Monday, December 31, 2012

Stewardship Sunday

As I mentioned my last Stewardship post,  God has been giving me new priorities, that He has for me.  Not that I think my previous stewardship priorities weren't theologically sound or anything :) but as I also mentioned, God is guiding us in a new direction, into a new season and the priorities of this season are just different. 
I am happy with how my focus on stewardship has changed me over the last few years though, moved me away from my natural tendency to control (through LISTS!) and instead the emphasis was on taking inventory of the 'talents' God has blessed me with and how I can honor Him the most with them. I do not intend to stop this practice, it just may look slightly different now, but for now I say goodbye to the Stewardship series and I hope somehow somewhere I have inspired someone with it.

Stewardship of My Finances
1. Reuse/Recycle before New – before Pinterest this one really stretched my imagination but I have been able to pull off a few reuse/recycle ideas and have several more stored for future use. While I try and balance this temptation to save stuff for reuse with my increasingly minimalistic paradigm, I think I'm doing fairly well at both. I have bought the majority of new clothes this year at a thrift store and plan to continue to do so. The sewing machine is getting closer, I'm hoping for early new year.
2. Pay off ALL debt and invest smarter – as I mentioned, all debt is paid off other than the vehicle and house, and we have an aggressive plan to pay off the vehicle in 2 years instead of the 4 more years on our loan.
3. Give more tithe than we already give – we were able to give our large donation to our Church's building fund, it's not like we're going to get a 'wing' named after us but we feel very good about our obedience in this area because I'm very much the 'save for the future' kind of paranoid and knowing what that amount could equal at retirement time, I thought it would be harder to part with.

Being the 'I budget for fun' person that I am, this is an area constantly re-examined, especially once Sean went back to school, and again last month, thanks to a radically new and different lifestyle called 'living on support'! As I've mentioned, Sean is in the midst of raising support for the offered position of HR Manager at Youth For Christ Winnipeg.  We have been preparing for this since Sean first got an interview in August when we found out the salary was 100% support, and we've been willing to make the sacrifice because we know God wants Sean there, but we have also been encouraged by Sean's pastor/mentor who has lived on support/tithe most of his life, and he told us to remember, when God wants something to happen, He moves in the hearts of those who need to give, and almost always people give what is needed. We are full of faith that God will give us enough and we will be the best stewards of what He blesses us with.

Stewardship of My Home
4. Cleaning – I have to face the facts on this one. This is not the season in my life for a home that looks guest worthy at any moment. I don't know if it ever will be actually. I have told several friends over the last while that they better not take the time and effort (that I know they don't have) to 'fix' up their home for a visit, and when I visit, their home looks lived in, not 'clean', and I barely notice! I have made progress in minimalism, which helps because there is less to clean, and I think I'm just going to be fine with a healthy kind of tidy for now.
5. Establish a Meal Plan – So, having been through my approx. 100 recipe plan once all the way through, I have paired it down significantly, finding the favorites and the easier meals to make my kitchen more of a food factory than experimental laboratory.  I realized during my summer break from my meal plan that baking/grilling a whole bunch of chicken breasts and freezing them worked for a LOT of my recipes so that is a new staple in my freezer! I think I've successfully given myself what I originally wanted, a wide variety of favorite recipes that about 80% of them can be made in less than half an hour (not including once-a-month prep/pre-cook) for the season of very busy evenings we have.
6. Make food from scratch – this goal was one that was building towards a home that provided my future kids with healthy food to eat, bringing back family traditions of food preparation, and starting a new habit of respecting the earth. I'm still building, I have cut out SO much processed food, some replaced by 'from scratch' but more often I found it unnecessary to replace them at all. I still look forward to days at home with my kids, teaching them (and myself!) the fine art of baking buns or canning beets, like I wish I had learned from my grandma.
7. House Improvements – other than making sure our home stays safe and 'in a state of repair' :) this isn't even close to being a top priority any more. Funny how hubby's list disappears when he's preoccupied with school and soon a job he will love!

Going forward I want a balance in my home between healthy and quality time with loved ones, which ever balance achieves both of those best will win out!

Stewardship of My Body
8. Exercise. period. – This is one of those priorities that's been an experimentation, with our schedules in the evening changing a lot since September (school, 3 different small groups, CR Fridays). I am improving at doing it even though I don't feel like it, but now my available time is shrinking. My goal is to find 20 min. every day and just do it, my own 20 mile march. Now my priority is to drill this into my head, and look for the first opportunity in the day, not the last!
9. Drop to 175 and maintain – the goal weight I’ve had for myself is still 18 lbs away.  I already talked about the activity side, but God has really been working on my control of weight through the knowledge of healthy choices I've built up and showing me it's not about the knowledge, it's about turning to food rather than God. While to a degree my goal weight is based on how I felt at that weight (including felt about my appearance), but now I want to make this about obedience not an amount. If I don't feel good about my food or activity choices, or why I'm making them, the number doesn't matter at all, it's the heart I need to work on with God, not the body.
10. Run/Jog the Father’s Day 10 K – I have to be honest about this one, this one was not really about stewardship of my body. I wanted to use it to learn discipline over my body. I wanted to do it to prove somebody wrong. I admit running is growing on me, it may become part of future self-discipline but not sure if I'll have an end goal other than self-discipline.
11. Quit an unhealthy habit – if I want to quit an unhealthy habit, I already had quite a few to choose from in this list, quit eating poorly, quit avoiding exercise, quit avoiding cleaning your, I'm going to keep it simple and succeed at quitting other things I'm already working on before adding new things to this list!

My new goal for my body is to discipline (from the same root as disciple by the way) myself so that food and inactivity are no longer the masters of my body, my body will be obedient to God. This body was developed over 30 years, only the last 5 have been working at rebuilding it, I have to work at this from the perspective of undoing the faulty foundations first before I can work on the supporting structures!

Stewardship of My Earth
12. Continue composting and gardening – this one was strongly connected to my 'from scratch' goal, but this one has required much more effort, time, and supplies I am running very low on these days. I've realized I jumped into it head first rather than dipped my toes in and progressed at an achievable pace. From now on I am going to perfect one plant at a time, and only compost if I manage to buy one of those self-containing units. 

13. Eating local – like my last point, this is going to be a slow and steady integration, I'm going to find one local food to stay loyal to until I've got it as a habit I don't even have to think about, and then I'll move on to the next food. Eventually it will build into a significantly local diet for us.
14. Acts of Green – just holding the ground I've already covered.

This one is a little like my body goals, I am learning to make different choices than I have made the first 30 years of my life, I have to relearn certain habits and realize there is a better way. But a better way doesn't mean an easier way, so I'm going to have to work at this one in baby steps.
Stewardship of My Talents/Purpose
15. Blog/Journal- While there has been a recent slowdown in this, overall my journalling is still more frequent at the end of the year than it was at the beginning. I am excited to discover what God wants me to learn/relearn about my body/health through recovery journalling, and I am working at journalling conversations with God as part of my 'God time'. Blogging however has suffered since fall, partly because I would often take my lunch time to blog, but even that free time has been shrinking. It's also because some of my insights or blog-worthy experiences are a little too personal for the WWW. I hope to find a way to gain momentum back here again soon.
16. Capture memories in books – my wedding album is on track to be finished before our 10th anniversary in March! Amazing! I have continued to work on digital scrapbooking in small doses as the time allows.
17. Continue developing my creative tendencies - nothing new has developed here since my painting earlier in the year, and other than my growing passion for modifying clothes with my future sewing machine. I have one painting left promised, just waiting for a selected subject.
18. Celebrate Recovery – this is now a husband and wife team effort, we are both leaders on the core team and it has renewed my passion for the ministry, I see a place for it in my life more long term now and I see how it will continue to evolve to in our lives, changing as our lives change. I see more and more growth in our consistent participants, it's amazing to see God's transforming power in person. I see potential for so many people I know to have a place there were they can help others. It's truly an inspiring and humbling place to be.

This is an ever evolving category, having been blessed with more gifts than I feel I'm capable of using, God keeps stretching me and using what He gave me in new ways. It's exciting and scary and sometimes overwhelming, and I feel like a lot of it is for the moment to bless people (and me in the process). I can wish I had more time for what I prefer, but really when I weigh the blessings I feel have been heaped on me since I allow my gifts to be guided by God, it's no contest. So that is what I will continue to do.

Stewardship of My Communities
19. Marriage community – In the last 6 months I can't believe how I've fallen in love all over again with my husband. Not because of some book we read (although I've tried that too), not because of that intentional face-to-face or shoulder-to-shoulder quality time we learned about earlier in the year (but coincidentally, these have improved as well), not because of anything we've done on purpose to grow closer. Some of it is a happy byproduct of a happier husband, a few key shifts in where we've aimed our future, but I'd say 80% of it is serving side by side each other for quite a few hours every week. It has given us so much to bond over, pray together over, invest in together, uplift each other in, get ambitious with together, etc.
20. Winnipeg Community – Volunteering at a program like CR I feel is having impact outside our Church walls, into not only the neighborhood, but city and province too. Donating blood is something I hope to continue more of as well.
21. Friend/Family/Neighbour Community –
We volunteered at a block party for our neighborhood, hosted by our Church, which was such a blessing to see, witnessing parents be able to enjoy their kids enjoying all the free activities, a lot of things they may never have been able to afford to give them on their own.
22. Aunty Community – surprisingly I was able to spend more time with my nephews from Altona than my neices and nephew in Steinbach this year, but mostly in Winnipeg due to my sister's effort. I did get 2 visits at work when Jodi once brought Avery and once brought Landon though. I hope to carve in some intentional time, 2 times a year per family next year.
23. Friend Community - we have had no shortage of chances to hang out with friends, I can hardly recall a week that has gone by without the chance to spend quality time with one dear friend or another, some of it has been overlapping small groups stuff, technically part of our Church community, but our best friends are from Church so that's just the way it happens!
24. Church Community – my intention was to host and get to know more people at Church through hosting, but hosting hasn't been necessary for this to community to explode in our lives. I did however get to host 3 events in our home, exceeding my goal.
25. Small Group Community – we finally started our small group at the beginning of November and even after the first night we knew we were a community that would become a family, we were all in and eager to dive in deeper together. This has been proven absolutely true over the last 2 months, God brought this group together for a reason.

This year taught me a lot about cherishing the people in your life now while you have them. Nothing is as important as investing in the life-giving communities in your life, those that are like extended family, who you are really sharing life with. Find more reasons to be with them.  Be life-giving in return. 

Stewardship of My Growth
26. Continue to step out of my comfort zone – I'm finding I don't really say 'that's not me', it's more like, "it needs to be done? ok, I'll try!" My comfort zone has been expanded though!
27. Media fast Tuesday evenings – This has been actually quite easy to do most nights of the week, because we are too busy or t.v. has become a quiet hubby & me time, so I don't watch much without him. My desire was really to say God time is more important than my media 'addiction' but there isn't much of a media addiction to speak of anymore. However, now it's a lot of God related activities that I have put ahead of my God time, and I just heard recently, don't even let Bible reading get more important than God time. So I'll speak to that in a few points.
28. Read at least 6 books, at least 4 non-fiction – I read 5 books, all non-fiction. I picked up but never finished one fiction book. I think I put more effort into reading books about God than actually spending in His Word or with Him. This is leading me to a new challenge for my spiritual growth.
29. Bible Reading and Prayer – In more frequent amounts I have been reading scripture and praying, thanks to a lot of intentionality on my part. I have started reading the Bible with highlighters on hand so I can colour code what stands out to me as to why, and while it makes for slower Bible reading that's really what I wanted, more comprehension. Now I am trying to be more intentional about my actual God time, the time I spend talking to Him, not just interceeding for others, and the time I spend listening to what He's trying to tell me. I am blessed that I feel like my 'tuner' is finally on His station, and I can pick up on His voice even when I'm not intentionally listening, but it is the intentional times I want to increase with Him. I want to build a deeper relationship with Him.

I am amazed at where God has grown me and how much He has grown me this year, placing just the right people and information in my life at the right moments to propel me forward. I wish I knew what I did to open this floodgate into my life, but I will do whatever I can for more of Him and less of me.

Stewardship of Living My Life
30. Take a short road trip within Manitoba – I've taken 2 road trips down south since the beginning of June, a birthday party in Altona for my nephew who turned 2, and then as I mentioned down to Winkler for the birth of his little brother.
31. Go to some kind of art showing – while still of interest to me, I have found other ways more definitive of 'living my life'.
32. Pamper myself – I think I've had sufficient 'me' time in my schedule, and just having the time is pampering, although I did get a mani-pedi and 'real salon' hair appointment in there too.
33. Relax – Thanks to hubby, I'm much better in tune with when relaxing is needed, and I act on it much quicker for my and our sakes. I now realize I want this time to be separate from my quiet time with God, because while sometimes relaxing does mean needing quiet - away from noise and hustle and bustle, it isn't always. And God deserves time for Him that isn't shared with time for my own recuperation.

'Living my life' was an intentional item I wanted to build stewardship over because I used to let lists dictate my life.  I have grown so much in this area and even though I still have a bunch of lists, they are what I can do when the time or inclination is right, or for reference, but they are not the same as my schedule and I don't have to put a lot of effort into making sure I'm actually living my life rather than doing it. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas Spectacular

I past our local concert hall to see an advertisement for 'A Christmas Spectacular'. I don't know why but description made me take notice. Not in a good way.

Spectacular. (spk-tky-lr)
adj. - of or resembling a spectacle; impressive, grand, sensational or dramatic;sensational in appearance or thrilling in effect;having a quality that thrusts itself into attention
n. - an elaborate display; a dramatic and/or lavishly produced performance 

Even in the dictionary, they used "they put on a Christmas spectacular" as an example. That's what Christmas has become, a spectacle. People producing lavish decorations, elaborate gifts, sensational parties, putting their homes on display, putting themselves on performance mode, trying to be impressive, trying to get attention.

If you want impressive, how about a teenage girl, pregnant out of wedlock and she decides to keep the baby. And her fiance, who isn't the father, decides to stick around, marry her and raise the child.

If you want sensational, that illegitimate child was the legitimate Son of God.
 If you want a thrilling party, invite a multitude of angels to appear in the sky above and declare praise to God.

If you want prominent, how about one single brilliant star placed in the sky as a beacon declaring to the world that the greatest king on earth was just born.

If you want lavish, how about baby gifts that included gold, frankincense, and myrrh, standard gifts to honor a king or deity in the ancient world.

If you want dramatic, how about a jealous king who ordered nationwide infanticide, that all baby boys under the age of 2 be murdered to eliminate that threat of a new king.

The first Christmas was indeed spectacular all on it's own. It's miraculous story has inspired songs, performances, displays, lights, gifts, celebrations, yet today somehow that stripped down story fails to get the attention.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Annual Alcorn Christmas Letter - 2012

Dearest Family & Friends,                                                          December 2012
Merry Christmas to all our loved ones!  This year has been quite the rollercoaster, some high peaks, some low valleys, and we’ve been thrown for a few loops as well! It’s almost hard to believe all that has happened in a short 12 months, so I’ll try to do it justice in this short letter summarizing our year.

Sean saw his 10th anniversary milestone reached at Skybridge this past August, with no fanfare and no changes either. I had mentioned last December, Sean had not yet felt God’s nudge to move on, but that his heart’s desire was to be able to work at a Christian organization. We knew that would very likely include a lifestyle change, so at that time we began to scale back our expenses and made significant progress.  In July, after about 5-6 months of also committing weekly to serving in the same Recovery program I do, Sean realized he had a natural ability and desire to serve people with his insight and ability to guide towards good choices and he had an epiphany he would do well in a career as a counselor. After a lot of confirmation this was a God-guided path he signed up for his first course, Introduction to Counseling at Red River which began in September. He just received his final grade this weekend, 100%! Sean clearly has an instinctive aptitude for this profession.  We have been very excited about this shift in his path and were now financially prepared to put him through school for the next few years.

Then, suddenly, we were once again set upon a new and different path mid-August. It actually began last December when Sean had taken a tour of the new Youth For Christ building, and this is where his heart for working in a Christ-Centered organization really swelled. He found out there was a Human Resources position open (his first run at education, if you recall, was a Human Resources certificate) and applied. But then he didn’t hear anything, 8 months went by when all of a sudden he was emailed by the Director, John Courtney, for an interview. After a series of meetings through the fall, in November Sean was offered the position of Human Resources Director at YFC. Because YFC is a non-profit organization, every staff position is considered a missions position and as such they all raise 100% of their salary, Sean included. John has initiated an assertive start date goal of Jan.7th and so we are now fully immersed in raising support for Sean, a very new territory to both of us. We have been so blessed by the people in our life who have stepped forward to join us as ministry partners, and if any of you would consider becoming our ministry partners, whether with prayer support, or investing financially (it is a tax deductible donation), all we would need is a mailing address for YFC to send documents to set things up. Any and all support is welcome.

So, after all that exciting news, my year hasn’t been nearly as eventful J I am now just past the 5.5 year mark at Golder Associates and it continues to be a blessing, challenging work that I enjoy with people I call friends.  We have been steadily growing this past year with a significant boost in our business development with 3 senior hires between September and this upcoming February. We have a conservative plan to double in size in the next 3 years and my manager has made it very clear over the last few months that he wants to grow my role alongside our office’s growth, utilizing my strengths and passions, and emphasizing the value of what I can and have yet to contribute.  I continue to feel so appreciated and affirmed in my abilities and hopefully see a long career at Golder ahead of me.

As for our ‘part-time’ work at our Church Riverwood, we continue to spend an average of 6 hours a week serving in the same Recovery ministry, which has been running for 15 months now.  Our core leadership team has now grown to include 2 other leaders, Sean being one of those leaders. I continue my role handling resources and promotions, and I now have a small team in this area that are a great help.  I also lead a women’s support group for anxiety, codependence, food issues, and more.  Sean has stepped up to share our training coach leadership and has already led some much needed training sessions for our leaders, as well as leading the Newcomers session to orient new attendees on our program.  I was privileged to be able to have my expenses paid to attend a summit at Saddleback Church in California (where Celebrate Recovery was founded) for a week in August, it was such an encouragement and so inspirational, we came away feeling renewed in our ministry.  Hopefully Sean and I will get to go together next year!

As part of being in a leadership position our roles also include teaching for our large group about every other month, which Sean is also a natural at, in fact before he announced he was taking Counseling in school several people guessed he was going to Seminary for becoming a Pastor.  I, on the other hand, have had my battles with public speaking over the years, but having spoken 6 times now I can definitely see how far God has brought me in this ability.  In fact, one of our worship team volunteers had a teaching practicum in a grade 12 health class studying disorders and asked if I would mind sharing my struggles with anxiety in front of her class.  I agreed and think I did remarkably well considering high-school students used to be a big source of anxiety in and of itself!  Every step along the way we see God working in us and through us, it continues to be such a gift for us to be His instrument of transformation.

Some of our other hours at Riverwood have been spent in two particular areas. Sean has developed a mentor relationship with one of our Pastors who leads Discipleship and Connecting ministries, so Sean has served alongside him in various capacities in those areas.  We also wanted to volunteer at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit again, as our Church has hosted it for the last several years, so we took a week of vacation in October to serve on the registration team, and a few other areas. Once again we were both able to take in a lot of the awesome speakers in addition to getting to know fellow Riverwooders as we served alongside them, which made for a very enjoyable and exhausting few days.

The rest of our free time we have been connecting with family and friends that have been multiplying as the years go on.  We have made many friends through serving and our circle of loved ones keeps expanding. We joined a small group in the fall that has been heaven sent, we finally have a place where we can feel we’re going to as an outlet for our needs to get met, and the people we meet with could have only been the result of God’s networking.  And adding a nephew to the family this year gave us many excuses to spend extra time with my family.  We couldn’t feel more fortunate to be surrounded by the people God has planted us amongst.  Our ever growing support system has especially blessed us throughout 2012.  First we were overwhelmed with prayers and support during the very difficult time in July during my mom’s heart attack, triple bypass surgery and subsequent healing.  Then the outpouring of support continued as Sean has transitioned in his career path.  Or when my sister was hospitalized with severe abdominal pain. There are just too many times to mention when people knew just the right time to say or do just the right thing, and that kind of blessing is only possible when you open up to living in transparent community.

Well, 2 pages can’t be called a ‘nutshell’ but that’s the summary of 2012 for the Alcorns.  I am very much looking forward to a new year, I am hoping for new challenges but hopefully some less stressful ones!  I know God isn’t done stretching us yet, but I look forward to where He will continue to move us and prove Himself faithful.  Thank you for being a part of our lives 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 2013. 

                Love, Lori & Sean

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Questionnaire

Haven't done one of these in awhile....

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both. I prefer the look of wrapped packages, especially glittery bows and swirls of ribbon, but I'm not that great at the 'perfect wrap', particularily on odd shaped packages, so I often default to a bag.

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial - when I have one.

3. When do you put up the tree? When the tree goes up it goes up no sooner than the first weekend in December.

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually New Year's Day.

5. Do you like eggnog? For my own sake I have to not allow it in my house until Dec. 1st. They keep selling it earlier and earlier each year though! So hard to not buy for most of November.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? My cabbage patch doll. I waited so long for one, I even got a fake one that just didn't do.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Technically. This porcelain nativity tealight holder.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Believe it or not, hubby! I've mentioned we don't do gifts for our families, other than kids, and even hubby and I have agreed on a large gift together for many years. Sean just tends to have very little wants, he's a minimalist and what he does spend money on he buys as he wants through the year (like books), or on concerts as they come up - typically not around Christmas time.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My neice Brooklynn, she's pretty creative and now that she likes scrapbooking, this year's present was a cinch! ;)

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? It's a funny story actually. It was the year my sisters got married and mom had bought one of them a toaster oven for a wedding present, but they received another one as well, so mom knew we wanted one and offered it to us as a Christmas present later that year. Mom and dad also happened to move that year, for the first time in 12 years, and it took some looking before mom could find the toaster oven, but she finally did, wrapped it up and gave it to me at our gathering. I unwrapped the box and when I opened it, on top was a lovely Christmas stationary. I love stationary so it didn't register, but as I got deeper into the box (which did have a toaster oven on the side) it was a bunch of miscellaneous items thrown in, some even left over from my grandma's old belongings who had passed away 6 years earlier. A box o' crap. :) It was really quite hilarious. Mom never did find that toaster oven, can't even remember what I did end up getting instead.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Both, and I hand them out in person too, a combo of all 3.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Some people say it isn't a Christmas movie but I've watched it at Christmas just about every year since I was a kid....Sound of Music.  I love that movie. Wizard of Oz, second favorite (and yes, it's a Christmas movie for same reason :)

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Well, since I intentionally only shop for 5 each year, and occasionally, as the season unfolds, add another gift or two to the list, I don't feel the need to start early. Also, since those 5 gifts are for children, whose tastes can change as fast as they can, I typically don't start until December.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Not that I know of. I have given old gifts away years later but not as a gift.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? We call them papanate (?) or pfefferneuse cookies. Christmas isn't Christmas until I have at least one.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Either, it mostly depends on the colour coordination of the ornaments.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Oh Little Town of Bethlehem by Amy Grant.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel. Boxing day in Steinbach every year.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? All nine ;)

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Depends how long I've had to stare at gifts under a tree. Since we haven't had a tree for years, I've been able to wait until Christmas day.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The song Domino the Donkey, PUH-lease! If I never hear that song again it's too soon.

23. What I love most about Christmas? Family. Family. Family.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Humbug Reduction

It just so happens it took exactly one month for me to sum up enough Christmas soul (not spirit, I'm sure I already have the Christmas spirit), to decide to add a little Christmas decor to my home.

After watching Steven and Chris on a half day off I saw a few great decorating ideas that seemed cat-proof enough I was willing to try some, and a few others I could have time for next year.

Here's my spontaneous effort done yesterday.
Then, I gifted more than I said I would. I created fun little food gifts - partially to remove the temptation from my home but also because I do love giving and sharing.

Now I'm listening to Boney M's Christmas CD as I write my annual Christmas letter, get our Christmas photo card ready to mail, and contemplate my last 2 gifts to buy (out of 6). Humbug Reduction complete.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Truthful Thursday

Does this sound like the description of a Church you know, or what you figure Churches are about?

The people of the Church were inconsistent and often gave up on studying the Bible. The community was apathetic and unconnected, rarely sharing more than shallow conversation and white-washed prayer requests.  The teachers among them could not bring about healing or miracles because of the lack of belief among them. The people treated the signs God did give them with disinterest and irreverence. They found it difficult to trust and rely on Jesus Christ, which made adhering to his teachings a struggle. The people couldn’t live in harmony or unite over their similarities; they couldn’t see all that they had in common. And when those among them were in need they couldn’t find it in their hearts to share their belongings, they had no money to spare and hoarded all their possessions for themselves.  While the people found their way to Church most Sundays, they were too busy to stay after Church to fellowship, they would go their separate ways, each to their own homes, and not stay in touch throughout the week.  Their choices produced lives they could not celebrate, they felt they had no reason to praise God, and their hypocrisy lost the respect of those who knew them. The number of their Church community dwindled every day.

This is actually a translation of Acts 2:42-47, a translation called 'the Jon Courtney Jr. Reverse' translation. We were priveleged to hear this one time only reading last week at Church and boy did it make a point. Quite a few of the Churches I have known, or have heard about from jaded friends, has sounded a lot more like the opposite description of the Acts Church, the community that added thousands to it's numbers consistently.  Here is how they actually did that:

42And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship. They shared everything with each other, they shared life together, the breaking of bread, and the prayers.  
43 Everyone around was in awe, and were in reverential fear, at all those wonders and miraculous signs done through the apostles! And everyone felt great respect for God.
44 And all who believed (those who adhered to and trusted in and relied on Jesus Christ) were united, living in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common.
45 And according as any had need they sold their possessions and their land, pooling their resources so that each person’s need was met.
46 They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration. They partook of their food with gladness and simplicity and generous hearts.
47 The believers praised God and were respected by all the people. More and more people were being saved every day, and the Lord was adding them to their group.

I am so glad I found a community of believers who are closer to the second than first translation, a blessing to be sure.

Friday, November 30, 2012

this week at work

At Golder:
55 month end invoices to enter
25 carafes of coffee made
19 meals/snacks ordered/prepared/arranged for...
10-14 additional people in our office (that's double our staff) Tu-Fr
8 loads of dishes in the dishwasher
5 additional garbage bags (large) to haul out of our kitchen
4 hours of overtime (paid!)

2 evenings of napping/resting
1 huge thank you to me by our Canadian President in front of the Canadian Management Team.

Meanwhile, Sean's week was:
40/40 on his 'skilled helper' demonstration assignment at school
38 letters signed, stuffed, mailed for YFC
3 hours of overtime (unpaid)
1 day off
1 (excellent, if I may say so) essay completed and turned in at school on how he views the role of a 'skilled helper'.

What a week.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Good News!

Since the day I met my husband, Sean, I knew there was this ambition to make a difference in the world that stirred deep within him. He was taking Human Resources in school as we started dating and graduated shortly after we were married, with the goal of better relationships in work places. But even deeper than that I saw a need in him to improve people's lives. There have been a lot of challenges in moving towards that goal over these last 12 years.

Last winter Sean went to tour the new Youth For Christ building here in Winnipeg, even we had never really had a strong connection with that organization (other than our first Church together in Winnipeg was at the YFC firehall and now our current Church owns that same firehall) but grew more interested as the controversy in our city grew over the government offering the land to YFC for the goal of impacting inner city kids rather than an aboriginal or 'anything but Christian' organization. We wanted to go together but I was out in Steinbach the day of the tour so Sean went alone. At the time, this was not a Sean-like thing to do, but he went. It was a self-guided tour after the opening ceremonies, so as he wandered through he stopped to watch a skate park filled with about a 100 teens, and Sean felt a tug from God on his heart there. Another atypical Sean thing, his passion had never been kids. Regardless, because of that tug he dug in real deep with God about wanting to pursue working in any place that could make him feel that heart tug, a job where he feels challenged and like he's contributing to the world not just to our pockets. So he ended up looking at their website for job postings and there was an HR manager posting.

Now, it just so happens that the director of YFC, John Courtney, is an elder at our Church, Riverwood. A week before this tour we had a member meeting at Church and they were discussing possibly hiring an HR person at Church as well, and people interested should talk to John, so Sean did, and emailed him his resume. That got passed on to our pastor who then contacted Sean to say they were going in a different direction. So Sean sent in his resume to YFC as well, mentioning to John, 'this is the guy at Riverwood who just talked to you about HR at Riverwood'.

We didn't hear anything back.

The YFC job got long forgotten, Sean still wasn't quite sure about where to pursue new work. He asked God to show him if he should stay and suffer through, because he had a wage and hours that helped us invest so much of ourselves in our Church, which we have really dove into over the last year. Or, he asked if there was a job out there that could mean more to him, because serving in our Church community had grown a hunger in Sean to get so much more joy and growth out of work. Serving at Church in the various different capacities we have taken on in the last year have been hard work, long hours, challenging people, BUT, so rewarding. For example, we take vacation each year to volunteer at a Leadership Summit held at our Church, we work longer hours than a normal work day but it's an awesome experience. After we returned to our jobs Sean felt this gap even more so, between God's work and his job. But he didn't seem to be getting any answers.

Until August.
There was a situation in Sean's life in August, God was asking him to do something he didn't want to do, but he finally did it anyway. Within 15 minutes of doing this thing he got an email from John Courtney inviting him to an interview for the HR manager position still available at YFC. His wife works in the same office space at Church as our ministry director of Friday nights and she has also been our volunteer coordinator when we volunteer at the Leadership Summit, so his wife was becoming very familiar with us through serving at Church, and while John mentioned he couldn't recall meeting Sean he said that his wife spoke very highly of him. So that meeting happened in late August. John said he would pray about it and get some discernment from other decision makers around YFC and get back to Sean, encouraging Sean to do the same as all YFC positions are 100% raised support.

A little over a month later John called Sean back for another meeting. This time to tell Sean they would like to hire him, talking more with Sean about being comfortable with raising support, and then proceeding with the logistics of a formal application with reference checks. Sean and I had been preparing ourselves for what life would look like if we were on support. Interestingly enough, God had been laying it on my heart over the last 2 years to release my finances to His wisdom. I've mentioned here before how fiscally organized (ok, controlling) I can be, and as you've seen in my posts here I've been working at being a better steward of what God's given us. I've always been contentious of living well within our means, but in the past I've been very much a worry-wart about a secure future financially. God finally helped me get over that, and has been preparing my heart for what it would look like if Sean took a job with a much lower wage, and that became my goal, to find a way we could live on the lowest possible amount so Sean could pursue wherever his dreams led, no matter the income.

So, Sean decided to move forward onto the next step with YFC, he submitted those references mid-October and was just last week called back for another meeting at YFC. I am happy to say that as of Nov. 15th Sean formally accepted the position of HR Manager at YFC (on condition of support), he will likely start somewhere around Jan.7th provided he raises a certain amount of support between now and then. Sean is still pursuing his counseling certificate, in fact YFC has counseling positions as well, so who knows what will happen once he's finished school, but John is aware of Sean's school and is very supportive and thinks it's part of what makes Sean a good fit.

Anyway, we are so very happy for this God-led direction for Sean, clearly recognizing this is exactly where God has been leading us over the last few years, and we are so glad we have had the faith to follow blindly.  No matter how much faith you have in God He can always find a way to stretch it :) While this is still a step of faith for us, as we’re not sure what this adventure will yet ask of us, we know we are surrounded by people who support us in so many ways, and a lot of that support has come from you, my friends.

While I wanted to share this good news, this amazing shift in our lives, I also wanted to support Sean by sharing some of the responsibility to raise support. While the term 'supporter' is used in this situation (and many of you have already been supporters of us through the years, through prayers and encouragement) we find that term too one-sided and that's not what we are looking for. We are looking for ministry partners, people we feel can be ministered to by the work Sean will be able to do, who feel that tug of the heart Sean first felt at YFC, who maybe have a passion for helping an organization that helps keep kids off the streets - out of gangs, and who want to partner with us to make that happen. If that is not you, please don't feel any pressure or obilgation, we feel that support is something that naturally flows out of relationship and it is mutual. That is what we are pursuing. That being said, if any of you would consider becoming our ministry partners, whether with prayer support, or investing financially (it is a tax deductible donation), all we would need is a mailing address for YFC to send documents to set things up. Any and all support is welcome.

Thank you so much for stopping in to read about our good news! I hope to have many future posts about the exciting work God is doing in our lives through this opportunity. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sometimes I feel like a humbug

Talking to someone recently about Christmas preparations I realized as I talked about what I wasn't doing or wasn't looking forward to, I felt somewhat like I was raining humbug on their Christmas parade.

Speaking of parades, we don't go to the Santa Claus parade. It's Winterpeg, it's cold! I don't like being cold. I see more impressive floats on the t.v. airing stuff from the States, in my nice cozy home anyway.

I have no decorations because I have cats, and I prefer them alive. Not even lights outside, because again, that means going out in the cold, and neither of us like heights. Don't get me wrong, tastefully done Christmas decorations are beautiful and I like looking at them, just not worth the work for in my own home. I'll look at them at the mall or driving in the nice areas of town.

Speaking of the mall, I will be there at an absolute minimum after Nov.11th,I have exactly 5 gifts to buy, for the kidlings, because they are kidlings and they enjoy receiving much more than adults. And they don't feel obligated to give me something back because 'that's what you do at Christmas.' Christmas used to be such an exercise of trying to figure out what each person would want or need, and it isn't that I don't truly want to give them something to show I care, but I feel I can better show I care by spending quality time with them, rather than a gift that likely just clutter up their home. And feeling like receiving gifts was doing the same to others. My immediate family was the first to catch on to that 7 years ago, and now Sean's family has as of last year as well. So only gifts of our company and great memories for everyone but the kids.

I am very particular about my Christmas music. Maybe it's the kind of music we all grew up with that turns into memories rather than personal taste, but I cannot stand 50% of secular Christmas songs. There are a handful I really love like Carol of the Bells, The Holly & The Ivy, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, Silver Bells, Snoopy's Christmas (Snoopy vs The Red Baron). Other than that, strictly CHRIST-mas songs are my personal choice. Even with songs I love I get tired of them pretty quickly, I don't like listening earlier than Dec. 1st because then I'm just sick of them by the day I would actually like to enjoy them. Never mind the annoying 'Christmas' songs about hippos and Dominic the donkey, a couple of days is enough to drive me over.the.edge.

Even the food. You would think, at least Lori likes the food part of Christmas. Well, yes and no. I enjoy the food that Christmas is known for, to be sure, but it is a bit like an alcoholic celebrating Christmas at a vineyard. It's a temptation fighting season, holiday drinks at Starbucks, candy canes and chocolate passed around the office, cookies to bake, and then of course the Christmas dinners, we average about 4-5 of them. It's hard to say no thanks when these goodies are often equal to gifts but I am finding my ways to not let myself overdose, although it is a bit of an internal battle.

The one thing I can whole-heartedly get on board with is all the Christmas gatherings, I love our office Christmas party, our family gatherings, the Church events, the extra social outings with friends because, as I mentioned, that's what I try to gift my friends. To me, all the rest could (mostly) fade away, but as long as I have all those dear to me in my close company over the holidays, I feel like I am experiencing the true reason for joy behind the season. God sent His Son to break down separations between us all, to make us all one in Christ.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

48 days until....

No, not Christmas. That is 41 days.

Nope, it's 48 days until it's no longer 2012.

I'm ready for the year to be over.

The year Sean got badly bit by a dog.

The year my aunt's (mom's sister) kidneys shut down and had to start dialysis, had complications, got septic, is now almost blind.

The year my mom had her heart attack.

The year my uncle (husband of mom's other sister) died of cancer, after only a few weeks of notice and lots of pain.

The year my mother-in-law also starts getting unexplainable chest pains.

The year so many of my friends have had their loved ones die suddenly.

One of my best friends is experiencing sudden and extreme fatique as well as numbness in her body. So far tests have come back 'clear' and a hastened neurologist appointment didn't find anything, which in this situation is not good.

Then my sister Jodi has an attack of pain early Tuesday morning (she has had these acid build up pains for  years, that usually come every so often and last a couple of hours), that lasted longer than usual and so she went to the hospital where they gave her morphine for a couple more hours. Turns out she has gall stones now as well. She is waiting for a surgeon referral and a scope, so that hopefully they can find more than they did the last time they looked into it 11 years ago.

And that is just the physical pain. So many of my loved ones are experiencing afflictions of varying kinds and degrees this year! What's stranger still is that outside of the pain in the lives of those surrounding me, my life has been so uplifting, hopeful and full of promise this year. I feel like I'm in the eye of a hurricane, it is eerily calm and peaceful.

I don't know if I can blame it on 2012, but I certainly am hoping 2013 brings more joy and less pain than 2012 did.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Laughter is the best medicine

I heard a statistic the other day, that 'they' have been tracking this since at least the depression, which is how many minutes we spend a day laughing on average.

If I had to wager a guess, on average, I say I'd spend 15-30 minutes a day laughing, partly due to shows like Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother.

Partly because I watch video clips from The Skit Guys.

Partly because I have co-workers with a pretty good sense of humor.

Some of my best friends will quote BBT with me over and over, and we laugh at the show again as well as our rendition.

My family, especially my mom and my sisters keep me in stitches at every gathering.

But I'd say the biggest reason is because my husband is a riot. He tries to make me laugh a lot. We just have a sense of humor that is in sync so we'll just look at each other in a situation and laugh because we know we're thinking the same thing. We enjoy being silly and not taking ourselves too seriously. We also quote BBT and Skit Guys tirelessly (but we never get tired of it).

The average amount of laughter in homes during the Great Depression and World War II was about 15 min. Today, sadly, it is 2 minutes. Wow! Hard to imagine that many people live with so little laughter. Makes me feel incredibly blessed!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tis the Season

There is a season for everything

This is my season of a lot of status quo

This is my season of pouring into other people

This is my season to uplift my husband in his time of flourishing

This is my season of foundational truths

This is my season of falling in love all over again

I wish this season lent itself to more blog-worthy posts, but these blessings are a little too personal to share on a world-wide platform. I'm itching for some more shareable material and the time to write it, as soon as I hope that season comes I really can't imagine being in a much better season than right now.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monthly Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Here's my monthly collection of ordinary happenings and moments I don't want to forget. I have a lot to catch up on this time because I actually missed the September post, it's been a chaotic few months and I needed the break from a few things, mostly internet for anything other than vegging in front of.

Anyway, without further ado...

~ after I came back from California, hubby and I had one weekend of 'just us' time before the seemingly never ending busy weekends began. we spent it watching the last of the comic book movies, the latest and last Batman and my belated birthday celebrations.

~ the first weekend we had our quarterly wrestling gang get-to-gether, but my one gal pal's kitty had to be put down so she wasn't able to make it, of course the rest of us couldn't quite enjoy the evening wholeheartedly after hearing the news :(

~ the next weekend was our annual Braun BBQ out at my uncle's farm near Niverville. ended up talking a lot about sewing, a recent hobby for my 2 closest cousins and I, interestingly enough. It's also interesting the dynamics developing between the 4th generation cousins, I love watching them play new things together, like this year it was lawn bowling.
I was in the middle of a FB photo challenge so I took these cool pics of my uncle's barn and old car.

~ the next weekend was the long weekend but it wasn't long enough! Saturday was just a normal day of errands.... Sunday I took a turn on the 'summer' nursery schedule to give the regulars a break. then mom took my sisters and I, and by default, Paxton :) out to a Goldeyes game for a girls day out. we rarely ever pay attention to the game, often caught up in our visiting more, but after almost getting hit by 2 pop up balls we had to watch somewhat closely! it was good to see mom mostly back to 'normal', it was easy to forget just 2 months ago she looked so different in a hospital bed. Pax really seemed to enjoy his time out with us too :)

~ then Sean and I took Monday to ourselves because we haven't had a stat holiday to ourselves New Years! we celebrated by doing as little of anything as possible together :)
~ in the midst of all that, during our weeks were busy with a lot of Celebrate Recovery collaboration meetings to figure out the best way to move forward on all the information we had poured into our minds, and hearts, at the Summit. I spent a lot of time compiling information for training, for promotions, for leadership resources, etc. not to mention it was our year anniversary shortly and we wanted to focus on relaunching with new initiatives and starting off our 2nd year right!
Sean was also invited in to the core TEAM for CR, our Training coach needing to take a slight step back and so we needed an additional T to ensure we could still accomplish all we needed. it's so amazing to see God stir up a heart for this in Sean over the last year, and exciting to be serving so closely with my husband. we are so thankful we have each other through this sometimes very challenging ministry. we couldn't do it without each other, that's for sure!
~ I also finally had a chance to have a little creative fun and finally finish my sister's birthday present (long overdue, due to the skipped over birthday season).
even though their adoption from Ethiopia is in the air, I know they still have a heart for Africa, so it inspired my collagart gift for her.

~ was able to stick in another girls' night, a friend who is an esthetician and was using it to raise money for Bible school so our gang of girls who all had grown close participated and got some pedi's! the only thing missing for our evening was some Big Bang Theory, but I think we may have quoted it enough to make up for it.
~ then I had a baby shower to plan and help host, for my sister Tami and Paxton, we held off until her sister-in-law from Alberta was going to be out here, and then along with her, her mom, my mom and my sister Jodi, we hosted a double family + friends shower on Sept. 8th. it was even a lot of fun just putting it together as it was during the shower, and even with all those women in one room I managed to get some quality Paxton time :)
~ the next weekend Sean joined me at the baseball diamond off Perimeter near Main to watch my brother-in-law play baseball, but more to spend time with Tami and the boys. it was windy, as usual, but a little warmer than most years. we had a good time visiting, cuddling Paxton, and 'sharing' food with Teigon who wanted what was in everyone else's hand but his own :)

~ on the 19th Sean began his first Wednesday evening course for school and he is enjoying it tremendously! he comes home every Wed. anxious to share some ernest learning points (occasionally it's to prove he knew something before it was taught ;) and then often remembers other examples or points of note throughout the week as well. I am so happy he is already feeling so validated in this choice, and that he has become instantly a much happier person even though he is still at the same job for now.

~ September wasn't without it's tough points. friendships and ministry collided for a bit. I believe it was all sorted out with most friendships still intact, other than one of Sean's, and that has been a struggle. it's tough being leaders occasionally, making decisions for the whole of the ministry sometimes contradicts how we feel about individuals, but we feel God has stretched us and tested us and that we've been able to act with love and integrity. it's also hard because the same issue has affected us outside of ministry as well, as we try to be there for a couple who are experiencing things we haven't, but we continue to try to just be the best friends we can, offer whatever support and encouragement we can, and learning that often that is all that is needed.

~ I also gave my testimony again at CR, and having just been diving into a more thorough understanding of co-dependence for the sake of my CR small group, I learned so much about how I wasn't the only co-dependent in my past relationship, and I saw his choices through fresh perspective. I really delved into the denial I was in, some by ignorance, some by choice, and it's tough witness in hindsight the bad choices I made but I know that since I love who I am now (that's a huge move forward!) I have to embrace everything that made me who I am today. it all gave God a lot of ways to show me grace, a foundational piece in my redemption.

~ I decided to change up my hair again. for a few reasons I'm planning on going back to my natural hair colour, partly because I want to grow it long again. first step, go shorter to go healthier. here's the first step look.

~ our Blue Bombers haven't been doing so well this year, so Sean was reluctant to enjoy the tickets my dad gives us from his season tickets once a year, this year on the 29th. it was actually hard to find anyone who could go, a lot of people had plans but I ended up being able to hang out with my Cuz Pam. I started inviting anyone just willing to hang with me for a couple of hours! Pam accepted and we had a chance to catch up but also somewhat enjoy watching, even though we lost.

~ the next day was an early start as we went to the early Church service so we could help set up for the blockparty our Church was hosting. we set up a booth for our ministry, we wandered as greeters, we roamed around chatting with the friends we don't often get to see, some we haven't seen at Riverwood ever but we were friends before from another Church. it was a gorgeous day (+25 weather!), a huge turnout, so many events to check out, a great time! and all for free to our Elmwood neighbors!

~ Thanksgiving was a weekend with a lot to be thankful for. health for both our moms, being part of families who enjoy spending time together, having a lot of good food available to us, great friends, a great Church...

~ Thanksgiving weekend was a baptism weekend at Church and we had one at each service to go to, so that meant getting up for the 9:15 service 2 weeks in a row. I always get choked up at baptisms, these were no exeptions. one man was introduced to us through Celebrate Recovery, it has been amazing to see the transformation over the last year. the other was the husband of my good friend who just got married this last June. it's been a blessing to get to know them as a couple now as well, and we were so happy to witness this declaration!

~ Thanksgiving weekend always brings with it birthday celebrations for my hubby. this year I tried to surprise him (a dangerous and often unsuccessful attempt) with tickets to see Weird Al. he knows just about all parodies off by heart, in fact, he loves to parody songs himself, but I was hoping he still liked him enough to want to see him live. turns out he was pleasantly surprised, enjoyed the concert, even I did, and we were sitting one section over from his brother it just so happens, lol.

~ now we're on vacation, I finally have time to put together this catch up post! we're trying not to do much this week as we took it off to volunteer at the Global Leadership Summit again (hosted by our Church). we both love learning from the leaders who speak, but we have also loved the positions we have volunteered in. it's always a great time of meeting new Riverwooders and hanging out with the ones we already know, lots of laughs and hard work are a great way to bond. well worth working on my days off for :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Video Star - Part Deux

This time I got to share the limelight with my hubby :) Sean and I got to share with our whole Church (and now all of you) why we love serving in Celebrate Recovery.

Celebrate Recovery Winnipeg: Getting to Know Our Leaders - Sean & Lori

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Three things I'm trying to be thankful for:

1.The snow falling today (after +30 C weather this last weekend). My hubby loves the first snow fall, the earlier, the better. Like by his birthday, guess what, his birthday is Monday. And so I will try to be happy with him because I'm thankful for a happy hubby.

2. A very busy week - 6 out of 7 evenings full - while I'm trying to fight a hovering cold. Every single one of these evenings is spent with people I am so blessed to have in my life though, co-workers, ladies small group, the leaders at Recovery, every brave person who walks through our doors at Recovery, and my families. I'm very thankful I am surrounded by such awesome people in my life!

3.Lack of sleep. While I can't be thankful for that, the reasons are blessings; quality time with hubby that we prefer over sleep, staying up late to hear how hubby's school is going when he gets home at 10:30 pm, getting up early to go to the early Church service to watch the baptisms of lives we've seen transform over the last year. All that is totally worth it. If only my cold wasn't also keeping us up the other nights when we otherwise could sleep :( But, hey! At least when I sleep I can sleep soundly, safely, sheltered, and by the side of the one I love most. <3 br="br">

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Pain of Loss

As life marches on we find more and more people in our community circles dealing with very difficult and painful things. Loss of relationship is one that is getting more frequent, whether it is loss through death or loss through seperation/divorce. I am saddened by how often I hear the word divorce increasing amongst people I care about, I can't begin to imagine the pain behind that kind of decision.

But if there is one thing I've learned about pain, it changes you. It can change you for better or for worse, but you will change. It would be so helpful if we could instantly get paired with someone who has walked that road before us and survived, if they could come along side us and help us realize we'll be ok, and help us choose the changes that will be good for us. I have a friend going through a seperation right now and I feel so unhelpful.  I have very little experience with the ending of a committed relationship. I can't offer what I don't have and don't even know she needs.

Fortunately, there are people who have come out of the other side of loss and have found a life full of hope there, and they want to share that hope with others. They volunteer Friday nights at our Church in DivorceCare and GriefShare. I don't often promote my recovery ministry here but I wanted the word to get out past our Church walls about these 2 programs in particular because they only run for 2 sessions each year, rather every week like the central recovery program, and they are both beginning October 12th until January.

If someone you know is hurting, and experiencing loss in their life, make sure he or she knows about these vital support resources. It might just be the best thing you could do to help!

Celebrate Recovery Winnipeg: Divorce Care & Divorce Care for Kids: STARTING OCTOBER 12 @ CELEBRATE RECOVERY - DIVORCECARE is a weekly support group for people who are separated or divorced.
Celebrate Recovery Winnipeg: Grief Share: STARTING OCTOBER 12 @ CELEBRATE RECOVERY - GRIEFSHARE is a weekly support group for people grieving the loss of someone close.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Just a little in love....

actually that's an understatement. made this today :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sick & Tired of Being Sick & Tired

Have I used that title already? Lol. Seems familiar, but of course this is a cycle of life that likes to revisit often.

For someone who doesn't have children I find it odd (and a little worried for the future) that this 'back to school & sports' time of year that keeps everyone else so busy, gets SO busy for me. In between the increased opportunities to hang out with family, the relaunch of Celebrate Recovery, prepping for being a team lead for Global Leadership Summit volunteers, work getting busier again, I am feeling a bit wiped and not seeing much relief until November.

In addition to all that we do have a 'back to school' element this year too, Sean begins his once a week evening courses tonight, and that will go on through to next June, just not sure if it will always be Wednesdays the other semesters. Next year he will have even more evenings away at school. Which will be interesting, because evening courses begin at 6 pm, I only pick him up around 5 pm, we get home somewhere between 5:15-5:30, and then he has about a 30-40 minute drive to school. Looks like the best plan is to leave him with the car downtown and I bus home so that he gets there on time, because I don't want him to have to bus home after from that remote location, he'd probably only get home at 11 pm-ish.  Fun. His supper on Wednesdays is another thing we have yet to figure out :/  But, those are small sacrifices to make considering he is finally on the road to doing something he will love. That makes us both much happier people :)

Then there's the almost instant shift in weather when September hits, the sunshine and vitamin D start diminishing as does my energy. Not to mention the cold that we've been fighting for a week that doesn't make for good quality sleep. I resorted to taking a gravol last night to hopefully keep me 'under' all night and I do feel quite a bit more rested today.

And of course, the emotional element wants to come out and 'play' too. We've been a little consumed with struggles that some friends of ours our going through, and we of course wouldn't want to be anywhere else but along side them trying to support and encourage them, it's just gotten a little complicated and then of course emotional. I also happen to be preparing to give my testimony again this coming up Friday, and so I've been re-writing it a little to update it, but of course that means rehashing those old emotions. I've become much better at that, and I see things with more clarity even from this time last year, but it's hard to let go of things I held onto to just get me through recovery. I know I'm more healthy now for knowing but emotions don't listen to logic very well :)

So yeah, I'm a little wiped. But, life marches on and so I take a little rest (mostly from blogging, sorry!) and carry on.

Monday, September 10, 2012

September Numbers

I can't believe it's already the 10th of September!

It's been 13 days since my last blog post, I haven't been that negligent for a while!

My nephew is 2 months old today! Happy 2-months Paxi! :)

This is Jodi holding Pax at a Goldeyes game where we lost 15-1, but who was counting, mom and my sisters and I were too busy talking and being distracted by our lil' P-nut.

I'm about to begin my 2nd year serving as a leader at our Celebrate Recovery Ministry, wow!

11 more days until I give my testimony is getting easier :)

I'm now on an 8 month count down to my next tattoo, wahoo!

I completed 2 new hire orientations over the last 2 weeks at work, that's a 13% growth in just a span of 8 days!

9 more days until my hubby starts school again!

I finished my 9th collage painting, for a belated birthday gift to my sister Tami.

I, along with my co-hosts, created almost 50 of these mini-7 layer dip cups for my sister's baby shower, for our 25 guests.

 There, it's only the 10th of September, and that's already a lot of numbers (reasons) I had to blog but didn't have the time! :)
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