Friday, March 31, 2006

You're not gonna believe this.

First, I'm up early. Yeah. 5:45am.

Second... it'll be snowing in Yosemite all day today until late tomorrow. Poetic justice or just really bad luck? We'll see!

We're going, though. Like some pioneer family. Braving the elements to see the wonders of God's good creation. Should be fantastic! And... cold.

Gotta run. We're actually getting in the car to head down to Derek's folks' place. They have a campstove and firewood and a hatchet. Should come in handy with the bears.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

We're supposed to be in Yosemite right now. As it is, however, we've just finished watching SuperSize Me. It's dinner time and I asked the kids what they want for dinner - Zion yelled "Let's go to McDonalds!". Hm. I think he gets that from his mother's side.

So, we have campfood. I cleared the pantry, fridge, and cupboards and filled the car with campfood. Stuff we would never eat at home. Stuff I never buy. Jiffy pop, s'mores, chili, beef stew, canned (gag) tamales, SPAM, (hurl)... we wanted to go all out on the camping experience... I think we may have overdone it.

We were supposed to go camping early Monday morning through Wednesday morning but there was a 30% chance of rain - I said I'd take the chance, but no... we waited for better weather. Prepped for Tuesday - was rainy, checked the forecast for Wednesday - rainy, with snow storms in the higher elevations. Packed it all up today to head out despite the weather and it turns out our late nights have wreaked havoc on our ability to get up anytime before 10am. WHAT?! We're on VACATION! Needless to say, we weren't really packed up until about 4pm. Sigh. We decided to wait and go in the morning. Yes. It will rain. Yes. We will like it. SPAM and all. (BTW, never had SPAM before - actually looking forward to it.)

Just so you don't completely freak out. I DO have a hearty, 3-grain pancake on the menu in the AM, along with a homeade fruit compote. That's about the ONLY healthy thing on the menu. But it's just enough to soothe the nutrition beast in my mommy brain.

So, the fridge is nearly empty (meaning - "nothing goes together"), and I'm breaking out what would have been tonight's campfire meal. An old Indian standby. Fried potatoes and onions with hamburger and ketchup. Bannock on the side. Ugh. It sounds awful here, but when you poke your fork into a lightly salted potato with a fried onion hanging off of it, dip it into cold ketchup and place that too hot morsel in your mouth, you totally forget how nasty it looks or what it will do to your trygliceride levels....MMMMmmmm.

So, I gotta get into the kitchen. We left the car packed. Gonna hit the sack relatively early tonight. Riiiiight!

Who wants to place bets on when we ACTUALLY leave tomorrow? I got 10 o'clock.


Monday, March 27, 2006

My closet just puked last year's treasures, bills, reciepts and forgotten christmas presents. I'm still cleaning it up. Ugh. What a chore!
I'm doing it for my man. I've decided to give him the masculine living space he's always wanted. So, we're going Japanese in the Master Suite. At least, this is what he calls Japanese. We've eliminated most of the furniture. All but the bed and two night tables. I'm hanging three Japanese lanterns to replace our lamps. And, I'll be putting up curtains tomorrow. Gorgeous, modern, sleek curtains. The art will be the pi'ece-de-resistance, made by yours-truly. Even the desk is out. But, the modern looking bookshelf will replace it.
The closet itself was a swamp of debris. Sadly, the household clutter landed there when we hosted devotionals in our home recently. Oh please, like you've never thrown things in the closet out of desparation after a mad frenzy of house cleaning! Mhm!... That's what I thought!
My daughter inherited our old bedroom suite. Couldn't bear to throw it out. So, her room is stuffed. Looks fantastic, though. Thinking I might paint it all for her. Something girly. Wwwwaaaaayyyy out there in the future somewhere.
I have to tell you that this deep cleaning has been a real wake up call for me. I hang on to stuff out of fear, not necessity. It's silly, really. I haven't found anything that can't be replaced. (Save my birth certificate and marriage license... in a baggy... under my wedding shoes. Doink!)
I'm so blessed. Not only did my husband move furniture, clean, and make hotdogs tonight, I'm getting a serious therapeutic back rub as I type. But, I think I'm done typing now. ... Oh yeah. I'm done.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I only have a minute. The shrimp is defrosting in the sink. The kids are outside playing and Derek's working out. Gonna make Shrimp Alfredo for the family. All home made except for the noodles. (I'm good, but not THAT good!) We'll see how they like it.
Had a great convo last night with Niki. She's so cool. I'd like to say we were friends in college. But we weren't. I think we were eachother's nemesis... Nemisises.... Nemesiii... ergh... Whatever. We weren't nice to eachother. Embarassing but true. Anyway, it turns out that after 13 years, we've really lived very parallel lives. Youth ministry, kids, homeschool. It's just too funny. Ironic. We caught up on so much in our three hour marathon conversation last night. Something tells me we could have talked more if it wasn't so darn late...
I told her I was working on a mural in my dining room. Here's a pic. Still not done. The bottles are floating and the floor is missing. But, it's all drawn in. Just needs the paint. If you look over to the far left, you will see the placemat picture I'm working from. Wish I could say it's an original. But, it's a Jennifer Clarke, not Jennifer King. I'll post the "after picture" when it's all done. Next week sometime.
We've decided to go camping at Yosemite National Park next week. Today is major laundry day. AND, I have to braid up Chante's long hair. There's NO way she's gonna be able to keep the twigs and bugs out of her afro while camping. Might have to rent a chick-flik to keep her sitting. Shoot... to keep ME sitting!
Fiddled with the camera today. Love that thing! Will post my nutty pictures when I figure out how to.
I have had the kids write and draw in their Vacation Journals. Will scan and post some of the more amusing ones next to actual photos of the day-trips when I get the scanner all set up. I think I"m going through a sort of techno-phase. New camera, blog, scanner, even photo sharing. Weird. I told Niki last night about how my first internet experience went. Krmph! Will have to share that sometime.
But, for now, I need to go peel some shrimp, and make alfredo sauce. Yummy!

New to the digital camera thing, new to the blogging thing, new to the posting pictures thing. Recipe for disaster? Probably.

My picture is grey. I took it in the dark. It was late (enough dark circles to compete with Saturn!), the camera added about 70 pounds, and... my hair was on the fritz. Other than that... I look smashing!

Was encouraged by a friend to just fiddle around with it. Prolly shoulda picked out a kid's pix and posted it. But, noooo...

I still haven't figured out how to post a pix of me on my profile. Should get the hang of it before too long.

So sleepy. Gonna hit the sack now.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I'm not gonna lie... I want a dog. Not just any dog. A big dog. 'Course... not too big. I wanna wrestle with it and run with it and play with it. I think it would be a nice addition to our family.
I've been checking out free dogs at hoping that I would find just the dog. And, today... I did. His name is Zeus. A mutt (my favourite!). He's up to date on his shots, etc. My only concern is: how much does a dog like that eat? What does the dogfood bill run every month? Can we afford to feed it? Take it to the vet if necessary? Will our rent go up since we have an animal?
We have a fish in Derek's office. A gold fish. With big-boogly eyes. We put him in my old blender and named him Rodney. As in Dangerfield. He's since moved on up out of the blender ghetto and into a penthouse donated by a parent at the school. Blender still sits on Derek's bookshelf to remind Rodney of where he came from. Hehe. Rodney probably gets fed too much. Every kid that walks into Derek's office asks if the fish got fed. A couple of adults too. This week, we're getting Rodney a bride. From Wal-Mart. They'll get married before they move in together. The teens insisted on it. I'll decorate. We'll have Goldfish cracker snacks for the reception.
But... I really do want a dog. I've had a few before, but they never lasted long. My dalmatians were stolen - twice. And, my black lab had 6 seizures in 3 days. We returned him. Hadn't even named him yet.
Zeus. I like that name. I'll keep it in my back pocket for when I get a dog... In the meantime, I'll take care of Rodney... and his new bride, Dorothy. (Elmo's fish.)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Zion: "Can you help me tape these glasses to my head?"
Mom: "Uh sure, whatcha doin'?" I found the tape and pulled two pieces.
"I'm controlling electricity and I need glasses like Scott (X-Men) and Neo (The Matrix)."
"Oooohhh..." I took the armless glasses and applied tape where he needed them. "So you control electricity, huh?"
"Yep". Wonder-boy skips off.
It began storming only a few minutes later. Zion loves thunder. Strange child.
It only took a few minutes before the thunder quieted and Zion returned to my room.
"I made the storm stop."
"Kewl! Thanks!"
"You're welcome!" He sat next to my desk and began to strum on my guitar.
A few minutes pass... I continue typing... the faint sound of rumbling re-appears.
"Argh! My powers!" Zion jumped up and ran to the window. "They're driving me nuts!"
He threw open my bedroom blinds and pointed his open hands to the sky, staying for just a few seconds. Satisfied, he returned to my guitar.
The thunder stopped and I was impressed. Poor kid. You know it's gonna go to his head.
Going back home...
What is it to go back home? Explore your stomping grounds?

I wonder if it's a normal part of the human development to go back to where you came from and find clues or tokens that would explain where you are.

My trip to Canada is up in the air. We don't know if we're going. However, my desire to go, to take my family with me is overwhelming. I feel like it will explain so much.

The "States" have welcomed and embraced me. I feel at home here, make no doubt. But, when I hear northerners speak, when I hear snow may be coming our way, when I spot perogies on the freezer shelf at the grocery store - something deep inside me wakens. A longing to return home.

It was a simpler life. Happy times, though sometimes darkened by wounds that took many years to heal. For the most part my memories of "home" are cheery, bringing contentment to my soul.

Days playing in the woods around our home. Exploring. Adventuring. Making up fantastical stories and playing them out. Climbing trees, digging underground forts, picking berries, swimming in the river. We had a huge playground - the northern Saskatchewan woods. Safe. Inviting. Full of suprises, yet year after year offering the same thrills. Being chased by foxes, spotting the occasional truck, jumping sand dunes, clam digging, spying on neighbors who enjoyed their own adventures in the woods.

Mom would pack lunches or make muffins early in the summer mornings. We'd pack them up with the other "essentials" (what ever suited our fancy, tools, hammers, nails, plastic trashbags-turned-parachutes, a few toys, and always our brother's adrenaline syringe - just in case we'd stirred up a wasp nest... again.) We must have put on miles in those long summer days. The sun was up so early - always before me. And the sun didn't go down until well after bedtime. Back then, I could run and never grow tired. I was amazed at my own endurance! I helped restore our tree house to it's former glory, and spoke of plans for new cabinets and wall paper. (See? Even then I was an interior designer!) We strolled out further than allowed. Past the treelines, past the logging roads, always inching out further into the endless woods. We learned how to read moss. We found better berry picking, promising ourselves that we would remember where the "good patches" were. Eventually - just when we knew we were close to the north pole, we found the golf course. Sure, it was anti-climactic - but we found that if we picked up stray golfballs and sold them, we could have a buck or two in spare change that burned a hole in our pocket. So, no north pole... not this time anyway!

The auction house wasn't too far from home, either. We'd sometimes go just to see the frenzy of people and the treasures they'd lug out to their cars. A lot of Indians at the auction. The convenience store was owned by a school friend's parents. We weren't allowed in. My parents forbid it. But, out back was another set of sand dunes. (Land that had been carved out for a garbage dump, and then the local government changed their mind. Made for great BMX riding, though!) I remember the day my brothers found a dead dog out there. We were fascinated by the maggots. Jeez we needed a TV!

The empty garbage dump (we call them the "Big Hills") was a massive, exciting playground. We "parachuted" off the sandy cliffs and dared eachother to go further than the last. This was before Fear Factor. We brought our BMX bikes and rode the dunes all day long. Sometimes we'd haul dad's cinderblocks and plywood out there and make "jumps" that nearly killed us off one by one. My sister didn't have a BMX - she had a banana seat and we teased her endlessly about it. Of course, when one of us got a flat, you know whose bike we rode double on, right?

Up in the corner of our property mom had planted a garden, complete with a compost heap. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why mom wanted trash out in her garden. Though it makes perfect sense now! The freeze always came earlier than expected and mom would send us all out in a hustle to pull the carrots and any potatoes before they were ruined. The ground was frosty and my hands were red and numb but full of half frozen vegitation those mornings! There was a real sense of satisfaction pulling hard-earned carrots from the ground!

We were picked up by school bus. Mrs. Fremont was the driver from hell. She hated us. If we weren't exactly at the stop, she'd just roll on by. We'd wave frantically and then run to the other side of the property, over the hill and through the snow to catch her at the next stop. The bus was always cold and I think there were only 10 of us who rode it those 9 years I rode the yellow deliverer. In the winter time the windows would frost over with a thick frost. I'd scratch pictures or my name or just place my palm against it to watch the ice melt. The cool kids sat in the back, the bad kids always had to sit up front. Mrs. Fremont made the Indians sit up front too. So she could keep an eye on them. I hated it. She hated me. But, I was in love with her son, my 6th grade teacher - Mr. Fremont.

I always sat in the front of his classes. Answered questions, payed attention. Was the most attentive, creative, helpful little girl you could find. I just knew he'd notice and marry me some day. He was also my first soccer coach. Sigh. Too bad I wouldn't get along with the mother-in-law, right? It was never meant to be.

I attended Red Wing Elementary School. I remember most of my teachers, principal and vice-principal. I remember the ones who disliked me and those that seemed loving and patient. The older they were, the more kind they were. I remember when our gym got the big gold and brown stripes around the walls. I thought that was so cool. We'd also had a special guest - a guy with no arms who showed us how it was to run a film projector with his feet. He told us not to watch, and I was foolish enough to actually close my eyes! I was probably the only one! I had won platinum awards in nearly every health and fitness test we'd had in that gym. Except the one where we had to do high-jump. I never mastered it. Never even started it. I'd run and come to a screeching halt right at the hurdle... I couldn't figure out how to run in one direction and turn around and jump backwards. Still can't figure it out!

Recesses were cold outside. Mostly, in the dead of winter, I'd huddle around the incenerator. When I wasn't there, I was at the tetherball pole - either killing someone in the game, or sticking my tongue to it. Yes. I got stuck. More than once. A real bright child.

So... I want to go home. See if the tree house is stil there. See if the climbing tree still stands. See what they've done with the "Big Hills". See if the road to the Big Ridge is still there. See if the berry patches still exist.

I heard mom sold her last acre... the one with the garden. I may go there just to pray and thank God for my childhood. It was good. Just the way it was.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I haven't been faithful.

To this blog.

No, it's not another blog...

It's me.

I've been, um... lost in my own mind. (It's a big, empty cavern.)

I promised the view from my window. But, I've pulled the shade.

Here's the truth. I may have the opportunity to meet my bio family for the first time in 27 years. I may have the opportunity to share the gospel with them during that short visit.

How do I feel about it?

Mmmm... ambivilent. Unsure. Dunno if it will actually happen. I've become somewhat of a skeptic these days. IF I get there... I will share the gospel. That I know for sure. The gospel is the reason I'm alive - inside and out!

Does my family know?

Yeah. They know. They're excited for me. Which is cool. They know I run no risk of returning to the old family or their way of life. This has been the tragedy of brothers and sisters past.

I have been able to switch that excited button on and off for a few weeks. Excited when I think of the possiblities. Skeptical when I think it might be just a dream. I visualize me telling them all about how God saved me. How God loves me, in spite of me. How God used me, utilizes me. How God has wonderful plans for them too. His offering of grace, forgiveness and goodness. I hope, HOPE that God allows me this opportunity to share with them. He may say "no" or "not yet"... but I pray that the time comes before I lose opportunity to tell my Grandpa Ben.

Grandpa Ben. Hehe. He's an old man. 81. He's short and has patches of white skin... which look funny on an old Indian. I used to wonder if he was white or Indian - seeing as he was spotted. He is gentle, patient. He is a trapper and still prefers to work up north on the lines. Grandma, when she was alive, used to take his furs and make them into mukluks. I have a pair that I treasure. Grandpa also has a fondness for liquor and women. You'd think in his old age...

Doreen. She's my mother. I look just like her, but I'm white with curly reddish brown hair. She's Indian. From what I can tell, she's a floater - never really settled down. She makes a lot of demands on those around her. Grandpa especially. She works hard when she wants something, but she doesn't want consistency. She's a gambler. Bad. She had an older son, David. The brother I grew up with. He lived a violent life and was murdered in her front yard two years ago. He was tall and handsome. I have a younger brother, Gerald. Spitting image of me - exept tall and handsome too. It looks better on him. He was taken from her at birth, through a set of difficult circumstances. She prefers to call it a sort of abduction, but I think someone was looking out for that baby. I met him in my adoptive home when he was nine. What a trip that was!

I don't remember much of anyone else. Cousins galore, but I couldn't name them or place them 27 years later. Everyone seems to remember me. I was the green eyed, blonde Indian that was taken from Doreen and John.

I remember the day I was taken. We were living in those dark brown apartments in Prince Albert. It was dark. I was watching TV with John on the couch. Police lights flashed on the wall in front of me. I don't know who answered the door. Doreen was out getting Kentucky Fried Chicken. I remember sitting in the back of the police cruiser. I was calm. Doreen's face was tear-streaked. John was gone. In cuffs, somewhere. I don't remember a lot of noise. I don't remember caring. I was relieved. Was there snow? Was it cold? I think so.

My first foster-home - at least the first one I remember - was a farm. I had a room upstairs. The lady loved to do my hair. She bought me nice clothes... a first for me. I even had "Fruit of the Loom" underwear and undershirts. I felt so grown up. The school was far away. But, I wasn't there for long. They had a Down Syndrome boy. He went too close to the fireplace once, and I slapped his hand. I was promptly spanked with a spoon. They were good to me. I think they loved having me. There was a lot of quiet there... order... peace.

I remember pulling up the long driveway to the Williams' home. I clenched my paper bag of clothes. It was April. The social worker helped me out of the car. I could have gone anywhere. But, God brought me here. The house was full, but the parents were willing. I was nervous, but I was greeted by who would become my little brothers and sisters who promptly showed me the house. We played on the green carpet in the rumpus room while the social worker talked with mom and dad. Susan was home. I think it was her birthday. She would be the older sister who shared a room with me, was motherly to me. Susan died two years ago.

I am overwhelmed by the thought that I could have gone anywhere else. Adopted - or never adopted - and never have known God! Hot tears of gratitude stream down my face, as I think of my God-fearing husband, and my sweet, christian children! I thank God for rescuing me, leading me to a home that would guarantee an opportunity to know Him, love him and share Him. My prayer is that I can boldly go back to where I came from and share Him with them.

Forgiveness happened so long ago. It wasn't a sudden, dramatic moment. It was gradual, and easy when I realized that I, too needed to be forgiven by God. Satan used weak people to try to destroy me as they did my brother David. And, who knows why God rescued me? What purpose do I have? All I know... is that I need to share it...