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My Own Little World

Just me, sharing my journey through life…

Balance – is it even possible?

Balance:  a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.

balance

When I was a kid, my mom signed my sister and I up for gymnastics.  This was huge.  I grew up on the farm, oldest of a large family, and we didn’t get to do a ton of extra-curricular stuff.  We all took piano lessons, but there just wasn’t the opportunity for a lot of extra stuff, so when gymnastics was offered, we jumped at it!  It was pretty basic – rolling, balance beam, stuff like that.

You know, the Olympic gymnasts make it look so easy – just waltz across that balance beam, and off you go.  You know what?  It’s not that easy.  Doing more than just walking is a little difficult.  Turns out I don’t have that much balance.

Balance is tough. Especially when you’re a tall, definitely awkward elementary girl.

I remember introducing solid foods to Katie when she was a little girl.  She loved peaches, sweet potatoes, carrots – she ate them so well.  I was pretty sure I had this new mom thing down pat.  She didn’t love beans or peas, but, no big deal, right?  She was doing great with other vegetables – like carrots and sweet potatoes.

Did you know if you only feed your child carrots and sweet potatoes, their nose will turn orange?  It’s true.  The tip of her cute little nose started turning orange.

Again, balance.  While carrots and sweet potatoes might be perfectly happy for a child, they also need beans, peas and other-colored vegetables.

Balance.  It’s a hard thing to achieve, you know.  And right now, it’s something I desire more than a lot of other things.

I think most people who work outside of their home understand this – trying to find time to keep up with the never ending list of things to do at home after work is done.

But I dare say that working moms get this even more.  Trying to find a way to balance working outside of the home while still running a household.

I have decided that it’s actually impossible, and that frustrates me immensely.  As the director of a not-for-profit organization, I don’t have a typical 9-5 job.  It’s the kind of job that I could be at 12-14 hours a day, and still have stuff to do.  It sticks with you when you go home.  It involves evenings and weekends.

And I love it.

But after a full day in the Centre, I go home to my other job – my real job, as a wife and a mom.  And that too, is more than a full-time job.  It’s 24/7.

So, how do you do two jobs that require that much focus?  That much time?  And beyond that, how do you do them both well?  I feel like I am constantly doing a half job at everything I do, because I just can’t give anything the focus it needs.

While I’m at work, there’s still appointments that Katie needs to be at, calls from doctors and therapists.  John still needs to get to work and kids need to get home after school.  There’s not freedom to stay for an extra hour after closing to get some stuff done, because there is a family waiting for me to make supper.

But when I’m at home, work is there.  There’s evening meetings that leave my kids at home alone.   There’s calls and texts from work during family movie night. There’s weekend commitments that have taken our family to churches all over Southern Alberta.

So how do you balance it?  How do you do each well?

I think this is a struggle, though, for every mom – if you work outside of the home or not, because there is a constant struggle between being a wife and a mom.  This is something I’ve really been working through lately, especially since it’s gone from just being me and the kids to now being Terry, myself and the kids.

Again, a situation where each need such focus, so much attention.  But how do you balance it?

I love to spend time with my husband, especially when we get to get out of the house for a bit.  But, doing that leaves 3 kids sitting at home.  So, being a good wife = being a bad mom, or at least that’s how it feels.

But it goes the other way too.  Something that’s developed in our home is that I have a Netflix series going with each of my kids – a show that we’re watching together that we only watch together when the others aren’t home.

For Katie, it’s Gilmore Girls – we’re on Season 5.  John and I have started watching Heroes, since the second season of Gotham isn’t on Netflix yet.  Nathan is the child who’s home most on the weekends, and we’ve been binge-watching Merlin.  It’s a fun thing and I love having this.  But, for every time I choose to sit and watch tv with one of the kids, I’m saying no to Terry.

Again.  How do you balance it all?

This happens as soon as you have more than one child.  How do you balance between kids?  This has also been a big thing for me over the past year.  Katie’s health concerns have demanded the bulk of my parenting attention, and I’m so thankful for boys who have gone with the flow.  But I’m constantly trying to be intentional with the boys, making sure that they are getting the time and attention they need as well.

This is the constant tension I live in – feeling pulled in so many directions, feeling like I’m not doing anything well, because I’m trying to do so many things.  And I really hate not doing my best at everything.  I take a lot of pride in any job or task I do, so it’s unsatisfying to me to feel like I’m just barely coasting in everything.    And these are just the big parts of my life – this doesn’t even take into account being a friend or a sister or a student.  All that has to get put in there somewhere too.

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So, I’m still tall, thankfully a bit less awkward, but balance is still a struggle.  I don’t know what the answer is – I really don’t.  For now I just keep trying…and running….and just doing the best I can.  I mean, that’s all I ask of my kids – why am I expecting more of myself?

 

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Living Alongside Anorexia

So, we’ve hired a communications director at the Centre – hooray!  That means that our social media presence is now consistent and so much better – we have an Instagram account and we’re tweeting!  Also means that our blog is getting some much-needed attention.

February 1-7 is Eating Disorder Awareness week, and as part of that, the Centre’s blog has been featuring posts on eating disorders.  Something we’re hoping to make a usual thing on the LPCC blog is guest authors, and I was asked to write something on anorexia.  This is what I came up with…

Anorexia Nervosa [nur-voh-suh]: an eating disorder…characterized by pathological fear of becoming fat, distorted body image, excessive dieting, and emaciation. (dictionary.com)

That’s the clinical definition of anorexia.  It’s a pretty good definition, it’s accurate.  But to those who live alongside anorexia every day, it is many other things as well.  For someone who is journeying through life with an anorexic, it is not nearly so clinical.

Anorexia is the unwanted guest at the dinner table – the one that makes every meal so awkward and so difficult.  The guest that makes everyone uncomfortable, because no one really knows what to say or do when someone at the table doesn’t eat.  When your child pushes food around their plate, making it look like they’re eating.  When perogies are tucked into pockets when no one’s looking, meatballs are quickly put on someone else’s plate, scrambled eggs are dropped on the floor.  When excuses are made, lies are told, and there is simply absolute refusal to eat.

Anorexia is a cruel taskmaster, forcing your loved one to push their body beyond what’s possible.  Starting with healthy exercise, but pushing through to fanatical calorie-burning.    Frantic walking, finding the furthest way to get to a destination, just to burn a couple more calories.  Hidden workouts in bathrooms and hospital rooms as soon as others leave the room.

Anorexia is a liar.  It tells your partner that they’re fat, that they’re worthless, that no one could possibly love them the way that they are.  Anorexia says “Just a few more pounds.  Lose just a few more pounds, and then you’ll look great.”  It says “there’s control in the dieting, in the exercise, and you need to keep it together, you can’t lose control.”  Anorexia looks in the mirror and whispers “look how fat you are” while staring at skin and bones.

Anorexia is a thief.  It steals health and wellness, leaving behind a shell of a person.  It steals confidence from young girls who should still be twirling through life believing they’re princesses. It steals careers from college students with amazingly bright futures.  It steals hope from young girls who dreamed of one day becoming mothers. It steals daughters and wives and brothers and grandsons.  It steals peace from within homes and breaks bonds within families.

Anorexia is a killer.

If you’re concerned that someone in your life may be struggling with an eating disorder, get help.  Reach out to your family physician or therapist.  Continue to seek out treatment options and advocate for your loved one.  And then get support for yourself – no one should walk this road by themselves.

Pity Party, Anyone?

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“I wish life could just be easy for a little while.  God, couldn’t I have easy for a little while?”

That’s what ran through my head this morning while I was getting ready. Easy – shouldn’t I get easy for awhile?  It’s been a long journey, and I’m tired.  Not just tired.  Weary.

But just as quickly I thought “Who am I to complain?  There are so many people who have it so much worse than I do.”

Because that’s how I’ve been brought up – there’s always someone who has it worse than you.  And it’s true.

But truth or not, sometimes I don’t want to think about those other people. I actually just want to wallow in self-pity.  I want to dwell on the bad.  I want to blow up balloons, hang streamers and have the biggest pity party you’ve ever seen.

I just want to be sad.

And don’t I get to?  It’s been quite the journey over the past 15 years – premature babies, financial struggles, marital troubles, separation, bankruptcy, divorce, sick kid, more financial struggles….gosh.  I’m tired just reading about it.

Reading that list, yeah – life has been hard.

But, let’s look at the flip side of that same list.

Those premature babies?  They received amazing medical care and thrived.  Now they’re 15 and 14, 6’3 and 5’10 respectively – you’d never guess they started out so little.

The years of marital struggles, ending in separation and divorce – yeah, it was hard.  Really hard.  But I learned a lot – an awful lot.  It’s also put me in a place to do my job – I understand what it’s like when life doesn’t turn out how I planned.

And, after all of that pain, God was so gracious and I get a second chance. I get to live life with a man I love so deeply.

Financial struggles, bankruptcy – that’s a harder one to find the good for.  It’s so tiresome, always worrying about money.  It puts a strain on everything.  But, I’ve learned what’s important and what’s not.  I’ve learned what it’s like to give sacrificially. I’ve learned humility in having to ask for help.

And the sick kid?  Well, we’ve learned all kinds of things through that, and we’re still learning.  But we’ve seen good.  I’m learning to trust, to hold on tightly with hands wide open.  I’ve learned what it means to be in community, and am so thankful for the community God has placed around us.

I think I now have a little sense of how our heavenly Father feels when we stray, when we make choices that He knows are going to hurt us, choices that are not His best for us.

So do I get to be sad?  Yeah, I do.  But I don’t get to wallow.  This passage was read in church yesterday morning, and struck me as quite fitting for this train of thought I’m on:

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.     1 Peter 5:7-11

Now, there’s all kinds of richness in these few verses.  But take a look at this line:  “…after you have suffered a little while…”

After.

Not if.  Not maybe.  After.  Tells me that we are to expect suffering in this world.  That we will suffer – but only for a little while.

And then look what comes after that! Christ will “restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.”  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

And then there’s this passage:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelations 21:3-4

No more death.  No more mourning.  No more crying.  No more pain.

It actually makes me tear up with the sheer wonder of it.

And it makes me long for home.

Living Life Online

typing-keyboard_1It’s New Year’s Day, so we should all be blogging about new year’s resolutions, or what we’re looking forward to in 2016, or perhaps the highlights of 2015, right?

Well, if that’s what you came looking for, sorry, you’re going to be disappointed.  Just not feeling that today.

But what I am feeling is thankful – thankful for the people in my life – my community, and specifically for my virtual community.

I remember when I was first introduced to the internet, over 20 years ago.  What a concept!  I remember trying to thinking of things I could search, just for the sake of doing it.

I remember the days of dial-up, having to log off every now and then to check for phone messages, being annoyed when I tried to call home and the line was always busy because someone was online.

It’s funny now how many times I think “Wow, what did we do without the Internet?”  If it goes down at work, it’s almost the equivalent of a power outage – what are we going to do now?

And with the internet came social media, and bam!  the world was changed.

My first taste of virtual community was a group of women I met online on a site called 2 Peas in a Bucket – a scrapbooking site where people could chat, get ideas, post their projects.  It was here that I joined a group called the “Calendar Girls” – we all did projects out of a specific idea calendar, thus the name.

It was so much more than scrapbooking though – as a group, we walked with each other through weddings, divorces, babies born, children dying, spouses dying.  It was a place where you could be completely open and honest, because these women weren’t going to judge.

I actually got to meet a couple of my online pals on a road trip through Washington state – it was a fantastic experience.  While the site is now closed and that chapter of my life over, I’m still friends with the bulk of them on Facebook and get to keep up with them there.

I’m so thankful for the impact these women had on my life – it’s a part of life I remember very fondly.

Facebook – now that’s a whole other story.  I remember being introduced to Facebook by my sister Linda in 2007, and the rest is history.

Now I realize that Facebook is not always a positive thing.  It truly is the ultimate time-waster – when I have a paper to finish that I don’t feel like writing, I have to actually close the Facebook tab to stop myself from going back “just to check a sec”.

Facebook always gives those with nasty things to say quite the platform – I’ve been on the receiving end of that, and it’s not fun when someone is saying awful things about you on social media for the world to read, and you can’t stop it.

But it can also be wonderful.  Facebook allows me to have a daily relationship with my sister who lives 2,000 miles away in Mexico.  It lets me watch my nieces and nephews grow up, even when I don’t see them all the time.  Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with former classmates, colleagues, all sorts of people!

I first got to know Terry, my husband, through Facebook.  We met at church one Sunday, I went home, creeped him on Facebook, in a moment of bravery hit “add friend”, and the rest is history.  🙂

Through Facebook, I get to celebrate with people when their babies are born, they get engaged, buy a new house all sorts of stuff.  I get to mourn with people when they lose loved ones or get hard news.

Because of Facebook, I’ve been able to “meet” my dear friend Tanya’s daughter who is still in Haiti, waiting for her adoption papers go through.  I get a glimpse into the journey this family is on – through Facebook.

Through Facebook, my friend Connie who is journeying with stage 4 lung cancer is able to continue encouraging so many around her.  She has been sharing her recipes with the FB community and it’s been so fantastic.

It is through Facebook that I have been able to feel great support and encouragement through Katie’s journey.  So many messages of prayer and encouragement.

It’s allowed for conversations with people that I never would have connected with otherwise.  One conversation that really stands out to me was this spring while Katie was in the ICU, hearing from my cousin Albert who was just checking to see how we were doing, did we need anything.  He’s a few years older than me, and I guess we get along fine, just don’t really know each other.  Facebook became the tool for that conversation which was such a great encouragement to me.

Chances are if you’re reading this, you probably landed here via Facebook.  This is the place where I get to ramble on about whatever’s in my head, and people can choose to listen or not, comment or not.  It’s been super therapeutic for me, actually.  Just being able to write, to talk, to get how I’m feeling out.

So while the internet has brought many challenges to our world and especially to parenting, there is good.  While Facebook can make you feel terrible when you see pictures of the part you weren’t invited to, it can also make you feel so connected.

So, how can you be part of a virtual community in 2016?  Be open to the promptings of the Spirit even on Facebook.  Maybe it’s sending a text to the person who has been posting some sad statuses lately.  Maybe it’s bringing a pan of soup to the new mom who posted pictures of her new baby.  Maybe it’s praying for the friend who just posted that hard news.

Be open to who the Spirit is placing in your path, whether in real life or online – you have no idea the impact you may have in someone’s life.

Light in the Darkness

Darkness:  the absence of light.

I think we can all agree that there is a lot of darkness surrounding us – just watch the news for a few minutes.  War, terrorism, natural disasters – darkness.

We have darkness right here at home too – broken relationships, illness, financial struggles.  I often write of Katie’s struggles – that’s pretty dark.  The women we see at work, the journeys we hear – so much darkness.  This Christmas, dear friends are celebrating around a hospital bed as their wife and mother is dying of lung cancer.  Darkness.

But wait.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

That’s us!  We’re the people living in the land of darkness.  These words, written thousands of years ago, are still so true for us.

What is the antidote to darkness?  Light.  One tiny little light will dispel darkness, making things visible.  Isn’t it true that problems seem worse in the middle of the night, in the dark?  Those same problems just seem more manageable in the light of the day.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.”

And in that moment, over 2,000 years ago, light came into the world in the form of a little baby.  Everyone knows the story, whether they believe that it’s true or not.

It’s a lovely story, isn’t it?  The poor peasant couple, traveling for days only to find nowhere to stay.  Having to give birth in the innkeeper’s barn, using whatever was on hand.  Angels in the sky, singing glorious words to the shepherds.  Wise men seeing an amazing star, coming from far away lands.

A lovely story is all it would be, if that’s where it stayed.  But that baby grew up, walked on this earth, and then walked the hill to Calvary where He died a cruel death for all of mankind.  He died, taking on the punishment for all of our sin, giving us the ultimate gift – salvation.

Who was this baby?

“And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Those words just fill my heart.  The depth and the meaning – it’s so rich.

Wonderful Counselor – we go to a counselor when we need to talk through some things, get some advice.  When we’re struggling, we seek out a counselor for ways to cope.

Jesus is the ultimate counselor – He knows all of the answers, and He’s there, waiting to share them with us.  We just need to ask.  We spend so much time and effort trying to solve our problems and fix ourselves – but we have access to  One who has the answers.

Mighty God – that little babe in the manger is Almighty God.  Fully man, yet fully God.  The creator of the Universe, ruler of everything.  And He lowered Himself to be a man, so that we could have a sympathetic Savior.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.  (Hebrews 4:15)

Everlasting Father – Just take that in for a moment and savor it.

Everlasting Father.  A Father who loves His children with a perfect love, an everlasting love.  A Father who will always be there – He will never fail, He will never change.

We’re not going to always understand His ways – we can’t.  So many times we question – “Why, God?”  But that’s where faith and trust come in.  Trusting in the knowledge that He is our good Father, and He is in complete control.

Prince of Peace – isn’t that what we long for, peace?  To live without strife?  That is what He offers – peace in Him.

So this Christmas, as we view that babe in the manger, take a moment to stop and revel in the glorious majesty.  Accept this amazing gift that has been given.

And if He hasn’t already, let this babe in the manger change your life.  Let Him into your heart to be the ruler of your life – He came for you.

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I want her back…

I read a blog this week that really hit me square between the eyes.  I’ve read it a few times, that’s how much it resonated with me.  I even posted a link to it on my FB.  Why did it hit me so hard?

Because I basically could have wrote it.  It so closely sums up the last year.

In her blog post, Tye Larabee talks about her struggles in watching her daughter go through self harming, a suicide attempt and anorexia.  She’s open and honest about how she had judged other parents whose children struggled with mental health, wondering what they had done wrong in order for their kids to have gone down that road, only to realize the truth when it was her own child.  But I think the part that really touched me the most was how she talked about how her kid used to be happy…..but now she’s not.

In one of our many episodes of “Intelligent Question Time” (questions back and forth between Katie and I in the interest of keeping me awake on the long road trips back and forth to Calgary), Katie asked what I disliked most about her eating disorder.

Well, there’s a lot of things, but one thing really stood out.

I hate this eating disorder for everything it has taken.

It’s taken time – a lot of time.  For Katie, it’s taken months of her life – 3 1/2 months as an inpatient, 3 months so far as an outpatient.  And that’s just the time in hospital, never mind all of the other appointments.  And even that is minimal when compared to the days, weeks and months she’s spent battling her eating disorder.

It’s taken our family’s time – countless trips back and forth to Calgary, as well as various appointments here in Lethbridge.  Meals that take way longer as we do our best (and sometimes failing miserably) to support Katie.

It’s definitely taken my time away from the boys – they’ve spent a lot more time here at home alone than I would like as I drive back and forth.

It’s taken time away from Terry and I as we work through the bumps and wrinkles of a new marriage.

It’s taken money – seems crass, but it’s true.  Dollars spent on fuel driving back and forth, meals eaten on the road.  Groceries bought to accommodate Katie’s meal plan.

Don’t get me wrong – we have had amazing support and help from so many people.  But in the big picture of things, this has factored in.

However, in writing this, I am reminded of how thankful I am that I live in Canada and that the cost of Katie’s treatment is not a concern.  I can bring her to the doctor, dietitian, psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor – everyone that she needs and not have to worry about how we’re going to pay for it.

It’s taken opportunities.  Katie was so excited to get a job this fall – had made it to the final interview stage of her dream job, only to have to tell them she couldn’t take the position because she was going into hospital.

Katie’s been working hard to get her driver’s license, but that too hasn’t happened due to her being hospitalized.  While her classmates are being accepted to colleges and universities, there are no plans here yet, because we don’t know what the fall will bring.

It’s taken a emotional toll on all of us – it’s never easy when someone in your life is sick.  And while this journey has shown us the communion of the saints in such a real tangible way, it also showed us how many people have suffered alongside.

Katie’s friends & classmates – they’ve stood by her through it all, supporting as they could, loving her when they just couldn’t understand, but it’s taken a toll on them.

Family friends who have watched Katie, seeing her so sick but unable to do anything.

Our extended family – Katie’s aunts, uncles, grandparents.  This eating disorder has taught us a lot, but has hurt so badly.

John & Nathan – Katie’s brothers.  Teenage boys should never have to stand in their sister’s hospital room, unsure of how this is going to turn out.  It’s taken a huge toll on them, and has taken part of their innocence as well.

And me?  Well, there’s not words.  There are not words how sitting beside your child’s bed in the ICU, not knowing, change your life.  There are not words for that cost.

But more than anything, this eating disorder has taken my little girl.  It’s taken my daughter, the crazy, fun-loving, happy-go-lucky girl and turned her inside out with anxiety.  When we have our kids, we have so many hopes and dreams for them.  No one ever wishes for mental illness.

I find this the hardest – not only seeing how Katie has changed, but how the eating disorder has changed everything that I had hoped and dreamed for her.

This is my little girl, my Katie.  My firstborn.  And while we shouldn’t, as parents don’t we pin so many hopes and dreams on that firstborn child?  Oh, the pressure.  But it’s the first time we’re parents, and we just want everything for them, right?

I look at those chubby cheeks, blue eyes, blonde curls and it just hurts.

Looking through pictures, there are so many crazy ones – so many pics showing her personality.  I see the happy, the carefree – that’s what the eating disorder has taken.

Because Katie used to be happy……but now she’s not. Now she’s battling her eating disorder, fighting through anxiety and depression.  She’s fighting hard – so hard, and I’m so proud of her.

There’s still crazy pics of Katie – she can pose like no one else.  But you can’t see deep in her eyes in those pics – you can’t see deep enough to see the sadness there.

We’re getting used to this new normal.  When Katie’s counselor asked to hear about the “old” Katie, we actually both struggled a bit to remember.

I love my girl, and always will – sick or healthy, happy or sad.  But it’s hard to let go of what was, knowing that we won’t get it back.  She’s forever changed – we both are.

 

Avoiding the Problems of “Daily”


It’s been almost a full year since i received this diamond, almost 6 months since the band was added to it.  I still look down at it more than a few times a day and smile, wondering at it.

I love it.  I love this ring, I love what it symbolizes, and I love the man who placed it there.


People keep asking, how’s married life, and honestly,  I find that difficult to answer.  I mean, it’s great.  I get to wake up every morning beside the man I love so deeply.

But do you know what else it is?  It’s hard.  Being married is hard.  I think anyone will tell you that, whether they’re newlyweds or they’ve been married for 50 years.  Being married, having that relationship is work, and sometimes that work is hard.

But isn’t that every relationship?  They’re all work, some more than others.  And it seems that the most important relationships are the most work come with the most challenges.

I think of the relationship I have with my kids – now let’s be real for a minute.  That relationship is some serious work – anyone who has spent any amount of time with a busy toddler or struggling teenager can tell you that.  And then, each one is so different!  But my relationships with my kids are so special and so important to me.

Relationships with friends are work – effort needs to go in for the relationship to grow.  There needs to be some give and take, but again, so worth it.

What about coworkers?  Let’s be honest – there are weeks that I definitely spend more time with the people I work with than I do my own family.  Good relationships between employees make for a better workplace, which can in turn make for a better bottom line.

But marriage, that’s a whole different one.  I find it’s so easy to coast, to just settle in.  Day to day, live life and just coexist together.  But that’s not what we’re called to do – that’s not what God designed marriage for.  God values marriage – after all, He created it.  He wants us to do more than just exist in our marriages.

I forget where I heard this, but one of the truest statements I’ve heard about marriage was “The biggest problem with marriage is that it’s just so daily.”  How do you battle that?

Intentionality – investing every day, putting the other person first, giving grace where needed.  Easy to write.  Not so easy to do, in spite of the plethora of “Top 5 Ways to Bless Your Husband” articles on the internet.

How do you do it?  What are ways that you find to be intentional in your marriage every day?

 

 

Unexpected Packaging

  
“Don’t miss the promised blessing because it isn’t in the package you expected.” -Margaret Graham

I was able to attend a women’s Christmas event the other night at City Light Church – I was there to present about the Centre, as we were to receive the offering.  I love getting to attend these events on behalf of the Centre!

The quote above was from the speaker that evening, and it really resonated with me.  So much of life is like that, isn’t it?  Just not packaged the way we expected or thought it should be.  

And how often don’t we miss out on blessings, because things don’t look like we expected?  When we can’t look past the packaging?

Guess that’s part of looking for the good in hard situations.  Like looking back at the struggle around my divorce, but seeing good in that it has made me much better at my job, since I know what it’s like to have life not turn out how I thought it would.

Thing is, it’s easier to see the good, to see the blessings when looking back at hard times.  What about when you’re in the middle of it?

Looking back at Katie’s time in hospital, we can see good.  The most obvious was the recovery that we saw – so thankful!  The bond between my three kids has grown stronger, which is fantastic.  We got to see the church, the communion of the saints, come together around us.

So there are blessings, absolutely, even when it’s hard to see them.  This is what I keep telling myself as we enter this next phase of Katie’s recovery –  Katie has been readmitted into the day treatment program at the Children’s Hospital after a bit of a setback in her recovery journey.

Getting her admitted, dropping her off at her host home last night, her not being here for breakfast this morning -through it all, I’m looking hard for the blessings.  And I know they’re there, but it’s hard.  Yes, I want her recovered.  Yes, I’m so thankful that there’s a treatment program available, and that a host home opened up.  But I wish she were home tonight, sleeping in her bed with her cat.  😕

So, blessings in unexpected packages.  What have you missed?  

Beauty in Winter

  
Winter has visited Southern Alberta, and it’s been a bit of a harsh reminder of what winter is like around here.  Shoveling snow, icy roads, biting icy winds – I personally don’t find a lot of joy in any of it.  Every year that goes by, winter seems to be longer and I long for spring a bit more.

We all journey though many different seasons in life – some easier than others.  I was at an event last night, and the keynote speaker referred to this, comparing difficult seasons of life as a season of winter.

That resonated with me.  I truly feel like I am in the middle of a year of winter in my life.  2015 has been a hard year for many people – not just me.  So many people in my immediate circles have struggled so much, with sickness, finances, broken relationships – the list goes on.  And that’s just in my little world.  Turn on the news, and it seems like the world is in one of the coldest deep-freezes of winter.

But, the thing with winter is, while it can be dark and cold and lonely, it can also be beautiful. 

 
This week was strategic planning at work, and we spent a few hours on Monday night as a board looking back and marvelling at what God has done in this past year.  

I had a bit of a hard time celebrating though, because my entire year is coloured by the struggles surrounding Katie’s illness. I feel as though that’s what this whole year has been about.

Yet, as someone pointed out to me, there’s been so much more to this year.  I mean, really – I got married! In the midst of all the stress and everything else, I got to marry a man that I love so deeply.

See?  Winter can be beautiful.

But winter can also be long, and that’s how I’m feeling right now.  As we enter into another phase of Katie’s illness, it kind of seems like spring won’t ever come.

My sister lives in Northern Mexico, in Baja California, and I remember her telling me how while she loves her life in Mexico, she misses the different seasons.  They don’t have the drastic weather changes like we do here, and you appreciate the warmth of summer that much more after months of cold.

So, I guess that works in the seasons of life too.  Once you’ve walked through a long, cold winter – sometimes trudging, sometimes even crawling – you appreciate the goodness of the spring that brings new life and new hope.

  

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