Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Well, I don't know if my absence has made you want to read my blog more or less but it has made me want to write more. Trouble is, life has a way of getting in the way of what we want.

Last Tuesday we had to put our cat, Princess, to sleep. She was only 8 1/2 years old, but she seemed suddenly very sick, so we brought her to the vet and they did some tests. She had lost a LOT of weight in recent days and her tests came back that her kidneys were in failure. He guessed it might be lymphoma because they were swollen when normally kidneys shutting down shrink, but there was no point in proving his theory because they said she was at a point of no return anyway, so we pretty much had no humane choice other than to put her down. Being so sudden, we were pretty emotional the first few days, and it's still hard but life goes on.

My kitty's absence in our home has really made us miss everything about having her, even the annoying things, like getting under our feet and making her funny 'meh' meow when we've been gone a long time. Or jumping in sinks to drink water, stepping on our heads at night to 'tuck us in', always having to sit on our laps when they are available, etc. She's the cat I've had the longest and has a very special place in our hearts, she is and will always be very missed.

And then, in the midst of that I've been preparing a presentation for my dad's retirement party that was yesterday evening, and so I was spending a lot of hours on that. It was worth it, he really loved the slide show I made, and so did everyone else, which I'm very happy about. My dad had exactly the kind of evening he wanted, I'm glad we were able to give him a very special evening he'll always remember.

AND, I've been on a media fast two days a week for all of January, because at my Church, January was prayer and fasting month, and I haven't really ever fasted before so I decided now was the time. It's been great, I look forward to doing it again, but media includes all things t.v. and internet related, and so all of that made for a lot of time blogging was not an option.

So, I hope to be back at the blogging again soon. I'd like to write a little about Barack Obama. Because of what happened last Tuesday I took the day off work and we ended up watching the Inaugeration, which was really quite interesting. It's neat being able to watch significant history like that as it happens, people 50 years from now ask, do you remember what you were doing when Barak Obama became president. Although, my memory of that day will be mixed emotions, nothing to do with him. Of course, work is getting really busy, OT may be in my future for February, but I hope to squeeze out a few blogs regardless. Thanks for still tuning in!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Where I'm going and where I've been

Since my blogging time seems far and few between, I think I am going to combine my '2008 reflection' and '2009 hopes' all into one blog. They are very similarily themed and tie into each other anyway, so that's what I'm going to do.
Especially in 2oo8 I think I've learned to seek out what God wants for me, rather than what I want for myself, which is a real test in patience, humility, trust, obedience, selflessness, etc. God has really pressed on my heart the need to be a good steward of things He's placed in my possession, and it's made me aware of how disobedient and untrusting I have been with Him and His plans for me. So here are the stewardships I have realized I need to focus on, how I've done with them in 2008 and what I hope to accomplish with them in 2009.
1. Stewardship of our finances - this is one that I've always tried to be mindful of, making sure I'm not too frivolous in our spending, making quality choices for large purchases, always giving tithe. I've been a 'budgeter' since the age of 12-13 so I'm always watching to make sure we aren't getting ourselves into too much debt, that we are taking care of our futures with investments and savings, etc. This year we decided it would be best for us financially to upgrade houses before we paid way too much for a bigger house in the future, as well as take advantage of the market in selling our previous home. We were blessed in this decision; were able to pay off all our debt from renovations at our old house, we were able to put 20% down on our new house (for which we paid less than we budgeted for), we were able to invest money in furnishing for our home that would make us better hosts, and still set a significant amount aside for savings so we wouldn't have to go into debt again. In 2009 I think God is preparing our hearts to be asked to use our finances or home to help a family or person in need. Nothing we've been made aware of yet, just a feeling.
2. Stewardship of my body - it's never been a secret I struggle with my weight, over the last 20 years (basically since puberty) I have been over weight 9 years, been an ok weight for 3-4 years, and a good weight for 7-8 years. And even when I was at a good or ok weight it wasn't because I was being a good steward of my body, it was all circumstance. And before 2008, even when I was trying to lose weight, I was not doing it in a way that was good stewardship of my body. 2008 began with many health issues on my mind, snoring/sleep interruption, fertility problems, genetic suseptability to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoarthritis (which I already had hip problems like my mom). I began to finally realize what kind of life I had created for myself with my disobedience in taking care of my body and luckily I got my wake up call at an age where I could still reverse most of the damage. With my sister Tami's help I began to eat better, take necessary vitamins, start exercising in a way that would not only help me lose weight but deal with my hip issues. I lost 25 lbs by the end of August. I didn't entirely lose my motivation but once again I let stress interfere with my obedience and I wasn't as diligent as I first was, gaining back 4 lbs, but my determination is back and I plan to lose another 20 lbs this year and then maintain that weight. My new treadmill at home should give me no excuses, and I want to go back to making menu plans and OAMC so it's easier to throw healthy meals together at the end of a long day of work.
I also plan to attack my addiction to food and my laziness (prone to being a couch-potato rather than exercise) by fasting and praying about it in the month of January. Our Church has deemed January a Fasting & Praying month, and what better time to tackle this ongoing issue. I hope my fasting from food and media (t.v., movies, internet and video games) 2 times per week will not only bring me closer to God and closer to beating these aweful habits, but I also hope a month of this will create new habits for the months after the fasting is over.
3. Stewardship of my time - another area the media fasting will help I hope. My default is the couch or the computer and I know it's a waste of time, it takes away from time with God, quality time as a couple, time I could be spending with friends and family, time God may have wanted me to spend serving someone. One thing we did improve in 2008 was making use of our new, comfortable, spacious home to connect with friends and family. I love playing host, and for Sean who is such a home body, it has become easier to get together with people because we can just invite them over. We have also made an effort to go connect more often with certain people, even when it means we can't do it at our place. God has made us aware of our responsibility to be a light in the lives of people who are in our life. I had wanted to join a cell group or Bible study in 2009 but Sean and I have instead felt called to create one ourselves with these people already in our lives. It hasn't exactly been made clear how we are going to do that yet, but we are looking for opportunities to make it happen. Also for 2009 I want to take advantage of more opportunities to volunteer. I really enjoyed helping on the Habitat for Humanity build I participated in this summer, it is something I would love to do again.
4. Stewardship of my talents - in 2008, this was my biggest focus, trying to find out what my purpose is, how I can best use my talents to serve God in the way that He wants me to. From late 2006 until this last year, I thought that was being a mother, that was what I was sure I was meant to be. What I've learned from my past, my mistakes, other's people's mistakes, I was sure God would use to help me raise children that would lead healthy, God honoring lives. It helped me make sense of the things I went through, and it made sense considering me deep love of children. However, in this year, our third year trying to get pregnant, I had to come to terms with the fact that those may not be the talents God has planned for me to use. I have many talents God has given me, not all of them can take center stage, and so I've spent this year trying to find out what He wants me to do with my life and my skills. I have learned I have no reason not to trust His plans for me, He only plans good things for me, even if those good things are not the good things I had dreamed for myself.
In 2009 I hope to draw closer to God to find those answers as I still do not have anything concrete, as well as grow in my trust in Him so that I will not hesitate to do what He asks of me. As I mentioned, I feel God will use our blessings in our finances to help people, as well as our home as a place we can create a small God-following community, and I still feel somewhere down the road children may be involved, they just may not be our biological children.
5. Stewardship of our earth - until 2008 I didn't put a lot of effort into my responsibility for taking care of the earth, being obedient in the 'dominion' of God's creations that He entrusted to our care. Two things this year gave me a new perspective. One was a message series at Southland about Heaven, and how Heaven will really be a new earth. But to be a new earth, all the damage will have to be undone, and I realized I can prevent a lot of that damage now before it is even done. The second thing was,working at Golder I realized that a lot of the things harmful to the earth are just a matter of conveniences and some cost, but not as much as you may think. My co-worker Tanyss has shown me it's a lot easier than I thought 'saving the planet' might be.
Things we've done in 2008 to save/protect the earth: bought permanent water bottles and a Brita water tap instead of cases of bottled water, keep drinking water in the fridge rather than running the water to get the desired chill, buying energy saving light bulbs (at a time Canadian Tire worked with Hydro for a rebate that ended up only costing us $1 per bulb), buying cloth grocery bags to avoid getting plastic ones, buying a recycling bin for home, car pooling to work, vehicle solutions (no idling, coasting, vehicle maintenance, fuel efficient vehicle, etc.), donating items to second hand stores instead throwing them away, sharing card board boxes with other people who are moving, using plastic storage bins instead of carboard boxes for moving, turning off/unplugging power using items when not in use, using Green Works cleaning supplies, using Arbonne all natural cosmetics (just started purchasing, can't purchase it all at once unfortunately), sign up for e-bills/statements/pre-authorized payments to reduce paper bills/statements, use cold water for washing laundry and eco-friendly laundry detergent (from Costco), and added weather stripping to doors letting air in/out. That's all I can recall at this moment : )
Things I would like to start/try in 2009 are: remembering to use cloth bags for all shopping (maybe get the RuMe bags, mentioned in Pam's blog), get a better coffee mug and leave it in the Jeep so I don't use their paper cups any more, try using corn gluten on our lawn as a natural herbicide, try a 100 mile meal plan (probably not for the 100 days, but maybe one week per month through the 100 days), start using Norwex products for cleaning that are chemical free, when our appliances need replacing purchase Energy Star appliances, and try composting. I also have found a guide to buying sustainable gifts, but that's a whole post on it's own, which one day I'll get around to posting, lol.
6. Stewardship of God's truth - there are so many ways we can represent God's truth to the world, many of which I have not been a good steward of. The biggest truth for me recently was reiterated in today's message at Church, we need to admit our weaknesses, rely on God, so we can doing amazing things through God's strength, a perfect testimony glorifying His power and love. I've touched on obedience already, an area I have both improved in during 2008 yet need to continue focusing on in 2009 and beyond. I hope my failure to be healthy on my own, and my choice to be obedient will be an amazing testimony.
I think another testimony God wants me to be in 2009 is how to find joy in the dissapointment life can bring. I have heard recently of several women who have been able to be joyful in the face of tragedy, something that would be impossible without God's strength and love. I want to be that kind of woman, trusting God has good things in store despite of and possibly because of that tragedy. Being childless just might be that situation for me, and I hope I can be a steward of the truth that God can be trusted with our lives, He only wants to give us good things, and we can be joyful in any circumstance through Him.
Well, that's where I've been and where I hope I'm going. Thanks for sharing the journey. Oh, and here are some 'postcards' from 2008's journey.

5 year wedding anniversary : ) Special night in the Riverstone Suite at the Inn at the Forks.

Old house and new house.
New Lori - 25 lbs lighter.

101 in 1001 update

There were just a few things to update, didn't really change much of what I have left to do, but here is my update none the less.
As I'm updating this list I'm realizing I put a lot of 'dreamer' or 'wishful thinking' type items on my list, which isn't bad because I aspire to make them reality, but for a person like me who needs to strike off everything on my list, it can be somewhat painful realizing you may not ever strike them off! Usually, when I have a list I know I can't finish, I trash it and start a new list : ) I know, I'm such a cheater! But, this list is actually a good exercise in letting little things like that go, I'm feeling better knowing my items may not all be accomplished, I'm looking at them as goals not as 'must do's'. I was contemplating making my next 101 list more tangible, but I hope I don't cave into my self-pressure by doing that, and instead put some more lofty goals I can push myself to try for.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

You'd think

with all the time off the holidays afford us that I would have had time for some blogging. Alas, I have not. I plan on doing a belated New Year's tribute to 2008 eventually, hopefully tomorrow, as well as a list of things I'd like to accomplish in 2009. Of course I shouldn't add too much to that list considering I'm still working on my 101 in 1000. Oh, and I should update that some time soon as well : ) Well, right now, supper and quality time with hubby trumps blogging, but stay tuned, I will post soon.
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