Welcome. Come on over.
Just be prepared....for whatever.

Friday, November 26, 2010

taking out the trash...

Today I had an embarassing moment. I rarely have these (as my dear friend Shari-Anne pointed out), because I am careful to ensure they don't happen.

...but sometimes you just can't help it.

So it all started last night when I was chatting with Carleigh on the phone (they are at her parent's place for US Thanksgiving this weekend), and she was reminding me to put out the garbage for today's pick up. After we hung up, my immediate thought was: "I should go put the garbage out now"...and then somehow I got distracted with reruns of the Golden Girls, along with some laundry, and a very sudden sinus headache. So I took some drowsy cold meds and crawled under the covers.

At 9:50 this morning, I awoke.

At the very same moment (ok, maybe 2 seconds later) an image of a garbage truck popped into my head. I threw back the covers, ran up stairs to the kitchen, and looked out the window to see if the neighbours still had full garbage cans.

They did.
I was in luck.

I somehow found some shoes (no idea where I got them from), and ran out the front door...forgetting that I'd set the alarm.

The alarm beeping at me, threatening to go full-blast, I madly ran back inside fumbling with the code, when I heard the garbage truck pull up to our neighbours' driveway.

Adrenaline coursing through me, I dashed over to the garbage cans, and yanked them down the driveway through the slushy snow...placing them directly in the hands of the garbage guy.

"Thanks," I said, breathlessly...the wind practically knocked out of me by the whole 2 minute ordeal.

"Um, yeah" He responded.
I don't think he gets greeted too often.

Like some sort of nervous twitch, I grabbed the snow shovel next to the carport, and started shoveling snow while he emptied the garbage cans. Was I trying to pretend I'd been outside the whole time, or like this was my plan: rush out with garbage at the last minute and then leisurely shovel the driveway? Not sure, but I'm pretty positive he wasn't fooled.

And then I went back inside, and happened to take a glance at myself in the mirror.

Let's just say I was not a sight for sore eyes...
...and that likely the garbage guy won't be calling for a date anytime soon.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

on that note...

...seeing as I've brought up pop culture...

I love glee.

Love it.

Caught up tonight on last week's episode and shed a few tears.

But so far, the most impressive guest star performance for me has been Gwyneth Paltrow. I mean, the woman is married to Chris Martin, so I shouldn't be surprised she's not tone deaf...but I was impressed.

May you enjoy this as much as I did....



...and this one too...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

oh the people I know...or think I know.

Tonight I went to the Canucks game with dear Alicia...who is SO good to me as she allows me to be her hockey buddy and go to games with wonderful seats where I can actually read the players lips as they talk and imagine what life would be like married to a famous hockey player. Ahem.

Anyways...

Alicia and I have this longstanding joke that whenever we are together, I run into someone I know (or at least recognize). Typically this has happened at every Canucks game (we've gone to something like 10 or so together) and on random outings in Vancouver, etc. One Canucks game, we were near the end of the evening and I hadn't run into anyone I recognized...and then, there on the big screen, was a guy who went to CBC for a year. Of course.

So tonight, I'm looking around where we're sitting, and I point out this guy to Alicia:
Recognize him?
For a few moments I was trying to place him...and then as I'm rambling to Alicia, I realize: "Isn't he the guy from much music? The one that does the show where they make fun of music videos?"

And in that moment I realized how much of a geek I am...while simultaneously perpetuating the longstanding joke.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

an exhortation that strikes the heart.

"We take the God of the Bible who is all-wise and all-powerful and we trivialize him. We make him the "Self-help Genie." We re-create him in our minds as our "God-on-Demand" - someone who's "there" when we need him and stays out of the way the rest of the time. Instead of worshiping him and knowing him and growing into servants who want to understand his mission and follow him by faith, we carefully select Bible verses out of context that confirm our conclusion that the real goal in life is for us to be happy. Instead of humbly recognizing that God is impossible to tame, we dare to demand that he get busy and keep us comfortable"

- Chip Ingram, from "God: As He longs for you to see Him"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

a rollercoaster that doesn't roll.

The last couple of weeks I've felt low.
Low energy.
Low joy.
Low brain activity.
Low...everything.

Yesterday, after three days in bed, feeling like Carleigh's fourth child, I went to the doctor...who sent me for a mono test. It was discouraging to say the least. I'm currently praying it's not mono...but then part of me hopes it is, just so I know what's going on with me. Cause if it isn't...then what is it? I just don't feel like me. Not the me I know, anyways.

So I'm here.
Working on my last paper for this course.
And feeling low.

On a side note, I'm fearing for Skippy Jon Jones' life. Our dear cat simply doesn't know how to stop eating.
Last night: leftover chocolate cake from Carleigh's birthday party.
Tonight: Carleigh's decorative twigs (sorry, Car).
Tomorrow: Probably a good thing the cleaning supplies are behind child-proof cupboards. I honestly think this cat would drink draino if we let her.

Friday, November 12, 2010

confession. part "i lost count".

I did it. I broke my one rule:

Christmas music starts December 1st.
Post-birthday.

But here I am...listening.
Intently.
Dove right in.
Can't stop.

Next thing you know my room will be draped in fake greenery, twinkle lights, and smell like some sort of baking-scented candle. I'll be reciting Christmas limericks and madly making lists, checking them twice. Oh wait, no, that's someone else. Well, needless to say, this can only be a long slippery slope.

What have i done?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

a truth.

Some days, being single sucks.
Some days, it feels like you'll be single forever.
Some days, it feels like you'll always have to plan your own birthday party, and ask your married friends to find a babysitter so you can hang out.
Some days, married friends comment on how your single life is so adventurous and free, and you just want them to know it also includes lonely times, tears, tough questions, and a whole lot of waiting around.
Some days, you just don't want to be the only one having to make all the decisions about your life. 
Some days, you just need to vent.

Today is one of those days.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

i love this place.

If you're unfamiliar, this is a painting of Main St., Vancouver. On the right is the Ivanhoe Hotel, a place I call home 12 nights a year when I bring CBC students into Vancouver.

The Ivanhoe has a certain rhythm. A certain smell. A certain sound (usually the ancient heating system...or the sounds of the late-night crowd at the pub below...whichever is louder). A certain "I can't believe that just happened" feel, such as the time Steven Segal made a movie in the building (which went straight to DVD by the way). I walked into a lobby full of African-American "SWAT" men. I can't say that's ever happened to me anywhere else. I love it.

What I really have grown to love is the people of the Ivanhoe. There's Chris who runs the front desk; then there's Chris who runs the cafe; and there's Chris who runs the pub. Yup, I'm serious. (Ok, well actually Chris #3 just gave up the pub and took over the cafe from Chris #2, so now there's only 2 guys named Chris).

But honestly, there are some wonderful people with incredible willing and protective hearts who take care of me and my students when we come into Vancouver. (I even ran into one of the maintenance men on the ferry going to the Island for Christmas last year - we had a little conversation about life and I had to chuckle at how life unfolds as I walked away).

Each time I'm there, the routine is similar. When I lie in my bed on the fifth floor of the Ivanhoe, I look out my window and watch the lights of Science World as I drift to sleep. At least two hours later I am awoken by some craziness outside below on the street. But that's part of the charm. You never know what you'll get, but you can be sure it will be interesting.

All this to say, I've grown to appreciate a place that as a child I saw as dirty, dark, and scary. Whenever I eventually move on from my role at CBC, I'm going to miss the Ivanhoe, the Chris...es, and the "who knows what" that keeps it interesting. I may just have to visit.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

...and we wonder why.

This week I'm sure you heard about the 10 year old in Spain who gave birth.

The reaction is shock and amazement from us in North America: how did it come to this?

And then today I watch this, which we tend to watch and think "how cute"...but really, what happened to kids being kids? By encouraging this, do we then cut childhood short?

Monday, November 01, 2010

how i know i'm an optimist.

Sitting in Starbucks, an older man comes up to me.

I hear:
"Hi love, can I steal your chair?"

Then I realize...he actually said:
"Am I allowed to steal your chair?"

I'm a glass-half-full type of girl.

Friday, October 22, 2010

confessions.

As a grad student, working part-time, I've tried to be a little more frugal. Mind you, new computer, new jeans, let's just say the last week hasn't been exemplary.

Anyways, I've taken to logging onto such sites as save.ca and brandsaver.ca, and sometimes I get sent applications for signing up for opportunities to win cash or prizes. I figure why not, and also it keeps me from getting bored and going out shopping.

But I got bit in the butt yesterday. I started to sign up for a $50,000 home makeover - I thought it could be fun for Carleigh and Gary - and then realized it was way more involved than just getting put in a draw, so I x'd out of the browser. Well, too late, evidently. The company has called my cell phone 9 times in the last two days.

So tonight I confessed to Carleigh.

Which led to some sympathy...

"You know who else is harassing me these days?" she started.

I responded with questioning eyes.

"The blind," she responded.

I burst into laughter.

"and the deaf!" she exclaimed, "they're calling like 3 times a day!"

Well...that's interesting.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

dear blog.

Two weeks ago my computer died.
It went to computer heaven.
I replaced it. heartlessly, and actually with enthusiasm. but it took time.

My friends graciously lent me their computers so I could resume my masters studies.

In the meantime, i abandoned you.
I'm sorry.
It might happen again. just saying.

But rest assured knowing I am always thinking about the next post.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

oh to be four.

A day that I NEVER want to repeat just ended with this:

Charlee, sitting still as her mom brushes her hair, says "Kaleen! I was a mermaid today!" She and Carleigh then explained how they dressed her up as a mermaid.

She then turned to me:

"I need to be older.
Then I can be a mermaid.
With fins."

the end.

May that get me through at least two more hours of UMA planning work and a 5 page theology of leadership paper...amen.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

i choo-choo-choose you.

A couple of weeks ago, Charlee came to the dinner table grumpy. Annoyed. I think perhaps she'd been watching Max and Ruby and it was time for supper. 

It wasn't the type of grumpy where you sit and silently pout. 
It was full-blown "whine-a-lot-hit-your-brother-on-the-arm-tell-your-mom-the-supper-she-slaved-over-is-yucky" type of grumpy. 
Worse case I've seen in a while around these parts. 

I asked her: "Why are you grumpy, Char?"
She responded: "I just want to be sad right now."

So, she got pulled into her room for a talk with her dad.

She came back to the table, looked at me, crossed her arms, and with the most sour expression on her face, declared:

"I'm happy."

"Are you sure about that Charlee?" I replied. Gary gave me a look and said "she's choosing it, Kaleen". Their talk in her room had everything to do with choosing a good attitude, choosing to be positive, choosing joy.

And so, just a few seconds after Charlee stated her choice, a radical change came over her. She released the arms, the corners of her mouth started to turn up into a smile, and her giggle came out. She ate her dinner, was kind to her brother, thanked her mom for her supper, and even cleared our plates...because she chose to.

I've had one of those weeks where I've had to choose joy. 
Many things came bubbling to the surface...and it was easier to "just want to be sad" than to do the hard work of choosing something better.

But here's the thing. 
When I hold on to sadness, it doesn't just stay there. 
It becomes infectious and grows into bitterness, anger, resentment and apathy. 
That's a deadly combo.

When I choose joy, I decrease and Christ increases in my life. 

And we all win.

Monday, September 20, 2010

this picture...

...begs for a caption.

And makes me giggle until I can't breathe.
Every time.
Even in Starbucks, when I should be doing homework, and curious bystanders imagine the possible giggle-worthy scenarios.

It could say:
Gee mom, thanks for taking a pic of me in my boxer briefs.

Or:
Thanks for coming out, blue steel.

But really, we all know it's trouble:
You don't even know.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mi casa es su casa...for real.

This weekend my dear friend Chad (from Pennsylvania) and 4 of his dear friends (including his little bro) came to visit. 

The PA boys (as I have named them in my head) are riding "PA to Panama" over a number of months. It is a dream they have had for a few years, and is now coming to life. While they have already conquered many of the States in the first few weeks of their motorcycle journey, there is so much more yet to see. From here, they head south (and a little east/west) until they reach Panama. 

And so, before heading south, they came north to visit good ol' Canada (probably because Chad made them). Chad and I have known each other for almost 5 years; he is my Costa Rica brother...after 3 summers of working in Costa Rica together, I knew that if I needed something mechanical or "handy" done, I would go to Chad. If I didn't want to drive the 15 passenger van, I'd go to Chad. He takes care of me like a good brother would. But if he needed to debrief an experience or talk about the girl of his dreams, he knew he could come chat with me. 

So, when he and his buddies rolled in for the weekend, I was excited to be able to share with him and his friends a little bit of Canada and for them to meet my "brother" and "sister" here. It felt like family was meeting family.

And...they acted like family. 

Saturday morning we were figuring out plans for the day, thinking about a trip into Vancouver. Next thing I knew, all 5 of them were out on the deck that Gary is rebuilding, each with some sort of role: cutting, gluing, tearing away...We kept postponing the trip into Vancouver by 30 minutes. One or the other would tell me, "Well, if we just keep working for another 30 minutes...."



I had to laugh. 

Gary was pumped.

3 hours later the plywood was down, we ate a quick lunch, and ran into Vancouver. But I think the highlight of the weekend had already passed.


Today, after they left us, Gary and Carleigh and I had a chat about life. We were so impressed with this group of guys, with their hearts for God, their interactions with one another (and with us), their ability to take turns playing Thomas the train with Bodhi, and ultimately, their willingness to take risk with adventure. I think Carleigh and Gary and I often do so well living together because we share an affinity for life that is lived outside of the "norm".


Houses and cars and careers will always be there. 

Adventure is to be lived. 

And so the boys rode away today, and we each commented on how we longed for more adventure. 

Somehow going to work tomorrow and starting a new class just doesn't compare with riding a motorbike down to Panama.

Ride safe, boys.

(If you want to follow their trail, go to http://patopanamaontwowheels.blogspot.com/)

Monday, September 13, 2010

A frenemy.

This woman is one of those "best friend best enemy" types. She's kicking my butt...literally.

It's okay. I've asked for it. But if she tries this...

...friendship over.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

the story of a girl and her kitty cat

Jane's favourite new word:

Kitty Cat.

Skippy Jon Jones (who really is Charlee's kitty) must think that Jane is a fellow kitten. Jane will be sitting somewhere, and out of nowhere will come Skippy...in "play attack" mode. Last night Jane was running around the basement with a string, and Skippy was following after. I haven't seen Jane giggle so much yet in her short life. It was awesome.

Enjoy the following videos (unfortunately the string fun was winding down by the time I got my camera...but this is pretty great nonetheless).

Video #1: Jane and Skippy (note Skippy's "play attack" mode in action)
video

Video #2: Bodhi and "yes of course" attempt #1 = fail. (He says it...but not the way he normally does...)
video

Saturday, September 04, 2010

...and here we go again.

Tomorrow afternoon, we welcome 200 new students to CBC. It struck me today that it was exactly 10 years ago when I was one of those newbies. And so, I said a prayer..."calm their nerves, give them peace, show them love, provide them with friends".

I love first week. Energy galore: a mish-mash of nerves, excitement, and anticipation, rolled into one.

....here we go again!

On a completely "other" note...

Lately Bodhi has amazed me.

I took Bo for a date last week. He showed me where and "who" all the animals were at the Eco-Dairy... "here's the pigs, here's the cow, here's the goats....helloooo goats!" He really should become their tour guide.

And then last night, Carleigh asked Bodhi to pray for dinner, and so he instructed us to hold hands (it's usually an instruction to close our eyes). If anyone broke from holding hands during the prayer (i.e. Jane), he took careful note to stop the prayer, give instruction to re-join hands, and then continued. I think prayer took a total of 5 minutes.

But my favourite new Bodhi saying?
"Yes, of course!" (emphasis on the "of course"). I will work on posting a video of this. It's awesome.

For now, enjoy the ice cream face.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

september = fresh start

Ok, friends. I need your accountability.

September's rules:

  1. No new clothes. 
  2. No going out for a movie.

Why, you may ask, are you creating these rules for yourself? Well, a combination of now being a student again (and the pricetag that goes along with that), along with going from full-time to part-time at work is forcing this.

But why, you may ask, am I still smiling about it? Honestly, because it's kind of a relief to shed off materialistic tendencies that I hold. I need a good "cleansing" every once in a while. It's not normal to buy clothes and go to movies for most people in the world. So, why should it be normal for me?

Amen to simplifying...whether intentional or necessary.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

art by charlee

One morning last week, as I opened the door to leave for work (after kisses, hugs, coffee), I yelled "good bye" to the family, and was about to step outside when Charlee shouted "WAIT KALEEN!"

She ran off and returned with an envelope - a letter for work.

I waited until I was at my desk to open my present. 

This was the envelope front:
Is this me? not sure, but whomever it is either wears glasses, or needs more sleep. And...is evidently having issues with one ear, and may possibly be bleeding from the chin. But you have to admit, they have pretty beautiful teeth. And evidently show their whole mouth when they smile, like Julia Roberts.

And back:
There is a story here. I'm sure of it. I think it involves the sun going brown, a house that may also be a robot, and a pink brick road, while brown words are floating through the air. And, someone is trying to say "HI" but by accident said "IH" instead.

And when I opened it, I found another envelope:
A tale of dragons and dinosaurs and hearts, I believe.
And inside that envelope was another (are we out of paper at our house? perhaps...)
Unsure. Entirely unsure.
I had to smile. This is Charlee's art.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Loss and life....

Today Jesus took dear little Matthew Froese home.

I am feeling the mixed emotions one faces in a time like this. I know that one who has lived life on earth with difficulty finds wholeness in death. Healing. The ability to talk, walk, run, laugh, and dance. All the things Matty was unable to do here.

In living with Gary and Carleigh, I had the perk of hanging out with Matt occasionally, as he stayed with us every couple of weeks. And I got to meet many in his community of support: The people who love Matt.

Sometimes I was positive that Matt knew exactly what was going on. I'd pat his chest and take his hand and move it like we were dancing or playing arm-wrestle, and he would grin and make his happy noise. And then there were the times when I would realize he needed a new diaper. And if it was a really nasty one?...Matt would grin when you realized it. It was like his own little joke.

Today I'm glad that Matt gets to be whole. I'm sad that we don't get him anymore. And I pray that his family (and extended "family") are comforted as they grieve. His legacy will live on.... www.mattshouse.ca

Bye Matt.

Thanks for letting me love you.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Today i love...

that this child...

has been my dear friend since this day...
and that this child....
video
will always look like this in my mind....

and that this child...

despite her vampire ways, can out-giggle any teenage girl. Bring it!

Singleness can have it's sad days...but I wouldn't have been able to be "Kaleen" without it.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The danger of a single story

This is a fascinating talk.
It's about 20 minutes long, so grab a coffee and sit back and listen.
Listen well!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Pseudo-Momma update

Yesterday was my first day of....FREEDOM...after completing an intense beginning to the MA in Leadership program at Trinity.

To summarize this last month?
I loved it. I sweated through it. I fell asleep reading many times. I made friends. I turned my brain on to high, and it hasn't stopped yet.

So, yesterday morning, standing in the kitchen in my pjs, Carleigh asked a poignant question:
How will you enjoy this beautiful day today?


My response : I have no idea.


I then turned and ran into (literally) Charlee. She threw her arms around my leg and as I bent down to give her a kiss, she looked at me and whispered: Kaleen, can you take me on an adventure?


Me: What type of adventure, Char?
Her: Like, going to Gramma Jodi's house!


Well, seeing as Gramma Jo lives almost 4 hours away, that wasn't going to happen this day.

Then I had an idea. I turned to Carleigh and asked her how she felt about me taking Char to the library and for ice cream.

Her response: Yes, she'll think it's the best day of her life

Done!

So we had a date-day, just Char and me, and we had some great fun. Charlee loved the library. She fretted when I asked her to pick 3 books to bring home. There were just too many! Arms full of books, we walked back to the car. I was strapping Charlee in to her booster seat, when she saw the design on my pink tank top.

Her: When I'm big, I'm going to wear your pink t-shirt, Kaleen
Me: Oh, yeah, Char? When is that gonna be?
Her: When I'm your age
Me: How old is that, Char? How old do you think I am?
Her: Hmm, 10.

Awesome.

All in all, it was the perfect way to celebrate a month of hard work.

 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Just how much I resonate with this....

This strikes home.
It also helps that her name is Kathleen.
That was actually eerily ironic.
Hope you enjoy.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

What I can learn from flies...

The following quote, taken from my "Strategy Bites Back" text, epitomizes what I have learned these last two weeks in my Strategic Leadership course...

"If you place in a bottle half a dozen bees and the same number of flies, and lay the bottle horizontally, with its base [the closed end] to the window, you will find that the bees will persist, till they die of exhaustion or hunger, in their endeavor to discover an [opening] through the glass; while the flies, in less than two minutes, will all have sailed forth through the open neck on the opposite side...

It is [the bees] love of flight, it is their very intelligence, that is their undoing in this experiment. They evidently imagine that the issue from every prison must be where the light shines clearest; and they act in accordance, and persist in too-logical action. [To bees] glass is a supernatural mystery...and, the greater their intelligence, the more inadmissible, more incomprehensible, will the strange obstacle appear. Whereas the feather-brained flies, careless of logic...flutter wildly hither and thither, and meeting the good fortune that often waits on the simple...necessarily end up by discovering the friendly opening that restores their liberty to them"


- Gordon Siu


p.s. when I googled an image entitled "flies and bees in a jar", I got the following image:


..entertaining.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

the brain as a sponge. which is now dripping.

I have so much to share based on the last 4 weeks of my masters program. But that will have to wait for another time. I have a big paper to write.

In the meantime, read this and tell me what you think:

http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2010/06/16/gates-buffett-600-billion-dollar-philanthropy-challenge/

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

from the mouth of an almost four year old.

According to Charlee, the following is a picture of me, as she says, "when you were a little boy". Awesome. I am relieved that Carleigh was also given a picture of herself when she was a little boy. I'm waiting for Gary to get a picture of when he was a little girl. That will be so worth it.
And then, this was followed up with a picture of a "green city". Charlee evidently knows about my passion for the environment. 
According to her, the words at the top say, "Dear God, please let Kaleen not be scared and know that she doesn't need to be scared anymore, and please let her take me to the park and get ice cream." 

How 'bout that? Prayers for all. Build confidence and ask for what you want. No shame in that, no siree.

p.s. The actual drawings came from a "doodle book" and Charlee provided the colour. I would say that she's a child artist prodigy...and she probably is, but not quite to this degree....yet.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A two week masters level course...

...is like drinking from a fire hydrant.

I am really enjoying the MAL program (Masters of Arts in Leadership). The topics are interesting and relevant - everything I hear, I can picture either CBC or Costa Rica (which then leads me to daydream and forget what's happening at the front of class for a minute).

The people are fascinating - we come from all walks of life, worldviews, perspectives, positions - I've even been blessed to have been put in a group with someone who owns the bakery down the street from where I live (here comes ten more pounds by Christmas :) Right, Hank? Oh, well, I'll walk it off.)

It was reassuring as well, to know that we're all in the same boat. We're all overwhelmed...excited, enjoying it, but overwhelmed.

The hydrant is flowing.

Back to it...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

my pet peeve. obviously shared.

 I would marry the man who drew this, because I'd know, he might not be good at washing dishes, he may not be good at folding laundry, he might even make messes that I'd have to clean up, but at least I'd know that he'd never misuse the apostrophe. (and yes, I'm that much of a nerd).

Monday, June 21, 2010

newsflash..

Carleigh, Lana and I went to the mall on Saturday.

This was the first time I'd been to the mall in ages. We all forgot our troubles for the afternoon and floated in and out of the stores. Carleigh pretended she didn't have three children at home, I pretended I had money, and Lana...well Lana bought the best army leggings I've ever seen....for those times when she's hiding in the bush.

But the shocking part of our trip was the realization that American Eagle is now selling these for the "nevernudes" in your family...

(Carleigh actually made that joke in the store, and the guy that was greeting us stared at us blankly...if you are staring at this post blankly, then you have also missed out on the greatest show ever: Arrested Development)

While we were commenting on the shortness, I made a naive statement that obviously young girls must be wearing these with leggings underneath, cause there's no way their mothers are letting them out of the house with just these.

And then I turned around, and met mother-daughter who proved me wrong.

Evidently the new style is the shortest shorts you can ever wear, paired with boots. I think we need to stop this fashion trend. As I realized what was going on, I started seeing it everywhere I went...and I started feeling sad.

Young girls all over North America are trying to look older than they are. Trying to look like the girls in the magazines. Like "the girls that boys want". Except it's really all a lie. And the boys that want girls like that don't want them for more than a one-time-use.

I know that these types of new "fads" have always sort of irked me...but I haven't been able to put my finger on it...until I read an amazing book this year.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide Cover

"Half the Sky" by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, tells the stories of women in Cambodia, India, and Thailand who represent women all over the world facing oppression. These women are sold into modern day slavery = the sex trade. They are young girls when it starts, and often find it hard to escape...because it is the only life they've known (and often their lives are threatened when they DO try to escape).

I highly recommend this book.

I want mothers and fathers all over the world to read it.

I want them to tell their daughters that there is a reason we shouldn't be wanting to wear short shorts and it goes deeper than our looks. It's about our value and worth. It's about our intellect and our ability to provide for our families in ways that men can't. It's about showing off our brains more than our butts.

I want them to tell their sons about the type of girls that they should go after and care for, and that women are to be honoured...not used.

Here's to one less pair of nevernude shortie shorts.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ten out of Tenn - today's favourite strangers

You simply have to check it out...

Here is their website:

These are my new favourite strangers - Ten out of Tenn - just look at them, wouldn't you want to be their friend?

They sing together.
They travel together.
They raise money for hurting relatives together.
I like it.

I hope you do too.

And for your listening pleasure...this one's especially my favourite right now:

Monday, June 14, 2010

pseudo momma update...

Tonight, while Carleigh was trying to get sweet Janie-pie to bed (who no longer is sweet Janie-pie at bed time), I was chilling with Charlee and Bo in their room (Gary's away on business this week). Bo was snuggled in his bed, eating "chipees" and I was reading Charlee a delightful story of Clifford the Big Red Dog...saving the world, essentially...Charlee picked it out especially because, as she said, "it's such a nice story".

We finished the book and I told Char it was time to go to sleep (I was practically falling asleep on her bed). She turned to me, pulled my face in close, and whispered in my ear:

"Kaleen, if you go to work, and then go poo, and then have a shower, I'll give you a BIG surprise."

Well, seeing as that could be plausible, I wanted to know what the surprise was.

Her response: "A big...big...big....chocolate COOKIE!"

She then proceeded to tell me how eating big chocolate cookies would make me big and strong.

I told her it actually would just make me big.

Then she told me she was starving. So I asked her what kind of snack she wanted (this is a typical nightly routine)...and what do you think she asked for?

Her: "A big...big...big...chocolate COOKIE!"
Me: "We don't have any cookies, Char"
Her: "Yes we do!"
Me; "No, we actually don't"
Her: "Yes, we actually do"
Me: "How about a banana instead"
Her: "Ok."

Some days I mope a little bit about the fact that I'm single.

Then I'm reminded that if I wasn't single, I wouldn't be offered chocolate cookies for going poo and having a shower.

Well, unless I find the right guy.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

two-toned blue.

This was my first car:
horizon.jpg (550×284)
Ok...granted, this is a 84 Plymouth Horizon, and my first car was a 81 Dodge Omni (basically the exact same car). It was two tone blue (dark on the bottom, light on top), and was the exact same age as me (a fact I was proud of). And it wasn't really mine...it was technically my dad's.

But...it was the first car that I drove by myself.

This week, this topic has come up three times with three different people asking: "Do you remember the first time you drove your car by yourself?"

I do. Like it was yesterday. In actuality, it was 12 years ago (I think to this week, even). I remember my mom and I coming home from my drivers' test (in her 1992 Ford Escort, which was the "good car" by comparison to the Omni). I remember her handing me the keys to the Omni, and me, driving to Comox to go see Vanessa...alone, no parent gripping the door handle and stomping the imaginary brake on the floor.

I remember glancing at the passenger seat, as I was driving, thinking, "am I really allowed to do this on my own now?"...and then....the overwhelming sense of:

YES!

and...

I'M DOING IT!

The funny thing is, it almost killed me to get the stupid license in the first place. Not because I couldn't, or wasn't a good driver, or didn't have the time...

...but because I was scared.

My mom talked me into writing my learner's test. We sat in the car for what felt like 20 minutes, as I looked over the exam booklet, telling her, "I don't think I'm ready, I don't think I know it all yet!" She was doing the mom thing, where she knew I just needed to get in there and do it, but I hadn't clued in yet. And so, gently, she urged me to get out of the car and just write the thing. And sure enough...I passed.

Then there was the road test. I re-booked it once, after being convinced that "I wasn't ready". And then, the morning of the exam, I actually thought about re-booking it again. But it was too late. And sure enough...I passed.

So here I am, 12 years later, and the driving thing is behind me. But what is before me?

Grad school.

I start July 5th. It took me 8 months and 5 professors saying "when are you going to grad school?" to get me to sign up for the dang thing. And it wasn't because I'm not capable, or because I don't have the means, or because I don't have the time...in fact, this IS the perfect time in my life to do it...

...but I'm facing that fear again.

I think God gave me the image of that June afternoon, in my Dodge Omni, window open, music blaring, glancing at the passenger seat, as a reminder. A reminder that I can do it.

I just have to get my butt in that door.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A good lunch is an important thing.

Charlee, age 3 and 11/12ths, met me at the top of the stairs this morning. She was dressed in pants, a shirt, some sort of short sleeved sweater thing, new sketcher sneakers and backpack...filled with who knows what.

It was shortly after 8, and undoubtedly she'd already been up for 2 hours.

She was ready for action.

Her: "Are you going to work Kaleen?"
Me: "yes, sweetie, I'm going to work"
Her: "Can I come with you?"
Me: "no, sweetie, you can't come with me"

She toddled off while I said good morning to Carleigh and we chatted about tonight's plans.

She returned, with one raw egg, inside of the largest ziploc bags we have.

Her: "Kaleen! I made your lunch!"
Me: "You shouldn't have."
Carleigh: "Good luck with that one..."

I was able to sneakily place said lunch back into the fridge without Charlee noticing while she busily added one drawing, and one "card" that she'd made into the mix. Gifts for work.

She did ask me, though, as I walked out the door, if I had packed the egg into my lunch bag.

I lied.

Really?

Instead of taking my coffee break today, I'm blogging.

I'm in the middle of doing research for a short-term missions seminar that we want to put on in the fall. This involves a lot of reading, including books from the 90s (which you wouldn't think was so long ago, but in this case, it is).

Some of these books offer great tidbits and speak to the philosophy behind doing short-term missions well.

Others...well....

Today I read about how in order to utilize space in your suitcase, it is best to take the toilet paper that you are packing (really?) and drive over the rolls (carefully, mind you) with your car, in order to flatten them.

Yes, that's right.

There's a whole paragraph devoted to this.

Let's put aside the fact that most people aren't packing a roll of toilet paper these days...

...and you have to wonder about the strength of the guy who can't simply flatten the roll with his hands. He requires his car.

Odd.

Back to work!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The winner goes to...

This is the blog post I am most proud of in all of my years of blogging.


It is something I need to re-post, because I need to remember it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The child-related post

The following picture is Charlee attempting a wink, while dressed as a princess. Second picture is Charlee: The Princess. Note the backwards hair band, ridiculously large ring (i think there's actually two there) and butterfly dress...head tilt included. Every princess's dream attire.

These kids that I live with just make me smile. To be single and living with a family is a blessing that I count over and over again. I keep forgetting to post some of my favourite day-to-day stories...so here's a catch-up.

My two favourite stories from the past few months:

1. Gary came home from work one day and as usual, started playing with the kids...lots of kissing and wrestling involved. Carleigh and I were in the kitchen making dinner...let's clarify...Carleigh was making dinner and I was probably stirring or chopping something (she's the genius, and I'm grateful).

And then we heard Charlee, giggling away to the point of breathlessness, saying "stop Daddy, stop!"...and the kisses continued...and then we heard a giggle and "Stop Daddy! I'm not a mommy, I don't need kisses!"
(I'm trying that on the next guy I meet...we'll see how it goes).

2. My friend Alicia came out from Coquitlam for a movie night, which she arrived for after the kids were all in bed. Finishing late, we decided Alicia would stay the night, and so we set her up with the couch in the basement, which has had many family/friends test out.

All was good, until about 3am, when Alicia opened her eyes and found Bodhi's little face peering into hers. Shocked, she gave a little yell...to which Bodhi, perhaps even more shocked, stood silent for a second, until his delayed yell followed. He then rushed up the stairs: "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" with Alicia calling after him, "Bodhi, it's okay!"

Alicia was able to fall back asleep, and told us the story in the morning, to which Carleigh replied, "OH, that makes more sense now." Bodhi had come to her, post-finding-stranger-sleeping-on-couch, gushing: "Mommy, I scared; Mommy, I scared..." She thought it had just been a bad dream.

Guaranteed: Bodhi will not be attempting 3am visits to the basement any time soon.

And my favourite part of tonight:
I was reading books to the kids while Carleigh tidied (Gary is away)...and Bodhi brought me a counting book. So, I made the kids practice their Spanish (which Dora the Explorer taught them).

Charlee's rendition of one through five:

"Uno, Blose, Blaise, Buatro, Cinco!"

We'll have to work on that a little bit. The gist is there...and I think any of my Costa Rican friends would understand. And smile.

Jane is our next story:
The biter, as we affectionately call her, is now walking...at 10 1/2 months. She's the vitamin-C boosted child (Carleigh drank vitamin C packs when she was pregnant with her). Her bites are almost lethal though...we need to file down those teeth of hers. She's all over the place...and she does these funny faces that kill me.

Goal for next child-related post: get video of said funny faces.

This pic was taken at approximately, um, 5 months? 6? Carleigh will have to clarify. Just so you know, this isn't recent...she isn't THAT small and walking. That would have required two vitamin C packs a day.

This has been the most random/scattered blog entry.

Hope you enjoyed the view into my right-sided brain.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

And so it begins. Again.

Today I received word that I have been accepted into Trinity Western University's Masters of Arts in Leadership program. 

I start July 5th.

I'm psyched.

I'm nervous.

It's been six years since I wrote a paper longer than one page (and no, I'm not counting long blog posts). And...when I wrote those papers, I wasn't working alongside the schooling. And...I have a hunch my IQ was higher. And...this is GRAD school.

And...when it comes down to it, I just really need to get back into this, trust that God's guiding me, and work my butt off.

Next step: find money. Oh wait, no, next step: buy desk. Following that: find money.

Here's to the next 25 months and the new bond I will have with my laptop.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Today I love...

1. the taste of my mom's lasagne
2. the fact that we passed a pod of dolphins on BC ferries on Friday
3. spring storms
4. library books
5. longer nights...the hope of summer

Monday, May 17, 2010

"And you're the guy who..."

Pseudo-mama update:

Returned from Australia yesterday, and was met with three adorable children this morning. Charlee hugged me, Bodhi caressed my face, Jane leaned in for a squeeze...it was good.

And then Charlee decided to set up one of her stories.

We each got characters. She, of course was the princess.

Kiki (our friend Kirsten who babysits and joined us for breakfast) was "prince charming".

Char turned to me and declared, "and you're the guy who does the dragon."

Cool.

I'm not sure what that means.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I may not be a mom but...

...I'm the only single Bible-college employee I know who hangs out with a naked dude every day. Did I mention he kisses me?
Here's Bo...pre-potty training, pre-hair chop, pre-"I too tired". Some days I think it's safe to say we miss the Bo from those pre-days. And sometimes I miss the hair. It was fun. But I'm sure it will be re-born one day, when he's in tune with his emotions and doesn't use the hair as sabotage. Right, Car?

In the meantime, it's pretty awesome to see how he's growing up...and he's always checking in:
"you a-wight, Kaleen?"
"is Char cwy-ing?"
"oh Jane...she's soooo cute!"



(p.s. Jenne - this one's for you! :))



Until I return from Australia....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

warmth.

My heart is warm, because:

  • I have a "sister" like Carleigh
  • my friends are refreshing to spend time with
  • I have a family who travels to Australia together (we leave in like, 50 hours!)
  • the opportunities for what my life could look like are on my doorstep
  • my two bosses insist I take time for me, and recognize my efforts
  • AND...I will soon have stories for my blog...

Monday, April 19, 2010

what hockey makes gary say...

With aggression: 
"get the pork chop off the ice"

With a break in his voice:
"LOO - OK!"

When the refs called a no-goal that obviously should have been a real goal:
"Should have been four four ....FREAKING FRUITCAKES"

My favourite moment was when we got a goal, Gary hit the sofa, and Carleigh peed a little where she was sitting on the floor. (not really).

Beer intake is higher tonight than normal.

Please Canucks...pull it together. Our household begs you.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

what it really means...

I totally believe that verse that says "God sets the lonely in family"...I got to see some of my "extended family" last weekend. It was good.

I miss you guys.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

pseudo momma update

I might not be a mom, but tonight, I headed back to work for the student scholarship banquet. As I neared the school, I realized I had something clumped onto the bottom of my dress. It was green playdough. No one else came to the scholarship banquet with green playdough on their dress. I can guarantee it.

secret sins part 2. (did you remember there was a part 1?)

It's been a while. I feel like I have much to say and such little time to talk.
Before blogging, I journalled all the time. Then I started blogging, and my journalling slowed right down.
Now I neither journal, nor blog.
I feel guilty about both.

Part of it is a mental block. So much so that I think about something that I'd love to blog/journal, but I get this weary feeling when it comes to actually writing it out. Anyone else get that? I wouldn't even call it writers' block. I would call it writing-lepsy. Like narcolepsy, you grow weary, and can't control it. Something like that. See? I can't even put it into words. That's how bad it is.

Plus I'm still writing in a journal that is rather bland looking...while I have a REALLY beautiful one, that Carleigh gave to me almost 2 years ago, sitting on the shelf, waiting for me to start in it. But I'm an A to B type person, and so I have this obligation (self-motivated) to complete the first journal before I would ever even consider writing in the second. It's my minor obsessive compulsive tendency.

I just needed to get that off my chest.

Monday, March 15, 2010

lost in your eyes.

Last night, Charlee started zoning out while we were waiting for supper to start.

Me: "Hey Char - whatcha thinking about?"
Her: "About you!"
Me: "Really? What about me?"
Her: "Your eyes..."

The most romantic thing I've ever been told has now come from my 3 year old housemate.

Monday, February 22, 2010

smiles.

The last few months have been...well...blue. I haven't been as happy-go-lucky as I usually feel...the glass has been a little more half-empty than full. I unfortunately have heard myself say things that I always thought I wouldn't say...

I need some smiles.

So here, to spread those, I present the things that make me smile for today:
This is a portrait done by my friend Shari-Anne. Her work always makes me smile, because it looks like it belongs to her.
This is from my favourite magazine - Real Simple - I can read it's pages, and wander it's webpages, and appreciate the beautiful things...even if they aren't mine.
This made me laugh out loud. Awkward family photos...have you seen the site?
And last but not least...this kid. When I took this picture, she had been playing with play dough and then realized she could make a moustache and pretend she was her grandpa. Tonight at dinner she said, in a Groucho Marx voice, "Dad, did you know that Jesus lived happily ever after?"