Nurse Loves Farmer


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Saturday, 24 March 2012 11:17

My Amy Grant Confession...


I love Amy Grant.  I have loved her since I was 9 years old, when I was given 'House of Love' on cassette as a Christmas gift.  As a self-proclaimed atheist at the time, I had no idea of Amy's Christian music background, and as I desperately tried to make her fill my 'Mom-shaped-hole', I gathered up every recording of hers I could find.  God spoke to me through her music, and I came back to a passionate faith in Him - guided largely by Amy's music. 

I will admit that my 'love' for her was often more of an obsession when I was an adolescent, and my desperate need for a female role-model in my life made me imagine a connection to her that for obvious reasons was not there.  I've grown up a bit now, however, and although I don't obsessively wait for every album release, I still buy them all eventually. 

I was just sitting in my kitchen, listening to a collection of music on shuffle play, and 'Somewhere Down the Road' by Amy started playing.  Considering everything going on with my Dad lately, I felt it was so appropriate...

Somewhere Down the Road

So much pain and no good reason why
You've cried until the tears run dry
And nothing here can make you understand
The one thing that you held so dear
Is slipping from your hands
And you say

Why, why, why
Does it go this way
Why, why, why
And all I can say is

Somewhere down the road
There'll be answers to the questions
Somewhere down the road
Though we cannot see it now
Somewhere down the road
You will find mighty arms reaching for you
And they will hold the answers at the end of the road

I was talking to my Uncle last night, who is also a Christian, about the fact that my Dad (who was not a believer before) has started to give us reason to believe he has come to a faith in Jesus Christ after everything (because my Dad is no longer speaking, he is unable to tell us this for sure). 

I voiced my confusion about what God was doing - it seemed to me as though my Dad would give such an incredible ministry if he could only talk about how and why he has come to faith (if he in fact has), and I don't understand why he would not get a chance to do this.  If it is not to God's glory, then why would God do this?

I understand the naivete of this question - I know that I can't determine how and when something is to 'the Glory of God', but I felt confused nonetheless. 

My Uncle responded by saying what a testament it was to God's incredible love for us - in this case, particularly my Dad - that He would go to such lengths to bring my Dad to Him when it might never result in Dad's personal story being told to anyone.  That God would love him so much, that it was worth bringing my Dad through all of this to be with God, even if His message was never shared through it. 

Published in Blog
Thursday, 23 February 2012 08:30

When to Tell?

When I was pregnant with Celia, I don't think I lasted a full week before telling our entire families about the news.  It was convenient that Easter weekend was that weekend, so we had an easy place to let people know.

As if pregnancy at that stage didn't really 'count', I had one aunt consistently ask me afterward if I was 'really' pregnant.  She pretty much wasn't convinced until I went to the doctor and received an ultrasound photo to prove there was a baby.  It may be that she was considering the first trimester 'danger zone', and thought it would be an easier conversation to pretend I wasn't really pregnant than to ask if the baby had died? That's just a guess.

Anyway, I considered this time waiting until Easter again (which I still might do, I'm not entirely certain) since it falls a full month later in the pregnancy than it did the last time, and the baby will be much further along - hopefully avoiding any weird questions. 

Then it crossed my mind: "What IF this baby dies before then?" (I had a really early miscarriage in September, and I know - it was technically not yet a pregnancy, but for a few days I 'knew' I was going to have a baby, so losing it really was devastating for a time), and if I don't tell anyone now, there will be no one to really talk to about it then.

I think I've decided that I'm the kind of person who would prefer not to keep the secret - I deal with things through talking, and talking makes everything easier for me.  It would be nice to wait, to hold the secret longer, but I think in the end it would be easier for me if people knew.


Published in Blog
Friday, 17 February 2012 17:28

What to do next...

This week (hopefully) I will find out whether or not the latest round of clomid has been successful. 

I have one more month's worth of pills to take if this one hasn't succeeded, but since that will be my 'last chance' for what may be quite awhile - I think you have to wait a number of months before going on a second stretch of clomid - I will feel significantly disheartened if this round has not worked.

I have been feeling exceptionally tired, although I felt similar last month, and I've even had a few belly pains that felt quite a bit like muscle aches a few inches below my belly button.  The one symptom I'm waiting for, however, is nausea in the morning, and so far that one has eluded me. 

I've been thinking about what to do if this round of clomid fails, and I still feel quite uncertain.  I have always wanted to adopt, and I still do, but I have always felt drawn to international adoption as opposed to local adoption, and the costs can be astronomical which is just not an option for us right now.

I may be completely incorrect, but my views on international adoption are based on the fact that to adopt from Canada there is up to a seven or eight year waiting list.  This gives me the impression that there are no children available for adoption here who are unwanted.  So, my thought is that if I adopt internationally, I am choosing a child who may not have a home otherwise.  Is this logical? I am starting to question my knowledge on these things as I investigate the numbers of children adopted from various countries - they are quite small, which makes me wonder if there is less interest in international adoption than I thought, or are there less children available than I perceived?

Anyway, besides any of that, my husband is not so interested in adoption that he is willing to say 'damn the cost' and go ahead with it.  I would probably consider selling our house if it meant we could have another child, so we don't exactly feel the same way about it.  I certainly agree that it would be stupid to enter into any financial struggles unless we were both completely in support of going ahead, which means we should probably not go that route until we are pretty sure the money will work out.

That being said, the preliminary costs associated with adoption are the same regardless of where you adopt from, and are relatively small.  A large part of me would like to go ahead with the preliminary stuff and see what happens, but I run the risk of suddenly having the option to adopt and feeling pressure to come up with money if it happens to be international...

Being an only child until I was eight, and then having a 4-year-old step-brother who I never became very close to has always made me speculate that a sibling - particularly a sister - who was closer to my age would have solved some of my child-hood loneliness issues.  Maybe I'm wrong, but it has become important to me to give my daughter a sibling who is as close to her in age as possible.  And I honestly feel at this point that 3 years is too much.  I worry that if this round of clomid fails, it will be too late to start the next one for me, and I feel now as though I would rather just adopt, and try to find a child within 2 years of my daughters age. 

I promised my husband I would leave it alone until I'm sure about this round of clomid. 

And... Who knows? Maybe I'm already pregnant...

Published in Blog
Monday, 30 January 2012 14:48

Health Factor

Recently a friend (who happens to be in the medical field) downloaded a YouTube video for me to watch called "23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?". 

I recommend it, and found it challenging, but at the same time it made me want to scream in frustration.

I'll explain.  The video is based on the fact that walking daily - even if only for 30 minutes a day - is the single greatest thing we can do for our health.  It details a bunch of studies and statistics about how it decreases various illnesses and as a whole increases a person's lifespan by potentially decades.  The '23 and 1/2 hours' refers to the amount of time you 'can be a couch potato', according to the video, which simply pleads with people to spend at least 30 minutes a day getting exercise.

I understand that 30 minutes a day is a short amount of time - and really shouldn't be a complicated thing to accommodate into my schedule.  My frustration, however, is that it really isn't quite fair to say that for 23 and 1/2 hours we are being 'couch potatoes' (although I'm sure some of us are).

Today I woke up at about 7, fed and changed my one-year-old daughter.  Made breakfast for each of us, and then did a bit of cleaning in the kitchen while my daughter played.  Then we went downstairs while I threw the cloth diapers into the laundry and folded some of my daughter's clean clothes.  After she was done playing, she went down for a nap while I had a bath and did my daily devotional homework. Then she woke up at about 11:30, and was basically ready for lunch, so I got some ready for both of us, and spent some time planning our meals for the week, which involves a bit of researching and checking the freezer and pantry for ingredients.  Then my daughter played again, while I played the piano and folded and put away more laundry. 

At about 2pm, I was about to get both of us ready to go for our daily walk and Celia decided she was ready for another nap... it is now nearly 3 and I have to clean the living room, vaccuum, clean the kitchen and start making supper all before 6pm when I start teaching piano.  I should also mention that living in Saskatchewan in winter, going for a walk involves bundling up quite thoroughly, which can take about 10 minutes all on its own. 

Today is my easy day - most days I start teaching at 2:30 or 3. 

Again, I understand that 30 minutes is not a lot of time, and I should definitely be able to fit it into my schedule - however - it is not always so easy for a stay-at-home Mom to get everything done that I need to - especially one as flighty and unorganized as I am...

Published in Blog
Sunday, 18 December 2011 00:58

Heirlooms... sort of.

Last weekend was my daughter's first birthday party, but I'll get to that later...  during preparation, my Grandma offered to make cupcakes for the party but ended up being unable to ice the cupcakes herself due to time constraints.  She did, however, make her classic decorating icing that I remember from my childhood and dropped off the cupcakes, icing, and a small tupperware container holding her set of Wilton icing bags and tips.

This may not seem like an overly big deal, but I think my feelings toward these icing tips may be similar to the way some people might feel about holding their mothers wedding dress - and being told that they could actually USE said wedding dress. 

I spent large parts of my childhood with my Grandma.  She was my replacement 'Mom' for almost the first decade of my life, and so I feel just as close to her (I think) as I would if she were my Mother.  Some of my clearest memories are of watching my Grandma decorate my birthday cakes, make icing flowers that she would stick in the freezer to harden faster, and of sneaking into the back of the cupboard where she kept these icing supplies to sneak some of the tiny icing flowers she always had a stash of. 

So, I felt absolutely HONORED to be given these icing bags to use.  My Grandma even made a comment about possibly passing them on to me, because 'no one else uses them anymore'.  I haven't heard more on that yet, but I'm excited that this could be a possibility...

ANYWAY, I set to work icing my daughter's birthday cupcakes, trying to emulate the style my Grandma would have used on all of my birthday cakes as a child.  I began imagining myself going to bulk barn to rent one of their many cake pans and decorating it using my newly practiced skill.  They didn't actually turn out too badly, and it was fun in a nostalgic sort of way to be doing this.

A few days later I recruited a couple of my piano students to help decorate some mini-cupcakes for the annual Christmas recital, and completely without thinking, I set them up to use my Grandma's wonderful icing bags.  I recall, when I was younger, that keeping the pressure off the icing so as not to burst through the bag was much more difficult than I find it now.  I recall this because both of these girls reminded me by bursting large holes through these icing bags! 

I really couldn't be angry, and neither was my Grandma - thankfully.  The bags were old, and well used, so it was all too likely they would weaken eventually.  It made me sad though, to see these 'heirlooms' break, and to know that I can't always hold on to everything.

I can buy new bags.  And the tips should last forever.  Maybe someday I will have an even bigger collection that I can pass on to my daughter and tell her that 'these used to belong to your Great Grandma...' It's pretty sappy, but it makes me smile. 

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 22:34

Is Honesty REALLY the best...?

I've been described as blunt and insensitive - although rarely to my face, which I find a bit annoying.  As a teenager, I had a tendency to attempt to engage people in debates whether they liked it or not.  This meant I would state a strong opinion and wait for a reaction.

I've grown up since then, and I realize that not everyone likes to debate, and I even tend to shy away from debates myself since I have discovered that stating honest opinions can permanently damage friendships. 

I recently had a friend approach me about her new 'business' (opinion alert) - you know the type, the companies that sell a particular kind of product at high prices but no one seems to actually buy the product except the people who are supposed to be selling it? So the point of being a salesperson is not to plug the product as much as to plug SELLING the product.  The whole thing seems strange and uncomfortable to me, but I readily admitted that I knew nothing about this particular company and agreed to check out her catalog and to do some research before making any judgement calls. 

So I did a few Google searches and did some Wikipedia browsing and discovered all I needed to know to know that I wanted to run as far away as possible from this particular company.  This put me in the difficult position of approaching my friend about it.  Now, I'm not a fan of evasiveness.  To simply not mention the issue until it comes up, and then skirt around it as much as possible is cowardly and stupid.  If you really believe something - make sure you are really certain about WHY you believe something - that's why I like to do research, and then find a way to truthfully and tactfully vocalize it to the person it affects. 

I want to note here, that I completely realize that the internet is not necessarily the greatest tool of research, and can have a lot of bad information. What I realized about the company was how it is viewed by the general population.  It was my feeling that I did not want to associate myself with the public's perspective, just as I would not feel comfortable working for a company that was widely perceived as being highly unethical. 

So, I had to approach my friend about my disinterest in her business.  I realize that email and letter writing may seem cowardly, and maybe it is, but I've found that if I can write out my thoughts and read them over again to myself I can be sure that I am saying what I need to without coming across as insulting which I sometimes do when I'm speaking.  I've found it to most often be a safer way to communicate.  I wrote her an email.  She hasn't responded in over a week.

Maybe it is just because it's Christmas, and she's busy, but I may be leaving one more person in the line of friends in my 'Honesty Wake'.

Consider this scenario.  You are in a relationship with a person who is BAD for you.  Not so bad that he/she beats you or steals from you or tells nasty lies about you behind your back, but just generally treats you badly.  He/she controls what you do and who you hang out with, maybe he/she has a bit of a spending habit but gets really angry with you for spending any money on yourself.  Maybe he/she is a mean person, or maybe your personalities are just really incompatible - like, if you are the kind of person to give until it hurts, and this person takes without even thinking about it, or appreciating it. 

Would you want your closest friends to tell you the truth? 

My answer to this is a resounding YES!!!!

When my husband and I were dating, I had previously been in a BAD relationship and had learned that when you are in a relationship you don't always see it very clearly, so I asked EVERYONE what they thought of my relationship with my new boyfriend.  I asked my parents.  I asked all of my friends - and I made them promise to tell me the truth.  I asked our pastors and leaders in the church.  His family was quite against our relationship and actually went to great lengths to ensure that we ended it, and although I was quite certain they were mistaken on a number of points, I couldn't shake the memory of my situation with my previous boyfriend.  My previous boyfriend's mom was feeding my new boyfriend's parents information, which made the situation so much more complicated, but that's beside the point.  And because I knew they COULD be right, I had to double check that no one else agreed with them.

Now, if my relationship with him was also bad, and none of my family or friends had the guts to tell me the truth, I would have felt completely abandoned when I discovered the truth for myself.  I honestly would have felt as though my family and friends didn't care enough for my happiness to make sure I didn't get into something that might make me miserable for the rest of my life. 

A few years back, I lost a friend to a situation like this - I think, anyway, she never actually told me why she stopped speaking to me.  She became involved with and married a person who was actually a lot like me, so his weaknesses were glaring to me.  She was the kind of sweet and wonderful person who would sacrifice the rest of her life for another person, and he seemed to be taking whatever she gave him without giving anything back.  This is a struggle I have had always - I am self-centered and would easily take someone for granted - it was necessary for me to marry someone who can put his foot down once in awhile and make sure I don't take advantage of him.  I could have been wrong about my friend, and I understand that, but she would come to me with situations she was concerned about and ask me what I thought about them.  Note - SHE ASKED ME.  Feeling very strongly about honesty, I had no choice but to tell her if his (or her) actions seemed off to me. 

Anyway, she eventually stopped speaking to me and I heard vague reports from other people about why, and the whole situation still haunts me because although I feel very strongly about being honest, there is a part of me that wants to go back to her and tell her whatever lie would make her want to hang out with me again... We live very close together and have both had our first baby's within a year of each other.  This is the kind of thing we dreamed about in college.  But now we don't speak. 

I guess the point of this story is to rant about how uncomfortable I feel in this world where people seem to want to hear what they want to hear over what may actually be the truth.  For all of my friends out there - I will always want the truth, and whether you like it or not, you can always trust me to give it - or at least my honest opinion, whether I'm 'right' or not is totally up for discussion.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 20:43

Little Princesses

I love a bit of controversy, so when I read an article, 'liked' it on facebook with a bit of a comment, and had a ton of people commenting on it also - agreeing or disagreeing on various parts of the article - I got a little excited.

The article was called 'How to Talk to Little Girls', by Lisa Bloom from the Huffington Post.  It was about talking to little girls, and trying to steer clear of telling them how cute or pretty they are in favor of more intellectual things like asking what they're reading and if they like books, etc. as well as telling them what you do and asking their opinion on some sort of 'grown up-ish' things such as 'What bothers you about the world?' and 'If you had a magic wand, what would you fix?'.

I thought it was great, and added a comment about another article I had read about the early sexualization of girls in our society today and how the 'Disney Princesses' helps to pave the way for this process.

What? Not the Disney Princesses - but I love the Disney Princesses!!!

Not to blame the Princesses, but with these toys there is a 'prescribed method' of play.  Princess is pretty.  Princess attracts the Prince.  The article suggested this subtle theme encouraged girls to start thinking about appearance - particularly in reference to attracting boys - at an early age.

Anyway, there were comments from moms who played with Barbies and watched Disney Princess movies, and didn't think there was any connection between that and low self-esteem.

There were also comments about the dangers of NOT complimenting your daughter's appearance, and how that might damage their self-esteem also.

I wish there was a clear answer to this, because I don't think anyone would deny that little girls in our society are sexualized WAY to young.  I think we also know that girls focus on their appearance too much and too early, and that eating disorders are rampant. I think this is probably not a really new problem, but I think something has changed in recently that has made this situation worse.  Personally, I do believe the media is partly to blame (another part being the parents who allow their children to watch anything and everything in the media).  I was recently in the vicinity of a nine year old watching music videos on you tube.  I was horrified at the message that was being directed at girls her age.  Some of the songs were obviously about sex, and one even mentioned something about a 'manage et troi' (I'm not French, so you'll have to forgive me if that was spelled wrong.

Anyway, there must be some way to combat these messages and raise strong and self-confident young women.  We need more of them in this world.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 14:05

Baby Names

So I've always thought that naming babies is the easiest and most fun part of the whole 'planning for baby' process.  I've jokingly said that I would have two dozen kids just so I could name them!

Somehow my husband and I started talking about this - it had something to do with a Dr. Seuss book where a woman had a bunch of sons and named them all Dave, but she could have named them other things like Marvin O'Gravel Balloonface, and my husband said 'It would be really hard to name so many kids - maybe it would be good to name them all the same thing!'.  And I said 'No, it would be fun to name so many kids!' So he said - 'I bet you couldn't come up with 25 names that you like!' - challenge accepted.

Then he grumbled something about being kidding and that it was midnight and I should just go to sleep, but now I was on a mission... so here goes.  Since I have an easier time with girls names than boys, I decided to come up with 10 boys names and 15 girls. 


1. Elliot Nathaniel

2. Alexander Glenn

3. Oliver Bennett

4. Simon Daniel

5. Charles Dorian

6. Caleb Aaron

7. Colin David

8. Jack William

9. Nicholas Brian

10. Noah Theodore


1. Ava Gwendolyn

2. Sophia Scarlett

3. Rachelle Elena

4. Lauren Piper

5. Ingrid Anika

6. Miriam Hope

7. Heidi Catherine

8. Hannah Naomi

9. Norah Brielle

10. Amelia Joy

11. Clara Faith

12. Lily Marie

13. Natalie Charlotte

14. Olivia Helen

15. Gillian Grace

I had to admit at the end of this, that it was MUCH harder, having already named a child - to come up with names for potential future children.  It hadn't occurred to me before, but now that I'd named one child, there were certain 'rules' I now had to follow - such as, does the name mean something - like my daughter's does, do I consider the name a similar 'style' to my daughter's name and should I use names that are already in the family since I chose not to with my first?

Anyway, it was a fun little exercise - I enjoy doing this every once in awhile to see how things have changed.  When I was a teenager, I thought I would have four kids - two boys and two girls - and their names would have been - Alexander, Norah, Zachary and Anaya (either spelled that way or the traditional 'Anaisa').  I guess things change.

Published in Blog
Thursday, 10 November 2011 12:17

The Moment I Got it...

I don't remember the exact moment that I finally figured this out, but I do remember that it hit me like a train.

I have a baby girl who isn't overly fond of 'snuggle time' and would much prefer to be independent and exploring - but I snuggle her anyway, and more often than not it annoys her.  Oh well.  I will always do this.  I will never stop getting in her face to let her know how much I love her. 

It occurred to me that in any other relationship I would eventually give up.  When your friends never call you - when you are always the one extending your hand or phone call, it becomes tiresome and you eventually give up.  Even in my marriage, when I feel like I have been the exclusive 'giver' for too long, I get cranky and lecture my husband on doing his part - I have my limits. 

With my daughter, however, it will never matter.  She can push me away her entire life, always act annoyed with my affection, and almost never reciprocate, but I won't even think about giving up.  She is the one person in the world (so far) who I will let take and take from me, and i will never stop giving. 

Then it occurred to me - did MY parents think this way? Did I take THEM for granted? (yes) Did I act annoyed by their very existence as a teenager? (yes) Did it occur to me how insanely much they loved me and that they would do almost ANYTHING for me? (not once).

I don't think I could have gotten it.  Not until I was on the other side of that fence.  I don't think a person can ever FULLY appreciate their parents and how much your children consume you until you are a parent and your own children consume you.


Published in Blog
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 22:07

June 1, 2010

Just to give some background...

On June 1, 2010 (I was 3 months pregnant at the time) as I was getting ready for work in the morning I saw a text message from my Mom asking me to call her as soon as possible.  My parents live directly across the street from my Grandparents (the ones I am really close to because they had a big part in raising me) and both of my Grandparents have had significant health issues that have put them in the hospital for long periods of time and have made us more than a little nervous.  So, my first thought was that something serious had happened to one of them. 

I never expected it to be about my Father. 

Even though he had gone through cancer five years earlier, by the time he was telling me about the diagnosis, he was also able to tell me what the game plan was.  He came through it beautifully - and the key words in that previous sentence were that 'he was telling me'.  There is something so reassuring about hearing about something from the person who is 'not ok' - because when you can hear their voice, you know that they are at least somewhat 'ok'.

This time it wasn't my Dad telling me anything.

My mom was telling me that Dad had experienced an odd sort of bleeding in his brain.  Although the doctors said it wasn't a stroke or an aneurism, the effects were similar.  He was left unable to communicate correctly - he said yes when he meant no and the reverse.  He couldn't wrap his head around long sentences and couldn't 'find' words that to most of us come to our lips without any effort.  He could understand everything as far as we knew - the 'input' was working fine - but the 'output' was completely broken.  Although he could make sounds with his mouth, he had forgotten how to speak, could no longer write, and had to relearn how to do simple tasks like turning on the tv and reading a book. 

Over the next few months we learned very little about Dad's situation.  Doctors did a number of tests and scans and could find no cause of the bleeding.  He also gradually improved until he was almost completely back to normal.  Only those of us who knew him really well would know that he was at all different and that his comprehension was not what it once was, and when he stumbled for words or stuttered that this was a result of his odd 'injury'.  We were so hopeful.

Until it happened again. 

And again.

And again.

Each time he would begin with less ability than the time before, and each time he would recover to almost what he was like before the current bleeding.  It was like he was jumping down a flight of stairs, then taking all but one step up, then jumping down another flight, but each time he was ending up a step below where he had been before. 

On Saturday morning I got a text from my Mom saying that it had happened again.  This time he was in the ICU and they were keeping him in a drug-induced coma because each time they tried to let him wake up he would go into seizures which would only make the damage worse. 

Today they removed his breathing tube.

My Dad is 52 years old, and he will never be the man I used to know.  He has one grandaughter (Clara) who is nearly one, and although she might get to know this new man who acts a bit like a child and loves her dearly - she will never get to know the Dad I had growing up.  This is unbelievably difficult for me.  My Dad was my hero - he refused to let my mother abort me, and when he found out she was about to take off with me - he chose single parenthood over letting me go.  My Dad taught me how to be strong, how to be realistic about myself and my abilities, how to work hard for what I want and how to push myself to achieve anything I want to.  He taught me how to be strong about what I believe, and although he believed very differently than I do, it has been because of him that my faith has been challenged and I have become so much stronger in my faith and relationship with God.  My Dad was a master craftsman who could build anything, even though he didn't really think of himself that way.  He was never very good in school, but he taught me to read when I was 3 and it wasn't until I was much older that I learned that when he spent days and days with his nose in some textbook or other, that it took him three times as long to read it as I would because he was dyslexic and had to really focus to make all of the words stand still.  He bought me a textbook on philosophy when I was 12 and I read it, and we discussed things in detail and debated everything.  It is because of my Dad that I am the geek that I am, and that I have the passion for learning that I do.  I can completely respect a view that is opposite to mine because I always respected his, and he always respected mine. 

I could go on forever about my Dad, and I suppose no one would want to read it.  I think my point has been made, and I hope that my next blog post will have some good news.

Published in Blog
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