Thursday, March 22, 2012

on my mind.

Just a quick post tonight. Yesterday was March 21st. 3/21, otherwise known as World Down Syndrome Day. 3/21 -- for three copies of the  21st chromosome. It was on my mind most of the day, and I was wishing we had planned some sort of celebration in honor of how much that tiny little extra chromosome has changed our lives, for the better. I couldn't have said it any better than this:

Right now, I am thinking that Down syndrome is the best thing that ever happened to our family. It is amazing what can happen when you open your eyes to the world around you. It is amazing to be afraid--to feel it, to acknowledge it, to face it head on. And oh, Good Lord, is it ever amazing to be transformed by love in a way that awakens parts of you that needed to come alive. -- Kelle Hampton, 3/21, 2012

So next year, dude? We're gonna rock it. I can't not rock it. This little chromosome has completely and utterly transformed me, helped me to see everyone as God sees us, as we are supposed to see--that there is beauty and light everywhere, that although there is still fear and uncertainty at times, it is outshone by the sheer volume of joy that pours forth from the love in and of these people.

If you are a local family, mama, friend, daddy, sister, brother, and so on... wanna join us next year? And we'll do up a beach celebration? Or a backyard lit with sparkles and eyes shining into the evening, and hot coffee and cold drinks on the porch as we relish the joy and beauty in all of us? Or a walk, hand in hand, arms linked, as we march to the beat of our hearts full of love?

It's gonna happen. I can do this. It's on my mind. And what can one person do? How about one small group of people?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead


It doesn't take long to look around the world in which we live to see that there still many areas that need change. I want to be a part of the change. Let's set our calendars for next year, would you? March 21st, 2013. You and me, and whomever else will join us. 



i want to THINK again of DANGEROUS and NOBLE THINGS i want to be LIGHT and FROLICSOME i want to be IMPROBABLE BEAUTIFUL and afraid of NOTHING as though i had WINGS. -- Mary Oliver



For the love, let's change the world.






Saturday, March 17, 2012

a new season.


 

Last summer, I was in the thick of helping our friends plan their wedding. It was a both a joyful and exhausting process, scouring through scads of photos of flowers, decor ideas, and inspiration and ideas to best represent this unique and lovely young couple as they prepare to make their life and love vows to one another.

Now this spring? I am having a little more fun with being so graciously invited to do the flowers for my baby bro-in-law's wedding to a very lovely girl.
A lovely girl whom I am ever so excited to call sister for the rest of our days. 

More fun? Why? Pinterest. Pinterest is one of those sites that is a bit confusing at first, and then once you figure it out--it's like fireworks start exploding in your head with all of the possibilities.

I'm not going to post anything about the upcoming wedding planning yet... but I am in the thick of a new season for ideas for our new home.

Here is some of the eye candy I have been sifting through - eye candy that tickles the fancy of this stay-at-home-mama Registered Nurse who kinda also always wanted to either a) be a clothing, interior, art, everything designer b) open a coffee shop c) be a carpenter or d) go back to school for a midwifery or med school. Brooaaaaad interests, I know. All that aside, here are some of my thoughts, captured on Pinterest.

Front and Back Entrance Ideas

           



Living Room

You know that awkward cubby hole above a fireplace? Where you're forced to put a tv? Or awkwardly placed pieces of art most of us don't readily own? Well, I googled repurposing awkward tv cubby above fireplace - and this was my absolute fave. Score! Bonus points for the fact that this room has nearly the exact layout of our new front living room when you walk in the front door. (minus that couch right in front of the photographer). My apologies for the poor-quality photograph.

See? Works for me.
DIY--the look of wainscoting. Yes, please. This is already half done in the new house.

 

Kitchen

Most of these kitchens are far more extravagant than ours, but I just love the look of the bright cabinets, and the old-fashioned colours of pale blue and milky, minty green.

Mmm. Pantry door. Old, mixed with new. l.o.v.e.


Home Office

Love this idea of tucking it into a closet. So pretty. Not sure where this will be set up in the new house yet, main floor, downstairs, our room? I'm not a fan of having the computer space in the bedroom, but we'll cross this bridge when we get to it.


Going Upstairs


 Master Bedroom



Amos's Room

I don't really have much I want to change about the baby room--I just love this picture from Pottery Barn.


Egan's Room




Isaac and Jacob's Room


 

  

Downstairs Family Room

I. Love. This.

I just saved these to my computer over the last several months, and as such don't have the credits to whom they belong. My bad. My apologies to the photographers and whomever the credit belongs. If you recognize your photo here, please let me know and I am more than happy to give you the credit you deserve. 

Don't have an invitation to Pinterest, and want one? Email me at lauraluyt@gmail.com... and then follow me: lauraluyt. Happy pinning!

Happy weekend!

Monday, March 12, 2012

just because.

I promised a timely post following up my last one.
And I failed. I'm sorry.



This cold and flu season has hit us hard--with illness after illness, and well over a month and in and out of days we are battling sore throats, stuffy heads, achey joints, and fevered little ones with leaking eyes and dripping noses. It has sent most everything else out of my thoughts. 


That's not such a bad thing sometimes.



This morning, I crawled out of bed amidst the Hubs and wee bairn, softly padded down the hallway and revelled in a solo shower--those of us with child(ren) know that showering alone is a luxury. Well, really, in the grand scheme of things, showering with your little ones scampering underfoot and splashing and marvelling at the miracle of falling droplets of water is really the real luxury--but being able to just get in, get 'er done sans interruptions is in and of itself, something to be celebrated, too. 


Clad in my robe and a towel twisted around my head in a quiet, pensive house with all children sound asleep, I brewed, poured, and relished my own piping hot cup of coffee, plugged in my headphones, and asked God to pour into me. And among many others, this verse hit me, as it has before.
Wait for the Lord;
     be strong, and let your heart take courage;

    wait for the Lord!  -Psalm 27:14

I needed that. How about you?


Let your heart take courage. Whatever challenges you are facing, whatever monumental obstacles you see in your path, wait for the Lord. Know you are not alone. Be strong, let your heart take courage. I will, too.

...

Those of you who follow me on Facebook (Laura Luyt), Twitter (@lauraluyt), or Instagram (@lauraluyt) and if you don't already, please do! 
...those of you know that when we were on the road heading west back from Saskatchewan, our van died. Completely died. On the side of the highway, filled with only children, myself, and our luggage.


15 year old Toyota Sienna. Served us well while she was ours.

I had purposely kept them up quite late the night prior to our traveling to have them sleep on the 6+ hour drive to meeting up with the Mister. For some reason, not a single child slept in the first 3 hours of the journey. I was already ready to pull my hair out, and then this.


Stranded--mom, four kids, and nothing. Stranded, on the side of a highway... across from an abandoned service station... in February (brrrrr!)... in Alberta.



There we were, me alone with my four cranky, overtired kids, the two littlest trapped in carseats--and me just having come from some painfully heavy and conversations with people who, in the past, have been firmly in my closest web. (I won't speak about these conversations publicly here--suffice it to say a line has been drawn in the sand, God loves us both, forgives us both, and knows the Truth, and I have already forgiven them and I look forward with great gladness to the day we all greet one another on the other side of this mess.)

Tears filled my eyes, and I cried out, wondering why now? what does this mean? 

I prayed, and picked up my iPhone and called my Husband. 


After greeting me cheerfully, he informed me he had just sat down to lunch at our favourite Vietnamese restaurant in Calgary I spoke of here with some of our favourite company. I had no idea what to do; the van simply would not start. He exclaimed how he had literally just finished praying for us, that we would have a safe trip and arrive safely in Calgary. He was confused, sounded a bit bewildered as he repeated but I literally just finished praying for you... and then assured me he would make some calls, and would call me back.

Truthfully? I was all a-panic at first. I was even a bit scared. 
How will we get to where we were going? How do we get home to another entire province?
How long will we be stranded here? Would we be there until dark? 
What if we get hit by another vehicle? (I didn't get to choose how far I could pull off the road, btw).  
We don't have oodles of money, and we have to have a vehicle! Dear Lord! What are we going to do? Save us!

The children were circling between yelling, crying, panicking, ignoring me and one another, refusing to help each other, I'm on the phone with a panicked, elevated voice amidst the baby's cries and the toddler's insistence on being allowed to play outside and I have to go pee - in a toilet and everything getting too loud all while I was trying to hear my Man's instructions for checking over the possible problems with the vehicle. 


I started crying when I stepped out of the van into a sharp gust of wind that flung my driver's side door wide open, blasted out of my grip at the precise moment a giant semi truck hauling arse rocketed right by me. Uncomfortably close.


Slamming the door, I cursed and cried and stomped to the front of the car. I struggled under the hood of our 15-year-old van because the little stick that holds up the hood is not fixed to the frame of the vehicle--it lifts from both ends. Sigh. From bad to worse, it seemed. All I noticed was the bad of the situation. 

I had to close my eyes, take a deep breath, and give it to God.
And then the sunshine hit my cheeks as the cold winds nipped at me. And I looked up some  verses about trials. The Word hit me, as hard as it did way back when I was a single mom of two small children, trusting in God to lead me.
Wait for the Lordbe strong, and let your heart take courage;  
wait for the LordPsalm 27:14

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
James 1:2-3
Through the grace of God, I saw a much bigger picture than just being stranded on the side of the road, waiting. I raised my face to the sun pouring through the windshield, and felt so incredibly blessed for this lesson. Consider it pure joy. PURE JOYThank you, Jesus. 


My Mr. promptly called back exclaiming God is good, babe. He's in control. I will take care of it. I will take care of you and the children. In fact, I think his exact words were just sit, relax as much as you can, and I will be there as soon as it takes to drive to you. I love you. I'm coming to get you. 



I crawled back into the car, closed the door, and was informed by my eldest that the two littlest had fallen deeply asleep. In tears, I whispered Thank you, Jesus.

The bigger two then also fell asleep following a brief discussion of Dad is coming to get us in a rental van (with Dean, our dear family friend whom he was about to have lunch with). In the silence that followed, I felt nothing but God's love, His care for us, His promises, His hand on us as we waited for the Man he has provided for me. 


We were going to be rescued. We were not alone. He is coming to save us. He is our knight in shining armour. We have a provider. I mean, I know we have a Provider, but my Man coming through as our protector, our provider, laying his life down for us, in a small way--he didn't even get to eat his lunch. He had work to do. He was coming to save us

In peace and with a song in my heart, I began to clean out all of the pockets and nooks and crannies of the van realizing that there may be a chance we never get back to this car. I stripped it, left it clean, and easy to move our luggage and personal items once the men arrived. All while the children slumbered.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. –James 1:2-3
James challenges us to look at the hardships of life in a different light. Notice that trials are not a sign of God’s displeasure, but rather an instrument of God that brings perseverance into our lives. If we feel that we have not done well in trials, James challenges us to get our heads above the waters of despair. Even if we don’t see the purpose of the trial, God will use that trial to build into us what we need for life. This is a promise of Scripture that goes beyond what we currently see. quoted from here.
And in the warmth of God's love and the quiet sunshine? It was a perfect moment to have some grateful devotional time and soak in the blessings of a small trial. I literally put my feet up, thanked God out loud for blessing us with this. And I was even more completely at peace. 


Two-and-some-hours-later, Joel and Dean pulled up just as the snow and winds were starting to blow, blasting and twirling around our feet and making their icy presence known as we transferred bag after bag and sleeping children in carseats and every last item into the rental van, which was blowing warm and welcoming with lots of room and some fine, fine company. We were saved. What a confirmation for me, that my Man showed his true colours--that we are so important to him. 
Thank you, Father. 
Thank you, my love. 
Thank you.


That's my Man, right there. Here to save us.

It did become wintery later in the day. So thankful to have been in a warm vehicle for this.


side note: and dear Lord, what would I have done without my iPhone? I was able to call Joel, tweet to friends requesting prayer, keep the children and myself entertained, read my Bible, receive prayers and confirmation that people knew we were there, and text Joel a photo pinpointing our exact location via GPS--all from my phone. Seriously, that was a God-sent gift.

And the next day? We were in a dealership picking out our new van. A new van. What a miracle. Now we got us some serious swagger.





In other news--we bought a house! We are moving. We are thrilled. We move in less than two months... and I am filled to overflowing with gratitude and ideas. I will post photos, rest assured. To say I am thrilled is an understatement. I am humbled by these blessings. To think of settling in with our children and possibly bringing home our new addition to our own home, well. Tears. Joy. Just because.


Sneak peak: the new kitchen. Very dark, yes - but wait until you see what we can do.
I sold my Baby Jogger City Select double stroller and picked up this Chariot Cougar 2... so thrilled to be moving somewhere where there are loads and loads of beautiful walking paths!
Back at home, spring is well underway. And spring always has this way of spurring me on, pulling me to clean and purge and scrub and organize and throw open the windows and let the fresh breezes blow out the cobwebs and dust of winter months. I feel incredibly creative in the spring, and attack a bazillion projects and get things done that I pile up the rest of the year. And in an attempt to lighten and brighten our current home with the hopes and dreams of moving into the new, brighter home? 



New cushions repurposed from old fabric and buttons? Done.
New cushion cover knitted? Done.
Plans for painting so much of our dark furniture? Done.
Creating new pieces of art? Done. 
Ideas spilling out of my head at every waking moment? Ah, done.


I took this picture before I was done sewing on all of the buttons.
I am more than thrilled to be moving away from the mustard walls. Amen.
I made this before Christmas, but I altered it slightly, and now I love it so much more.
Old frames from my mom and dad's house. Can't wait to do something with them.
Sister's caught the crafting bug, too - friendship bracelet making style.
Guess who's an old hand at climbing stairs? No sweat.
All the while, my mind is brewing and wandering and thinking of beautiful ideas for our new home, I keep thinking of the home of our good friends, Kevin and Angela Janzen. 


It is bright, beautiful, homey, so very tidy and organized, full of interesting pieces and vintage collections, and everywhere you look has you drawn in to conversation and thought and peace and comfortable. I want our home to feel bright, pretty, and welcoming, like their home does. 




I have such a deep admiration and respect for this couple. Joel does, too. Everything about them is cool... and right now they are neck deep in preparing to answer God's call and be missionaries for Operation Mobilization in Ireland. They have felt a calling to missions for years... and God is moving in their lives to put all the pieces together, raise funds (wanna help?) and grease the wheels--and they plan to make the big move after the school year is done. 


They are selling their condo, here in Abbotsford (and let's just say they know a thing or two about creating a welcoming space, hosting guests, decorating, good taste, beautiful spaces, and organization... see that home office? It is actually a laundry room, in the storage room. These people are brilliant, I tell you. And can you believe that Hospitality Coordinator is the missions position that they are moving into in at OM Ireland? Amazing. Perfect.


Know anyone who wants to buy a really beautiful condo in Abbotsford? With the most gorgeously landscaped and private patio I've personally ever seen? I have even asked Joel a few times do you think we could all fit into a 2 bedroom place? in the hopes that we could buy their condo and live there... I love it that much, and wanted to help them any way I could. Please pray for them as they climb through this last leg of time here. And continue to keep them in your prayers.


But the day I myself am knee-deep in thought and organizing and artsy-ness, I get a knock at the door. And it's my beautiful friend, the previously mentioned Angela on my doorstep. The same person I was thinking about all morning. I am still in my pajamas, no makeup and bad hair making some sort of crafty artsy thing, and she has a lovely gift in her hands, made just for me. Just because. And I was so flabbergasted (still in pajamas, remember) I neglected to tell her how she, Kev, Kai and Beckham were on my mind all morning. 

Thank you dearly, Ange. In the middle of everything you're doing and planning and busy with and arranging, you thought of me. I was in tears after you left. I hope I can increase your circle of people praying for you by speaking of you here, at the very least. God bless you as you prepare to go! 


And here's that link to their condo again, descriptive words in the link are all mine. Pray it sells, soon. most beautiful, calming and lovely condo ever.


Wee Adoption Update:


We go for our first adoption information session in less than one week. Each of us are committing to becoming prayer warriors for children on Reece's Rainbow. You can too! We are choosing children from Reece's Rainbow to pray for today while we continue to prepare and trust God in our adoption journey. We will need to raise the remaining $2560 to pay for our home study, are trusting implicitly that God will provide, and are immeasurably excited with each step that we make with each passing day. If you would like to give, every dollar helps. Seriously. You don't have to give a lot to call it giving. 

The Giveaway.

The winner of the fantastic, hand knitted infinity scarf, courtesy of www.random.org - commenter #8 (and people are going to start thinking these giveaways are rigged...) but it's my dear sister-friend, my prayer partner Jen who blogs over at scattered graces who said:
Overwhelmed with blessed joy for you!!! I was telling my mother-in-law yesterday about you, and she was about in tears. Such remarkable, God-Inspired, confirmations that you ARE in His Will and that you WILL have the strength and determination necessary to bring your new child home. Praying for many more blessings!!! What a remarkable witness to your heart and your passion that people want to gift you this way!  
Tears.
 ...

Congratulations, Jen! Bless you as you await the birth of your wee one in only three more sleeps! Email me your details at lauraluyt@gmail.com and I'll hook you up with your beautiful scarf. 





And now, today? The sun is shining, God is good (all the time), and I am ever so thankful for the hills and especially for the valleys. Consider it pure joy!


Have a beautiful day. Just because.

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