The end of 2008

Well, after literally spending most of the last days with my behind planted firmly on the couch I am finally starting to feel some stirrings of motivation to do SOMETHING. Problem with me is that my desire for order always goes a little nuts at New Year's so I have to be careful or I'll try to go from 0 to 105 in 30 seconds and end up right back where I was at the end of Christmas, plumb tuckered out. Oh the ongoing challenge of finding balance in life!

I really do want to get things in order though before the long haul until Easter begins. November was the only month that I worked a normal schedule and although it was manageable, I have a feeling that by Easter I'll be ready for a break again. So I want to be able to start well and keep up a reasonable pace.

Hard to believe it's the end of another year. Last year we made the mistake of trying to get some food delivered. For some reason after all the years we have lived in Spain we didn't realize that NOTHING is open on New Year's Eve. So yeah, we were kind of pathetic. Since I have been a slug for the last 5 days I am thinking I might make lasagna. I haven't made it for a LONG time (it's a pretty expensive dish with the meat and cheese) but I grew up making it with my Mom.

Wherever you are, may you have something to eat tonight. And may 2009 be whatever HE wants it to be for each of us.

See you next year!


Growing Up Is Hard...

Whether you are 11 or 40.

This Advent season has been joyful and peaceful amidst the busyness and perhaps I have grown a bit smug. Over the weekend it became apparent that our 14-year-old car needs some definite work. I have been very aware and challenged to keep Advent despite this looming issue and not to let my heart and thoughts spin out of control with thoughts of money and logistics (I have been driving the car to work 2 days a week, the kids have their Christmas program on Friday, we have to empty out the last of the church stuff on Saturday night, and I have to drive over and pick up a friend's dog since we are watching her for part of their vacation.) And of course my mind assumes the car repairs will be 3 to 4 figures.

Meg has been finding middle school more of a challenge. She has a hard time thinking critically, so learning to study for tests etc. has been hard on her. And hormones are beginning to rear their ugly heads. Not full-blown yet, but they are out there. This morning I "advised" her about hormones and feeling crabby and weepy etc. She was not impressed, especially when she learned that her younger brother will not struggle with the same issues.

We're both working on growing up gracefully.


Monday Advent Moments

  • A few moments of peace in the living room with Troy, after kids were out the door and before the busyness of work began. Christmas tree lights and Christmas music.
  • Walking to work in a crazy wet snow shower.
  • A smooth and efficient bank transition that meant having some time to sit and eat lunch in peace and quiet.


Getting in the Christmas Spirit

It's the day after Thanksgiving. We took a vacation day today. I've been sick all week, so it felt good to sleep in. We put up the tree and are working on the other decorations. At the moment we are taking a break and watching "Elf", which we all love. Later on tonight we'll order Chinese food and watch Polar Express :) Yes, it's a movie kind of day.

Last year, Christmas snuck up on me and I felt scattered, unprepared and just generally caught-off guard. This year it's better. In many ways our Christmas will be smaller and simpler this year, including sadly, less loved ones around us.

But the spirit of Advent is on us.



I started my new job as an English -speaking teacher's aide this week. I'm working at two different schools. One is close to home, one is out near where our kids go to school. I've been to both schools now.

Today I was walking home pondering some of the kids who crossed my path this week, especially ones who seem to be a bit out of control. It has been interesting for me to watch the levels of discipline (whether high or low) in the classroom.

I met several children today who are from a subculture in Spain that has a certain reputation. They are often shunned and discriminated against and pigeonholed. They seemed totally disinterested in school in general, and a bit lost in a world of their own creation.

My mind circled around the problems of engaging them when I can only speak to them in English, and at this point their exposure to that has been minimal. I wondered how I can teach them to respect each other, and themselves and me.

I don't know how it will go once I begin interacting with them on a consistent basis. The only thing I know for sure is to pray for them, that somehow I will be able to share the love of the only One who can make them whole.


This Boy of Mine

When Meaghan and Nicolas started taking the metro by themselves to meet up with their ride to school, one of our main concerns was that Nic, (8) would behave for his sister (11). Troy talked to them about teamwork, and Nic took that very, very seriously.

Today, we were on the way home from hanging out with our team. Nic sat across from Troy on the metro, and said "Dad, when we get home, I want to talk to you for a little bit."

Troy raised one eyebrow at me and we exchanged a secret grin. I leaned back and said behind Meg, "What do you want to talk to Dad about?"

"I'm keeping it sort of a secret."

"You only want to talk to Dad about it?"

"Well, maybe you too."

After we got home, Nic followed Troy into the office and solemnly shut the door.

"You know, how when we started on the metro, we did good teamwork? Well, I was thinking that maybe, when Meaghan walks the dog, maybe I can go with her, to do good teamwork. You know, I can make sure no cars are coming, and stuff."

"You want to go with Meg when she walks the dog?"

"Yeah! You know, for good teamwork."

"Do you want to try it right now? OK, well, ask Meaghan what she thinks about it."

"Right now? OK, I'll come back and tell you about what she says."

Exit boy, door closes, more shared smiles between Mom and Dad.

Enter boy.

"She said YOU (Mom) were going to walk the dog now."

"Well, tell her you want to try it out now."

"She said she would think about it."

Enter Meg. Lexi stands up and puts her paws against her, pleadingly.

"Look at her, she is saying PLeeeeeeeeeeeeez, take me out Meg"


Exit girl, boy, dog.

Mom's heart explodes.

The end.


It was a beautiful day

Nikon D40
Originally uploaded by conras
My friend Kim and I had scheduled breakfast and camera pointers. We've been trying to do it for months but things kept getting in the way.

It was a beautiful day, blue sky making a perfect backdrop for impressive Madrid landmarks. I cleaned off my SD card so I could snap at will. I was feeling impressively organized, collecting everyone's monthly transportation passes so I could buy October's pass.

I wanted to take the bus but traffic was crazy, so I dutifully descended into the metro.

Somewhere between Lista and Goya, I remembered the camera battery. It was all charged up so I could again, shoot at will. It was also still in the battery charger, at home. My camera was in my bag.



Photo by Troy, taken during our stay in Salzburg

Yes, I know it's not Thanksgiving yet :) (even for us Canucks) and I don't know why I'm blogging NOW when I am alternating between the almost 9-year-old-laptop with the wonky "l" and Troy's computer when he can spare it. But there you have it.

I have been thinking about thanksgiving lately. I have been, frankly, pretty stressed out. Each week seems to bring a new wave of challenges with it, just when the last set has been dealt with. And it's not just me, I've noticed. All over, people I know are dealing with hard stuff...illness, financial crisis, eviction, the list goes on. Hope sometimes seems very far away for many of us.

But I've been trying to keep a thankful spirit, to learn to dwell simply in His presence and give each challenge to Him.

I actually find it easier to be thankful when I put myself in a thanksgiving mind-set. Today I broke apart bread to make stuffing for the little Cady family sized chicken that is roasting in the oven. Later we'll eat mashed potatoes and gravy and chicken and stuffing, and it will be a little bit easier to be thankful (at least for me) in the face of stress.

What do you do to help you feel thankful?



This dog looks remarkably like Lexi, our Beagle. And this is TOTALLY the kind of stunt she pulls!


Closed for Repairs

I will probably not be blogging until the end of October. My laptop screen bit the dust so I'm sharing with Troy or using our 9-year-old laptop with the l that you have to pound :) Life is just crazy right now!


Closet Progress

I am so happy with the way my front closet has shaped up. I unfortunately just plowed into it one afternoon without taking any before photos.

This is the left side of the closet, with great built-in shelves. The top shelf holds things we don't use often: games, toddler toys for visitors, games, our picnic basket etc. The side shelves hold our videos (yes, we still own some and use them!), candles, and my scrapbooking supplies. The Ikea bins on the bottom hold more scrapbooking stuff. I like to keep it here because I most often scrap on our table with Meg or anyone else I can get to scrap with me! We thinned out the coats and keep the kids' current season's coat in this closet and their others in their closet. Troy hung hooks on the inside of the doors for his murses, backpacks etc.

I bought cheap magazine holders at Ikea to store my scrapping paper etc. The boxes hold photos, the wire basket holds candles.

These Ikea bins hold the rest of my scrapbooking stuff. Since it's all together, it's easy to move it to the table and back.

The right side of the closet is my favorite! I also got these organizers at Ikea, and they didn't cost me an arm and a leg. Troy keeps his shoes in this closet, so now they are organized. Everyone has a one of the little drawers for gloves, hat and scarves.

The top right shelf holds the purse or two that I am currently using. Below that is extra bigger bags that I might take if we are going to the park or something, and below that are our canvas shopping bags that we have been trying to be more diligent in using, especially if we are just running to the store down the street.

The two big drawers are our "to return" drawer (usually stuff that gets left at our house) and the umbrella drawer.

With the shoes all up off the floor, the vacuum fits nicely underneath!


You're Blessed

I know I have posted this before, but it's time again. Oh how I love the Beatitudes from The Message (Matthew 3)

3"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

6"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

7"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.

8"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

10"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.

11-12"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.


Expanding the Repertoire

Even though I'm generally the one who cooks, Troy has a certain repertoire of dishes that he always makes. They include all dishes involving bacon (bacon and tomato sandwiches, French toast and bacon) and grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup.

Last week we wrote about summer foods we love. I was working full-time at Red Hat, so I wasn't much good in the cooking department when I dragged my butt home through the heat. One night my amazing hubby decided he was going to try and make some stuff off my summer list. He made potato salad which was amazing, cold carrot/bacon/raisin salad (he wanted to make the broccoli-bacon-raisin one but couldn't find broccoli and fried chicken. I was impressed.

So now, even though he admits that potato salad is sort of finicky to make, he has agreed that it can be part of his repertoire. It's on the menu for dinner!



Early this morning, around 6, I woke from a dream in which I was cold. Our room was blissfully cool.

I happily, sleepily, pulled a light blanket from the under-the-bed-storage and snuggled back to sleep.

I can't wait until the nights are cold enough to put the duvet back in the cover.


Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

We're back from our wet wanderings in Salzburg and a great week with our colleagues in Sopron, Hungary. It's hot in Madrid, the dog has been sacked out completely, pathetically grateful we came back for her, Nic is catching up on building things, and making ships out of paper while watching Star Wars and Meg is wandering between time on her own and feeding her brain. Troy is puttering, I'm still in my jammies.

It's good to be home. I have to work all week at Red Hat, but I'll be back at some point!



When I was growing up, we visited my Dad's brother and family in Nova Scotia one summer. My aunt had a package of dried seaweed in the house, and I can remember my Mom sitting in her kitchen munching on seaweed. I thought that was a ridiculous thing to eat as a snack.

Fast forward several (cough) years. Not only do I regularly eat sushi (wrapped, in, um, SEAWEED), in the past 24 hours I devoured this, all by myself, plain, with no rice, no nothing. 80 little strips of flavored Nori. My friend Kristen left it when she moved back to the US recently. I had never heard of flavored seaweed. I hope they don't sell it here, or I'm in trouble.

I'm pretty sure that I could have gotten my Mom addicted to sushi too. And it makes me kind of sad that I'll never have that chance. Mom, sorry I laughed at you for eating seaweed!

This Just In

A study conducted by UCLA's Department of Psychiatry has revealed that the kind of face a woman finds attractive on a man can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle. For example: If she is ovulating, she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features. However, if she is pre-menstrual or menopausal, she tends to be more attracted to a man with duct tape over his mouth and a spear lodged in his forehead while he is on fire.

No further studies are expected.



My friend Peej tagged me to do this book thingy, and I guess it's as good a way to re-enter as any other :) So without further ado:
  1. Do you remember how you developed a love for reading? Nope! I have been reading voraciously as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I was always reading a few grade levels ahead of my age.
  2. What are some books you read as a child? Little House on the Prairie series, The Chronicles of Narnia, Wind in the Willows, Little Women, The Black Stallion series, etc. etc. :)
  3. What is your favorite genre? I don't think I can pick only one, because it depends on what kind of mood I'm in. I don't read Westerns, Science Fiction, "Bodice Rippers" or the Encyclopedia. But other than that, I read pretty widely.
  4. Do you have a favorite novel? If I have to pick only one, I'd have to say 'Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. It captured my imagination in high school and I still love it.
  5. Where do you usually read? Nowadays, usually on the couch (or in the hammock in good weather). But my couches are comfy and great for reading either sprawled out or tucked in a corner.
  6. When do you usually read? Vacation, my day off, Sundays, on the bus or metro.
  7. Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time? Yep, almost always.
  8. Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction? Um, sort of. I read both on public transportation. I tend to read non-fiction in the glider in the living room because I usually keep those in my "devotional" basket.
  9. Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library? I borrow as many as I can (and then try to buy the ones I love) and try and buy the rest used. I also buy e-books to read on my PDA because they are cheaper and they save trees!
  10. Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them? I often shop in the 1-3 euro room of used bookstores (because I don't have access to a library). With those I try and sell them back to the store, or pass them on. If it's a book I know I'll read again I keep them. I have my Chronicles of Narnia from when I was a kid and quite a few others. I hope they'll get passed down through the generations.
  11. If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them? We've read The Chronicles of Narnia, and the Little House on the Prairie series with them. Right now bed-time reading is The Wind in the Willows, and Meg and I are reading Little Women together. Some of the ones in the line-up: Where the Red Ferns Grow, A Wrinkle in Time, The Hobbit.
  12. What are you reading now? Non-fiction: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, The Ragamuffin Gospel, finishing Celebration of Discipline (but that one will be a life-long companion!), and Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work". Fiction: just finished A Thousand Splendid Suns.
  13. Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list? Sort of, but it all depends on what I can get my hands on, and what I'm in the mood for next.
  14. What’s next? Not sure, but if I could pick it would be Jan Karon's Home to Holly Springs.
  15. What books would you like to reread? I usually read the Narnia and Little House books once a year (often on Christmas vacation. I know I'll read Jan Karon's Mitford Series a bunch more times in my life.
  16. Who are your favorite authors? C.S. Lewis, Donald Miller, Jan Karon, Eugene Peterson to name a very few.
OK, now I have to tag 2 people. Let's say Amy, who is trying to blog more, so here you go girl :) and Mary, if she has time between law school assignments.


I'm Outta Here

I'm now officially on vacation until next Tuesday morning. SWEET! I have not been this ready for a vacation in quite awhile; it's been an overbearing couple of weeks and I am almost overwrought. I'm tired, emotional, and really sick of saying goodbyes. Tonight it was Kristen.

I'm thankful to have my friend Lisa here, but all the while I'm enjoying her company I realize I have to say goodbye to her again next Tuesday. I'm sitting here eating the Jr. Mints she brought me and I can't stop, even though I find I can only handle a few before the sweetness becomes ridiculous.

I'm proud of myself because I did not even consider taking my computer on this vacation. We're going to be hanging out with friends of ours. I'm hoping for lots of laughter, time with my family, maybe some reading, playing with our Christmas camera, etc. It feels good to be able to leave it all behind.

Peace, I'm out.


Home Alone

No, not the annoying movie(s), and not for long, either.

Given our lifestyle of working from home, summer can be a challenge because all four of us are usually here 24/7. That makes having any alone time pretty stinkin' impossible!

This morning the kids are at their last day of VBS and Troy is out for meetings. I have a couple of hours of being in the house all by myself and I am positively giddy. The possibilities are endless!



I just watched this article on CNN about the increasing frequency of families having to give their children up to orphanages in many poor countries because they simply cannot afford to feed them. I cannot imagine. It definitely helps me re-evaluate my life-style though! Sobering.



One of the things I hope to do more of this summer (as things move at a slower pace) is reading. This year the kids have finally gotten it in their heads that they will actually get more pool time if they don't insist that we get in with them. Frankly, Troy and I just don't feel like getting in every day. So today I sat and read two chapters of A Long Obedience in the Same Direction which I had been reading with some ladies in the fall, but set aside when the group dispanded. I LOVE this book. I feel like I underline half the chapter and I pretty much just want to copy and past it here. If you have never read it, I highly recommend it.

Later, our family watched an episode of Little House on the Prairie in which the girls put on a scene from Little Women. My Meg was asking about it, so I was inspired to pull my Reader's Digest classics copy off the shelf and we decided to read it together this summer. I have read this book eleventy billion times and love it so much. I'm really excited to be sharing it with Meg!


Small Constants

Troy keeps nudging me to write something. Honestly, I haven't had the emotional or mental energy to even begin to process everything, and it just seemed pointless to write anything fluffy. Frankly I don't have fluffy in me right now.

Every summer, we have to say goodbye to people in our community, and it's never fun. This year however, it has beaten the snot out of me. It's partly because I have had more significant relationships with the people who are leaving. And I think it's partly because this past year I have had more of myself to give away, more to invest. Which is great, but it makes the letting go that much harder.

This morning the church bells rang at their appointed hour, and I found them strangely comforting. I always love them, marking the rhythm of our days, calling me to prayer even though I don't walk over to attend mass. But today they reminded me of small constants in my life.

It's a hard lesson to learn, and one I don't embrace fully, that sometimes, in order to grow new friendships and relationships in life, God has to remove some, at least from our immediate vicinity. Perhaps, if I were able to keep these significant people in my life, I would miss opportunities not only to be blessed, but to bless people who I have yet to meet. Or maybe deepen relationships I already have. Living this life is a constant struggle of being willing to know and be known again, even when running the risk of having to say goodbye to that person in six months. Hard not to say "Hi, what's your name and HOW LONG ARE YOU GOING TO BE HERE?"

I don't know, but I feel raw around the edges, and tears are just below the surface, jumping out and then subsiding with all the energy of a jack-in-the-box but with none of the gleeful hilarity.

Our kids just finished two years at Numont, and I am almost stunned that our time there is over, in what seems like the blink of an eye. I find myself ridiculously emotional about it.

I have learned in life that it's necessary to do the hard and unpleasant work of grieving, even when it seems more painless to just ignore it. So when it hits me that Mary won't be around on Tuesday night, not because she's had a busy week, but because she moved to San Diego, I will try and give myself the space to grieve. And when I'm longing for a coffee with Mona, to see the twinkle in Paul's eye, and to call Jonathan Wonder Boy even though it annoys the heck out of him, I will have to just sit with the loss.

Hopefully it's a lesson I can help Meg learn as well. She is already on her way, with frequent comments of "I will miss my friends" and plans to invite them over so those ties are not broken. We tell her that it's OK to be sad.

Hopefully I'll be back to posting more regularly soon.


Craving Order: A Completely Shallow Post in which I Covet Organization stuff.

I have a draft post waiting to be written. It's called "Uproar", which basically describes the state of my life right now. But as you can see, the uproar in my life has kept me from writing about it. Anyway, more on that later.

I have been craving more order, especially around the house. I really like having a small amount of living space because it encourages us to live with less stuff, and it's also less house to clean. But the problem comes with ORGANIZING the stuff. A few weeks ago, I saw this post, and it made me sin. I coveted that little haven of organization!!! I was ready to throw away my Swiss Family Robinson balconied apartment (which I dearly love) and go find a house, with a mudroom, so I too could have a space like that.

Problem is, having a space like that requires $$$$$$$$$. Or at least $$. A few weeks ago I was completely fed up with the closet in our office, so I mostly cleaned it out and somewhat organized it. Except for now the office actually looks worse because there is stuff strewn about that I need to get rid of/find another spot for etc. And I tend to feel like if I could just to to Ikea and spend 20 or 30 or 400 euro on organizational stuff, everything would fall into place, miraculously.

Sigh. The other thing is, most of the organizational stuff requires SPACE, still. I am limited by little nooks and crannies, short lengths of wall, and radiators standing in inconvenient-something-else-would-be-so-cute-there corners. I have been wandering around with a tape measuring, muttering to myself and flipping feverishly through the Ikea catalog.

Here are some photos that make me swoon. Yes, they are Pottery Barn photos, and no, I have never bought a single thing there. But look, how neat and pretty!

Below is the most spectacular wall organizer thing I have ever seen! It has little pockets for my gadgets, where they can actually charge! Be still my heart. But you know what, there isn't enough a span of wall in our office big enough to accommodate it! (Now isn't that a relief, because otherwise I would have just ordered it and had it shipped to Spain. I wish.) I would also love to do the office in that blue, and chocolate brown.

And look at this handy little charging station. I tried to make one with a basket recently, for our phone chargers. My husband looked at me askance and asked me to extricate his phone charger since we were going away for the weekend.

Note to all my Macivite friends. I do not want the IPhone (but yes I am cool enough to recognize it when I see it) I just want the charging station!!

Even this jobby would make the organization of said office closet much easier. But guess what, Amazon.co.uk does not carry it and I am not paying to have it shipped from America.

Spain does not have the Container Store, and the stuff they do have to organize is often nice but way pricey. No garage sales or Goodwill where I can pick up used stuff either.

So, does anyone know how I can win a whole bunch of organizing? And does anybody else ever get this way?
I'm 40, short, wider than I should be. I have been married to my best friend for 17 years. We have 2 kids who I love fiercely. Born in Canada, I have lived most of my life as an "alien," in Costa Rica, Ecuador, the US, Portugal, The Netherlands and Spain. Sometimes I think it's a great way to remember that this world is not my home. Sometimes it's crazy-making. Someday, I'd like to grow some deeper roots. In the mean-time, I'm a forgiven follower of Jesus Christ.



Nic has speech and language therapy every Wednesday, so when I take him I have an hour to kill. I have been trying to watch how much we spend, so today I avoided Starbucks and instead went next door to VIPS. I ordered Patatas Vips (potatoes with ali oli) and a Coke. While I waited, I cleaned out my purse a bit (something I often do during those Wednesday hours.) The waitress brought my Coke but I hadn't taken even one sip, when I noticed that my wallet was not in my purse! I had a moment of panic when I wondered if it had been lifted on the metro on the way home after the morning meetings that Troy and I had.

Then I very clearly remembered taking it out of my purse to get some euro coins to tip the grocery delivery guys. And leaving it on the kitchen table.

I quickly got up and explained to the waitress that I had forgotten my wallet, that I hadn't even sipped my Coke, and that I needed to cancel my order. I slunk out of the restaurant, wondering what I should do with the 50 minutes I had left.

That's when I remembered the cash I had in my pocket, a 50 euro bill and at least one 20 euro bill.

But at that point I was too embarrassed to go back in and say "Oh wait, bring my potatoes, I'm an idiot and I had money all the time!"

So I went next door to Starbucks and bought a small coffee.


Tagged: 10 Reasons Why I Blog

My friend Peej (PJ, Patty) and I have been writing together since high school. She is a lot more diligent about it than I am though! Anyway, she tagged me, so what is a girl to do? So without further ado (oh, I'm sure there will be SOME ado along the way!) here are 10 reasons I blog:

1) It gives me a place to verbally roll my eyes. You know how much I love to roll my eyes.
2) I laugh at myself all the time, might as well let you laugh along.
3) Sometimes, a girl's just gotta vent.
4) It's a good way to get built-in accountability. Nothing like opening yourself up to the internets!
5) It keeps me writing, even if it's not scintillating.
6) I have actually made some really good friends in the blogosphere even though I have never met them in real life! (Hi Heidi! :) )
7) Sadly, I never/rarely journal anymore, so at least I have some sort of record of things this way.
8) I have tons of fun co-writing He Said, She Said with my hubby. (And maybe someday we'll earn some money that way!)
9) Most days, I actually believe I have something worthwhile to say.
10) I hope that somehow, in some small way I can point people to Jesus.

I'm too chicken to tag anyone, but if you write a post, let me know!



For us, one of the hardest parts of Troy going away is that he often has to "leave" before he's actually gone. Most of the time his trips are because he is speaking or contributing in some other way so that means he has to get material prepared.

So when he is busy with that stuff, I have to remember that in saying "yes" to any trip, I also have said "yes" to the prep time. And while I'd like him to be sitting next to me on the couch, or playing Wii with us, I have to remember that leaving begins a little earlier than I'd like.


Just What I Needed

After almost 7 straight days of busyness, the past two have been a balm for my soul, especially as I ramp up mentally for 5 more days of Troylessness next week (he's going to a conference Monday through Friday). The kids have been off school (actually the whole week) and yesterday and today are holidays. So there has been lots of lounging on the couch, reading, playing Wii, watching some TV and movies, sleeping in, etc. going on. It has been bliss. I found out that I am pretty good at Wii golf and bowling, but I am a complete failure at tennis. I guess the C I got in tennis class in college was no fluke.

It's truly amazing how being rested helps you face things better. I've got some goals for next week while my hubby is away and will hopefully have some girl time too. The house needs a good cleaning, although I plan on starting on that tomorrow and once again my desk could use some attention. Actually, the big box of filing REALLY needs my attention.

My allergies are starting to kick in, with itchy eyes being the worst. So far I'm surviving with the generic stuff I bought at Sam's club last furlough, but I might have to kick it up a notch to the more expensive stuff I buy here. I find it very disagreeable that one of the most beautiful times of the year makes me fairly miserable, especially if I go outside!


Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen reasons I am glad it's today...
  1. I like the beginning of a new month; it inspires me. Perhaps my bloggy writing record will improve this month.
  2. It's May now and I like May a lot better than April!
  3. I don't have any responsibilities today other than being with my family (and feeding them, I guess :) )
  4. If it's warm enough I can chill in one of the hammocks.
  5. The dog is beside me on the couch keeping me warm on a surprisingly chilly morning.
  6. My hubby is home! (he won't be all next week.)
  7. I didn't have to walk a dog first thing this morning.
  8. I don't have to answer phones at Red Hat today.
  9. I have a stash of goodies in the freezer.
  10. I can get in the Wii action with my family today.
  11. I heart facebook's new chat feature.
  12. Perhaps I will read a book.
  13. Tomorrow is another day with no responsibility!


Really glad my hubby is home

So I can kick his butt in Wii golf!

Insert evil cackle.


Under construction

I have always had a lot of respect for single parents, whatever the circumstances that got them there. Troy has been been gone most of the week (M-W, F-Sun). Nothing out of the ordinary has happened, no medical emergencies, no car trouble, the floor has not given way and dropped us into the swimming pool below. I've said before that I don't mind a couple of days on my own to recharge my "me".

But this week it has worn a little thin. Last night after church everyone was going off to do fun things, and I have to admit I felt a little sorry for myself as I drove off with the kids. We don't often go out after church mainly because it gets expensive with four of us, plus we live farthest away from church. Normally it's cool because Troy and I spend the evening together. But it definitely wasn't so much fun not having him here last night.

The whole thing about burdens halved and joys multiplied is so true. I still have to finish cleaning up the mess from Friday night home group. And last night in church when Nic was singing his heart out and making up motions to go along with the songs (and also watching himself in the mirror while he did it! ;) ) Troy was not there for me to exchanged amused and also pleased glances with.

Thing is, I know I am both spoiled and blessed. Being church planters means that our time is flexible and I am privileged to have a husband who participates 100% with our kids. Every day he helps Nic with his homework. And I really do not take that for granted.

As Troy's influence and responsibility grow, I have a feeling that I'm going to have to adjust more to having a more normal "social base" where I am holding down the fort. Even thought that is going to require work on my part, and probably a little more growing up, I'm up for it. It's clear that my character needs to develop more. Troy always seems to manage things much better when he's the only one left to do things, like when I have to work at Red Hat.

Dang it, don't you hate it when your spouse's strengths make your own weakness glaringly clear?


I keep hitting home runs

Some very generous friends of ours recently bought us a Wii. I have had a good time watching the kids (all three of them) play. Even though I have made a Mii, I have yet to play on ours (only on our friends') But I am apparently a really good baseball player because I keep showing up in the batting order and hitting home runs. Who would have thought? Also, I wonder if Nintendo thinks we should spell our last name Cadii?

Mr. Cady is gone again until Sunday. It's a cold, haily (is that a word?) windy Friday and the kids and I are hunkered down in the house.

Have a good weekend!


Keep the Home Fires Burning

Troy is in Amsterdam until late Wednesday afternoon, and then he leaves again on Friday afternoon until Sunday. We're all a bit glum here without him; nothing is quite the same without him here.

The kids both stayed home today with sniffles, and Meg had a fever. She's had a runny nose all day. I hope she sleeps well and feels better tomorrow.

I've had a "heavy" head all last week and today it's worse so maybe I'm fighting something too. I can't tell if it's a cold or allergies.

Either way, I'm here, trying to keep the house running without a crucial part of it.

And sneezing on the computer screen.



Main Entry:
Inflected Form(s):
tin·kered; tin·ker·ing Listen to the pronunciation of tinkering \-k(ə-)riŋ\
intransitive verb: to work in the manner of a tinker; especially : to repair, adjust, or work with something in an unskilled or experimental manner : fiddle tinkering with his car>transitive verb: to repair, adjust, or experiment with"

When I don't know what to write, my tendency is to tinker with my blog. This morning I read a friend's blog and she had used a snazzy new template, from a site I had never heard of before. So of course I clicked over to peruse the layouts there. But I am partial to 3-columns and I didn't see any, so then I googled...

But I resisted temptation. And now I'm going to put the computer down and go read a book!


Finding my bloggy voice again

I have had a really hard time writing anything here lately. I think I am conflicted about my voice. I am not a funny southern woman like BooMama or BigMama.I don't do giveaways, host discussions or contests. I don't write deep devotionals or quote much scripture. Frankly, lately I haven't written much of anything at all.

Par of it could be only have so much creativity, and since I am writing regularly with Troy over at He Said, She Said, that's all I got.

It's hard not to get caught up in the numbers and the comments and the "Oh, maybe I could make a little money" and all that. But really, what am I doing here in the bloggy world?

I've had thoughts of going on hiatus (even though I just had one during Lent) or deleting this blog altogether. But I'm not quite ready to give up on it yet.

Any thoughts?


I'll be back

Don't have much time or energy to write this week. Stupid time change. It's killing me.

We'll be out of town Thursday to Saturday for our team launch and I have a billion things to get done before then.

See you Sunday or Monday.


They'll be coming to take me away soon

Apparently my life is now destined to be a cosmic comedy of sorts. I don't really know how to deal with that other than laugh, so you might as well laugh with me.

This afternoon I went to help the Crulls pack. I had offered to wash their 2 big rag rugs for them, so we loaded them into the granny cart so I could drag them home on the metro. In a moment of sheer stupidity, I also tucked my shopping bag containing my nori and rice vinegar into the granny cart.

Since I am short, the cart was a bit unwieldy, but I managed to trundle up the road to the metro, drag the cart down the stairs, up the little stairs, down the other little stairs and wrestled it through the metro turnstile. I also had my coat draped over the whole contraption because it was too warm for a coat and I was definitely working up a sweat. As I was headed for the final set of stairs down to the metro platform, the cart decided to brake and them promptly topple face-first onto the ground. OK, fine, ignoring stares of people. I picked up the cart, and headed toward the stairs. As I teetered on the top, I noticed some sort of wet patch on the front of the cart.

Uh oh. The rice vinegar came to mind. In another moment of sheer stupidity, I thought that perhaps the cap had become dislodged. I reached into the plastic bag and promptly sliced my index finger open on the shattered bottle. Oh yes.

Well, no use crying over spilled vinegar milk. Might as well solider on home. I staunched the flow of blood against my coat sleeve, dragged the cart down the stairs and waited for the metro, hoping that the vinegar smell would stay kind of contained.

Of course I got the wheels of the cart caught between "coche and anden" (can anyone say "Mind the gap?") but finally stumbled onto the car. I parked my cart tightly up against the doors that would not be opening, and assumed a nonchalant posture, again hoping that people would not start sniffing the air suspiciously.

At this point I was overheated, smelled of vinegar and my finger was still gushing blood every time I took the pressure of. I made it about 9 of the 11 stops, and then I began to feel very, very woozy. Blood doesn't bother me, but I actually thought that little nick in my finger, combined with the heat and the lovely smell of sushi vinegar was going to make me pass out. I got off at the stop before mine. I took off my sweatshirt jacket, wrapped a Kleenex tightly around my finger and sat on the bench. I also ate half a Twix type generic candy bar to boost my sugar level.

I waited three minutes until the next train came and made it to my stop, through the turnstile, up the escalator, up the last wicked flight of stairs and home. I looked at myself in the elevator and I was as white as a ghost.

I recovered from my little adventure after the second band aid finally stopped the bleeding.

Later, I walked to our little local grocery and bought fake crab, because I must definitely now have sushi. They did not have a ripe avocado. I got home. I noticed that the package was not sealed properly. I walked BACK to the grocery store to get a sealed package of fake crab. Nothing but the best.

Upon arriving home, I put rice in the pot so it would be cooked and cooled later. And I promptly dropped the lid of the sugar bowl (the one that matches the set I bought at the store that no longer sells that set) on the floor. It can be glued back together. But the seam will always be there to remind me of this comedic day.

Now as long as the washing machine doesn't blow up because of the weight of the rug, or my husband doesn't have me committed, I will be enjoying sushi tonight.


It's Tomorrow, My Love

It's already tomorrow
and down the hall
I can hear you breathing peacefully.
Freed earlier than I
from the grip of the coffee
we should not have had after dinner.

The minutes ticks over
and I listen to the plastic
covering the plants upstairs
flap in the wind
wondering who on earth is leaning
on their horn
at this hour.

One more Texas car chase,
another mother shot her children
more government officials
doing things they shouldn't.
My thoughts wander to worry
as they often do when sleepless.
Random worries though, of addresses
not updated on driving licenses,
etc. etc.

From down the hall,
Your peace silently beckons,
the knowledge that as sure
as I will ease carefully over
to my side in the dark,
tomorrow will be a hope-filled day
with you,
burdens halved
joys multiplied.

It's already tomorrow, love.
And I'm coming to bed now.



I have found my words to be bottled up lately. Sometimes I have them in my head, but they refuse to be translated to either page or computer screen. I think my Lenten fast from reading and writing many words has helped some.

Refraining from reading blogs and facebook did help me break some unhealthy patterns. I find it so easy to just keep blog surfing etc. if I am tired, bored, or just unmotivated to do anything productive. But the blog surfing just makes all those feelings worse I think, because there is an unlimited supply of words out there to read!

Part of my re-entering process has been to start deleting bookmarked blogs. I have been thinking carefully about who and what I read, but mainly the reasons that I read them. There are plenty of interesting and entertaining blogs out there. But am I reading them because I am nosy, because I want to be included in something, etc? I have been paring down my list of regular reads to those of people I actually KNOW in real life and love, or blogs that teach me/challenge me/help me either spiritually, in my homemaking, or some other area.

I'm hoping that the more I value words in general, the more they will mean to me as well.


Meaghan's Rite of Conversion

This past weekend we went on our third annual Oasis Madrid Easter Retreat. On Saturday morning, Meg had her Rite of Conversion. She has been going through discipleship material with Troy since December, and this is the culmination of the first book.

Of course I cried, but one of the things that made me cry the most was the group of young adults who stood with Meg and cried too. I love our church so much, especially because of the way they are family to my kids.

Here are some photos, we'll post a video soon!



I'm back!

Wow, I'm here! :)

Still recovering from our Easter Retreat (which was amazing, the best yet, but a lot of work!) and resting today. The dog is home from the kennel and she is sacked out on one couch and Troy is lightly snoring on the other. There is no place like home!

Anyway, you can visit me again now. I'll be posting!



Journey into Lent

photo courtesy of Kelly

I'm going to use Lent as an opportunity to re-orient my heart and time to Jesus. I'll be back after Easter! May you have a blessed Easter season.


A Few Things

I finally stopped fretting that I had not been posting anything, and as I did some thinking about the state of things, I realized that I need to take a deliberate break from blogging here. Nothing is seriously amiss, just busy times and the conscious desire to step back and re-order.

Since Lent begins this week it seems like the perfect time for a break. I've decided to "fast" reading blogs, writing on this one, and also facebook. People that know me well think I'm slightly crazy and they are probably right, but oh well :)

I'll leave you with a list of update items!
  • Nicolas turned 8 on Thursday!
  • Meaghan will turn 11 on February 23.
  • Troy and I will be in Lisbon from Feb. 26-March 1.
  • After an internet shopping fiasco (DO NOT order from www.STOP4CAMERA.COM, yes I know I was stupid) we finally ordered our Christmas camera (we didn't buy each other any gifts and used all our Christmas money) and will get in when we go to Lisbon. I'm excited to have a working camera again!


Studied Avoidance...and Follow Me

I am studiously avoiding the list of questions that Phil left me. Not forever, but until my brain doesn't feel like mush any more. Until I don't feel like I'm about 100 years old. I hope that happens soon. My knees are creaky, my back is one big knot, I'm sinusy and headaches and at least 3 kilos too heavy for comfort. I'm mourning my38-year-old self. Because apparently 39 is the Year of Deteriorating as quickly as possibly. Wheeeee. We're off to a great start.

In an abrupt about-face, now I will talk about something serious :)

One of the things that Troy and I firmly believe in is that it is our job as parents to grow our kids spiritually. This is not the job of "the church" although the body of Christ of course does have a crucial role. But we don't subscribe to the "they'll-learn-what-they-need-to-know-once-a-week-in-Sunday-
school" way of thinking. We are in a unique situation because right now our kids are the only regular kids at our very young church. Even so, every time we have a service, we do Godly Play with them. Even if it's just me and the two of them.

We are trying to weave Christ into their everyday life as much as possible. Every week-day morning (our weekends are more unstructured) we say morning prayers together from Celtic Daily Prayer. Evenings are also more flexible depending on what we have going, but we often also say evening prayers from the same book. Our community knows that if you are at the Cady home at bed-time, they'll be handed a sheet with the prayers and invited to join in bedtime prayers, hugs and kisses. For me, those evenings are one of the best and most beautiful experiences of church.

For Christmas, we gave Meaghan four books that we use for discipleship in our church. They were developed by the late Robert E. Webber. (We first met Dr. Webber when Troy was in grad school and became Dr. Webber's T.A.) The series is called Journey to Jesus, and the four books are called Follow Me, Be My Disciple, Walk in the Spirit, and Find Your Gift. Every week she reads through the chapter, and meets with her Daddy on the weekends to talk about what she read that week. As she completes each book (and feels ready), we'll celebrate with her with different rites of passage, the Rite of Conversion, The Rite of Covenant, Baptism, and then the beginning of "a long obedience in the same direction." I found it interesting just now that I have been reading Eugene Peterson's book by that same title, and I didn't know that Webber used the same phrase until I got the books out just now.

I think it's pretty amazing that both Meaghan and I are on this journey together, although at different stages, to a long obedience in the same direction.


More than I Bargained For

Our friend Phil, who is a sleep-deprived Dad with a six-week old baby, left me a list of questions on facebook that made my head spin.

Questions like:

Have you ever considered what it will be like moving back to the US permanently? Or will you avoid the entire mess and just stay in Spain for the rest of your natural lives?

What is the longest your hair has ever grown?

What attracts you to God? When you pray, how does God speak to you?

How important, or necessary is your own confidence or positivism to understanding God's plan for you?

When Troy says, "I love you", or"scratch my back", is it the same thing?

Does the internet give you more acquaintances, let you keep in touch with lots of people, or actually build friendships?

Can you answer Nic's questions?

If I asked you for questions to get started on, or at least premises to practice writing fiction on, would you help me out too?
Oy vey! Me and my big mouth! :) Just kidding Phil!

I am too sleepy and brain-dead today to start answering this minute, plus if we don't absolutely go grocery shopping today we may starve.

I'll be back with answers soon!



Since nobody has asked me any reasonable questions (ahem, Nick!) which I really can't blame you for since I have been such a slacker, but I have to write something lest I never get my groove back on...

I'm happy to announce that my hubby got home last night; a day earlier than anticipated. He was apparently very confused about his travel dates. Either way, I was happy to see him!

I still have a monster knot in my left shoulder and neck, so I have become very good friends with my heating pad and some lovely smelling ointment that isn't doing me much good. Oh well.

But the main subject of this clever post is to tell you how much I love my Paul Potts CD, which I got for Christmas. If you haven't heard of him, he is the winner of Britain's Got Talent, capturing the hearts of many with his amazing opera talent. Anyway, I'm not being paid to advertise here, but I do really like his CD, One Chance. I'm not a huge opera freak, but I find this CD very relaxing and soothing. So there you have it, the opinion of one.

If you have never seen it, his audition video is totally worth watching, especially to watch the change in the demeanor of the judges, and the overwhelming response of the audience.

I for one hope he never has to go back to selling car phones!

That is all for today. Whew.


Call to Worship

I walked the dog around the block just now. The day is unseasonably warm for January, the skies a deep cloudless periwinkle. As I rounded the corner, the church bells began to peal. Blue sky and exuberant bells collided in my senses, ringing in my heart that today is a new day, a new beginning. As I watched a faithful few stream thinly towards the church, I was called to worship. I may not worship in that building, at that time, standing next to the woman with a grand-daughter in a matching pink coat on each side of her. But I worship(ed) nevertheless.

My aimless day is re-set. I turn towards home.



I'm kind of surprised I still remember how to get into blogger. And kind of wondering if I'm ever going to have the kind of week ever again that allows me to post, yea, even one maybe three times. Honestly, even if I've had a moment to write lately I just haven't been able to bring myself to write anything.

Christmas really did me in this year and I was completely worn out afterwards (that has led to ponderings about how we "do" Christmas" but that will have to be another post.) Troy was gone to the US, and then I got a cold and I honestly have not felt 100% more than a day at a time since then. This week I have a horrific knot in my shoulder and neck (despite the free massage last night :) ) I know I'm not old, but dang, I have been realizing more and more than I am definitely not 25 anymore and I can't keep going like I am.

More and more it seems like it's going to be rare for us to have a "normal" week around here. The kids are getting older, we have more things going, people have actually been coming to visit us :) (Yay for CJ & Amy. I can't tell you who they are, because then CJ would have to kill me. And you. Nuff said. Hi guys! :) ) I don't know, I'm just all befuddled. Even though I would really like to suddenly feel all organized and together again, I'm slightly off kilter somehow.

So I'm trying to sit with being off-kilter and be OK with it. I'm not miserable, I'm not unhappy, I'm not stressed. Not sure if God is just trying to teach me some stuff or what.

Hopefully soon I'll catch up with the emails, get my newsletter written, get thank you notes written and mailed etc. Nic's birthday is only 2 weeks away, then Meg's about 3 weeks after that. Then it's Lent, and Easter...and the rest of life!

Anyway, you get what I'm saying. No need to beat a dead horse!

In the interest of getting my brain back in gear, I'm going to beg/borrow/steal an idea I've seen going around. If there is a question you have about me (this will be thrilling, I'm sure) leave me a comment or email me and I'll start answering next week. And maybe eventually I'll be able to come up with some material on my own!

Questions anyone?



Man, I have not been able to get my game back on. This whole week my head has felt like it was going to either explode or fall off. Either option might have been a welcome relief. Last night I slept more propped up and that seemed to help. Even though I still do not feel great I feel more human today and have a bit more energy.

Anyway, I'll be back eventually.


Not Dead Yet

Hey peeps, just wanted to let you know that I'm still alive, just recovering from the holidays, resting, pondering, etc. The kids go back to school on Tuesday and I imagine life will take on more of a normal rhythm again. We'll see!