Saturday, March 31, 2012


I was walking around the house today, and each room was (ok, IS)  full of the leftovers of a day or two of good things, boring things, and everyday things that make life grand but houses messy.

I have heard rumours there are those who can live life without making a mess, but I am not one of them.

I blame my Dad for that.  I also blame him for the fact that I can't stand to live in a mess, though I am fantastic at creating them...riddle me that!

Maybe he'll come and clean up for me to assuage his guilt.   

Or not.  
Not is okay too, Dad.

Original Next Paragraph:
Since every little thing I do is magic, and I make the mundane look beautiful without even trying, I thought it would be worth documenting what life looks like after living happens.  Don't even try to top my amazing's just not possible, my camera and I are one.  I spent hours getting the setting-thingys just right and waited for the perfect light before I took these pictures.

Alternate next paragraph:
I ran around the house and took some pictures on my decrepit camera on the auto setting.  

Really I do this for posterity, so that when my kids are gone and my daughter and daughters-in-law (daughter-in-laws, daughters-in-laws??) are feeling like all they do is clean up messes they and their kids make, I can say that "it's okay, my house used to be like that too when my kids were young."

I write that as though I'm gonna grow out of being messy or something.  Maybe it will comfort me in 20 years to see that nothing has really changed! 

I plan on blitzing the house and getting it back to it's "before" state so my brain can turn off as soon as I'm done here.  But before I spend that sweet time putting my brain/life/house in order, I give you :

"After..a Series of Photographs About Living"

coming soon to an Art Gallery near you*

*not really, like you needed me to point that out
After Waking

After School

After Quiet Time
After Supper
After Girls Night and Some of the Day Following

After Girls Night and One Post-Craft Half-Hearted Cleaning Attempt

After All the Laundry  In the House Was Cleaned and Put Away for Five Minutes
Sometimes I wish my house was always neat and tidy, as though it was staged for a house showing.  I love the beauty of  things in their place.  It's restful and welcoming to come into.   But a life that is always staged isn't a life being lived, at least not by me.  And I know, I know, some people can live life well without always having enormous messes to clean up, and I am a little in awe of people who do that well. But if it's going to be a toss up between me doing things, creating things, sharing good food (or nachos), laughing together or having a house that's always picture perfect, I'm gonna do my best to make the biggest and best messes, because that is where our best memories are gonna be made.

"If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it."
Erma Bombeck

Friday, March 30, 2012

Good News Bad News

Let's play a game of Good News-Bad News, shall we?  I'll go first.

Good News: I am do-er.  I like being the handy-girl around the house.
Bad News: Ready? Fire!! Aim! is sometimes my motto.
Good News:  I found out what was plugging the downstairs toilet

Bad News:  It was a carrot
Good News:  I finally got the carrot out  and the toilet set back up, bolts and all.
Bad News: I cracked the toilet lid (but thankfully not the tank! or the tile floor) in the process
Good News:  I got the toilet hooked back up again
Bad News: It's still not flushing - more carrot in the mysterious unreachable bends of the toilet perhaps?
Good News:  I'm sure Josh will be able to fix it
Bad News:  He's gone all weekend.
Good News:  This is really a first world problem - we have more than one toilet in the house.

You like this don't you?  Ok, let's play again.

Good News:  We made this popcorn-covered-in-white-chocolate-and-cake-mix recipe for the youth group gathering here tonight - it really only took 10 minutes to make, which is fab!
Bad News:  I may singlehandedly eat 24 cups of popcorn before they get here.
Good News:  Morgan put it in the fridge to save me and save some for her friends
Bad News:  She should have put it in the neighbours fridge if she really wanted to stop me.

Good News:  There's always more good news than bad news.  Because news - good and bad is half what it is and half what you make of it.  Especially when it comes to toilets and popcorn.

Do you have any Good News, Bad News, Good News stories from today?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Streams of Consciousness

Watch out, what you are about to read is really extremely random.

Twitter is quite a lot of fun.  It's totally different than facebook, mostly because very few that I actually know use it.  My feed is full of people that are way more confident than me posting comments about social justice, politics and dream-chasing.   And I still don't really get how it works, fully: did the person I mentioned actually see my tweet?  cause I can't see that they saw it, and they never said anything about it - that I can tell...really big issues like that.  I'm pretty sure twitter is good for the narcissist in all of us, anyway.

Mostly I find it terrifying, and I say nothing that matters,  although sometimes I might say something kind of amusing.  At any rate it sure is interesting to watch, and to think about what I might say one day when I feel like I know enough about something to say something about it.

If you want to see me say nothing important to no-one in particular, you can follow me @KarinaLoewen

On Feeling Younger
I discovered this week that having a breakout of unsightly blemishes on my face, while it might remind me of being 14 does not have the additional desired effect of making me feel younger.  Go figure.

So far I love getting older.  I just wish the confidence of 35 had happened when I was 25.  Then I would be as confident as I am now, but without the need for expensive bras and well made shoes.

Seasonal Weather Swings
The beginning of almost every morning 2 weeks ago looked like this.

It's funny how spring snow fails to incite the same interest from the kids as winter snow does.  The best we got each morning that week was "What???  It snowed again??"  No one asked for boots, or sleds, or mittens, it was more like "Snow??  That is SO last January."

In true BC fashion we went from daily snowfalls and temps hovering near zero to glorious spring sunshine and plus 14 (that's 57 American :) Not exactly balmy, but enough to get us excited)

If there is one thing we are good at in the Fraser Valley, it's rejoicing when the sun comes out. People descend on the parks and trails en mass at the first glimmer of non-rain, and this weekend was no exception.

These first few days of unmitigated spring sunshine were wonderful, and we took the opportunity to go on our first bike ride, and took a few walks to the school playground near our house.

I noticed a few things about my kids:

They really love each other.  I think.

Nathan has surpassed me in upper body strength, and he's 8.   I got tired just watching him rock those monkey bars over and over.

Monkey in Training
It makes me happy that they still love the swing sets.

When we moved to our current home I was quite sad that we had to get rid of our mammoth swingset, lovingly named "Goliath".  It's up at my parents place now but it's just not the same: it doesn't look nearly as ridiculous/awesome on their 20 acres as it did on city lot at our last house.

Confession: I still love jumping off mid-swing, I imagine one day that will all end badly.
The kids are getting good at jumping off as well, and I was reminded as I took pictures of them disembarking that like so many things in life - it feels more awesome than it looks.

 Never mind.  It looks awesome too.

"Hey Mom, take my picture and send it to Auntie Loni, and Gramma...and Auntie Lisa, and Auntie Kyla, and .....Auntie Fify" .  He knows his peeps need him.
Also - these are all pictures from my POC (Piece of crap, this site is family friendly y'all) phone.  I'm really trying to get better at taking more pictures, and if this is how it has to happen, so be it!  Now to just get me a better phone...

Best Diet Ever
De-cluttering is my favourite form of weight loss.  I can lose a hundred pounds in a day, and still eat cake for dessert.  I have lost hundreds of pounds this past week.  I have also eaten lots of dessert to celebrate this past week.

So to sum up:  my basement is organized but my pants are tight.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Everlasting Arms

My youngest sister is in the hospital, she is 29 weeks pregnant.  Things are not going as they should, and although the baby is doing fine, Kyla really isn't, and the medical team down there are trying to figure out the where, the why and the what.  If you're the praying type, please pray for all the things we pray for when people we love are in crisis. 

Everybody hates waiting.  We all hate what-if.  There usually aren't satisfying answers to why.  But I know this, and it gives me peace.  God is big enough to handle our questions.  He is not surprised by any of this, and He's not overwhelmed by our circumstances.  Not overwhelmed,  but not unmoved either.  He doesn't delight in our suffering, He shares it with us. Knowing we are not alone gives me immense Hope.

We are so small and God is so big, and yet we matter to Him.  It matters to Him when we bring little things like what to do with scrappy siblings to big things like life and death and Mommas whose bodies are failing while they are growing babies, it all matters to God.  

I can rest, because God isn't tired.

This old hymn has been going through my head all morning.  It's my prayer for Kyla and her family. And while my thoughts might be incomplete and scattered, these old words are bringing comfort right now.

He loves us, He is with us, and He is holding us up with His mighty hand.  Amen.  He is with us.

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
leaning on the everlasting arms

Leaning, leaning
safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning, leaning
Leaning on the everlasting arms

What have I to dread, What have I to fear
Leaning on the everlasting arms
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning
safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning, Leaning
Leaning on the everlasting arms

Psalm 16: 8 -9
I have set the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure

Monday, March 19, 2012

Family Matters again!

So this would be the post I was having a love-hate relationship with last week.

I was finally satisfied with it enough to send it to Family Matters and they posted it today!

Here is an excerpt:

Perhaps we fight the fights we can win because even though the fights might be loud, draining, and ugly, we can check off a decided victory in the end.  It feels better because it’s a short term gain.
We fight tooth and nail with a 3 year old that wants to wear her new bathing suit and winter parka to play outside. 
We have it out with our 12 year old in the shopping mall because they want to buy a pair of “useless” techno-gadget- deely-boppers with their hard earned babysitting money. 
Often our reason for going toe-to-toe with the Mini-me in our life has more to do with our pride, than their best interests. 
Often our reason for going toe-to-toe with the Mini-me in our life has more to do with our pride, than their best interests. We worry about what others will think of our kids or our parenting, and before you know it, the gloves are off.  We forget that many of the weird things our kids want to do (and buy!) have natural consequences attached to them:

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I have a love-hate relationship with writing.

I love writing

And I hate writing.

See, it's simple.

I especially hate writing when I feel like I have something worth saying.  The words get caught in my cerebral cortex and have a hard time making their way out in a cohesive manner.

I blame society.

Diagnosis:  mental constipation.

Apparently I suffer from mental diarrhea when I have nothing important to say, though.

I'm sorry Mom, I just typed diarrhea.  Again.

Die-ma-rina.  That's what we used to call it, right?

Actually, I blame the pregnancy.

Well, not active pregnancy.  Goodness knows that ship has long sailed.  More the result of  hundreds of thousands of brain cells lost through the ravages of being pregnant for 45 months of my life.

I don't think I'll ever recover.

Yet I choose to educate these children myself.

That's what you call smart. S-m-r-t.

Or maybe I'm just tired.

Good Night.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Meh-he-co and the Books Read Therein, plus the Prefix: Re

A few weeks ago, I hit a wall, and started to fall apart.  The kind of wall you hit when you spend months letting support systems fall by the wayside one by one because "it's ok, you can handle it."

In case you are trying this method of running your life let me save you the trouble and tell you how it ends: Eventually you will became capable of precisely nothing. Even the things you know God wants you to do.

You still have to do the right things the right way.  (or for the right reasons) or it just won't work in the end.

I was exhausted.  I told Josh to either find a way to take a holiday with me, or to book me a padded room  and I was only sort of joking.

I turns out I am not a Rock, I am not an Island.  But I will always love Simon and Garfunkel.  And Josh.  And Jesus. And my kids...and lots of other people.  Moving on. 

Because God's timing is great and Josh is super fabulous - we went away.  I planned to do exactly nothing.  Nothing, except re-think, re-evaluate, and re-assess my life so far.  So like I said, nothing.

This is how he looks when he's happy.  Reading his tablet (slowly) and not being social= Josh's happy place
Josh and I both had moments while we were both a little in awe of the location, the warmth,  and the whole resort experience when we realized-  this isn't even God's best work.  It was amazing, but we both had to laugh as we imagined getting to heaven to hear God say.  "Yeah, I hope you don't mind it here, I mean, I think I peaked when creating (fill -in-the-blank of your favourite place on earth) but I hope you don't mind this second-best heaven for the rest of eternity."

Heaven is going to be great.  It's the ultimate all-inclusive, we decided.
almost heaven
I read - apparently a lot. It wasn't like I was trying to read alot, I just did what I wanted to do.  Karina's recipe for relaxing vacation looks like this: read, write, eat, tan, read, eat, read, eat, write...wash rinse, repeat for 7 days. I know how you're all dying to go away with me sometime soon.

Geek Warning:  If you were hoping to hear about how many bodice-rippers I made my way through, I'm just gonna have to disappoint you.   I'm a philosophy/psychology/theology geek without a degree - what degree would that be anyway? - and I (think I) am okay with that.  Someone please confirm I'm not the only one like this...

First Book:  A Tale of Three Kings - a novel about leadership...
Second Book:  7 Habits of Highly Effective People...a few people have read this before
Third book:  Mere C.S. Lewis - you may have heard of him.

They were exactly what I needed to read.  They changed me, they challenged me, and it seems weird to come home from a trip to Mexico excited about the books I read and the thoughts I thinked, but that's just the type of trip it was.  Maybe one day I'll be able to put it better into words.  It was life changing.

I feel remade, and that, was worth the trip.