It’s a Girl!

Thursday, March 6th, 5:00 AM. It was the day before our baby was due and I hadn’t really slept all night. As I lay awake in bed, listening to my husband’s breathing (and snoring), it began.  So I opened up the timer app I had downloaded and began counting contractions. All day I counted but the contractions did not seem frequent or strong enough to head to the hospital, yet they continued. Friday, March 7th, 12:00 AM. It was midnight and by this point my husband and I were both certain that labour had begun. Within an hour I was finding it increasingly more difficult to get through each contraction and so we made our way to the hospital, which thankfully was only about a 10 minute drive away. Upon arriving at the hospital we checked into the ER and were sent up to the Maternity Ward straight away. We got settled into a room and I swear that our baby could sense it was the room she would be born in because as soon as we had arrived, it seemed like she had picked up the pace! She wanted out! Ironically, after about 6 more hours of labour, although the pain was increasing and my water bag had broken, baby wasn’t going anywhere fast. I requested an epidural, managed a nap after being awake for about 24 hours straight, and woke up to find that STILL there had been no progress. As the hours passed by the medical staff became suspicious that something was not quite right, and baby’s dropping heart rate and my skyrocketing heart rate confirmed that for them. The more I moved around, the worse the situation got, and so I was confined to lying in the bed…STILL WAITING. A cocktail of induction juice was added to my IV and thank goodness it worked because if it had not, I would have been taken in for a C-Section. At 7:46 PM on Friday, March 7th, our beautiful little girl was finally with us! Visible, real, and so perfect. We named her Charlotte Taliana Rose and went home with her on the Sunday of that same weekend. We are so in love with her and I can NOT believe she is already 5 1/2 months old! And I have to say, we’re not too bad at this whole parenting thing either. It has been amazing watching her grow and learn new things every day, and what has been even more amazing is seeing how much she is loved by so many who know us. Jesse has a group of friends who request new pictures of her on a nearly daily basis, and some of my friends who are not baby-lovers by nature can not get enough of her. She has a closet full of clothes and a room full of stuff that for the most part we did not pay for. And she is just the prettiest baby I have ever laid eyes on.

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This mom gig has not been without difficult nights or zombie-mom days. There are evenings where I want to go out on a date or take some quiet ‘me time’, but exclusively breastfeeding puts this girl on a very short leash! There are MANY days where I avoid looking in the mirror because I am too scared to face my greasy self; wearing the same stained shirt I have worn all week, and post-partum midsection muffin-topping – BUT, it doesn’t take much for my little girl to break up my new-mom-pity-party. Sometimes it’s a smile, sometimes it’s a glance in your direction with a knowing look in her eyes that you are her mommy, sometimes it’s a giggle or a babble or how angelic she looks when she sleeps. And sometimes it’s nothing but just the realization that she exists and that we made her. WOW. All in all, I really can’t complain. I am the happiest I have been in I don’t remember how long, and I have finally discovered my purpose in life. I was made for parenthood, and how cool is that?

And with that, I bid you all a good night and sweet dreams. Thanks for reading!

New Years Resolutions: Welcoming 2014 and Reflecting on 2013

2014 has arrived! Another brand new year to start fresh and clean. All this emphasis on beginning again but little reflection on the past year. Each new year I make a detailed list of resolutions which go through a vigorous editing process until I settle on a final draft. Each new year I focus so hard on my resolutions that I don’t think to look back and count my blessings. It’s easy for anyone to get caught in this trap from one new year season to the next. As humans we often live in a stage of discontent or even regret. Why is it so easy to zoom in on the mistakes and trials, and why do we immediately write them off as flaws from the past year, months, weeks, or days of our lives. Are our difficult times not our defining moments? Do we not desire to be motivated, inspired, and changed? And is the best way to achieve all three not to glide through life effortlessly, but to overcome obstacles and accept our circumstances; making the best of them that we can? I’m not sure what exactly changed my perspective this year but I can tell you this, I am so thankful it has been shifted. This year I made no resolutions, I didn’t even “cheat” and make a to-do list, though I admit I was tempted. This year, if there’s anything I want to achieve it is to give up my need for control and perfection. I want to strive to “go with the flow” more, learn from my mistakes, and let go of unattainable goals or expectations. What if this year I lived in the moment? No dwelling on the past and reliving mistakes over and over, flooding my mind and conscience with guilt. No dwelling on the future and what it may or may not hold. What freedom there is in the present moment and how often it goes unnoticed or taken for granted. It’s easy for me to get caught inside my head where doubt and fear are planted and when I allow can prosper, growing and spreading fast like a weed. How sad for me to listen to a voice of falsehood when I could just as easily listen to my heart, where my God breathes words of truth and life for the sake of my soul.

 

That being said I still think it good practice to reflect on the past year and to remember all the moments it brought, both good and bad. When I look back on this past year I see that it began with a lot of anger, bitterness, and jealousy. My 2013 began rooted in all the grief and pain that I had weathered throughout 2012 – battling depression, anxiety, and trying to move past the loss of our first child in an early miscarriage. 2012 was a tumultuous year, thus I had high hopes for 2013, expecting it to make up for such a difficult year in my life. Did I have another thing coming. 2013 I realize now, was somewhat of a transitional year. Instead of arriving at a destination 2013 was all about the journey. As I said, my 2013 did not begin well. I was still dealing with the aftermath of numerous trials and struggling to do so. Most of all I hated myself for feeling depressed and I hated every pregnant woman I saw, whether I knew her or not. Though I didn’t deserve to be blessed, I was. April brought with it a new job which I quickly grew to enjoy and friendships with my co-workers blossomed effortlessly. It didn’t take long before I felt that I “belonged” there. July brought with it a new arrival, as we learned that we were expecting. And all the months after that were a constant challenge but a challenge I am grateful for, despite the occasional whining that may have escaped my lips.  Morning sickness hit me hard and our lack of air conditioning at home and the business of work did not help lighten the load, but I made it past the summer months and the coolness of autumn brought some relief. As the weeks passed I began to slowly improve and gradually I could eat more regularly and choose from a greater variety. By the end of October I was more or less free of morning sickness and as my belly grew I began to enjoy the process of pregnancy. As we heard our baby’s heartbeat and saw baby’s tiny hands and feet and button nose on the ultrasound screen the whole thing suddenly became reality. I wasn’t living in a dream world, there was a child growing inside me that we would in the coming year hold in our arms. When I first began feeling movement I was shocked and couldn’t believe it was what it was. Then as I watched my husbands face as he felt our baby move for the first time, I saw how much he loved our baby already and my heart was overflowing. These are moments that I will never forget and moments I would not trade for anything. I have learned so much of strength and resilience in the past few months and as each week brings us closer to welcoming our little one into this world, suddenly I see all the things that are truly important. Not a fancy house or a fancy car or a skinny body, but love above all else. I have learned to cherish the real treasures this life has to offer and that is a lesson I will value till I die.These are thoughts I carry with me into this new year – 2014.

 

As we prepare for our lives to be changed dramatically in the coming weeks I look to the future with hope, optimism, and eagerness. I cannot wait to hold our sweet baby and look into the face that will change our lives forever and in an instant.

 

May you each be blessed in the coming year and not let any moment pass you by. In a fast-pace and materialistic world, may we all learn to “stop and smell the roses” and to value what truly matters. Thanks as always for reading!

Peter Pan and King David

Hello readers!

Life has been chaotic lately. A whirlwind of work, doctor`s appointments, curling season getting into full swing, and the countdown to Christmas has begun!  Somehow it seems, despite our best efforts, things keep slipping away on us. Bills are paid late, the baby room remains untouched, mountains of laundry remain homeless, but despite all of that I can’t help but feel truly lucky. I feel my baby moving inside me and growing stronger day by day, I have a husband that supports and encourages and inspires me, I have an incredible group of women to work alongside, a roof over my head, food in my belly, breath in my body, passion and emotion in my soul, and people in my life that I can pour my heart into. How seldom we acknowledge how much we have and admit to how little we need. We are so possessed by want, greed, pride, covet, and the list goes on – and naturally, we are unhappy and we stumble.

One of our closest friends was sharing a message in church on Sunday. The topic was David and Bathsheba, not a common topic in the church – it’s one we like to avoid – and my friend pointed something out that has stuck with me. We like to look at David as someone extraordinary – humble, anointed, hand-picked by God Almighty to rule His people, a man after God’s own heart. David the Shepherd, David the Giant Slayer, David the Psalmist, David the King. Yet through this account we see another side of David – proud, reckless, cunning, adulterer, and murderer. Bathsheba, as she enters the picture, achieves a starring role in the ‘Fall of David’. We don’t like to look at such a shining example of godliness as human, equally susceptible to temptation as we are. We like to look at these examples as somewhere between the realms of divine and human, much like Hercules. Ironic, isn’t it? We spend so much of our lives searching for connection based on common ground.

How many times have you caught yourself saying, “You can’t understand because you’re not living it. Your situation is so different than mine. How can I possibly live up to these unrealistic expectations, I’m not perfect!”? I’ve said it more times than I could count and it’s a habit I’ve put time and effort into unlearning. Yet we spend equally as much time searching for connection based on inspiration and admiration. We want someone to look up to, someone whose example we can follow, someone who can lead us and encourage us and catch us when we fall. What really makes ‘heroes’ like David great is their humanity. They aren’t examples of unattainable greatness we can never live up to but examples of the potential we have to reach astounding heights of greatness and goodness if we allow our path to be lit by the right guide. They are also reminders of our humanity and our need for redemption and grace, regardless of how pure our hearts or how good our intentions. At the end of the day we need something greater than ourselves and as I grow older and step into new roles, first wife and now mother, I realize how desperately I need God and how desperately I desire to be close to Him. I don’t want to surround myself with people who are prestigious on the social ladder for whatever reason, or who spend every weekend partying, or who spend every moment of their days trying so hard to maintain a facade of perfection that they are led to not only judge those around them but also to live in fear of their own failures.

All my life I spent trying to fit myself into a mold – I’ve put on the mask of so many ‘types’ in order to fit in I never considered what ‘type’ I wanted to be. I spent so much time surrounding myself with people that fit  into the current type I was trying to be I didn’t make many lasting or meaningful connections. All the pettiness of worldly things seems less and less important as my responsibilities increase and my interest shifts from ‘fitting in’ to ‘being fit’ – fit for whatever challenges arise, fit for whatever roles I take on, fit for whatever God has planned for me. I guess another way to put it would be to say that my ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ is slowly taking a backseat to a very real sense of having actually become a grown up and as my perspective changes from clinging to the simpler days as a child and adolescent to embracing this foreign path of responsible adulthood, I become more and more comfortable with that idea. The notion of leaving one way of life behind and embarking on a new path becomes less frightening as I accept the fact that it is inevitable, and I can either welcome it with open arms or become lost in a distorted ‘Peter Pan’ perspective.

For a while now I’ve been obsessed with a new house, a new car, new clothes, a new haircut, and I find myself feeling a need to compete with those around me. Though I still would like to invest in some of those things one day I have finally realized how empty life is when the acquirement of ‘stuff’ is all you live for – when each day at work is about the money you brought in that day and each pay cheque is about getting another step closer to checking off an item from your list of ‘stuff you need’. As our family grows we will need a new vehicle and a new home, and as you mature and settle into different roles or chapters in life your style, interests, etc. shift – but should I be relying on myself to make these things happen? Should I waste away stressing over how near or far we are to achieving those things? Or should I be focusing on what truly matters, following God’s path for me and trusting that He will always provide for us. Does that mean we get a free ride? Absolutely not. That’s not reality and there’s no sense of achievement in that. I still want to work hard and put all I have into living a purposeful and rewarding life. You don’t have a great day due to sheer dumb luck, you have a great day because you make it one – primarily with a good attitude.

So what does all that have to do with David? Let’s just say I experienced a profound sense of comfort as I thought about such a great man making such big mistakes and failing so miserably. David, a man who loved God so much and was given such great purpose and was blessed with the best the world could offer, somehow found himself wanting. Though he had it all the grass was still greener on the other side. Lately I’ve been dealing with a lot of fear and doubt and frustration – becoming a mother, finances, providing for our child and (hopefully) our future children, my future in general, and even my own salvation. Have you ever felt so helpless that you’ve deemed yourself a lost cause? Have you ever had a moment where you look at your life and think, this might be it for me – things may never get better and things may never change? Have you ever wondered, am I good enough? Have I truly been forgiven? Is there enough grace for someone like me? I can’t help but feel that David must have had a lot of the same thoughts in his head at that time in his life, but things turned out okay. Although David was in many ways undeserving God continued to use him for a good and great purpose – of David came Solomon, and eventually David’s lineage connected to God’s own son and the Saviour of all – Jesus Christ. If this is the case, can I not still be used for a good and great purpose? Can I not still be forgiven and graciously redeemed? Can I not still be given a future and a hope?

At the end of the day I will continue to mess up, I will continue to be undeserving, and I will continue to stumble – but isn’t it awesome to have an example that reminds us that it’s never too late to be saved and as many times as we fail, God can use all things for His greater purpose? Is it not also awesome to have in that same example, something to aspire for? Goodness, greatness, and a love for God so deep that we may be described as having been, “after God’s own heart”?

And so concludes my most recent jumble of thought! As always, thanks for reading and be blessed.

17 Weeks, 4 Days, and Counting…

Hello readers and ‘Happy Autumn’ to you! As per usual I am incredibly behind in keeping up with my blogging but somehow found the motivation to dive into a new post on this fine afternoon.

The weather today is beautiful! I can honestly say this is one of my favourite types of days: the sky is a bold cyan, the leaves are glimmering shades of gold and copper, the sun is shining brilliantly, and the sound of the howling wind is mixed with the rustling of crisp leaves being blown about in all directions. The air smells so incredibly fresh today, with just a hint of yesterday’s rain still lingering on. On days like today I love to bundle up in a cozy sweater, sip a cup of tea and pop in a Classic film OR curl up with a book OR take a long, drawling walk around town. If only I had the whole of today free and hadn’t slept away the entire morning! Here’s hoping another day like this comes on a day I’m not scheduled to work (fingers crossed for Friday).

These autumn days make my heart oh so content. Nature is just such a beautiful thing. A constant reminder to me of God’s goodness and greatness.

Speaking of goodness and greatness…17 weeks, 4 days, and counting. We are now into the second trimester and mom and baby are both doing well! We were blessed to get a sneak peek of our Baby Bean although the circumstances were less than ideal. A few weeks ago we made a trip down to the states to watch the Toronto Blue Jays (Go Jays!) go up against the Minnesota Twins. A long drive, bumpy rides on the train, 40 degree weather, and rushing around from one place to the next turned out to be a little too much for this Mama Bear. I’ll spare you the details but will go so far as to say that a couple of worrisome symptoms led us to make a quick trip back home to Canada. Somewhere between 10 PM and 12 AM our travel buddies brought us to a halfway point where we met my parents and from there we continued to drive through the night until we reached home. Although we were both desperate for some sleep we had my parents bring us straight to the hospital where we checked into the ER. We spent a few hours there where I was grilled, poked and prodded. The doctors couldn’t find any visible complications, my levels all looked great, but they couldn’t find a heartbeat and considering how far along I was they were still uncertain that all was well. Our chances looked to be about 50/50. We could be just fine or we could be in the very early stages of a miscarriage. We went back home feeling ragged and downtrodden. After a couple of days we were called in for an ultrasound to confirm whether Bean was alive and well, or if Jesus was taking home our second child – and praise God that ultrasound blew all our doubts and fears away! There was our beautiful little baby, curled up and cozy and heart beating strong. It took a couple of weeks for the underlying worry to settle but after two more successful appointments with my doctor, we both feel reassured and optimistic. In a few more weeks we get to see Bean again. I’m so excited to see how much he/she has grown! The doctor says it’s been quite a bit and I believe her as I am starting to feel it too. My belly is rapidly expanding and all the discomforts and stretch marks that come with it are welcome. I am just so happy that our little one is healthy and strong and pray that continued wellness is in our future.

 

As always, thanks for reading and until next time – blessings.

 

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P.S. The view from our living room window on a rainy day last week. The first day it truly looked like Fall had arrived.

Hello, old friend!

Well hello there friends! It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve visited the blog. A computer meltdown and a busy life are not a writers best friends. What a lethal combination! Ahh…but today is the day I get to revisit my old friend and start writing again.

So what’s new, you ask? Where to begin?! Since the dawn of my blogging days things have been pretty dismal. In fact the past few years of my life have brought many hardships, losses, and heartache. It appears however, that 2013 has been the dawn of a new era and finally the sun is shining in! Things are looking up, my friends, and there has been a lot going on.

In April I began working at a local spa. No, I can’t paint your nails or give you a wax or massage or body polish or any other service. The service I offer won’t make you feel pretty or pampered, but I can get you one step closer! My fancy department title is ‘Customer Service Relations’, and all it means is that I am a receptionist and gopher. My fellow CSR and I work hard to ensure that everything flows at the spa so that between us and the service providers, you enjoy your time of RRR (rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation) to the fullest! I absolutely love my job and can’t believe that it’s been 5 months since I started there. Not only am I incredibly lucky to work in such a wonderful atmosphere but I have amazing co-workers that quickly became good friends as well – and I can’t complain about the perks either!

If you’ve been a loyal reader or even just the type that checks in once in a while, you will probably know that last summer my husband and I suffered a miscarriage – very early on but the loss and healing process was still very difficult for us. My husband proved to be more resilient than I and bounced back after a while, but my recovery took much longer. After some time away from work (and reality) I managed to find my way back from the rut I was in and am happy to say that I’m feeling great! Optimism and hope and joy all managed to find a way back into my heart and my soul is overflowing with thankfulness to God and to those who helped me along my journey to wellness. Along with wellness and a great new job came another wonderful surprise for us. Among our many blessings in recent months comes a bundle of joy, expected to arrive in March of 2014.

We are thrilled to welcome a new addition into our family and are already eager to hold him/her in our arms and call them our own. I am 13 weeks and 4 days in and I can tell you that 13 weeks has been quite the turn around already. The first trimester blues hit me hard as I spent most mornings driving the porcelain bus and the rest of each day wishing I was so that I would have those five minutes of relief afterward. Amidst all of the challenges of the first trimester, I am reminded more and more each passing day that there is a precious little one growing inside of me. As my belly expands and the sweet sound of our baby’s heartbeat falls on our ears, I find encouragement daily that in the end this process will be oh so worth it.

Until next time, and thanks as always for reading!

Went for a walk one day a while back and snapped this shot. I look at it now and see new meaning. Then it was just a beautiful day and I was enjoying a brisk walk outdoors. Today it's a symbol of new journeys, down new paths. The first step is always the hardest and no path comes without difficulty, but difficulty does not come without blessing either. He gives and takes away, but my heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be Your name!
Went for a walk one day a while back and snapped this shot. I look at it now and see new meaning. Then it was just a beautiful day and I was enjoying a brisk walk outdoors. Today it’s a symbol of new journeys, down new paths. The first step is always the hardest and no path comes without difficulty, but difficulty does not come without blessing either. He gives and takes away, but my heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be Your name!

 

 

‘Cause I Gotta Have Faith

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My faith is important to me and I can’t pretend that part of my life doesn’t exist just to avoid any awkwardness, no matter how tempting it may be at times. I value honesty and I’ve been trying to write that way, despite how scary it is to do so, and today I want to honestly talk about my faith.

Now…on to the honest-faith-talk. I came across another journal entry today and it really put this subject on my heart. So…here’s the entry:

“December 9th, 2012

Today is a terrible day.  Lately everything has been terrible.  I have dug myself into such a dark place and I’m not sure how I’m going to get out of it; today I don’t feel like I even want to.  I just want to cloak myself with it, hide from the world, and be left alone.  What really set me off today wasn’t the spontaneous family portrait (which we were only told about last minute, which made me late in getting ready, which made us miss church and will make us miss lunch with my family…..) I guess I didn’t get up early enough. I’m more mad at myself than anyone else. I don’t know why I set off like I did. I wish little things like that didn’t stress me out like they do. A spontaneous family picture and I lose it. What’s wrong with me?

What really set me off, I think, were those stretch marks on my hips that I saw last night.  I keep thinking that I’m doing okay with my weight.  I’m not losing but I’m not gaining either.  NOT TRUE!  Apparently I am doing nothing but gaining.  It must be true if I’m getting stretch marks.  Then I tested it.  My favourite skirt doesn’t fit.  I worked so hard to fit into that skirt and now it doesn’t fit.  I feel disgusted with myself.  I guesstimate that at my least I weighed 130 lbs and now I must weigh about 160 lbs.  That’s 30 lbs!  How am I going to get rid of that weight?  I feel so ugly. I guess there’s nothing anyone can do about that.  If it’s ugly, it’s ugly. Yesterday I noticed how incredibly thin my hair was.  I’ve always known but yesterday it was undeniable.  Am I losing hair?  It almost seems like it.  What if I go bald one day from stress and aging? I don’t know if I could handle that. I’m too insecure and vain. I wish I could like myself.  I wish I could believe my husband when he calls me beautiful…but I don’t feel beautiful…not on the outside or the inside.  I feel repulsive…and ashamed to have lost my way like this.

I wonder if God will forgive me for feeling these things. I wonder if God will punish me for feeling these things. I wonder if I did something so terribly wrong that all of these things have been punishment. My whole life has been so messy and I feel like the damage I’ve suffered is irreparable. I feel like a lost cause, wasted space, a wasted life. Is it too late to change? Is it too late to make my life worth living? Is it too late to save my soul? Have I made a chain so long and heavy that I sit here damned, like Ebeneezer Scrooge? How does a person become saved? How do I get out of this rut? How do I find the light in the darkness? Jesus seems like such a simple answer but He’s not always easy to find. God is so big and yet so far way; untouchable. I don’t even know who God is anymore. It’s no wonder I don’t know who I am, not knowing who my creator is. I can’t help but wonder if things will ever get better. It sounds pathetic and pessimistic but I’m so tired of riding this roller coaster. Will things ever be consistent? Will good ever stick around for a while? It’s so hard not to envy people who seem to have it all. What do they do to deserve a life like that? How can I be worthy of a life like that? I would be so grateful, but I know I’m not meant for anything but struggling. It seems to be my purpose, to struggle. Maybe I’m meant to be an example to others; inspiration, show them what it looks like when everything goes wrong.

I wish I could feel some hope, but I don’t. How can I when all I know is the darkness? After all, I don’t really know that I’ve ever caught more than a glimpse of the light.”

Reading this today really made me feel broken-hearted, but not for myself – for God. There’s a passage in the book of Psalms (Chapter 139) where the writer (David) is expressing wonder and awe at how God knows each of us intimately. “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar…Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it…For you formed my innermost parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” He also writes in thankfulness for how God watches over us – there is no escaping His touch or His love. “Where shall I go from your spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to Heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” What a beautiful Psalm. It’s one of my favourites – but not just because of how it reminds me that I am special, loved, and full of promise and purpose. It’s because of what David writes later, “How precious are your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.” David gets a little intense from that point on but it reminds me that above all else, my loyalty needs to reside with my King and my God. David pleads with God at the end of his Psalm asking, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous ways in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

As human beings, we tend to doubt a lot. We doubt our value, we doubt our purpose, we doubt that tomorrow could bring with it any more joy or light because it would only be overshadowed by the darkness of today. As Christians, we tend to feel really guilty about that, or at least I do. I often feel like thinking the things I do and feeling the things I do might land me a one-way ticket to the Underworld. I should rest assured, and so should you, that God loves you so much more than that. You are too precious for him to let you go that easily, and God is constant, not fickle – like many around us are. Relationships here on earth may come and go but God is always with us. There is nowhere we can hide from him, no matter how hard we try or no matter how hard we push him away – because God knows us better than we know ourselves. After all, he created us; every tiny little detail is something that God put there. Often I take for granted how good I really have it. When things have seemed hopeless there has always been a door that has opened somewhere. Something I forget is to switch my focus from myself to someone more important – God. I spend so much time and energy fussing over myself and the details of my life – past, present, and future. While I’m busy doing that I’m forgetting why I’m here in the first place. I forget who gave me life and who is responsible for all the good that I have seen and all the good I have yet to receive. I am so focused on my flaws and all the things that go wrong that I stop caring to acknowledge all the things that go right. I begin denying that good exists so that I can feel justified in my self-pity and covet. And then there is faith. Whether my wake-up call is delivered like a jolt of lightning or a subtle breeze through an open window – you can rest assured it always comes. At the end of each day, regardless of my mistakes and regardless of things good or bad, I have faith that God will give me a chance to do better tomorrow. I have faith that God’s work within me will overpower all else that is inside, and deliver strength and goodness enough that I will in fact do better tomorrow. Faith is tricky because, truth be told, there is no guarantee that things will go as expected. I may screw up again tomorrow, but again I have faith that God will make good of it all and create purpose in it. As we are in constant stages of growth and change, God is in a constant state of creating – breathing new life every day and further knitting together the complex web that we are all a part of. There are many dark days, like my own from my journal entry, where our strength fails us and we feel defeated, hopeless, lost, and even doomed or condemned – but faith…faith is a flame that cannot be snuffed out. Even if we diminish it to an ember it still has the potential to be rekindled. I think that we all have faith within us and we decide what to put it in. I put mine in God and it’s what gets me through the dark days – it’s what fulfills me, gives me purpose, gives me hope, and lights my path. Sometimes it takes me a while to see the light because I allow myself to become blinded by weakness and temptation, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there – and eventually I make my way back and continue on my journey. My walk with God isn’t easy, it isn’t perfect, and honestly it probably isn’t what it should be – but I keep doing what I can with the hope that one day it will be. One day I will reach my full potential…one day I will walk as closely and profoundly with God as intended…and when that day comes, I think I’ll be ready to go home. Until then I live in hope that I’ll have one more day…and one more day after that…and one more day after that. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s all a bit of a mess, but I think most relationships are – and if they weren’t…if they were simple and seamless…well there wouldn’t be much to be passionate about, would there? I’m thankful that I have a faith I can be passionate about and a God I can be passionate about pursuing. Sometimes I need to remember that what looks like a mess to me…God is looking at from above…mingled with everyone else’s messes…and is seeing a masterpiece in action.

So…there you have it. A little bit about me…a little bit about my faith…and maybe, a little bit about you too. If things are messy and seem hopeless, know that you’re not alone.

Mother’s Day

I posted something yesterday with the same title and had to delete it a few hours later. It was bitter and dark and I think too many of my posts bear that kind of tone, even if just in part.

Yesterday was a difficult day for me. What should have been my first Mother’s Day – well, if you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that after a turn of events last summer, it wasn’t. This past week or so has been really tough. It feels as though every day I’m hearing news of someone else who is pregnant or just had a baby and every time – that news stings. It hurts and prods at the wound in my heart which still has not finished healing. I keep telling myself that I don’t need to be a mom right now. ESPECIALLY if I’m still healing from our loss. I keep telling myself to focus on other goals – like work, a healthier lifestyle, paying off debt, etc. Whatever takes my mind off of this overwhelming desire I have to make us parents. But I’m living a lie.

Truth be told – I would love to be a mommy and to make my husband a daddy. Truth be told – there are many days where I struggle with jealousy and have a hard time being happy for others who are getting what I want so badly. I don’t know if my longing hurts me most or the repercussions of our loss. Often I wonder what I could have done differently. I wonder if there’s something I could have done to save our child. That guilt is a heavy burden but in the end I know that it isn’t a possibility and there is nothing I could have done to prevent what happened.

In the end I know that our tragedy is not our own – it is a tragedy many excited parents-to-be face, and one day we may be sharing joyous news as those around us are. That day isn’t today, it wasn’t last summer, and it may not be for a long time – and that’s okay. I need to trust that when the right time comes, it will happen for us.

These words give me hope:  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8

For all the mommy’s out there – thank you for all you did and do for your children and for your families. To be a mom you must learn to sacrifice everything for the betterment of your family and there is no greater good than to give all you have for another. For all the women out there who were a mommy, regardless of how many weeks or years, but have lost a child – “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26. Know that you are not alone. I am with you – fighting the good fight and keeping the faith – as are many. We are all hoping and waiting together and my prayer is that God hears us, knows the desires of our hearts, gives us patience till we reach the day our prayers are answered, and understanding when that answer is ‘yes’ OR ‘no’.

All of that being said – a very Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you mom’s for all that you do and are.

Thursday, May 1st, 2012

Thursday.

Today feels like it looks. Looking out the window this morning all I see is GREY – a colour I enjoy overall but not in the sky in the month of May. Grey is a colour that doesn’t exactly give me any motivation to do anything but plant my butt on the couch. Last night I had this weird feeling of panic that I couldn’t shake and I still don’t know WHERE it came from, and although it is May it was snowing AGAIN yesterday! Not to mention, I keep making this irritable mistakes at work that are small but significant enough that they are noticed. It’s been a grouchy week for me.

So this morning as I sit and mope, I’ve been sifting through some files in my ‘Writing’ folder on our computer and I stumbled upon a journal entry from this time last year. This is what I wrote…

“There’s something about today that just makes my heart feel warm. Maybe it’s waking up next to the man I love most or the smell of rain in the warm spring air as I went for a jacket-free bike ride. Maybe it’s the colours of the fresh tulips out of mom K’s garden on the coffee table, or the accent of the dark blue sky against the green of the growing grass and plants and leaves. It could be my signature steamed milk which I’m drinking while watching Smash…OR maybe none of these things really matter in and of themselves…maybe it’s just that they remind me how good God is. :) Today I feel SO BLESSED.”

WOW. Amazing how much things can change from one year to the next, isn’t it? Last year at this time the golf course was open, jackets and boots had been replaced by t-shirts and sandals, and apparently my 2012 self was having a much better week than my 2013 self. Rather than letting this discovery bring on a light drizzle from the thunder cloud that’s been hanging above my head the past few days, I’m going to let it be the first ray of sunshine to pierce the grey. Today I’m going to make it my goal to find sunbeams to hook into that thunder cloud and eventually, once I’ve found enough sunbeams, I’m going to reel in that cloud and let the wind (though it be too cold for my liking) carry it away.

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

I am a grouch. Just call me Oscar (but please don’t stick me in a garbage can). Last year, on a Thursday, I had tulips and blues and greens and warm rain and bike rides. Today, on a Thursday, I have clouds and cold and grey and cold and a bad attitude and did I mention I have cold? I wish I had recorded all the bad things I had on this day last year. Maybe I scalded my tongue on my steamed milk, maybe I came back from my bike ride soaked from the rain, maybe I drove through some mud and came back home resembling a skunk, or maybe my husband and I had some sort of disagreement. Watching Batman (Baatmaan…duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh…BAATMAAN) last night reminded me that there is good and bad in every person, and good and bad in each day BUT, “It is what we do that defines us.” What is it that happened on an average Thursday last year, that defined my day as good? What is it that happened today, on a Thursday, that defined my day as bad? Maybe it’s a mind over matter situation, which I can fix by simply shifting my focus from the pessimist to the optimist. Good thing #1 on Thursday, May 2nd, 2013: The snow from yesterday melted. Good thing #2: I am healthy and headache-free (I often get terrible headaches). Good thing #3: Lunch on the in-laws at our favourite restaurant. Good thing #4: I have a job. Even if I’m not perfect, even if I repeat mistakes, even if the learning process is sometimes a frustrating one – I have a job. We have enough $ to be comfortable now because I have a job, and I do not have to return to my go-to summer job in order for us to get by. Good thing #5: I have today. Today is a clean slate. I often take for granted the wonder in each new day because of it’s newness. Each day is a chance to begin anew and what could be better than that? Good thing #6: Finding that journal entry, because I wouldn’t be doing this if I hadn’t stumbled across it. Wake-up call! Just what I needed. Thursday, May 2nd, 2013. 6 blessings counted. 1 attitude adjusted. 0 grouches reporting. And it’s only 12:09 P.M. Not bad for a gloomy Thursday morning.

Whether the sun is out where you are or not – catch some sunbeams today!

The Masterpiece

“Dear God, did I hear you right today? Did I hear you say that you love me? Even though you and I both know I messed up so many times. Did I hear you say you want to use me? But I feel so useless. If you’ll take me then use me and God, I give you all that I am. Take me? I love you God.”  – A quote from the skit ‘God’s Chisel’ by The Skit Guys.

It was Sunday morning and we were sitting in a church service. We don’t go to church as often as we should but every now and then we drag ourselves out of bed, put our Sunday shoes on, and make our way to a place where we can fellowship with other believers. Our parents both raised us in the Christian faith and we both grew up amongst church families. When we saw those families on Sunday morning, or on a Youth night, there was a sense of belonging – of coming home. Now we wander from church to church and have been looking for a place to call home, a family to call our own. Though that journey has become a long road leading to nowhere we have faith that God will call us somewhere eventually and until then we go on as floaters. But let’s get honest here, I’m tired of floating. I think our greatest struggle is that we miss what we grew up with but now, as adults, we need to search and choose for ourselves; and that’s not as easy as it looked when we were younger.

Speaking for myself – I’m scared. It isn’t an issue about letting go of what I know anymore, it’s fear – my crippling fear of acceptance.

I am afraid of not being wanted when I have a heart that wants to serve and be useful.

I am afraid of having a chance to be involved but not being good enough and either being rejected or ridiculed.

I am afraid of being alone – as I have felt for so long now.

Questions that run through my mind are – Will there be young couples around our age there that we can connect with? Will there be people for us to sit with on a Sunday morning? Will there (one day) be kids for our kids to go to Sunday School with and have play dates with? Will there be an opportunity for us to serve as a couple? Will people like us or will they ignore us, judge us, mock us, snub us, reject us, or worst of all – will they pretend to accept us out of righteous obligation but turn on us when we leave the room? Thoughts like these are toxic and as soon as a seed of doubt is planted it grows quickly, infecting your mind and soul until every thought you think and every action you take is blackened by the poison. You become something that when you look in the mirror, looks like more of a creature than a person.

Do you ever look in the mirror and think, who is that? Do you ever look at your reflection, searching for beauty but forced to retreat because you can’t find your way through the masks and the scars? I think if an architectural ruin had a soul, it would tell us it feels – crushed, dirty, scattered, empty – hidden beneath the forest growing over it, camouflaged by the vines and ivy and moss. Sometimes I think, “I’m no masterpiece, I’m a ruin.” I get angry with myself because I have become a product of my own making. A product of fear. A product of doubt. A product of envy and loathing and prejudice. A product of the world. The further I let myself drift from my Father, the farther I fall and the more I change. I admit, I feel I am lost and hopeless.

Now, go to YouTube and search for God’s Chisel or TheSkitGuys and you’ll find it.

Do you feel lonely today? Do you feel abandoned? Do you feel ugly or dirty or unworthy? Do you feel like you’ve messed up too many times and can’t possibly be forgiven one more time – given one more chance – that you’ve fallen too far, dug yourself in too deep, and can’t possibly get out of the rut you’re in? Do you feel a little down today – frustrated – let down maybe? Whatever you’re feeling I want you to stop. Go look in the mirror. Then I want you to say OUT LOUD what you see. You may be scared to voice what you feel – maybe you hate yourself that much, that all you see is a monster – a beast. Don’t you turn away. LOOK HARDER. Past all the gunk that’s clinging to you. And shake it off. Let your Creator chisel away at all that stuff and reveal to you the masterpiece you were designed to be. It’s in there. Take a risk today. Look at yourself through Heaven’s eyes. Tell that voice in the back of your head – the voice of the world – all those stereotypes and molds you’re supposed to fit into – BREAK THEM and tell that voice to SHUT UP! Were you scared to look at the ugly before? Well, how much scarier is looking at the beauty? Whatever your bad habits are or flaws or sins – whatever you think makes you unworthy – that’s not who God designed you to be and it sure isn’t what he sees when he looks at you. If you let him chip away at you – it’s not going to be easy. It’ll hurt, BUT – you just might do great things. If you believed in yourself half as much as God did – you will find that you’re very special, irreplaceable, unlike any other, and you might catch a glimpse of the masterpiece you were designed to be.

Ready or not, take a leap of faith with me today? Face your fears and doubts and open your eyes to see who you truly are. Embrace your uniqueness and live fully, passionately, appreciatively, and purposefully. Live like you mean it! Imagine a world where each of us lived like we meant it. Wouldn’t that be something?

Blessings.

Feelings. Nothing more than feelings.

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” - Psalm 27:13

Today my heart is filled with sadness. As a child you dream of life as an adult as though it’s going to be something enchanted; a fairy tale where all endings are happy and good always wins. I am only 23 years old and yet I feel as though so many hopes I had as a child have already been crushed, and that I know too much of pain.

In a recent conversation with my husband I described myself as an ‘emotional sponge’. What I meant by that, as I’m sure you can guess, was that I soak up the emotions of those around me. Whether they are my loved ones or complete strangers from across the world, when something happens – on either side of the spectrum aka good or bad – I feel it and I feel it deeply. I realize that most people are like that to an extent. When the latest story on the news is of children being forced to participate in war, or of people starving in third world countries, or of sporadic disasters that claim the lives of countless people, or of gunmen strolling into public places and shooting down dozens of innocent people – you get the picture, we’ve all heard tell of terrible tragedies such as these – and when we do we feel terribly, terribly sad. Stories of senseless acts of violence and inhumanity between people in our ‘civilized world’ is all too common and tragic indeed, and it has a binding power that unites our hearts as we grieve together – as a community, as a country, or as a global nation. Grief in any situation becomes contagious, spreading quickly and infecting all who are touched by it.

Today it is death that makes me so melancholy. It seems to me that the past couple of years have been riddled with death – whether it’s a family friend, or a child in the community, or otherwise – it seems to happen more and more frequently as each year passes. I realize that as you get older it’s natural to notice those around you gradually decreasing in number. My great-grandma lived to be over 100 years old and I imagine she knew how to say ‘good-bye’ better than she would have liked.  Today a friend I knew well in high school had to say good-bye to her baby boy. They fought a long and hard battle with him and now can find peace knowing that he is truly healed, but that won’t make their pain any less in quality or quantity. We have all experienced a crushed hope, a broken dream, or an unfulfilled wish – but today I am overwhelmed. Today I feel like my sponge heart has soaked up so many tears that they are still pouring from it as though every pore was filled to capacity and then some. If only I could REALLY take some of their hurt and fear from them, but I know I can’t – in reality – soak up their feelings.

Though it sometimes feels like a burden, the way we can ‘feel’ so much and so many different things is truly magical. If anything in this life is enchanted it is our ability to love, hate, envy, fear, treasure, horde, doubt, trust, forgive, begrudge – how amazing is the capacity of the human soul?

Although it’s hard to hold on sometimes, when life is such a roller coaster, I will keep clinging to the rail and hope for the best. If I need to yell and scream or laugh and cry, I will do it. It can be embarrassing to show how you feel. Honesty makes you vulnerable and often people look on sensitivity as weakness – it’s how I was taught to look at it myself.

For now though, for today, I am content to feel sad. Usually sadness scares me because I worry I may not find my way out of it. Today however, I feel strong. In fact, I feel strangely in control. Maybe by embracing my emotions rather than repressing them I am am discovering that I am stronger than I think I am, and capable of being in control – capable of feeling deeply but staying afloat instead of sinking.

If I have the good fortune of waking up tomorrow morning, I will take a breath and press on, and on every morning I wake after that. At the end of the day, I think it’s better to feel the good and the bad, than to feel nothing at all. And I think that somewhere up above there is a little angel boy, whispering “I love you’s” and blowing kisses to his mommy and daddy.

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” – Psalm 27:13

I believe.