Waiting…

My dear friend Amy Weatherly shared some insightful words on Facebook this morning. (I call her my dear friend, but I’ve never met her in real life, but I love incredibly much because she shares such transparent words of beautiful encouragement in the vehicle of social media and I’m sure if we met face to face we’d totally be BFFs because she speaks my language.)

I was musing on what to share in relation to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but nothing was quite right. Then I read Amy’s post and realised what she said was meaningful and relevant and perfect. Maybe somebody reading this post needs the reminder.

Waiting is hard. We tend to be impatient by nature. Just hold on tightly to hope. Stand firmly in your faith. The story isn’t over yet.

Here is Amy’s wisdom:

“Friday was dark. Friday was death. Friday was mourning, and weeping, and pain.

Sunday was light. Sunday was life. Sunday was rejoicing, and crying happy tears, and hope.

But what about Saturday? What about the Sabbath? What about the middle day? What was going on? How were people feeling?

We don’t really know a ton, honestly.

The disciples scattered. They fled. They ran. They hid.

I’m assuming they were scared and unsure, probably in a state of shock and disbelief, wondering if they were next. Maybe mad. Probably sad. Probably confused. Probably wondering what was next for them.

Their entire lives had just been turned upside down and inside out.

The women were preparing. They were gathering oils and spices.

I’m assuming they had no clue what was coming. I’m assuming they believed this was the end. I’m assuming they were wreaked with grief.

Saturday—the day in-between—it was a day of waiting, and waiting is one of the more difficult things in life.

It’s hard when you’re waiting for someone to return your call. It’s hard when you’re in the middle of an argument and you don’t know how the whole thing is going to play out. It’s hard when your kids are going through a season of change.

It’s hard when you’re waiting on a diagnosis. Its hard when you’re waiting for treatment. It’s hard when you’re waiting on a job. It’s hard when you’re waiting on love. It’s hard when you’re waiting on a baby. It’s hard when you’re waiting on depression to subside.

It’s hard when you feel like giving up. It’s hard when you feel like throwing in the towel. It’s hard when you feel like nothing good is happening, and like nothing good will ever happen again.

Whether you’ve been waiting one day, one year, or one-half or your life, it’s just plain hard.

I don’t know much. I’m not a scholar. I’m not anything special. At all. At all. At all.

But I know this: Jesus was still working when no one could see it. Jesus was still fighting when no one could feel it. Jesus was still fulfilling promises and making things happen, because Jesus doesn’t mess around, and Jesus doesn’t let things go to waste.

Friday was good. Sunday was great. But there was a purpose to that day of waiting too.

I don’t know what you’re going through. I don’t know how long you’ve been waiting. I don’t know what the ultimate plan for your life is, and I definitely don’t know what your future holds, but Jesus does.

Hold on to hope. Sunday is coming.

Happy Easter.”

Original post can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/2010855982483981/posts/2355385844697658/

Engineering, Empty Water Bottles, and A Boring Afternoon

I will be the first to admit we have a problem when it comes to using plastic water bottles here. They do get recycled and we legitimately have been advised not to drink our water because of the sodium content and other TDS in our well water. It’s safe, so we use it for cooking, but because some of us are watching sodium intake for health reasons, it’s been recommended that we avoid downing glass after glass.

This means we always have bottles lying around waiting for recycling day. Our oldest (13) – affectionately known s basement troll or basement goat (his voice is cracking!) came up when I got home from the office on Friday and was on the hunt.

One single bottle. Fill it with water. Disappear downstairs. Back 10 minutes later. Repeat. Three or four times.

By now I’m remarkably curious and a little bit concerned because what on earth could he be doing? Elaborate water fountain? Crazy water cannon? Some kind of booby trap? (Is that a politically correct term?) The random thoughts racing through my mind are epic and I’m imagining a flooded mess across his little corner of the basement. (Only 4 water bottles. I didn’t say they were rational thoughts.)

Turns out the boy – the bored and incredibly lazy boy – was building a weighted automatic door closer. Who said you can’t learn something from YouTube? Through some trial and error – some experimenting with various tensile ropes, adjusting the number of bottles, and replacing pushpins with nails – he found a system that works.

I’m at turns both strangely proud and absolutely befuddled. It’s not like it’s hard to close a door behind you… but the other perspective is that an afternoon of creativity and engineering always wins!

His next project involved pliers and a fork. I may have just played ignorant and hoped no one lost an eye…

A Boy, A Book, and A Little Bit of Heartbreak

My youngest son, 11, claims to not enjoy reading, but when he finally sits down with a book, he gets lost in the pages. He’s still been reading “No Better Friend“, a biographical story by Robert Weintraub, for a school project. In short, it’s “the extraordinary tale of friendship and survival between a man and a dog in World War II.”

When we were looking for a biography, he had two requirements:

1. There had to be a dog in the story

2. It couldn’t die.

He approved the description from Amazon so we bought the book. He heard the word “survival” and reason failed – I’m not actually sure how he believed a dog that was alive in the early ’40s would still be here today. He’s been so gripped by this one, that he didn’t see the end coming.

He was sent off to do some reading and I knew he was in the last chapters. All of a sudden he storms out of his room yelling “Doggo died!”. Now at first I had a moment of panic because our old smelly beast had been hiding in his bedroom with him, but no, that impression was cleared up immediately when the smelly beast followed him out.

My bewildered mind was still trying to process the situation when a book came sailing past my head and said boy plopped himself into a chair in the corner and burst into tears. I’m now befuddled and slightly amused.

He’s experienced his first heartbreak at the hands of a book. I wanted to wrap him in a great big bear hug while my shoulders silently shook with laughter and a stray tear found it’s way onto my cheek. We tried to discuss the story and pull apart his feelings, but he needed to let his tears wash some of the pain away. He now understands why I sometimes cry when I read.

He understands the wonder of the word on page and how we can become enmeshed and entangled in a world not our own. To say this book had an emotional impact is an understatement. In our case, he was so highly engaged in the true story of Judy (Doggo) and Frank (the British Radarman) that his young heart was bruised with the loss of a friend. (Mama was just happy that he learned about some of the atrocities of WWII and life as a POW.)

In my books, any story that can evoke such genuine feeling is a win. Not only did it capture the tale of loyalty and friendship of the characters, it spurred loyalty in the reader – a spirited 11-year-old boy. That, my friends, is a well-written story – well-written, indeed!

Kindness: A Balm to the Soul

It’s remarkable how complacent we become in our day-to-day routines until something upsets the rhythm and we are left scrambling to find our footing. In the constant juggle of everyday life, we often fail to appreciate the little things. When our world goes awry, we’re caught off guard – unbalanced – and crave a state of equilibrium. How petty we seem until we look at all the little details in the big picture.

This week, I’m once again, grateful for friends – the ones who reach down when we are at our stubborn worst and find us the help we need, the ones who step in and provide the help we need when we are adamant that we. are. fine. These are the friends to hang on to. The friends to cling to tightly.

One of my strongest “love languages” in action is acts of service – as in this is how I communicate I care… but I’ve also learned when I’m drowning, I will stubbornly tread water instead of reaching for the life lines that are thrown my way. Why do “helpers” always find it so hard to accept help? I appreciate the ones who will jump into the water with me and hold my head above water. They are priceless.

This week, I’m once again, grateful for health that I often take for granted. I’m thankful for a warm, soft bed; a house over my head – mess and all. I’m appreciative of my kids and their little quirks (even when my thirteen year old texts me while I’m in an ER hooked up to an IV and awaiting chest x-rays asking if I will be getting a new phone so he can have my old phone after I leave the hospital – even then I am grateful.) I am recognizant of my blessings as small as they may seem (clean socks this morning even though I haven’t tackled the laundry all week…) or when they seem overwhelmingly all-encompassing (a freezer full of meals that were prepared by hands that weren’t my own!)

The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.

William Wordsworth

I’m reminded once again that it’s okay to ask for help, to grasp that help when it’s freely offered. I’ve been humbled enough to see that it’s okay to let go of something for a short time to tightly hold onto the things that matter. I’m learning that in our weakness, we find strength; at our frailest, we find our foundations; in our humility, we see what’s truly meaningful.

The journey of life can be hard. One day it can be a perfect path for ambling along without a care beyond getting a sunburn and then you round a bend and hit a roadblock, in the rain, and you don’t have a coat. It’s full of smooth, straight paths in one moment and abounding with steep cliffs and rubble the next. Cling to hope. Know where your anchor lies. Bring companions on the trail. If you shed some tears along the way – so be it; laughter can be a lifeline; but kindness? Kindness, of course, is a balm to the soul.

Meal Plan Monday: April 1st Edition

This isn’t going to be a long post because I don’t have an actual meal plan in place for this week and it’s a little annoying. My weekend did not go as planned and some complications with Type 1 left me in the ER for most of yesterday. I suppose I could have planned instead of staring at the misaligned light fixture in the ceiling above my bed (also annoying) but my mind wasn’t really in that frame.

Tonight we pulled out that emergency skillet meal that Kev suggested I include last week. Tomorrow a friend is bringing us a meal. I’ll worry about the rest of the week later. Lunches are also creative because necessity is the mother of invention and I have no energy.

In other news, our 11 year old discovered some boxes of Jell-O in the pantry. I can only guess how long they’ve been there because A. I don’t remember buying them and B. I don’t like Jell-O. He’s been on a Jell-O making binge since Friday and even decided to try layering this afternoon (lemon, orange, and something red.) He’s requested that I include some in a very specific container in his lunch tomorrow so it will be “just like my own Jell-O cup.” Whatever. I’ll round it out with some shriveled grapes and frozen peaches because of that whole no groceries done situation. Maybe I’ll throw in some jalapeno gouda. Balanced lunch, indeed.

Book Review: The Little Vintage Carousel by the Sea by Jaimie Admans

It’s been one bumpy week. I haven’t been feeling great which has translated into not sleeping great which has translated into dull migraines on top of not feeling great. To cap it off, it’s the busiest week of the year with one of my clients. Unfortunately, it’s also a week that we packed a ton of extra stuff into and while I want to do the things, there is the exhausted introverted part of me that’s had enough and wants to huddle up with some good books all weekend and do nothing – and I mean nothing – but read – like from now until Sunday night bed time. Is it the end of the world? No. Do others have it worse? Of course.

Charming & Quirky

I did get sometime in between all the busyness and that’s vital – it keeps me sane. I read a few quick and easy books and this one, The Little Vintage Carousel by the Sea, written by Jaimie Admans, actually had me chuckling out loud on occasion. It’s so far-fetched and the characters are adorably awful. The book is rife with humour and awkwardness – it’s a ridiculous love-at-first sight type of tale – but it works. I was charmed by the entire thing!

Parts of it were repetitive – heavy reliance on references to a classic film and song, certain turns of phrase, internal dialogue, but overall it was exactly what I was looking for – a sweet and easy romance. It was a (mostly) cheery contemporary British love story that begins in London and takes you seaside to an over-the-top little village that you can’t help but want to visit – nosy seniors and all. It wove a historical, mysterious thread through the entire plot that was relevant to the conclusion. The title is available for pre-order now – it would make a great little holiday read. 3.5 stars from me – it wasn’t epic, but I enjoyed it!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher and/or author via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Published by: HQ Digital
Publication Date: April 3, 2019

My Own Personal Polar Vortex

po·lar
/ˈpōlər/adjective
* directly opposite in character or tendency.

synonyms:
opposite, opposed,  opposing,  oppositional,  diametrically opposed,  extreme, contrary,  contradictory,  antithetical,  antagonistic,  conflicting,  counterbalancing;

vor·tex
/ˈvôrˌteks/noun
a mass of whirling fluid or air, especially a whirlpool or whirlwind.

synonyms:
whirlwind,  whirlpool,  gyre,  maelstrom,  eddy,  swirl,  swirling, countercurrent, counterflow;

By mid-Friday afternoon, my brain is beginning to liquefy. I don’t work a traditional 40-50 hour work week. I don’t work a regular 9-5. I don’t work from a single office. I know that I have to be “on” come Sunday. I know I have client projects and prep work to tackle on weekends. I often work from home. I tend to juggle my family life with client obligations and can be found processing spreadsheets, checking emails, and designing flyers surrounded by piles of laundry, a cup of tea on the table, book close at hand, and the beast snoring away wherever he can find a warm comfy spot. (By the beast, I refer to my dog… not my husband. I can see how that last line confused you. The similarities are astounding.)

The flexibility of this arrangement has its perks. Inclement weather day? No problem! I’ll work from home. School assembly? Let me slip out of the office early and add an extra hour on Wednesday. Oh, you need that flyer tomorrow, but just got me the information I need? I’ll work on it after I make dinner, clean dishes, and tuck the kids into bed. You may just have to wait until I get them on the bus in the morning. 

The downfall of being surrounded by the comforts of home while I’m supposed to be productive with other people’s projects, is, honestly, distractions. I have to work hard to balance family life, homemaking, and self-employment and it’s not always as easy as it sounds, especially as some days I resemble the dog in UP. (Squirrel!)

Balance is my own personal polar vortex. Distraction and non-productivity at one end. Hustle and accomplishment at the other.

Log in to Facebook to schedule a client’s updates for the week. Check.
Get distracted by motivational videos. Uncheck.

Fold the laundry and write up the meal plan. Bookmark recipes for later. Check.  Read one chapter before changing the next load. One chapter turns into 4. Uncheck.

Send out an update to support regarding some current client projects. Check.Research relevant information for said projects to support ideas and development. Get lost in a land of Narnia-like proportions with a ton of other ideas to save and develop for later projects. Uncheck.

Some days I get frustrated with my “bounce” – meaning I feel like I give some time to one thing, dive into another, and never quite settle on anything. Things get done… but it’s not all housework at once, or business at once, or sit and watch a movie without doing something else.

However, I’m learning to give myself grace. I’ve come to realise that just because I don’t follow a linear plan, it doesn’t mean I’m doing things wrong. I rely on checklists and if my to-do lists are being accomplished even if it means a few chapters of reading, followed by a load of laundry, followed by some document review, with some unscheduled brownie making or a lunch date with myself before I pick a new camp curriculum, that’s okay. No one is hungry. No one is waiting for important documentation. No one is losing hours from me (in fact, I’m probably owed some…) No one is hurt by my methods, so why do I allow myself to feel inferior as I juggle as best I can? I need grace.

I give myself grace to: allow myself to research. To pin. To dream. To follow rabbit trails. That’s okay.

I give myself grace to: take moments of rest. To find elements of humour. To be inspired by a blog, or devotional, or Facebook video. That’s okay.

I give myself grace to: fold ten loads of laundry. Forget one in the washer. Rinse. Repeat. That’s okay.

I give myself grace to: sit down for a reading session in the afternoon. Cook dinner. Spend time with my family. Ignore the emails pinging in after 7pm. That’s okay.

I give myself grace to: ignore the laundry basket. Ask the kids to quietly play elsewhere while I work. Leave the dishes in the sink. Develop a new flyer. Strategize a teaching plan. Update a product catalogue or website. That’s okay.

I give myself grace to: recognize that there is always room for improvement, but unreasonable expectations and pressure isn’t for me. Know that I work in my own way and am still productive even if my version of productivity isn’t the same as societal norms. Embrace rest, and boundaries, and balance amidst the hustle to get things done. Recognize that my own personal polar vortex may look like a whirlwind of chaos and a dizzying array of unrelated tasks to the outside world, but it works for me. That’s okay.

Winter’s Tale

I am not the biggest fan of winter. For a Canadian girl living near the Great Lakes, I question how people survive the more extreme climates and entirely understand the snowbirds departure every fall. I truly must remember that every season has its perks and challenges.

The first glimpses of change with the pages turning on the calendar invoke awe and wonder – a sense of excitement with every new bud on a tree, the sun warm enough to lounge in, the leaves majestic in their autumn splendor. Unfortunately as the seasons progress we lose appreciation for the same things that once excited us.

The scent of a rainy spring day doesn’t evoke the urge to jump in puddles, but instead we complain about the mud. The warmth of the summer sun is no longer a blessing, but a curse as the sweat rolls off our brow. The golden foliage of fall becomes a reminder of dark and damp days. We crave a return to the season we left or impatiently wait for the next season’s arrival, hopelessly bound to that innate disastisfaction for where we are and we lose admiration for the season we’re in.

For me, winter is the hardest season. It’s cold, barren, bitter. The fresh crisp days and freshly fallen snow that made me exclaim in delight with the first arrival are no longer reflections of light and purity, but inconvenient, lonely and isolating. The pristine snow-covered fields are now windblown and stained, the days long in dreariness but short in warmth and sunlight.

But winter is necessary – as necessary as the sun in summer. In winter, nature is at rest. It’s completed its cycle of growth and productivity for another year and it replenishes as it prepares for the following spring. The trees are naked and ugly. The gardens are bare and useless. The ground is no longer lush and vibrant. While I enjoy short bursts outdoors to clear my mind and get fresh air, I tend to bury myself indoors and cocoon myself away bemoaning the forecast of ice and snow and frigid temperatures. However, all my useless complaints aside, the earth is healing and silently preparing for the changes to come in the near future.


As with every season, winter will not last forever – whether it’s the season on a calendar or a winter of your heart. The spring will return with signs of growth and beauty, blossoming into fullness and maturity and eventually preparing to rest once again.

Maybe you feel like you’re stuck in a season of winter. You feel isolated and barren. Your purpose seems lost. The days are long and dreary as you merely cycle through mindlessly waiting for some sign of life. You are weighted down by the mundane. But this season you’re in? It’s really a season of rest – a season vital to upcoming growth. Just accept that it’s a chance to recharge and replenish and find solace in solitude and strength in serenity before you face change once again.

Perhaps you don’t feel like your stranded in a season of cold and staleness. Perhaps you’re seeing the first inklings of a dream coming true and now impatiently want to see the full development. Or you’re thick in the midst of a project or stage that has you gasping for air and you crave a chance to cool down. Take note of the season you’re in and know that it too serves a purpose in a cycle of continuous maturing.

Appreciate the beauty of your season and wait with hope for each purposeful moment in the journey through spring showers, sun-drenched summer, autumn bounty, and even winter storms. Without winter, we have no spring, without spring, no summer… don’t lose delight in your season, but recognize it for the greater purpose it serves… as Ecclesiastes says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven;”

Delight

Back at the beginning of January (so long ago!), I took the Dayspring 2019 Your Word of the Year Quiz. I don’t put a lot of hope and promise into these things but was interested in seeing what came up. I took the quiz again tonight (because I couldn’t remember my word – ha – apparently I need to work on retention!) Delight. My word for 2019 is ‘delight.’ I honestly thought it might be rest, or peace, or strength, but no – it’s ‘delight.’

My Word of the Year – Dayspring

I don’t associate deeply with this word. It doesn’t bring up any heartfelt connotations or even make me really truly feel like, yes, delight, it is THE word that speaks to me. It just doesn’t… but maybe I haven’t looked at it deeply enough?

I dug into the dictionary. Oxford Dictionary describes delight as both a verb and a noun, most definitions having to do with pleasure – finding pleasure in something, causing pleasure, great pleasure itself.

The synonyms, however, are what tickled my fancy!

  • please greatly, charm, enchant, captivate, entrance, bewitch, thrill, excite, take someone’s breath away
  • gladden, gratify, appeal to, do someone’s heart good, entertain, amuse, divert
  • take great pleasure, find great pleasure, glory, revel, luxuriate, wallow
  • adore, love, relish, savour, enjoy greatly, lap up
  • pleasure, happiness, joy, joyfulness, glee, gladness, gratification, relish, excitement, amusement
  • bliss, rapture, ecstasy, elation, euphoria
  • transports of delight

So maybe we can make this work? Perhaps for 2019 I can make delight my word. I can find charm in everyday moments. I can do someone’s heart good through acts of kindness. I can revel in my accomplishments and reinforced boundaries. I can savour time alone to rest and recharge. I can discover joy in my family. I can discover elation in the company of my friends. I can live in transports of delight as I walk in strength and grace and patience and revelation.

Yes, I think ‘delight’ is quite a wonderful word for 2019 and I can’t wait to find new opportunities of delight – and ways to delight others – throughout the year! And perhaps, as I look to find delight in the life I’ve been given and all of its blessings, He will delight in me, too!

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This…

I had some hours owing this week and decided it was time for an overdo salon visit followed by lunch with a friend. However, despite my best intentions and contingency plans and schedule adjustments, when my feet hit the floor I just knew that today wasn’t going to be “my day” – even though, for everyone else’s safety and my own sanity – I really need a day for me.

The oldest got ready with excitement and speed as it’s the first ski club session of the year. The youngest lagged and lagged and eventually moved from the bed to the couch, looking decidedly pale and green. He’s currently tucked up beside me in our bed because whether you’re 11 or 37 years of age, we all want our mamas close when we’re feeling crummy.

As parents and partners this is often what our days look like. We make our plans and our plans change because life throws some little hiccups and giant monkey wrenches our way. We’re up to our necks in chaos and tears and laughter and cookies and completely forget ourselves. (What’s my name again?!) We understand the importance of self-care and independence, but also know that sacrifice and caring for others are just as important in the balance of a healthy relationship.

So today is not my day, and if I wasn’t consumed with endless love for this child of mine, I’d be upset that he sabotaged my plans… and I’m human enough to admit I’m frustrated – with the curveball, not with him. I’m feeling a little helpless because my care doesn’t seem to be soothing and a little angry that we’ve been hit with something again. I’m definitely irritated that I can’t make things better and have been washing my hands like crazy.

There are days… days when it seems to a stressed out mama or other caregiver that they’re always the ones who have to bend. There are days when they’ll feel like they’re stuck in the trenches with no hope of ever climbing out. There are days when they’ll be holding puke buckets or little hands or bottomless laundry baskets…. and all they really want is a Frappucino and a spa day. These are the days that they need you.

Let your fellow mamas know that even though life can change at the drop of the hat or gust of the wind, they are never alone. Let them know they have a comrade in the nitty gritty ins and outs of this parenting gig. Check in on the strong and silent ones too – not everyone knows how to reach out when they’re drowning.

Be a comfort – send an encouraging text, commiserate over the phone, surprise them with some takeout and offer to fold a load of laundry (but don’t mention the dishes in the sink) and remind them that their day is coming.

And if it is your day? Think of all the strength you can lend! I’m a little jealous, to be honest. Maybe tomorrow will be my day…. in the meantime, those laundry baskets are mocking me and I have a great excuse to dive into a new book without feeling guilty!