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! As per usual, it`s been a while.

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…17 weeks, 4 days, and counting. We are now into the second trimester and baby is growing like a weed! 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 emergency. We spent a few hours there where I was questioned, 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 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 baby 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 our 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 mama bear is 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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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 blog! It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve visited ‘Brown Paper Packages’. A computer meltdown and a busy life are not a bloggers 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 on the prairies, 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 department is Customer Service Relations, and what that fancy title 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 rest and 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 or skims over my long-winded posts, you will 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. Amid 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!

 

 

The Wake-Up Call

I was reminded of something today – something that left me feeling sad and ashamed. Lately I have been reminded of how fleeting this life is and how much I take it for granted. We are born into such privilege and we don’t even know it, we live with so much opportunity within our reach and yet we are not thankful. Rather than being full of gratitude and reverence for all that we have been given, we spit on our blessings and turn our nose up at them in discontent and contempt. What is it about our country, our society, our culture that makes us so anxious? What is it that makes covet and selfishness hold such strong grips on our hearts, leaving no room for happiness or thankfulness or love? Do we even know what it is to be happy? Do we know what it is to be truly thankful? Do we know what love is and does, or how it’s supposed to feel? Our world is spinning so quickly, whizzing by us in a blur of colour and sound. We are being bombarded daily by advertisements and media that tells us what to eat, what to wear, what to watch, what to aspire for – there are voices and pictures sending us messages day in and day out that we are not good enough as we are, but if we buy a certain product or look a certain way or hang out with a certain crowd we might have a shot. We look around at the world and point fingers at all the people who are so far behind us. We look at them as inadequate, uncivilized, without culture and without purpose except to serve our needs. We lead frivolous and indulgent lives – we have more than enough and more than we deserve – yet we complain about every detail. Meanwhile so many go hungry and fight tooth and nail just to survive, but they somehow manage to find the silver lining, always. We obsess over gossip, the latest trends, and how to define ourselves as unique and individualistic people while maintaining a certain social stamina. This to us is struggle. This to us is fighting for survival. How pathetic. We watch shows and read books that instill great expectations in us for this life, of wealth and success and beauty, and of a life story that could fill the pages of a best-selling novel.  Our craving for romance, control, and power consume us and because we have this perverse appetite for drama but find it in short supply in our own backyard, we find ways to stir some up to keep ourselves entertained. The world has become our Coliseum and those who are suffering from hunger and war and disease and a host of struggles we cannot imagine, have become our Gladiators – pawns, necessary losses, insignificant. It sickens me to know that I have played the game. As much as I would like to say that I have not bought into the ways of the world, I most certainly have and I have been immersed in it for too long. I look back on my 23 years and I wonder; what have I done of consequence? What have I done to put good into the world? What have I done to reflect Christ to the world around me? I have not been the salt of the earth nor have I let my light shine – I have hid it under a bushel, and again, I must confess that I am so very much ashamed. There was a point in my life, as a child and as a young girl, that I wanted nothing more than to please my parents and please my Father in Heaven. I wonder; where has that girl gone? Why do I feel ugly when I look in the mirror? Why do I feel discontent with whom and where I am and feel completely unaccomplished? Why do I live each day as though it were tedious and monotonous and without meaning. There is a voice in my head telling me I must be skinny, I must own certain products, I must wear certain clothes, I must eat certain foods, I must get a certain education and get a certain type of job and make a certain amount of money in order to be successful. Without a house and a car and endless piles of stuff in each room and a dog and two or three children, I am nothing. Without starving myself and exercising like a professional athlete, I am nothing. I hate that voice. The buzz in my head and all around me is so loud, so suffocating and constant, that I can’t hear anything else. I disregard my guilt and shame and justify my feelings that are a result of that voice in my head with reminders that I’m not the only one. It’s not my fault that I was born in a safe country where I am free and have endless opportunity. It’s not my fault that there are certain expectations I must meet and that more or less I have the capability and capacity to meet them, if I chose to. It’s not my fault, it’s not my fault, it’s not my fault – but it is my fault! When did I stop listening to the one voice that mattered? When did my reflection begin to blur and become someone – something – that I no longer recognize? When did I become a product of my polluted environment and abandon hopes of becoming the product I’m supposed to be, by giving up on my purpose? Who am I to be jealous or discontent? I have failed my maker and I have failed my neighbour many times over, but I have hope today in a shocking reminder of what is truly reality. I have hope today in having heard a voice that matters. For months, and in fact years, I have struggled. I have been depressed and anxious and constantly waiting for more and better things to come along. Meanwhile, the sand is slowly running out. I am not invincible or immortal and I cannot take for granted that tomorrow is another day, because I may not have tomorrow. I believe that I can make a change, and though that change may not affect the world or even those around me, I hope that it will make me richer – where it matters, in the heart. My goal today is to make a covenant with a girl I once knew – a girl who wanted to grow up to be the kind of woman who would, at the end of her days, inspire the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Enough talk, enough wake-up calls – it’s time for action. What changes will take place and how will they be implemented? In this moment, I’m not sure. I guess for tonight I’ll have to sleep on it, but with God’s grace tomorrow WILL be another day and Day 1 of my transformation begins. I know that there will be growing pains but I accept them as part of the process. Are you at a point in your life where you feel the need for some change? Change along with me. Have you been through the changing process and come out on the other side refreshed and refined? What changes did you experience? What sacrifices did you make? What habits did you begin? What inspires you and fuels your fire? What do you do to love your neighbour and how do you hope to impact those around you?

A passage that’s been on my mind lately, taken from Ephesians 6: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication.” – Inspiring advice for leading a life that matters, and will fulfill you and sustain you.  

 

Today I want to write about my 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 mean too much to Him 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 He put there. Often I take for granted how good I really have it. I’m healthy and I’m good-looking and I’m smart and I have talents and passions that I have the ability to pursue. I have family and friends and I have always been provided for. 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 in 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 in 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 He 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

 

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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 such a 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, losing weight, paying off our student 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 pray is that God hears our prayers, acknowledges the desires of our heart, and gives us patience and understanding till we reach the day He answers.

Thursday, May 1st, 2012

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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 and mope. Last night I had this weird feeling of panic that I couldn’t shake and I still don’t know WHERE it came from. Last night I also made my sweet hubby upset by complaining about all the things we can’t afford but want (and some things need), and although it is May it was snowing yesterday! Not to mention I keep making this irritable mistakes at work that are small but significant enough that they are noticed, and for some reason are on this cycle where each day I make a different mistake but repeat them all the next week. So – I’m not EXACTLY making the same mistake twice but I’m still not getting things right and it makes me feel VERY frustrated with myself. 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 trash can, though I have an attitude that is most certainly garbage). 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 Jesse 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 a Thursday, last year, that defined my day as good and defined me as blessed? What is it that happened today, on a Thursday, that defined my day as bad and defined me as Oscar-the-Grouch? Maybe it’s a matter of simply counting my blessings and shifting my focus from the pessimist to the optimist. Blessing #1 on Thursday, May 2nd, 2013: The snow from yesterday melted. Blessing #2: I am healthy and headache-free (I often get terrible headaches). Blessing #3: Lunch on the in-laws at our favourite restaurant. Blessing #4: I have a job. Even if I’m not perfect, even if I repeat mistakes, even if learning is sometimes a frustrating process – I have a job. We have more than enough $ to get by 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. Blessing #5: I have today. Today is a clean slate. I often take for granted the blessing in each new day because of it’s newness. Each day is a chance to start afresh and what could be more of a blessing than that? Blessing #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 Rambler

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Today has been fairly ‘unproductive’ and ‘average’ thus far. I woke up after a decent night’s sleep with a headache (still waiting for my Tylenol to kick in) spent the past few hours reading up on Amanda Knox and watched the made-for-TV film based on her story (starring Hayden Panettiere) – which is a story I can’t believe I was not aware of before and I will probably continue researching, and now I thought I would write up a short blog post before heading to work.

I have nothing of substance to say today really, or at least not yet. In fact, I’m realizing that lately I have less and less to say, yet somehow words keep coming out. Recently a friend told me that he tried to read my blog posts but he gets about halfway through each post and quits because I ramble too much. I’ve thought about that a lot since. I’ve always been a chatterbox so I don’t usually take it to heart when people tease me about how much I talk, but this time it struck a chord and I’m not sure why.

Every morning my mom sends me a text to share what she came across in her morning devotions. Everything she has shared these past few days has been an ‘a-ha’ moment or a much needed reminder. This week has been full of lessons in patience, generosity in our love for others (especially those we need so desperately but take for granted), self control, and today – taming the tongue. We often forget how a small word can completely change someones attitude that day, for the better or for the worse. My mom referred to a couple of verses in the book of James – 1:26, and 3:3, 5-6. As I checked out the book of James in my own bible, I realized how much awesome wisdom is packed into it! It’s definitely a book I will be reading into in the next little while.

Back to the tongue though – as a rambler, a chatterbox, a talker, a chatty Kathy, or whatever phrase you wish to use to describe a person like me – I don’t really think about what comes out of my mouth as often as I should. I often try to fill up moments of silence with useless words, without substance, rather than using that time for something of worth. That isn’t to say I don’t have a lot of great conversations, because I do. I love to catch up with family and friends, I love to goof off with my husband, and I love to sit down and have conversations with others about our world and what’s going on in it and about faith and many other things. There are times however when I tease instead of encourage or affirm, there are times when I remain silent when I should say something, there are times when I say things I don’t mean but can’t take back – in moments of anger or frustration or stubbornness – and that kind of sucks, doesn’t it? Of course, we all have those moments, but wouldn’t it be great if we tried to tame our tongue – to hold it when we should stay silent and to use it when God puts the right words on our hearts? Instead we let our minds become clouded and we use our words carelessly, or at least I do. I just can’t stop thinking about that comment my friend made and I can’t help but wonder, do my words matter? Is God putting things on my heart and instead of sharing them, am I letting the fog disorient me to the point that I am no longer headed in the right direction? Am I letting the fog become so dense that I can no longer see the lamp God has set before me to light my path? I look around and I realize how much junk is in my life. My house is more untidy than tidy and I don’t remember the last time I vacuumed the carpet and I don’t think I’ve ever scrubbed the tile on the floor and given it a good going over. Our shelves are full of books and movies that I’ve never read or seen and I generally see my bible on Sunday mornings only. My blog sits here untouched until the guilt I feel over letting it sit untouched becomes too aggravating to ignore, so I sit down and I write something – whatever comes to mind. I have a training schedule on my calendar for the 5K I registered for, coming up this July, but I haven’t been able to check off a single day of training. The irony I find is truly something I don’t know how to react to – do I laugh or do I hang my head in shame or do I simply just cry? Here I am, surrounded by a mess – the product of my laziness and passive lifestyle – a clear reflection of the current state of my heart and my walk with God. Meanwhile, my tongue is running wild, non-stop, every hour that I’m awake, and what about? The weather, my day at work, the latest episode of Mad Men, the book I’m reading right now, some random fact I read that day, or something neat I found on Pinterest – nothing of substance, nothing that glorifies my God, nothing that matters. What a wake-up call! Here I am, watching my life go by from day to day, and not really living it at all!  I waste my time sleeping in, watching movies, and eating, then I go to work, then I come home and eat and watch another movie and go to bed. What am I doing to give generous love to my husband? What am I doing to be a true friend to those I am honoured to call my friends? What am I doing to glorify God and to dig deeper in our walk together? What am I talking about that really matters? What am I doing that really matters?

James 2:14-26 is a lesson on faith and it teaches us that faith without works is dead. Recently my friend – the very same friend who told me I ramble too much – preached his very first sermon! Jesse and I were of course there to listen and to be a support to him on that special day. He did a wonderful job and we could not have been more proud! He spoke about passion and how it is more than a feeling, it is an action. He boldly pointed out how the church has lost its passion and believers and non-believers alike are turning away from the church because we are not sustaining or inspiring passion. He asked us why we are not more bothered by that fact – and I say fact because he referred to numerous statistics which supported his theory. Certainly what I learned that morning bothered me, but I went home and forgot about it. Keith Green wrote a song called ‘Asleep in the Light’ and from the moment I stumbled upon it it has been precious to me, yet here I stand truly asleep in the light. I am so blessed – with a life rich in love and comfort and opportunity, yet I do not live as though I am. I am discontented with my life and I often think to myself that it’s because of what I was ‘cursed’ with – a naturally low metabolism but great love of food, over-sensitivity and low self-esteem, enough money to get by but not enough to enjoy holidays or a house of our own or a pet or other things we would like to have but can’t., and the list goes on. I sit and stew over what others are receiving and I am not. There are days I am so overcome by envy and covet that my heart actually aches as I think about how unfair it is that others are skinnier, prettier, wealthier, smarter, luckier, etc. How cruel of me to point the finger – indirectly or not – at God, who is the source of my blessings and in trial, my source of hope and strength and ultimately, my salvation.  When will I stop saying, “it’s good but not good enough” and start saying, “thank-you for all you have given me, thank-you for being more than enough for me, and please give me a generous heart that I may live passionately and activate my faith by living for you and not for myself?” When will I choose passion over passiveness? When will I choose gratitude over jealousy? When will I stop wasting the gift of each new day and start living each day to the fullest? When will I stop choosing the world and start choosing God? When will I stop living for today and living for tomorrow?

Today I would love to hear YOUR words. What keeps you passionate? What keeps you strong? What keeps you content and thankful? What keeps you living each day to the fullest? Or even, what’s on your mind today? What’s on your heart today? Is there something you would like me to write about in the future – a topic, a question you have, anything?

Now – before I ramble any longer! –  thanks for reading and be blessed!

A glimpse into my mind in the past weeks…

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It’s been a while since my last post so I thought it was high time I scribble down some words.

Lately, there have been a few things on my mind but I first want to talk about why I have been M.I.A. from the blog world and if you know me in the real world too. I have fantastic news to share – I have a job! After miscarrying our first child last summer I started working a new, full-time job and quickly discovered I had taken on too much, too soon. The job was intense and required a lot of focus and homework. I woke up early, put on my fancy face and hair and clothes (this job required me to dress fashionably and trendy while maintaining a professional office-wear look), and sometimes I would have time to whip together some lunch (which would be rabbit food because that’s what everyone else there ate and I felt like a piggy eating anything more than that). In between my morning routine I would drop off my husband at work which took up about 15-20 minutes all together, depending on traffic and the weather. Then I’d drive myself to work in a neighbouring town, which was about a 15 minute drive one-way, and for the next 8 hours it was work-work-work. Often (at least 2 times a week) I would have to stay 30-60 minutes past closing because of lingering clients/patients/customers. That sort of thing is bound to happen, but when it was  2-3 times a week and I would get home at 7 and still have to make supper, do laundry, dishes, or whatever household items were required of me – I just felt so overwhelmed! And then there was always homework to do for work. My life consisted of nothing but work and it did me in quickly. I’m the type of person that thrives on relationships and I need to have time to get things done and keep up with my own hobbies. There was no time allowance for these things while I was at this particular business. Eventually I wore myself so thin that I couldn’t eat or sleep and I became physically ill and above and beyond the anxiety and how overwhelmed I felt I was heartbroken over the loss we were grieving – our first baby. I would never hold our baby close, watch them grow and change and discover, or even know if they were a boy or a girl. After a visit with my doctor, she advised that I quit my job and take some time to heal – inside and out. Where this was definitely the right choice for me, it put us between a rock and a hard place. With student debt looming over our heads, rent and other bills due, we both felt stressed over the financial pressures we were struggling with. And then came the process of finding a job. I applied at numerous places and nothing was happening. I was ready to work again, though I knew it would be a difficult transition, but was having no luck in my job-search. Then one day, I got a phone call. I’m so happy to share with you all that my job is going swimmingly! The people there are so welcoming and kind, and funny too. They manage to have a great time with each other while doing their work and you get to meet a lot of great people along the way! Despite how intimidating new jobs are, each day feels better than the last as I continue learning how everything works and getting into the swing of things. Though the butterflies in my stomach probably won’t go away for a few more weeks yet, I can tell that this is a place where I can belong and where I will thrive and succeed, and that is so exciting! I can see now where everything has taken us. A long and hard road has led me here. How nice to finally arrive home!

On to other topics…

The sun! Last night we received another dumping of snow. It was beautiful last night, as the fluffy flakes fell down gently against a backdrop of snow covered trees and a dark nights sky – but then you wake up and remember it’s APRIL! Where is spring? For an outdoor runner who is extremely out of shape and supposed to be participating in a 5K in the middle of July – the pressure is on and patience is disappearing rather quickly. Recently, a friend posted on FB that she wondered if the White Witch had taken over the land and if we should be concerned about losing Christmas next? Being a nerd and loving fantasy literature, I picked up on this Narnia reference immediately and knew I had to refer to it at some point – so I’m doing it now. Seeing that post provided some comic relief in a truly disappointing moment. I have to keep reminding myself that patience is a virtue and ultimately we have no control over the weather, and it can’t possibly be winter forever. God will eventually bring us spring and then summer and then fall and winter again, and the cycle will continue as long as I live. I’m trying to remember the mystery and beauty in the cycle of the seasons and trying to appreciate the uniqueness each one offers – spring brings us chirping birds and budding flowers and trees, summer brings us sunshine one minute and thrilling thunderstorms the next, fall brings us crunchy leaves and a warm palette of colours, and winter brings us crisp and clean air and sparkling snow and cozy nights cuddling on the couch, drinking tea, and watching our favourite movies.

Something else that’s been on my mind is friendship – how rare and precious true friendship is, and how incredible intimacy in our relationships is. Recently a friend told me of the experience she had welcoming their little girl into the world. Fully expecting a boy, they were surprised when out popped a little baby girl! The entire room had tears in their eyes as the doctor announced, “you have a girl!” What a beautiful moment to have witnessed and to have shared. As she told me this story I found myself on the brink of shedding a few tears of my own! Yesterday I watched my husband play with our nephew and couldn’t wipe the grin off my face as they ran around for so long that hubby was huffing and puffing and baby was rosy-cheeked and giggling to the point that he peed! Our nephew’s daddy isn’t a part of his life so grandpa (Pappy) and Uncles Bud and Jesse have taken it upon themselves to be the male figures in his life. It warms my heart to watch our little buddy grow and as we fall in love with our little guy over and over, and deeper every day. Some of my favourite moments with Jesse are watching him bond with our nephew – partly because of how he has stepped up to be there for him throughout his life and partly because I see what an amazing daddy he will be to our kids one day. A day we both look forward to, very much. The human capacity to love and empathize and be intimate in friendship, family, romantic relationships and marriage never ceases to amaze me. Often I need to be reminded – as with the weather – how mysterious and beautiful is the cycle of life, the cycle of relationships (saying goodbye to old friends and greeting new friends into our lives), and our communion with one another. How complex and intricately designed are each one of us!

On that note….thin vs thick. I’m noticing more and more how bombarded we are as women AND men, to look and act a certain way. We are encouraged to be unique and yet each type of unique falls into a category of trend – indie, mod, nautical, chic, country, athlete, etc. We are encouraged to embrace who we are and yet thin and thick people alike are criticized for how they look. Have you noticed that recently the buff look is in? We have moved from skinny to toned to fit to body-builder. As women we should have flawless skin, shiny and bouncy hair that is the perfect balance between messy and done, we should wear enough make-up to look put together but not over-done, we should wear clothes that are trendy but have some sort of unique detail, and beyond physical traits – we should lose our virginity by 16, have a deep and serious relationship by 15 and look like 25 year olds by the age of 14. As men they should lose their virginity by 14, break a few hearts by 15, and be completely independent and self-sufficient by 16, and they should be the perfect balance of prince charming and bad boy – not to mention look tan, totally ripped, be able to grow a full beard which they will keep trimmed for that ruggedly handsome look, and be of *echem* satisfactory size, if you know what I mean. I grow increasingly more disgusted at how we are stealing the childhood from our sons and daughters. Fashion is fun, I love to keep up with trends – but a 7 year old should not be wearing the same thing a 27 year old is, and a 13 year old should not be wearing enough make-up to fit in at an 80′s prom. Sex should be something special, not initiation into “adulthood” at the age of 14, 15 or 16 or even 17 or 18! We have taken the magic out of the world. We are forgetting the mystery and beauty in this life and have turned it into a shallow life where success and acceptance are impossible because we can never reach the standards set for us – again, as men or women, boys or girls. Parents are absent in the lives of their children and instead of teaching and leading them, leave the work to TV and crappy literature (Twilight!), and so on – that teaches them to set unrealistic ideals and goals that won’t help them achieve or succeed anything that they will look back on and be proud of. Excuse my cynicism, but seriously, what is up with the world?! The older I get the more I see how incredibly sad it is – the lives we have been thrown into and the lives we are setting up our children for. Jesse and I grow more and more thankful for the way we were raised. At the time you see it as over-protective and sheltered but one day you realize that your parents were only trying to defend your childhood from the ridiculous standards and goals set by society. We both hope that one day we can be as strong as our parents were and raise our children in faith, good morals, and to accept and love who they are and who others are as God designed them to be – not how the world tells us we should be.

On a happier note…it’s almost the weekend! My hope and prayer is that you all find yourselves safe, blessed, content, and with renewed thankfulness as you enjoy the weekend and enter another week of work and life and whatever challenges those things bring your way. May you have strength and patience to face the coming days and may we all find comfort and awe in the mystery and beauty in the every-day and in the little things too – and may we all have the courage to follow the paths laid out for us – seizing true individuality and defying trend.

For more random thoughts and updates, stay tuned!