Be Reading a Book

I am a voracious reader. Well, I used to be anyways. On average, before mom got sick, I would be reading four books at any one time. Usually one bible study, one non-fiction and two fiction books would be stacked on my beside table.

Last week at mom and dad’s house, I looked on mom’s book shelf beside her bed. On the top of the pile, I found this book I gave her in November which was one of the last books she read.

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I picked the book because of it’s title and wintery scene. I didn’t even read the back.

I remember asking mom about it after she read it in two days flat. She said it was a good light read and that I should read it.

Today, I looked at the book summary. It’s about ‘three people at the crossroads of heartbreak and healing’. One of the characters lost her mom and no longer believes in anything. She believes her mom now speaks to her through heart-shaped rocks.

I may have to start reading again.

P.S. Sexy Neck just walked in the room and saw the book on my lap and asked, “Are you reading again?”

Me, I am still at maybe… Not sure my brain can handle it.

Be Creating a New Life (Painting again!)

I realized as I started painting YET ANOTHER item in our house tonight that my sole purpose of painting is to create new life.

Life without my mom a phone call away.

Life without my mom to negotiate schooling and my boys. Schools aren’t the best places for boys these days!

Life without my mom at our sides reading, laughing, cooking, exploring and painting.

I am not completely sure what this new life here in KCity is going to look like. My grief-filled emotional brain doesn’t know what to do in this new life.

So I paint.

I actually don’t really like painting and haven’t painted before.

BUT as I move my brush back and forth in silence tonight, I felt myself moving forward.

The sense of working out my grief.

Peeling off layers of grief as I add layers of paint.

Create new life in the things around me.

Waiting for God to unfold my new life around me in His perfect timing.

Being in my home.

Completely present with my children.

Changing poops.

Making cushion forts.

Playing cars.

Painting.

Resting.

Being.

One brush stroke at a time.

New life.

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(I finished the fireplace tonight and had some extra white paint. I attacked our bedside tables that have been in Sexy Neck’s family for many years and probably are older than us.)

….Stop me if I start painting the toilet….

Be Building a Maisonnette

What did you yearn to have in your childhood home?

A cozy place to snuggle and read?

A place to climb?

A home for your dolls and toys?

Since the day we moved into our house last summer, our boys have wanted to build a fort/Maisonnette under the stairs.

A perfect hideaway.

A clubhouse.

A special space.

My heart longs to create a healing home where we can rest. As last week unfolded, I knew our family needed a project for the weekend. I immediately thought of the fort. We must have hit the right moment as the construction gears were in motion on Friday night about ten seconds after I mentioned the fort.

JC and Sexy Neck came up with the design. I cleaned out my stuff from under the stairs. The boys found some wood and they were off.

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20140224-124755.jpgHere is the finished product on Sunday night:

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The boys want to put wood on the sides, add a rope ladder, paint, add a curtain for privacy, a bookshelf and a few more nicknacks will come and go.

The boys were incredible working with their dad. Sexy Neck was amazing at involving the boys every step of the way. The were able to measure and cut wood. Problem solve when the wood wouldn’t fit on the platform. The boys screwed in the floorboard, OC was a natural. Finally, they got to choose everything that they wanted in the fort.

Building self-esteem.

Handwork.

Creating.

Bodies and minds in motion.

Encouraging.

The boys Maisonnette designed and created by them.

Being.

Boys.

Be Having Nothing to Give (choo choo!)

We are on a one way track to healing.

Chugging down the track, snotty horns a blaring into my Kleenex.

The rickety old train with its heavier than normal road.

Chugging along.

Not making a stop.

Not picking anything up.

Just chugging along.

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You want to get on this train?

Observe carefully.

Run along and jump.

This train can’t stop.

It may never start again.

This train wants to hide in the shed.

But with three wee train cars on the back, there ain’t no rest.

Weekends, the big handsome steam locomotive comes along to give us a pull.

But other than that we are stuck with the dirty, coal steam engine.

Chugging.

On the track.

Teary eyes forward.

Trying hard not to fall off.

Wow, this is one big hill.

“I think I Cann, I think I Cann!”

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Be Painting Yet Another Wall.

This wall is a paint can full of love for my boys.

First my man, Sexy Neck:

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And then my wee boys:

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My imperfect love poured out.

God’s redeeming love making it perfect.

All that I have.

All that I am.

Love I cannot describe.

Rich.

Humble.

Grateful.

A wife.

A mother.

Poured out through paint, through words, through actions.

Freely given.

Love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Be With Boots

Strap yourselves in.

Lie down.

Do what you need to do because boy do I have a story for you!

As I write these words I am very conscious that we each have an individual perspective on God, heaven, the meaning of life as well as life after death.

I want to be very clear where I am coming from so that you have a frame of reference for what I am choosing to write. My life is not directed by a church consciousness of God nor is my faith anything miraculous nor profound. My relationship with Jesus started in University in my childhood bedroom, alone with God answering a simple prayer: “God show me you are real.”

This simple prayer followed years of bible study, lukewarm times where I couldn’t see God at work, moments of zealously following God and now this.

This winter season living in a desert while rowing my boat in the ocean of grief. Woah!

Every present God.

Quilt maker sewing good and bad to make a beautiful quilt.

Coincidences that make me take a deep breath.

This one brought goosebumps to my arms.

A few days ago, I was sitting at the kitchen table with the three boys. When we have a quiet moment, this is when someone will usually bring up Nana.

On this day it was two year old, OC. He piped up, out of nowhere and said, “Nana with Boots!”
My ears almost fell off of my head. I immediately looked at JC, our six year old and said, “Do you know who Boots is?”
JC said, “No!”
Our four year old chimed in, “I have boots!”
I then asked OC again, “Who is Nana with?”
He said, “Boots.”
I paused then looked at the boys and told them that Boots was my childhood cat.
They looked at me wide-eyed then we went back to playing Lego.

Grief and God at His best!

Be Removed From Life

I am fully on my face, waiting for God to take my hand.

Guide me.

Like a blind woman.

Stumbling.

In imperfection.

With grace.

Most days, I don’t ‘know’ what to do. My ‘to-do list’ is empty. This autumn season taught me to reach for God’s cloak, this winter has taught me to wait for Him.

Listen.

One step.

One breath.

Wait.

My brain doesn’t work the way it used to. The uber-organized, relationship focused Joanna has disappeared.

Praying is difficult.
Reading onerous.
TV leaves me saddened.
Listening to others sad stories crushes me.
Hearing mundane complaints makes me want to turn and run.
Answer the question, “How are you?” boggles my brain.

Ambiguous comments and indirect speech where people don’t say what they want nor feel, is a language I can’t decode. It hurts my heart and pains my mind. I can’t make sense of this. Life seems to be pretty black and white to me at the moment.

“Will it help my family?”

“Will it help me take better care of myself?”

Sorry environmental concerns, fundraising for Africa, dust bunnies in the corners, life has collapsed in the Cann household and we are starting the rebuilding from the bottom.

Healing the people.

I am completely with my family, but completely removed from my life.

This is a Holy time.

Without fear.

With no judgement for myself or others.

With only sadness, love, desperation, laughter and rich family times all cuddled together like a beautiful rose wrapped present.

Removed from expectations, to do’s, fringe friendships, busyness.

Every night I lay in amazement at how God works everything out. How He holds me close and takes my hand. I am humbled by the people walking closely with me and how they know how to help without me saying a word. I lay in awe at the infiniteness of God and how finite He is with me.

The small things.

The whispers during my quiet days.

His presence.

Multitude of coincidences.

Grief, what a gift!