Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 Christmas Letter

Dearest Family & Friends, December 2009

Merry Christmas to all our loved ones, another year and another letter. We hope the year has brought you many blessings and we that we get to hear about them soon!

Well, as usual, we’ll start with what keeps us the busiest….work. This December has marked 2.5 years at Golder Associates for me and I am still feeling lucky I get to work with people I consider friends, work for a company who is trying to help the world, not use it, and for the most part it doesn’t feel like the bottom line is the most important thing. I’m still juggling accounting, report editing/formatting, a multitude of admin needs and now assisting project managers with their project related administration. Although it’s been busy, we have begun to feel the economic struggle, and unfortunately we’ve had to see our office, and our “family,” shrink due to this. This latter part of the year has been a real exercise in trusting God, not only for my own well-being but for the well-being of my friends who are no longer part of the Golder family. Right now my job is not in jeopardy, and they say admin is actually needed more now, but some days can be a real balancing act between feeling the loss and being grateful for what I still have, so I take the advice of a good friend, and recently former co-worker, “all you can do is pray His will be done.”

The same can be said for Sean’s work situation. The economic pains are leaving few untouched, and cutbacks at Skybridge have Sean taking on two roles for the price of one, as well as still being the go-to person for many additional projects from upper management. At times it can be flattering they think so highly of him, that they expect he can handle it all, but sometimes the stress of such a heavy workload also takes a heavy toll. But after 7 years it’s hard to imagine finding another job with as many great relationships, great hours (aka, same as Lori’s), and decent pay, all of which add to how grateful Sean is for still having his job.

This year also brought us to the hard decision of returning to Winnipeg to attend a Church. We really loved Southland, we learned and grew so much from our time there, and would have preferred continuing being in that community, however we really felt called in Spring to make it a priority to try and bring family and friends into our Church community. That was unsuccessful with 1.5 hrs of driving every week just to attend, so in June we returned to Riverwood, the Church in Elmwood we attended in 2005/06, which we had really liked attending but just hadn’t connected to very well. It just so happens to be a 5 minute drive from our new house, I now had a friend that attends, and it is a very good Church for reaching the “un-Churched”, so we knew it was the best choice for us this time. We also decided to become more intentional about getting involved, so I am already volunteering as a substitute for childcare during their Tuesday night teen mom’s group.

The other big news for us in 2009 was our trip to Nashville. When debating where we would go for our vacation this year, Sean came across information on a fan event for our favorite Christian author, Ted Dekker, and so we decided to go to the event and add another state to our list of new states visited. We really enjoyed meeting Ted, and getting a sneak peek into his world(s). And we really loved the rest of our time there too, the beautiful scenery, the country music, the really friendly people, the weather, and more (pics up on Facebook). We can’t wait to be able to go back again someday.

Other than that, most of the same old has filled up our time. Of course, spending time settling into the new house, making it our own. Sean has joined me in my working out now that we have a home gym….although I’m not as dedicated as I was last year, but having Sean interested has re-motivated me J We have really enjoyed taking long walks in our neighborhood, it’s such a lovely place to walk, especially down Kildonan Drive, both a great exercise and special time together. I have also recently turned my crafting hobby into a business and have busied myself since June being a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator, participating in workshops and other ways to promote my tools and creations. It’s been a great way to connect and reconnect with good friends, which is always a high priority. Especially now that we’re not making a weekly trip to Steinbach, it’s given me another excuse to make an occasional trip and visit dear friends.

We still can’t get enough time with family but I intentionally made time especially for the kids. I was determined to babysit, overnight, at least one of my nieces and nephew, and I did! I babysat Landon overnight and then Landon and Brooklynn overnight a few months later. A challenge, but I loved the one-on-one time, and testing my own care-giving abilities. Never thought a silent sleeping baby would keep me up most of the night! Brooklynn is in preschool now, how fast they grow up! She and Avery are a real joy, to watch them learn and develop is still a miracle to me. And speaking of miracles, a new baby will be joining our family in June when my sister Tami has her first child, yay! I will be an aunt again!

As usual, the year has flown by, a few landmarks in a mostly unremarkable year. The only thing remarkable is God’s faithfulness, continually giving us enough strength to tackle our current battles, and more than enough love to keep making choices to draw us closer to Him. Sean and I are approaching the end of our 6th year of marriage, and God continues to use us as an example of His forgiveness and love to each other. Our love grows as we daily understand more about what love really is, and it gives us renewed passion for the life we get to share together.

Well, that’s just about it for us and 2009. As always if you want to find out what’s going on with us before next December, feel free to visit me at and we wish you all a meaningful holiday season, full of warm memories, a reflective look at the year past, and a hopeful look towards 2010.

Lori & Sean

Sunday, December 20, 2009

List crazy

I've done a few things recently that aren’t on my big 101 list but they have been things I’ve been thinking I should do for awhile now, just wanted to ‘check’ them off my non-existent list in my mind :)
~ buy a ‘little black dress’

~ pass on my ‘wisdom’ to a young girl – I am participating in a compilation book of advice to a young girl, I am just turning it into a more graphically pleasing version, then I’m passing it off to her mom to add to the book

~ try to bake more – this year I baked; shortbread cookies, pumpkin cheesecake tarts, my best pie ever (not me who said that), pumpkin pancakes, ginger pear loaf, and now this week chocolate espresso shortbread cookies (although, not all turned out edible, at least I tried :)

~ make homemade soup – created a Tuscan tomato soup I love, and created a turkey stew with my hubby that is the perfect comfort stew for a cold winter’s day

~ attend a wine tasting – Arrington vineyards in Nashville

~ buy hand-crafted art for home decor – bought lovely handmade wooden signs for our dining room

~ wrote up and finalized a will for hubby and I

I’ve got so many things I have on my mental wish/to do list, I just can’t wait for my current 101 list to be done to start the next list! Lol. I've already got about 35 items for my list in 119 days :)
And here’s just the updates of my 101 list while I’m at it:
Out of 101 to dos - 55 Completed ~ 13 In Progress ~ 19 daily/weekly/etc. items implemented ~ 8 No Can Dos
15 LEFT TO DO! With 119 days to go! (as of last update - 12/20/09)

27. Organize craft supplies so I can find what I am looking for – just need to add a couple more shelves and then I have a place for everything and everything in its place36. Aim to use less than 5 days of sick time per year - 07/08 =6.5/5 days, 08/09 = 4/5, 09/10 = 3.5/555. Go out for a one-on-one coffee/dinner with at least 6 family members each year – 12/16
59. Go out for a coffee/dinner with at least one friend each month – 20/32
61. Organize a 'paper crafting' club that will meet every other month - have a Stampin' Up! Card club in Steinbach, next meeting in January if you want a spot :)62. Become a mom (even though this one is a little out of my control) – investigating more information about tipped uterus (which I likely have), and working to create better reproductive health with diet63. Join a cell group/Bible study – going to be attending a course about connecting/small groups at our Church starting January
79. My second tattoo – had my consult, have an appointment for the tattoo Feb.13, 2010
95. Make at least 100 cards for at least 10 different occasions, to have ready on hand for each year's events – created 65/100
97. Read about one book/month – read 17/32
99. Make at least two journal entries per week, on blog or on paper - 284/284

Monday, November 30, 2009


You are invited to a HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE!
Featuring products from my own Stampin' Up! collection! Other tables include Creative Memories (Scrapbooking supplies etc.), Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Norwex (Environmental cleaning supplies), Rutabaga Brown Jewellery (semi-precious stones-affordable prices) and MUCH MORE!
Come see me and hey, while you are there, get all your Christmas shopping done in one place!

Date: Saturday, December 5, 2009
Time: 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: 1211 Kildonan Drive, Winnipeg

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dumpster Diving

Imagine realizing you accidentally threw out something valuable. How valuable would it have to be for you to dumpster dive to save it? Think of all that you have to wade through in order to salvage your precious possession? Rotting food covered in mould and slime. Used diapers that smell so bad you want to hurl. Broken glass jutting out every where. Used needles, either with medical or narcotic materials all over it. Cat litter. Mulched leaves. Used condoms. Sharp tin can lids. Used Kleenex. The list could go on. And so could the list of diseases and injuries you could get from putting a limb in that mess.

Would you jump into that pile to search for your favorite mug? Or how about favorite sweater? Something more valuable like your wallet? An heirloom piece of jewellery? You start calculating the risk and how much is it worth to expose yourself to every conceivable vile and nasty hazard in order to save it? What would it take for you to deem it worth it?

Compared to heaven, our earth is a vile and nasty dumpster, filled with broken and messy people. A lot of us feel like we're trashed and untouchable. Unsalvageable. But God thinks you are worth diving into the dumpster for! He did it, He dove right into the middle of it, searching for all those in need of saving. And He didn't even try to avoid the danger or disease, no hazmat suite, no armor, nothing for protection. We are all worth it, no matter how many He could give freedom, it was worth it to expose Himself to the messy existance of a human.

There are those He rescues that jump right back in, either unaware they are in need of rescue or not feeling worthy enough. But He will stay there, wading neck high in our garbage, waiting until we grab His hand and let Him pull us free. Waiting until we've all taken or passed up our chance to escape the dumpster. Trust that He's there, no matter your mess, He's in it with you waiting for you to reach out to Him.

(Thanks to Pastor Todd for inspiration for this parable)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sustainable House on the Prairies

Homesteading, pioneering, off-the-grid living, sustainable living, 'back-to-the-land' living,, I mean frugal living, whatever you want to call it, there are a growing number of people moving to a simpler way of life.

Personally, I've always romanticized a simpler life (not to be confused with The Simple Life). I've loved reading Janet Oak books, watching Little House on the Prairie, Swiss Family Robinson, Blue Lagoon, etc., and day dreaming of the day I might get to harvest and can my own garden, the day I'd get to have a little farm of animals of every kind, eating the freshest foods, spending the day making yummy foods from scratch, sewing my own clothes and quilts (quilts are just too quintessential to leave out), making personalized soaps and candles from scratch, and maybe even getting to build my own homestead.

It wasn't just the fanciful fiction that made me yearn for that though, I really savored my grandmother's fresh garden treats, her canned pickles and beets, the homemade borschts, all the breads and dainties freshly baked from scratch. When we moved to Steinbach I loved the access we had to a virtual farmer's market of food all year round; corn on the cob, farmer sausage, crabapple jelly, rhubarb pie, and of course, all the mennonite favorites. Food is just so much better that way, taste-wise and health-wise. I also relished the handmade blankets passed down in our family, and was in awe of the fact that my other grandmother actually sewed all my dad's and his siblings clothes when they were younger. She could look at anything in the Sears catalogue and sew it for them. To this day, those are cherished memories, and not only did it tap into my creative side but I hoped that I could one day give children of my own those kinds of memories.

Granted, that was a teenagers fantasy, from a girl who had never lived one day out on a farm, or even camped under the stars in a tent without civilized amenities within mear minutes, who had only made cookies from scratch, and only sewn what was taught in Home Ec. class. I now know how much hard work would be required to live like grandmothers, never mind living like their parents, and grandparents. Yet, I find myself even more drawn to it as the years have gone on. There have been many moments over the years that have just made a simpler way of life (SWOL) more and more attractive.

I think the first time my fantasy started actually taking root was when we were involved in a really small Church that met in our Pastor's home, and we would often have a meal as a group and we'd all contribute. Our Pastor often talked about multi-family homes, sharing our resources, responsibilities, and life in general. I could really imagine that would be an awesome experience with our small Church family, and the more I looked into it, the more it pointed towards SWOL days of old. Towns would rally around each other to build homes and barns, they would have sewing bees, they would trade and barter among themselves, distributing resources as needed. Not to mention the whole, 'it takes a village to raise a child' concept, which I love.

Then, when I started working at Golder, the environmental consulting company, where we are trying to live out the principles we hire out globally. I work with some really eco-friendly and sustainable experts, who genuinely care about the kind of dominion we have over the earth. To them 'going green' is more than a fad, it's the choice to not depend so heavily on the irreplaceable consummables, the ones that are usually harmful to the earth anyway. God made this planet so amazingly sustainable; from water being recycled from oceans to clouds to rain, or from oxygen and carbon dioxide recycling between plants, the atmosphere and ourselves. Back in the SWOL era, sustainability of our earth, our home, was not an issue. There wasn't a concern about too many harmful chemicals, unnecessary processing of our food, fumes from driving the rat race, power sucking possessions that are discarded by the season, etc. But now there are even ways to maitain a lot of the conveniences we've become accustomed to, with; solar power, wind power, geothermal heat, the increase in products available that are more sustainable, etc. Our awareness has forced us to use the things God had placed in front of us all along.

Then combine those influential experiences with the series we had at Church in February on the end times. Yikes! For any Christian who ends up living in those times, the days of individualism and consumerism are over. Goverened by someone who will hate who we serve, we will be denied any normal monetary and economical exchanges; no money, no credit, no government utilities (gas, electricity, water, waste), no insurance (including autopac), etc. What is typically thought of as a "post-apocalyptic" existence (an agrarian, non-technological future world) will happen to us long before the apocalypse, but hiding in a bunker with as much horded food as possible isn't my idea of a great way to survive. As scary as it sounds, I also know it will force me to finally choose the SWOL I've been dreaming of. And finally, some of us will return to finding our security in God, community and family. And solar panels or wind turbines can't hurt!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

John 3:16 - Have Eternal Life

Can you imagine a toddler that is jaded? A child, on the cusp of real life, so much potential, so much ability, so many reasons they have to be optimistic, and somehow they get such a perspective on life that they realize everything is meaningless. They give up before they even try. Can you imagine this child growing older, that sees no point, and they take to filling their life with all the worldly pleasures they can get their hands on to make themselves feel better about a pointless life; alcohol, drugs, sex, possesions, etc. We would wonder how they could not see all the potential for a good life they were throwing away? Afterall, we know that in life, if you want a good future you should start building it at a young age, when it's easier, we have more ability, potential and time on our side.
We have the opportunity to be in that position again, to be born again. But do we really believe our life is new again, with renewed potential? Does our new life give us hope for what we are capable of, or do we still act like our life is meaningless, chasing unfulfilling, momentary pleasures? Are we using the life we have now to build our future, our eternal future?
Matthew 6:19-20 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth....But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven."
If you are a "toddler", not excited about the eternal life you have in front of you, maybe it's because you have a lack of excitement for Heaven. Do you need a new perspective on Heaven?

John 3:16 - Not Perish

I think Max Lucado said it best in his 'Numbers of Hope" series:
God gave us earth as the place that could either be the closest we'll get to Heaven, or the closest we'll get to Hell.
Which one is our choice.
He has tried to put every 'BEWARE' sign He can over the gates of hell, He even said, over my dead body.
But in the end, some people still choose to walk right over His gift and perish.

Monday, September 21, 2009

John 3:16 - In Him

So far this verse has been so inclusive, God gave a gift to the world, and whoever accepts it has eternal life. The only stipulation is accepting it. But there is only one way to accept it, believing in Him. So many people want to believe there can't be just one way, every destination has more than one way to get there, Heaven is no different.

If you wanted to fly to the moon, there would only be one way, right? If someone tried to go to the moon by flying via Cathay Pacific Airways to Australia, would that make sense? "Is that where the space shuttle launches from?" you ask. "No, but Cathay Pacific Airways won airline of the year, a great journey to a great destination." Or what if they suggest flying to Amsterdam via Singapore Airlines, because it was voted best for in flight entertainment, non-stop fun! "But that doesn't go to the moon!" you protest. What if they are convinced the way to go is by flying Malaysia Airlines to Seoul Korea, after all they have the best staff, they will know what they are doing, be very knowledgeable, and have excellent customer services. After verifying with them that no shuttle launches from those places, you would look at them like they have lost their marbles and ask them how that gets them to the moon! Can you imagine then that they get offended and spit out angrily, "All flights get you to the moon!" But just because they say it doesn't make it true.

Be sure if you want to get to Heaven that you have done your research, that you are sure you are on the right flight, not just a good flight.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

John 3:16 - Whoever Believes

be⋅lief [bi-leef]
confidence; faith; trust

Whoever trusts.

Max Lucado tells a story in his "Numbers of Hope" series about learning to trust.
Mr. Lucado, even though he's no spring chicken, decided to go rock climbing. He found himself getting instructions from a petite, college aged young lady, who described for him how to descend using his feet to bounce off the rock wall a little at a time to repel down to the safety of the ground. When he asked her how he prevented himself from crashing as he plummeted to the ground, she replied with a sweet smile, "You don't....I do."

This he could not seem to comprehend, so he asked again. "There must be something I do?!"
"All you can do is trust me."
Trust. Trust this girl, have his size and age, to hold him up and keep him safe, guiding him with just a rope. Not an easy choice, but it was either that or go home. And so he did, he took that LEAP of FAITH.

Sometimes it seems like in impossible task, trusting an intangible God with very tangible problems. But intangible is not the same as imperceptible. He is not hidden or beyond being perceived by the senses. We can feel Him, we can hear Him, we can see His artistic handiwork, we can taste the fruits of His labor, we smell His roses. Since He's given us enough evidence to know He is real, and He loves us, we just have to trust that and believe.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

John 3:16 - His One and Only Son

If you think it takes being a parent to understand God's sacrifice, here's another analogy for you.
You and your spouse are sitting in your car parked on a side street, just having come back from somewhere, settling in for the drive home. All of a sudden a stranger pulls your door open, grabs your arm and pulls you from the car, pointing a gun to your head! Your spouse jumps out of their door, quickly offering every possession you both have on you, cash, cards, jewellry, even the car. That is not what the perp is looking for apparently, and starts to drag you off without a word. Your spouse follows and drops down to their knees, arms raised and begs for your life, offering theirs instead. The love your spouse has for you just can't let you die without doing whatever they can to stop it, even taking your place. Even looking into the barrel of the gun, your spouse does not faulter, and sure enough the replacement is accepted with the blast of gun powder against steel. Your spouse crumples before you and the stranger runs off, leaving you to crumple to the ground as well. You can't believe the gruesome yet loving display that just devestated you in a matter of seconds, and your life has forever changed. Your old life completely destroyed and yet a second chance at a new life. How could you not be transformed by what you have witnessed?
The groom did exactly that for his bride. A father may have offered His child, but the child also willingly made the sacrifice. If you haven't watched it yet, or find yourself lacking appreciation for your second life, I encourage you to watch The Passion of the Christ.

Friday, September 18, 2009

John 3:16 - He Gave

Have you ever given a gift that wasn't well received, or refused out right?
Recently a friend of mine was telling me about a gift she'd given her sister-in-law, she doesn't know her very well but she knows she's a very dedicated Church-goer so she bought her a pretty piece of decor with a Bible verse on it. Her SIL barely gave it a look, didn't say thank you, didn't really acknowlege it at all other than opening it. I can't imagine someone being so displeased with a gift that they wouldn't express any gratitude whatsoever. After all, it may not be your taste or style but someone took to the time to think of you, attempted to get something that would be appreciated, can't you acknowlege that they tried?
I can't hardly fathom that, but some people will even outright refuse gifts, or exchange gifts, if it is not to their liking! Now, excluding gifts that come with gift receipts ;), I have a hard time understanding how people can disregard and disrespect the thoughts, feelings, emotions, intentions of the giver so selfishly!
Yet, it doesn't seem to matter how wonderful the gift is, you will see the same with the greatest gift ever given. Some people act like they have no obligatation to be grateful, they are entitled to salvation, it doesn't matter how they got it only that they have what they deserve. Some people pretend to accept the gift but exchange it for their own version of salvation. Some people refuse to acknowledge it and therefore refuse to accept it.
He gave, but will we respond with grateful acceptance?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

John 3:16 - the World...Whoever

As I mentioned in my blog entry "A Parental Prediciment", if it was me who had to determine who could be saved with my child's blood, I would be highly selective. Being the detail-oriented person I am, I would have a color-coded list in Excel with formulas to calculate worthiness and create columns of 'definites', 'semi-definites', 'maybes', 'probably nots' and 'most definately nots'.
Max Lucado, author and teaching minister, whose series "The Numbers of Hope" inspired my breakdown of John 3:16, puts it this way; John 3:16 has a 'whoever' policy. There is no list, there is no 'in crowd', there is no discrimination between race, gender, age, experience, skill, etc. God plainly says He loves the world. The whole world. Whoever decides to believe and accept it, the only stipulation is on our end to receive, He is willing to give to anyone who accepts the gift.

Have you ever experience ANY place in life that has a 'whoever' policy? Where you, Donald Trump, Lady Gaga, and the street person collecting change at Osborne and Broadway, can all walk in and none of you are judged by anyone for any reason? Judgement includes the positive and the negative, so none of you are accepted any more than the others either. There is only one place that kind of acceptance is available, in the presence of God.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

John 3:16 - Loved

Loved is a word easily thrown around these days, mostly because the English language only has on word for many different types of love. Many other languages have more than one word for love, Spanish has 15 words for love, Greek has 4. The Greek word agape was the actual word used in this verse, John 3:16.

According to Wikidictionary, the actual definition of agape is:
adj. [ah-gah-pey]
1. gaping, with wonder, expectation, or eager attention
2. open wide

Wikipedia says:
"The term agape is rarely used in ancient manuscripts, but was used by the early Christians to refer to the self-sacrificing love of God for humanity, which they were committed to reciprocating and practicing towards God and among one another. When 1 John 4:8 says "God is love," the Greek New Testament uses the word agape to describe God's love."

God's love is gaping wide open, it creates wonder! To me this means unrestricted and unconditional love, love that inspires awe and makes jaws drop....gaping wide open! What other kind of love could sacrifice their own life for the lives of people who don't even know it? What other kind of love could sacrifice the life of their child for the lives of people who don't even know it? God's love is different. If you can't believe in 'love' anymore these days, you aren't familiar with the definition of God's love.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

John 3:16 - For God so...

loved the world.
I think that might be where some people stop, that's where the buy in ends.
They might believe in God. They might believe in God the omnipotent creator, the intelligent designer of our universe. They might believe in God the omniscient overseer, who knows all and sees all. They might believe in God the ultimate - author/ poet, engineer, artist, biologist/ chemist/ physicist, philanthropist, doctor, etc. But do they believe in the God who loves them as an individual?
It's a little like working for a very large Corporation. Not many people get to know the President, the mastermind, the wizard behind the curtain. Someone with so much power, responsibility, so many things to juggle and keep afloat, how could they have time or inclination to care about the 'little people'? How blown away would you be if the President took the time to talk to you, to care about you? It would be unexpected, but impossible, of course not. I experienced that very situation this last July when our small office hosted the President of our Canadian company, the commander in chief for 2500+ employees. And not only did he talk to me, he thanked me for my assistance and recognized me in front of his whole board of directors.
If we can accept that personal interaction from our superiors, someone who was made in God's image, why is it so hard to believe God Himself is incapable of the same. Especially when He, THE Creator, created each one of us individually and personally. We weren't made in a baby factory where He just provided the materials for life and a blue print. He put thought into every facet of our being, taking into consideration where we would live, who we would interact with, how we would interact with His creation or things in the world not of His making, all for the purpose of drawing us near to Him.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Parental Predicament

It's been awhile since I've dared to ponder, dared to imagine, what it would be like to have a child, what it will be like to be a parent. The love I think I have now can't compare to the unfathomable love I'll experience when and if that day comes. If my heart leaps with joy at the smile of my niece, or jumps into my throat when my nephew chokes, how many thousands of times will those feelings be multiplied when it's my own child.
I know right now I would only be too grateful to be able to experience that parental love and drive to protect my child, so grateful to experience the normal worries and challenges that come with the territory of being called mom. Admittedly I probably don't see the world right now as a parent does. My perception of the economy, politics, health care, etc., is not seen through the filtered lens of responsibility for another helpless and innocent life.
Even though I want it just about more than anything, I can barely imagine what it must feel like as a parent watching the news about potential pandemic virus, H1N1. I can barely imagine what it would feel like if the baby I waited so long for might get exposed to something so scary. Or something worse. As our world ages, it is promised we will experience more pandemics, millions of people will die. My baby could be one of them.
What if tomorrow we heard about one such mystery illness? All over CNN we hear about it spreading rapidly across North America, then our whole continent, then the world. Would it make me regret bringing this much adored baby into the world? Would I trade the kind of heartache only motherhood could bring for the absence of that kind of love? I don't think I would. Even with the small glance into that kind of future we've had with H1N1, it's easy to see how the worry and the frustration would become almost all consuming, the world would be stricken with panic, normal life would seem to just about shut down as we all faced our own mortality, just the time I would need a love like that.
I would, as we all would, be praying for just one small ray of hope. And can you imagine the relief if that hope came true and a cure was found. A full cure, not just a vaccine, a cure that would eliminate any chance of further damage from this horrible, ravenous, disease. Whatever it took, the world would unite to make sure the cure became readily available to everyone, no matter the cost, financially, and likely even ethically. Normal regulatory, technical and manufacturing hurdles may be eliminated for the sake of the world. Millions of parents like me would make it so.
Imagine the only thing on our side is that the mysterious illness is slow, and so while death seems inevitable, at least the death toll is relatively low a few months down the road when a potential cure is found. They think they've found a way to use blood exposed to the disease but that for some reason doesn't get infected by it. They only managed to find one small sample of blood in all the blood banks that created this positive reaction in the disease, so immediately they begin asking people to be tested to find another, larger, blood source that could prove their theory they had found the cure. Time is still of the essence, so it is mandatory everyone is tested immediately, so that they have a higher chance of finding this blood sooner rather than later.
Imagine in every city, herded into every hospital and clinic, is every man, woman and child, including you. Including me and my precious baby. But we are all willing, for the sake of humanity we are willing. Yet, there we all are, standing around, scared, with our neighbors, wondering if this is the hope we've been praying for or if this will be the end of the world. And suddenly a name is called across the crowd. It's the name of my baby. I approach the one calling a name that sounded so sweet on any one's lips up until that moment. They take my approach as a sign of willingness and take my baby without a word. "Wait a minute. Hold on!" Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging one another - some are even laughing. It's the first time I’ve seen anybody laugh in a few days, and an old doctor walks up to me and says, "Thank you! Your child's blood is the only sample in the whole world that has replicated the results of our test. It's clean, it is pure, and we can make the cure." As the word begins to spread all across that parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying. But then the gray-haired doctor pulls me aside and says,
"May we see you for moment? We didn't realize that the donor would be a minor and we need ….. we need you to sign a consent form."
I begin to sign and then I see that the box for ordering the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty.
"H-how many pints?"
And that is when the old doctor's smile fades and he says,
"We had no idea it would be such a little child. We weren't prepared. We need it all!"
"You don't understand. We are talking about the world here. Please sign. We-we need it all!"
"But can't you give him a transfusion?"
"If we had clean blood we would. We don’t! This illness is out of control. Can you sign? Would you sign?"
"Can't we wait to see if anymore blood will surface?"
"At this point, 95% of the world has been tested, the likelyhood there is another source of blood that will work is too low, we have to act now."
My mind begins to fly to all the people in the world that don't deserve the blood of my innocent child, that my baby's life is worth so much more than theirs. I begin with "What if not everyone...."
But the doctor cuts me off, "Please ma'am, we don't have time to waste! We can't take a chance leaving anyone infected, or we'll be back in the same predicament in months."
My child has no future either way it would seem, and so in numb silence, I sign the documents. “I'm sorry, we've got to get started. People all over the world are dying." I'm allowed to stay long enough to say goodbye, which is probably for the best, because as they tear my flesh and blood from my arms, I already can't bare to look into the eyes that seem to scream, "why have you abandoned me, why now when I need you the most do you desert me?" And, as I turn away, part of me dies too.
I leave with the broken heart I knew I would one day experience, but I imagine I would have some peace knowing I had saved the world. Each person I pass on my way out, I search for a look of gratitude, but no one knows I am the mother who sacrificed her only child so they could live. Tomorrow, when all the newscasts and newspapers victoriously announce the survival of the human race, that's when appreciation for my sacrifice would start pouring in. And it does. But then, by the next week, when they have a ceremony to honor my child, not nearly as many people show up as I would have expected. I expected them ALL! I look across the sea of faces there for a chance to say thank you, gaining some comfort from them, until I see some who slip out the back before it's over, apparently there just for show. And I see some people half way through the 2 hour service who have fallen asleep, their new lease on life already past gratitude and on it's way to being abused again. I imagine I would want to jump up and say, "MY CHILD DIED FOR YOU! DON'T YOU CARE?"

This video reminded me of this above story, I had read long before I was trying to become a parent. I saw this video, and the series on John 3:16, done by Max Lucado, at Church today, and boy did the two connect and hit home. John 3:16, 'the prescribed treatment to our ailment.' What word(s) in the verse stands out to you? To me, it was 'gave His one and only son'.
John 3:16 is probably the first Bible verse most of us ever learned, and still remember, yet probably just as taken for granted. Today, when I heard this verse, it was like I heard God whisper, "My Son died for you. Do you care?"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

First Free Stampin' Up! Giveaway Promotion

So, I became a Stampin' Up! demonstrator in spring and have just started my first Stampin' Up! promotion, see my creative blog, Labor of Lovely, for more details to win!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Baby Making Update

So baby making has taken quite the back-burner this year, although it's always in the back of my mind. I have some hope left that it's not a closed door, and I still wonder if any of it is 'in my hands' persay.
My cousin came across a contest that peaked my interest, to win a book on some naturopathic things I could try, I posted a little more about that here on my baby-making blog. My interest led me to enter the contest at least, we'll see how far it goes after I've won/lost :) I find it hard to invest too much energy or finances into this for fear it will get my hopes up too much, but if I win the book I think the suggestions will be worth trying to impliment.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My To Do List Update

I've actually added something back on to my list so I've actually got more to do now!
Here is my updated list of accomplishments for my 101 things to do in 1001 days:
Out of 101 to dos - 54 Completed ~ 14 In Progress ~ 19 daily/weekly/etc. items implemented ~ 8 No Can Dos
15 LEFT TO DO! With 245 days to go! (as of last update - 08/17/09)

House & Home

1. Finish curtains for living room on MIL's sewing machine - just bought new ones to stay with house, 2008
2. Buy new curtains for dining room - same as above

3. Find a better shoe shelf, to keep shoes off the floor – built in shoe rack at new house, 2008
4. Replace old light fixtures with same as ones already replaced - done by BIL 2008
5. Buy new couch and love seat, something smaller and cat hair resistant – bought new love seat, recliner and couch, chocolate brown microsuede 2008
6. Buy a new coffee table with drawers and cubby holes to hide junk in – found a storage ottoman, can be a seat, foot stool, or the lid flips into a tray, and there is storage inside 2008
7. Have or share a garage sale - block garage sale May 10/08
8. Continue working on growing grass in back yard - grass grew fully in before we moved 2008

9. Re-do sidewalk to garage - didn't get done at old house, planning for new house, 2010 project10. Add step for garage entrance - didn't get done due to moving
11. Replace bedroom doors with doors with vents - didn't get done due to moving
12. Back up and reformat computer - done , 2008 and with new laptop 2009
13. Have Dutch Elm Diseased trees removed - all removed 2008
14. Childproof the house for babysitting: managed two occasions of babysitting with no incidents, new house and furniture much more kid friendly

15. - door blocking mudroom (with cat door) - didn't get done due to moving
16. - reorganize shelves close to the ground - done
17. Rebuild mudroom, with drywall and linoleum, and possibly more energy efficient furnace & water tank - settling for replacing flooring due to moving, BIL laid down plywood and we laid peel and stick tiles
18. Match siding on house to garage (if we don't move first) - done, been painted to match garage 2007
19. Make a timeline for moving into a bigger house, if not actually move - house sold as of June 25/08 and new house bought as of June 26/08, moved in as of August 16/08

20. Replace locks for the house/fix the front & back screen doors - didn’t end up needing to replace them, just fix them, 2008
21. Replace broken drawers/cupboards in counter - BIL finished fixing 2008

22. Make one BBQ usable - decided we'll buy a new one or a BBQ pit when we build patio and sidewalk at new house
23. Clean off the deck and patio set, and protect from fall/winter weather - done 2007
24. Scan negatives, as well as family members negatives – finally bought scanner to start this but waiting for some free time!
25. Go through clothes and make a pile to give to charity - done 2008
26. Finish going through still packed items for 'keep' and 'garage sale' piles - done 2008

27. Organize craft supplies so I can find what I am looking for – added back to list in new house28. De-clutter shelves in living room, less décor, better storage - done 2008
29. Burn back up DVDs of computer in more organized fashion – backed up on flash drives, 2009

30. Finish on the job training - done
31. Take at least one Golder U course per year - 2- 07/08, 2 - 08/09
32. Re-organize office library - done
33. Organize server room - done
34. Create a birthday list and start birthday celebrations - done
35. Create a better manual for my job responsibilities – finished for new admin hire
36. Aim to use less than 5 days of sick time per year - 07/08 =6.5/5 days, 08/09 = 4/5,
09/10 = 0/5

37. Renew passports - renewed April 2008 for Sean's trip to Vegas and our trip to Nashville
38. Driving vacation through Saskatchawan & Alberta, Edmonton, Calgary,and Rockies – 2010 project
39. Attend a Big & Rich concert – on January 21st, 2008
40. Attend as many Paul Brandt concerts as we can – on November 19th, 2007
41. A long weekend with Sean in a major US city - went to Nashville for more than long weekend, June 2009
42. A long weekend with Sean at a cabin
43. Go to a State or Province we've both never been before – went to Nashville June 2009
44. Go horseback riding with Sean
45. Girls only road trip/shopping trip
46. Collect DVDs of favorite movies and t.v. shows – now have PVR instead
47. Eat at Confusion Corner Grill, on the building top patio
48. Eat at Café Inferno's Bistro – ate there for my birthday in 2008
49. Eat at the Tavern, on the building top patio
50. Have a BBQ in our back yard with at least 2 other people over - 2010 project w/ new BBQ pit

51. Plan an amazing 5 year anniversary date! – had a wonderful 24 hours at the Inn at the Forks March 2008
52. A romantic stay somewhere in the mountains with a hot spring – 2010 project
53. Once a month, not including date night, do something as a couple that will allow us to carry on a long conversation (no t.v./movies/video game), such as; boardgames, walks, car rides, bike rides, etc. – once a month dedicating one weekend to spend time just the two of us
54. Continue dedicating each July to the Honoring Husband Challenge – did my third July of this challenge and it still is continuing to teach me more about being a great wife. 3/3 July's done.
55. Go out for a one-on-one coffee/dinner with at least 6 family members each year – 11/16
56. Organize a day of scrapbooking for the females in the Braun family
57. Have a WOG friends get together - have hung out with 2 old WOG friends seperately, hopefully can with at least one more couple before this is over58. Have an ECC friends get together
59. Go out for a coffee/dinner with at least one friend each month – 17/32
60. Babysit my neices or nephew - babysat Landon once overnight and Brooklynn and Landon together overnight61. Organize a 'paper crafting' club that will meet every other month - became a Stampin' Up! demonstrator, possibly might organize a club but working on doing workshops first62. Become a mom (even though this one is a little out of my control) - my cycle was regular for 6 months and now the last two have not been again...not sure what's up

63. Join a cell group/Bible study
64. Copy sermon notes from Church into my notebook - done
65. Make entries in a prayer journal at least once a week, including a weekly list of people to pray for – a sermon on prayer has changed my perspective on this and I am still journaling but without time constraints.

66. Post scripture around me to remind me of important verses to me – working on this
67. Make a song book (just lyrics) of my favorite worship songs – working on this

68. Read the whole Bible – 14/66 books, struggling through Revelation a little, trying to get back on track
69. Find and implement ways to reduce allergies (and therefore snoring) – trying specialists suggestions, some improvement
70. Follow 1200 calories per day meal plan (snacks incl) until I lose 30 lbs - re-adjusted to range of 1100-1700 calories, but trying not to exceed 1450 calories per day. Have lost 27 lbs
71. 30-60 minutes of walking & orbitrek each 3 times a week until I lose 40 lbs - working out 180 min.+ per week
72. 30-60 minute bike ride once a week until I lose 30 lbs - part of above plan
73. After reaching goal weight, maintain weight with 5 hrs weekly exercise and healthy meals - reducing that to 1.5 weekly
74. Drink 8 cups of water a day – been doing really well at this lately, I’ve been averaging 2 litres a day
75. No more than 250 ml of a sugary drink per week (pop, Starbucks, slurpees) – need to get back on track here
76. Start taking vitamins again – daily multi-vitamin, plus Omega 3-6-9 and vitamin C too
77. Get into the WPG Sleep Clinic – 2-5 year waiting list so talked to a specialist (#69) instead.78. Start regular massage therapy – bookings are a regular

Purchases to make
79. My second tattoo – had my consult, can't do my design as small as I wanted it, going to go back to an original design which will be actually 3 smaller tattoos
80. New cell phones and new cell phone plan - done 2007
81. Manicure & pedicure - done 2008 & 2009

82. Get fitted properly for a bra and then purchase some in correct size (not sure if before and/or after #73) - I know my proper size now but will have to get this re-measured after weightloss.
83. At least 2 new casual-dressy tops for each season - did a mini-shopping trip because all clothes way too big
84. At least 2 new casual-dressy bottoms for each season - did a mini-shopping trip because all clothes way too big

85. Buy a new two piece swimsuit - got a new suit because the other one was falling off me, couldn't go swimming like that
86. Cheap/small digital camera for events I can't bring the big camera too - finally bought it 50% off!
87. New video camera - using one on second camera, does decent videos for now

88. Upgrade computer to be able to upload and edit videos - bought a laptop, haven't put on video editing software yet though89. Stampin Spot ink pads from Stampin Up! – done thanks to my turn to host
90. At least 10 stamp sets from Stampin Up! - thanks to it being my turn to host, I now have more than 10

Hobbies/Crafts91. Finish wedding album by our 5th year anniversary – 7/19 pages, didn't finish on time but still trucking!
92. Make a scrapbook for Brooklynn & Avery's first years - journaling my memories of them currently
93. Finish the Braun Family Wedding Album I started – working on this

94. Finish one digital design kit/month – 3.5/32 - decided to quit making these
95. Make at least 100 cards for at least 10 different occasions, to have ready on hand for each year's events – created 58/100
96. Take different photos to test out camera capabilities in different modes – working on this
97. Read about one book/month – read 16/32
98. Finish the poems I have started but left incomplete – done
99. Make at least two journal entries per week, on blog or on paper - 265/284
100. Finish the memories book mom asked me to make her – turned this into a blog, which is much easier and adds to my journal entries each week!101. On day 1001 post a new 101/1001 list

102. Have the house reinsulated - didn't get done due to moving
103. Buy plastic garbage bin to alleviate cat in garbage worries – bought one for the new house 2008
104. Try ethnic foods I haven’t tried before; Japanese, Caribbean, French – tried all three, Japanese at Shogun, French at Inferno's Bistro, and Caribbean at the Forks.
105. Make guest room into craft room also – done at old house, new house has both craft and guest room
106. Get a computer armoire to hide computer in dining room - done
107. Buy new Tupperware, especially collapsible kind to save room in kitchen cupboards - done
108. Buy kitchen organizing tools (racks, dividers, etc.) - done
109. Buy a smaller oven - didn't get done due to moving
110. Buy a portable island cupboard to replace microwave cart (for more counter space) - didn't get done due to moving

Monday, August 17, 2009

Musical Mondays - Here By The Water

Here By The Water (click this link to listen to)
Soft field of clover
Moon shining over the valley
Joining the song of the river
To the great giver of the great good
As it enfolds me
Somehow it holds me together
And I realize I've been singing
Still it comes ringing
Clearer than clear

And here by the water
I'll build an altar to praise Him
Out of the stones that I've found here
I'll set them down here
Rough as they are
Knowing You can make them holy
Knowing You can make them holy
Knowing You can make them holy

I think how a yearning
Has kept on returning to move me
Down roads I'd never have chosen
Half the time frozen
Too numb to feel
I know it was stormy
I hope it was for me learning
Blood on the road wasn't mine though
Someone that I know
Has walked here before

And here by the water
I'll build an altar to praise Him
Out of the stones that I've found here - what stones have I been given to create my alter?
I'll set them down here - will I lay them down when and where He asks me to?
Rough as they are - will I let myself give even my rough stones?
Knowing You can make them holy - I need to know God can make whatever I bring holy
Knowing You can make them holy - I need to realize by knowing God I'm becoming more holy
Knowing You can make them holy

~Steve Bell

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Prayer Podium

Answers to Prayer!
~ Thank you for my sister and BIL who have found a youth ministry position in Altona, and were just given the job on Monday! And thanks that it's only 1.5 hrs away :)
~ Thank you that some family I was praying for is now attending Church again
~ Thank you for a friend I was praying for who has recently stopped pursuing things in addition to God, and for helping their spouse handle them lovingly
~Thanks for my very loving, committed, protective and forgiving husband, and for making this week not so bad so far (see below :)

Continue Praying For
~For hubby who is dealing with some potentially difficult transitions at work this week, especially with him being the boss who has to impliment the changes
~For my family and friends (and friends of friends) who think they need more than God, for those who think they don't need God at all, and for those that think they can live with the small amount of God they have
~For help in finding a new home Church in Winnipeg that will allow us to share God with the people in our life better
~For continued help to make my thoughts obedient to Christ, and receive His peace, guarding my heart and mind, and thankfulness for healing me and showing me His truth
~For help being the wife God asks me to be, who saves the best of herself for her husband
~For trust in my purpose, and the boldness and courage to fulfill it
~For the many women who are struggling with fertility (including myself), and for our continued patience, and willingness to let God be in control
~For my sister and BIL, for patience and success in their adoption from Ethiopia

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vision improved by Sunlight

So, it’s time for the optometrist appointment. You know your eye sight has been getting worse and you don’t see things the way you used to, but you weren’t prepared for how bad the optometrist tells you your vision has become, apparently a lot of damage has happened in the last while. The explanation, lack of exposure to the sun. It creates blurry and distorted vision, and not being able to see things accurately has created a lot of unnecessary headaches and frustration. And it can get worse, the blurriness will eventually become darkness and you can become completely blind. After being told the amount of time you would need to spend in the light of the sun you protest, you claim you don’t have the time to be lounging out in the sun that much, you have too much to do at home and at the office, life just doesn’t allow for that kind of waste of time. The doctor explains that fixing it is more than a matter of just giving you a prescription, it wouldn’t get to the root of the problem and therefore your vision would still end up getting worse in the long run. What about reading exercises, strengthen your eyes that way, would that work you inquire? The doctor shakes their head, knowing you are grasping at straws, after all many patients attempt the same avoidance. Reading alone won’t solve anything, only direct absorption of the sun’s light will fix your vision.
Of course it’s up to you, you are told, it is all about choosing quality of life. You can live with the pain, the frustration, and the never being sure if you are seeing things the way they truly are, etc., or you can make the effort to get healed. In fact, your vision can get even better than 20/20 if you spend enough time in the sun, if you expose yourself long enough to absorb its healing properties. There will be an adjustment period, you will probably not be able to dedicate yourself to a lot of exposure right away, but the doctor encourages you to start in small doses, and when your vision starts getting better you will want to spend more time in the sun light. It’s a lot like drinking the required amount of water per day, it’s hard at first but once you are used to it, you can actually crave it when you don’t get as much as you are used to. You are sceptical but it seems it is your only option if you want to avoid becoming blind, and the only thing you can do is try. If it doesn’t work you are no worse off then you were before. You’ve never heard of this before and you wonder why now?! But if this works it would seem you were quite fortunate to have this particular optometrist, who will have spared you a lifetime of more pain.
There is an epidemic of blindness in our world and it seems to be getting worse. People who can’t see things the way they really are; they look at the world through jaded lenses, their perception of their interactions with other people are distorted, and it’s causing them additional and unnecessary headaches and frustrations. And the blindness doesn’t allow them to see the only thing wrong is their point of view.
We seem to be short on really good optometrists as well though. If only there were more of them telling us an easy answer. Well I'm tell in you now it is just that easy. Exposure to light is the answer! Exposure to the light of the world, the Son of God. The more you absorb Son light the more you are healed and can begin to see more clearly. You can see where your self-absorbed thoughts have led you down the wrong paths, and you can see when other people are steering you and themselves wrong. Having an accurate perception of the world and other people eliminates a lot of the barriers between you and others, eliminating a lot of friction and misunderstandings. But even when those things happen you have a lot more empathy for others because you can see they are suffering from the same blindness you once had.
And the Son is not only the sole source of complete healing, but the light He shines on you promises more than just seeing the world truthfully, it’s like putting on a pair of rose-colored glasses. It’s not an illusion or delusion, it’s a filter He’s placed in your perception, allowing you to see every little blessing in your life magnified. A lot of people will see a lump of coal, you will see a shining diamond. People will see an icky catapillar, you will see a beautiful butterfly. No matter the circumstances, you can expose it to His light and see the blessings instead of the curse perceived by those who are blind.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Gift

I'm going to transport you to your wedding day.
The day you commit to sharing your life with the most amazing man you could ever have imagined.
Like any other bride you want the day you unite with your partner to be perfect, this is a celebration of your love and commitment after all! You are excited about all the little details, the dress, the flowers, the party, and of course the marriage you will be celebrating! And what is a celebration without a gift? Well, there will be many gifts of course, but you have in mind a very special gift you will be creating for your husband-to-be.
For the sake of commonality let’s say this gift you have for your groom is the wedding cake, because generally speaking guys like to eat and girls like to bake (I stereotyped men and women equally, have to be fair ; ) For months now you have been planning the perfect cake for your husband, the perfect recipe, the perfect flavour, the perfect size, the perfect icing, etc. You’ve researched just exactly everything you can to make this THE best cake ever, then you put a lot of hard work, time and effort, to create this masterpiece of a cake.

Once the cake was ready, just a few days before the wedding, the anticipation of giving your cake to your groom began eating you up inside. You began to question, did I pick a flavour he’ll like? Did you follow the recipe exactly, did it turn out all right? Did you decorate it beautifully enough? Did you over-decorate it? You began to doubt your cake making abilities and worry it will not meet his expectations. If only there was a way of knowing if he would like it or not before the grand presentation of this gift.
Finally you just HAVE to know and so you find someone willing to taste test your cake, figuring you can patch up the spot from the missing piece. The taste is to their liking much to your relief. But that relief doesn’t last long, that’s just one person’s opinion, what if it’s a fluke that they happened to like it. So you find another person to taste test the cake. Again, the cake receives a positive review. Then a few other people heard there was some cake taste testing going on so they ask for a little nibble, and you figure, what’s the harm, the more opinions the better because if someone does find something wrong then you can fix it before your groom tastes it.
Next thing you know your cake is looking like a newly paved sidewalk, with the finger prints of every passerby engraved in it. With deep regret you look at the mess of a cake you have before you and wonder whatever were you thinking allowing anyone else to touch it before it was given to your love. Even if you did patch it up so that he didn’t know, you would know, and just about any spot your groom would pick to slice his first piece of cake, you would remember the person who had been their first.

Every woman has the perfect wedding gift for her husband-to-be, but it’s ours to take care of from the time we are born. Our body is that gift. And if we let it get sampled before the wedding day, there is no ‘patching it up’ to make it untouched again. It’s more like finger prints in wet cement, those markings are permanent, and they can never be erased. Can you imagine if every time we allowed our body to be touched sexually that it would leave a permanent mark, like a tattoo? How hard do you think it would be to look in the mirror if your body was marked by the name of every man who touched you? How hard do you think it would be for your husband to look at you and see a visible reminder of the fact another man touched you? Luckily God is more lenient on us than that, and we don’t have to live with such a constant visible reminder of that, but He can see all those invisible marks. And you will know they are there. Or you can avoid having them all together. It’s your choice which cake you present to your groom.

Unfortunately, I made the wrong choice, and I gave my husband the latter cake. Sometimes you think you are allowing your future groom to taste test the cake but life isn’t predictable enough to make that presumption, that man may never become your husband. I can only thank God for not letting the ‘marks’ left on me destroy me or my marriage, because without Him I think they would have. Just like tattoo removal is painful, trying to eliminate the effects of these 'marks' was too, but working with God has allowed these marks to fade, so that my husband and I can see me as the beautiful gift I was meant to be.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I kicked butt!

This July was the most successful HH challenge yet! I had a total of 56 individual things I did for my deserving hubby, ranging from playing video games with him more, choosing his type of movies, making MANY bacon dishes (both meals and desserts, yes, desserts! which led to bragging about me at work :), surprising him with homemade saurkraut bacon perogies, making a lot of his favorite meals (which were actually easy on me, like pizza, chicken nuggets, chicken balls, etc.), watching his choice of t.v. shows without complaint (even showing interest occasionally ;), encouraged guys nights out and drove so he could have beer, got a new 'hubby rocks' shirt and wore both of mine a couple of times a week, sent 'thankful' emails to him on the weekend so he'd get them on Monday mornings, saved him from having to accompany me on errands he doesn't like, helped with his 'chores', got him little gifts of food he likes, etc. And of course, on top of that I was doing my best to be the kind of wife God wants me to be; being encouraging, being someone who listens, being his complimentary partner in everything in everyway, praying for him a lot, reading my Bible more-studying what God wants a wife/woman to be, becoming a healthy woman free of past baggage, etc. I started the Love Dare book but I was repeating stuff I had just done voluntarily for my own HH challenge, so I'm going to start again with the book in September (when the initiating of appreciating him will most likely be slowing).
Signs this was a big success, well, I'm pretty sure I made him feel more manly, as all of a sudden he's working out in our gym more and making sure I'm noticing the results, lol. Also, intimacy has very noticeably changed for the better :) and I'll leave that at that. Hubby has seemed to bring less of his work stress home, so in our free time he's more carefree, more energetic, and just seems more content and confident in our relationship and life in general.
This has been one of the best months of our lives, maybe THE best. It amazes me how each year I can still be surprised at the wonderful outcome from this challenge. But I'm glad that each year it is proved to me more and more how investing in my marriage pays HUGE dividends and continually makes it easier for me to carry on my intentional investments throughout the year. And with my birthday right at the end of July, knowing how happy I've made my husband is the best birthday gift I could ever get!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another way to look at Unity

Imagine with me for a moment.
Imagine a future that radically changes in the next 20 years. Gigantic and magnificent medical advances are made, technology making things you would think are impossible become possible. You find yourself in this future, where due to our state of the art medical system, people are living long lives. You are married, your spouse and yourself are deeply in love, feeling like a newlywed couple, with a new lease in on life, so many years together before you.

Then life happens. Tragedy strikes. Your spouse is severed from you, literally. To save your spouses life they have to separate their head from their body!! Of course you think they can't possibly survive apart from each other, but with medical advances the way they are, they are able to allow their head or body to stay alive as a separate entity, that can function recognizably as the person you fell in love with. And, it's the only way to keep your spouse alive. And you have to make the choice, do they live as just a head, just a body, or do you lose them completely.

If you choose they live as a head, the doctors assure you they can create a self-sustaining bubble for their head, with necessary organs transplanted into the brain, everything set up to allow them to live in this bubble. They explain that your spouse will live a life similar to being paralyzed from the neck down, without the hassle of bodily functions, they will be able to see, hear, think, talk, and relate to you. But, their disability will hinder sharing of any physical household needs, and even communication may be hard because there is no body language. And, you will never again be able to touch their skin or feel them touch you, there is no physical relationship of any kind.

If you choose they live as a body, the doctors assure you they can place part of their brain in their body, enough to control the body but higher functioning thinking will be affected. They explain that your spouse will live a life similar to being deaf, blind, mute, but at least you have a physical presence, you can hold each other, kiss each other, share the small touches that communicate so much without speaking. But, their disability will hinder sharing in household decision making, and communication can be learned but their ability to relate to you intellectually on the same level would most likely be affected.

So, do you choose to lose your spouse all together, or choose only part of them. And which part of them do you choose since either way your relationship will feel incomplete. Choosing which half of your spouse's body to keep alive just to have some semblance of a relationship left seems quite ridiculous. It's just about impossible to have a successful romantic relationship with someone in only a mental capacity or only a physical capacity. Most rational people would realize you no longer would have the whole person, or whole relationship.

Guess what though? There are likely millions of brides doing that very thing. Christ's brides often choose to have a relationship just with Christ and not His body. I would bet there are hundreds of thousands of people who feel all they need is Christ, that they don't need and don't want and can't benefit from a relationship with His body. And I would also bet there are hundreds of thousands of people who go to Church, they love being part of that community, and yet they do not interact with Christ at all, they don't read their Bible, don't pray, and aren't affected by the teachings taught at Church.

What they aren't seeing is that Christ and the Church are a package deal, you can't really have a true relationship with God if you don't have a relationship with both. Christ gave us the Church to be His arms to hug, and His lips to comfort, and His feet to serve, how can you have a close, loving relationship with someone without the opportunity to 'feel' them. And how can you have a close, loving relationship with someone without the opportunity to relate intellectually and spiritually, without speaking to them, without getting to know and understand them, without working together to create your future.

Only one or the other is just not enough, it will leave you unsatisfied, like it is not whole or complete. You would want more than that from a spouse, why wouldn't you want more than that with God?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Reinforcement by
Individuals with
Support and

I just made that up but it sounds good :) To me, that's what praise is, finding ways to acknowledge the positives in people so as to build them up and hopefully encourage them to continue the actions that were praised.
Everyone needs praise and it's a highly motivating factor in our lives, but there is one key, it has to come from someone who's opinon we value. I'm not deeply encouraged when my neice tells me I'm smart, it's cute and it's nice to be looked up to, but it doesn't make me feel like I can join Mensa or anything. But when my husband tells me that he appreciates my advice, and he looks to me as somewhat of a guiding compass, now that means a lot to me, and it makes me put even more effort into how I respond to his requests for my opinion, so I can live up to his expectations.
Or, when the President of our Canadian company expressed his appreciation for all I did for him and the board of directors while they were here, and he commended us for our hard work and making them feel at home. Now, that not only sent me into a deep blush, but I feel like I have the honor of an even higher standard to live up to at work, not just in our office, but now in any office because our board is from all across Canada.
It's amazing what a little praise can do.
Imagine it on even a grander scale. What if something you did gained the attention of the media in Canada and next thing you know the most looked-up-to leader in the whole world is requesting a meeting with you to acknowledge and praise your efforts. Right now, that's Barack Obama. Can you imagine him seeking you out and wanting to encourage and support something you are doing? You may or may not feel worthy, but yet, this man runs one of the most powerful countries in the world, he is revered by hundreds of millions of people, he would not waste his time on something he didn't feel garnered his attention. Can you imagine what you could move on to accomplish after that kind of confidence boost?
Amazingly enough, there is someone out there who is also highly revered, and has taken a personal interest in you, in your abilities, in your potential. He had/has billions of followers, people who have made huge sacrifices for him, people who have died for him, but he still notices you. He knows you by name, he's made it his business to know EVERYTHING about you, he thinks you are amazing and sees such HUGE potential in you. He sees everything you've been, you are, and everything you are capable of being, and loves you regardless. Yes LOVES you!
I know, it's hard to believe when you haven't heard it from someone directly. So ask him. Ask Jesus to tell you how he feels about you. Just be sure to listen because he most surely will give you an answer.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A New Kind of Going Green

It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Ted Dekker, I've mentioned it here before how I've been changed by diving deep into the worlds he has created through his writings. My hope is that everyone could find a catalyst that moves them as deeply, and because I know how many other people he has moved, it's no wonder I want to share him with everyone!
I've been trying to find stories that will connect readers to his books and I think so far I've been doing a good job (by the way I have one for you now Pam, it's about a group of students :) I have yet to hear feedback from some of the other's I've recommended (hint, hint, lol), but I do already have two 'converts' :) If you are looking for a new author to be addicted to, let me know, I'm sure I'll have a recommendation for you, and most likely the book to borrow to you as well.
And then on Facebook, because I'm a fan and friend of Ted Dekker's, I have commented on some of his posting which have led some of my friends to discover him as well. For example, a friend of mine was moved to tears by watching this video of a dance that was performed at the Gathering. It is a dance of redemption, and very moving indeed, but she didn't even know the back story like those of us who have read the books. Amazing!
So, that leads me to Green, his latest book coming out in September. It's part of a trilogy (although, it's a fourth book *shrugs*), and so even though those of us who've read the first three books will be reading it last, it's also written in a way that you could read it first. It's an 'alpha and omega' type book, a perfect starting place for those new to the Circle, and a perfect climax for the rest of us already immersed in the lives of the Forest Dwellers and the Horde. Here is just a glimpse!

Or read some more here (at 'The Beginning' or 'The End')! And if you are tempted to delve into this world, good news!! You can get exclusive offers on Green and other Ted Dekker books just by joining the Forest Guard (click here to join, and don't forget to enter my Forest Guard number - 5634 to show I was your 'recruiter'). What is the Forest Guard you ask? Well, the Forest Guard is like a tribe that's a bit on the unbalanced side. You'd have to be to stare down the Horde, right? But whatever you want to call it, the Forest Guard is alive and well. We are passionate about stories that move us, and about sharing those stories with others. And the Guard is once again recruiting to its ranks...but only for a limited time, until July 31st. Nothing is required of you to join, but the rewards for joining only begin at the exclusive offer you'll get on Green.
So I hope I will see each of you in the Circle some day soon, in the land of white bats that do karate, red lakes where we breathe the water, and where being part of the Great Romance is a celebration of love.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Journal of a Journey

Yeah, I have a lot of these...journals of a journey. Well, 1285 days ago I started a journal that I thought I was writing so that I could one day provide it to my first born child to show them how much they were wanted, and planned, and thought about, and pursued, and loved. Here I am 1285 days later with no one to give this journal, Life has taught me over and over again, no matter my circumstances I am never alone, I am never the only one going through something, and that sharing about my circumstances can bring so much light, and relief, and even contentment and joy, no matter how much it seems like the opposite.
So I've created a blog out of the journal I've kept about my experiences trying to pursue motherhood. My hope is that anyone can learn from my journey, but I especially hope that those of you who can't get have children find a place where you know you are not alone.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Musical Monday - a song for Sean

Your love, your love, it’s unconditional
When my world falls apart
Your love, your love, is unconditional
Your in my heart

I turned against my only friend
Betrayed myself in the end
I lost my way
With all the lies that you’d been fed
You saw me cry and hang my head
And you said to me
There’s no need for apologies

I came to feel and not defend
To find a means to an end
It’s your love
You gave me strength and eyes to see
The man(woman) that I was meant to be
And now I can see
There’s no need for apologies

And you keep on reaching out
No matter how far away
And you know I’ll scream and shout
But you keep on reaching out to save me

~Simon Collins

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Prayer Podium

~For my family and friends who think they need more than God, for those who think they don't need God at all, and for those that think they can live with the small amount of God they have
~For help in finding a new home Church in Winnipeg that will allow us to share God with the people in our life better
~For continued help to make my thoughts obedient to Christ, and receive His peace, guarding my heart and mind, and thankfulness for healing me and showing me His truth
~Thanks for my very loving, committed, protective and forgiving husband
~For help being the wife God asks me to be, who saves the best of herself for her husband
~For trust in my purpose, and the boldness and courage to fulfill it
~For the many women who are struggling with fertility (including myself), and for our continued patience, and willingness to let God be in control
~For my sister and BIL, for patience and success in;
1. their adoption from Ethiopia
2. their search to find a position in ministry

Friday, July 10, 2009

Helping Hearts

So, I've been very excited for my sister and her husband's (Tami & Kellin's) adoption from Ethiopia, and to quell my own impatience I've been trying to do what I can to help their fundraising. I got very excited about all their fundraising ideas but especially the t-shirt fundraiser. When I heard that a custom design could be done I searched for ideas and decided to design my own since none really captured how I was feeling.
It such a matter of the heart, Tami & Kellin's hearts reaching out all the way across a huge ocean and already loving, so deeply, two little hearts in Ethiopia that not only expand their family but they get to help better these children's lives. And my heart is right in there, along with our family's, our hearts' wanting to help in every way we can.
So I did my own creating and I ended up with this design:

I gave it to Tami & Kellin for them to use on t-shirts a few months ago and the t-shirts are finally done and have arrived to my hot little hands! It's such a great expression of our hope and excitement, and a way to increase awareness of international adoption. Tami and I have already been wearing ours and have had quite a few chances to have a conversation about their situation. This is what the pink one looks like:

There is also a t-shirt in black with the same white and red logo. If you are interested in supporting Tami & Kellin's adoption through the purchase of a t-shirt, there is a minimum donation of $25 per shirt, which you can purchase through me or through her blog
Thanks for your helping heart!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Musical Mondays - Tribute to Faithfulness

This is a song Sean and I love, it has a message that isn't often heard today, how you can't find anything of more value than you already have with your spouse. I love it even more than Sean brought this song to my attention, now how can I not want to honour a hubby like that!

Go on and cry,
Tears are sure good to heal it.
I don't need to ask why
You're feeling that pain that you're feeling.
There's only one reason you'd be here tonight,
He's up to his old tricks again.
But you're such a treasure,It doesn't seem right.
Don't know what comes over him.

It's like taken the bus,
With a cadillac parked in the driveway,
Or a thousand miles down a dirt road,
When theres a new four lane highway.
It's like blowing off Christmas with Mama,
To have a drink with a stranger.
Why crawl through a trench with the devil,
When you could fly with an angel?

Why you stay with him,
Girl, I just don't understand.
He's out searchin' for silver,
Ignorin that gold on your hand.
For the love of a woman he's throwin' away,
Most men would pay any price.
Should the eyes of temptation stare me in the face,
I'd never need to think twice.

It's like taken the bus,
With a cadillac parked in the driveway,
Or a thousand miles down a dirt road,
When theres a new four lane highway.
It's like blowing off Christmas with Mama,
To have a drink with a stranger.
Why crawl through a trench with the devil,
When you could fly with an angel?

~Ray Scott

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Up to the Challenge Again

I am very excited to start my THIRD July of the Honour Your Husband Challenge. In 2007 I came across this challenge through bloggyland and really felt a great impact in our marriage, not only because Sean was getting spoiled and appreciated it, but I felt I got the most benefit out of it, intentionally loving someone for 30 days gives a real boost to how deeply you love them. It’s always interesting trying to come up with what I can do to honour Sean, some of my previous attempts have been very well received, some have kinda flopped before they could be appreciated.
These are the things that stand out to me when I read the definition of honour; to respect, to regard with adoration, have the privilege of being associated with, and having the honesty, fairness and integrity as a wife with honour. This really ties into what I’ve been reading (and learning from) on Pam’s and ValleyGirl’s blogs Bible Study "The True Woman Makeover", based on Proverbs 31. It talks a lot about inspiring something better in our husbands (ties into the verse I mentioned last year 1 Peter 3:1-6), making our home and marriage FIRST priority by spending our energy first on our marriage and then everything else, and fighting the culture of women being the princess/goddess and the men just being the jester/buffoon, and instead honouring our husbands by making them feel like real men. WOW do I have a lot to live up to! I know dedicating myself to this for 30 days isn’t all I’m called to, but it embeds the thoughts, motivations, rewards into my heart so that I can carry it out the rest of the year.
So here are the 5 things I am aiming for this year:
1. BACON! – This sounds funny but Sean is forever asking for bacon, every time I ask input on a recipe he says ‘bacon’. I’m always trying to make his favourite meals to show how much I adore him, and the meals that absolutely make him drool have to have bacon. I started off the month by making him something he asked for, chocolate chip cookies with BACON! Yes, he even loves bacon with chocolate and he LOVED these cookies (quite frankly, I wanted to spit it out when I tasted it). I have a few other bacon ideas up my sleeve, I am going to try and make all the bacon meals I can possibly think of over the next month, including; the bacon wrapped shrimp dish he raved about in Nashville, Aussie Chicken (which has several favourites, bacon, mushrooms and cheese), 4 dozen Sauerkraut perogies with bacon (I’m not making them but I’m buying them homemade as a secret, he loves Sauerkraut perogies and they are hard to find homemade), meatloaf topped with bacon (he loves meatloaf), bacon & eggs, pasta carbonara, and if I can find good steak, bacon wrapped steak. Any good bacon recipes you have, feel free to pass them along :)
2. My Husband Rocks! – I’m going to be advertising this as much as possible. I bought a t-shirt last summer that says “My Husband Rocks” and I intend on wearing it as much as possible, along with the new shirt I’ve bought (that looks like this) that should arrive any day now.

Usually I just wear mine now and then, just for the heck of it or when I’m extra in love Sean that day, but I am going to try to wear these shirts at least 2 times a week! I want the world to know I am privileged to be associated with Sean, I am proud to be his wife, he is a wonderful husband!
3. Rock His World! – I don’t need him to wear the t-shirt “My Wife Rocks” (although that would be nice, lol), but I do want him to feel that way. I want to be a wife that he can brag about, the kind that fulfills every dream and wish he had or has for a wife. I want to be a Godly woman he can admire and look to for guidance, I want to be a woman who inspires him to be the man God wants him to be. I want him to ‘lack nothing of value’ in our life together, I want him to know he and our marriage are always first and that I am spending the best of me on him, I want him to be confident in my contributions to our household, I want him to be grateful for my compassion and servant heart, I want my wisdom and integrity to make him proud. There are probably hundreds of things I can do to accomplish this but it comes down to my own relationship with God and being the woman and wife He leads me to be. I will continue to work diligently at being the clay so God can mould me into a rockin’ wife!
4. He’s Strong Enough To Be My Man! – I’m going to do all that I can to validate his manhood ;) I’m going to unabashedly appreciate and show my need for everything in him that makes him a man. I’m going to make a list of appreciativeness for things that he does, that only he, as ‘my man’, can do. I’m going to try to come up with a list weekly and email it to him at his work email on Saturday mornings so he gets it first thing Monday morning. That of course includes everything from doing the more physical upkeep around our house, to reading all the fine print on all our contracts/bills/etc., to dealing with customer service issues/complaint type things, and for making me feel like a woman (to put it decently :). I’m also going to try to ensure I’m including him on all decisions relating to everything we do for our household. Sometimes I don’t put enough validity in his opinions for ‘minor’ things or ‘girly-oriented’ things, assuming he has no interest, but he should have equal say if it has to do with our home and our life together, and I don’t want to rob him of the power of decision making. I’m also not going to act negatively towards typical guy things, guys have a different sense of humor, they are a little more aggressive (to prove they can protect us I’m told), their sources of entertainment are often much different than mine. So, I’m happily sending him off to his brother’s tonight to watch football, drink beer and probably cuss a little depending on how the Bombers do. I’m not going to complain about all the wrestling and football we watch now that all our shows are over for the summer. I’m going to play video games with him more often. I’m going to not chide him for freaking out on a car that drove in a way that jeopardized our safety. I’m going to let him know we each have our different role, neither of which is more important than the other, and in fact the more manly he is the more womanly I can feel.
5. Fireproof Our Marriage – After we watched the movie Fireproof I knew I wanted and knew we needed to fireproof our own marriage. Not that we’re in trouble, but prevention is the key, because as Smokey says “Only you can prevent wildfires!” I have ordered the Love Dare book associated with the movie Fireproof, and as soon as it arrives (which I hope is soon, it would be very awesome to have during this ‘honour hubby’ month) I plan to go through it as a devotional and an intentional wooing of Sean. Who couldn’t use some intentionally wooing, especially when the ‘wooing’ days are about 7 years behind us? Not only that but with my ‘independence day’ I’ve realized how easy it is to let unhealthy and even dark things into our lives, into our marriages, and they can slowly and unnoticeably eat away at our strong relationships, dissolving the core and leaving the shell to crumble. I want to poison-proof, weed-proof, fireproof, anything-proof our marriage! I want to honour Sean by doing everything I can to ensure our marriage is forever.

Anyone who is looking to strengthen their marriage, I would highly recommend they take up this challenge! If you do, let me know what you plan to do to honour your husband.
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