Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

Meditating on these things to help me turn over my food addiction/self-image problems to God. I actually wrote this right before....especially need to start taking better care of myself now.

God doesn't make trash.

Do not treat your body like a trash can.
(care about what I'm putting into it).

Focus on truth not trash.
(trash = lies spoken convincingly in my own voice).

Everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial. 
(especially helps overcome the lie I can only have self-discipline by eliminating 'bad' foods, instead need to re-learn analyzing 'beneficial').

The wise man builds his firm foundation on Christ and His promises. Trust and Believe.
(I need to make Christ the foundation for my temple, I build on that foundation by obeying, trusting, and claiming His promises).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


My heart is out on the rocky seas of grief.

Tossed around by all that stirs in the deep, dark waters around me.

A wave of depression and anxiety cover me.

I can't breathe.

Dazed I flounder.

Where am I?

Hope floats by, a life preserver.

I can now stay above water.

But I still drift.

I wander.

Until I find my anchor.

The storm still swirls around me, mercilessly blowing me to and fro.

But you won't let me go.

Bound to me, you ground me.

I'm not lost anymore.

My safe harbor.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Even though I walk through the valley

I have used the analogy that life is like a roller coaster quite often, as this post, and this post, and this post, and this post will attest. The parallels are obvious, you get some highs, you get some lows, you get thrown for a loop quite regularly, sometimes you are exhilarated, some times you want to throw up, sometimes you are terrified. As of today I have a new roller coaster analogy.  Sometimes momentum is not enough to get you up the next hill after you've swung through a deep chasm, that's when some added strength is needed, you need that chain to help pull it up to the next peak.

Fertility has been my 7 year long roller coaster ride. The same roller coaster every time, waiting to be able to finally get off and move on to the mother of all roller coasters (haha?). I finally got so sick from the ride I got off of it in 2010. And I say, 'I got off' because I truly felt like Sean wasn't on that ride with me anymore by that point. I think I stopped letting him in the cart with me somewhere along the way. He hadn't really been there for his enjoyment, it had been all for me. And that's a huge part of why I felt sick of the ride, I had no one beside me to share the experience with. But then, almost 2 years later, I felt like I could be ok trying to get back on again....IF Sean was desiring to share the ride with me. And he was! And having him beside me as we started along these tracks again was invigorating, the lows were spent in anticipation of the highs, and in the loops we clung to each other and felt safe throughout. It was more than centrifugal forces keeping us glued to each other, there was a new, industrial-strength bond holding us together and it made the ride so much more wonderful than before, more than I had ever imagined.

Our ride took us to a pinnacle we hadn't reached, together, before.  Maybe it was the exhilaration, maybe it was the high altitude, but we were euphoric.  This was it. Until unexpectedly the ride dive bombed into a spiral downwards. Gravity had no mercy on us, and as we sunk into the lowest valley I had that familiar sickening disassociation of leaving my heart and stomach to free fall behind me.

At first I tried to do what I had done before. Yes. Before.

I had hit that pinnacle, and then sunk to that valley 4 times before. Some times I told Sean after the fact, some I didn't tell him at all. Each time I tried to spare him, or maybe myself. I had trouble understanding what had happened and the abyss it left me in, and I didn't want Sean to have to feel it too. But I also worried he wouldn't feel it at all and that possibility hurt even more. I didn't really tell anyone else either, not sure if sharing would make it more real, or less real, so I swallowed my screams and chugged back up the next hill as best I could.

But this time, I was NOT alone in that cart. I could not hide my despair from the mirror who was glued to my side. And then, I knew I didn't have to. Every thing I felt he felt too. That made it easier and harder all at once. I didn't have to wonder if this was normal to feel so much pain. But I did have to see the heart break on the face of the one I love most. When we hit the bottom and embraced, it was the most beautiful intersection of pain and love I've ever known. And even though the abyss was still there, I had an anchor.

The momentum of life barely allowed us pause, and the push to move forward was persistent.  But we were resistant.  We did not want to leave that grief behind so quickly and easily. We resisted the pull of God, trying to draw us closer to Him. I saw Him on the next peak, and while I was grateful I could see there was another peak, I wanted Him to come down to my valley. I wasn't ready to move out of it yet. I still felt my insides had not yet come out of free fall, my heart had just landed with a thud and it felt 10lbs heavier. I still felt this hollow pit, but it was more than that, it felt vacant where just days before it had not. How that was possible I wasn't quite grasping. The physical vacancy was infinitesimal, but add to that the weight of love, joy, hope, anticipation, and I began to feel my expansive abyss was not only external but internal as well.

It is exhausting, resisting the forward momentum, masking the resistance. And the weight of two heavy hearts in that cart just made it seem so tiring to face chugging back up the next hill. The uplifting would have to be external. We finally realized that the least we could do was stop tiring ourselves out by pretending we're fine. When we did that, on that next peak God gathered those we reached out to and used their hands to start pulling that chain and lifting us up that hill. And once that was taken care of, He came down to the valley and shared in our grief.

It's been four days since I miscarried a 26 day old baby.  For 10 days I claimed my promise from God. For days I watched pro-life friends share the development of fetuses under a month old on Facebook, and I dared think of a tiny heart beat. For 6 days Sean and I began to hope enough to plan how we would get to share our joy with all of you. We revelled in this amazing 10 year anniversary gift for us. We were excited this child would get to share it's birth celebrations with it's daddy each year. We rejoiced we could share this experience with some of our best friends who announced their pregnancy only a month ago. We planned out a baby dedication that included every person who has prayed along side us for that day. Mostly, we just basked in caring for each other in a new way, sharing something indescribably special, just between us two. It's a lot to mourn.

We haven't always had people in our lives we could trust with the chain. They've spoken empty words leaving me/us more hurt than before we shared, we thought they might be uplifting but trusting the chain in their hands they let it go and we slid back into the valley. But it's different now, as we've stepped out in trust we've been blessed by such love and comfort from those God has placed in our lives. I wanted to share here too, knowing what blessing and healing has come from our vulnerability and willingness to share the bad as well as the good. And, we need more hands on the chain. I know those of you who read my blog have previously proven yourselves to be uplifting and so I trust you with this.  We're not quite out of the valley completely, your prayers are appreciated.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Still, it is well

I started off the year well.

In many ways.

It's been a hard couple days.

January isn't the month I envisioned it was going to be.

I need some non-reflective days.

I don't know how many.

I just know I can't. share. now.

But, I'll be alright.

And I'll be back.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

May the words of my mouth

Part 2 of the series "Soul Detox" I watched the other night (in front of my treadmill, wahoo!), was just as amazing as the first part, I just had to share.

I have learned over the years, in my marriage, that often it was more beneficial to be silent and praying for God to transform Sean than what I called 'being encouraging.'  When I was 'encouraging' I was spouting off about all he could be, and did that for years before I realized I was doing exactly what hadn't worked on me, and in fact had hurt me deeply, with lasting insecurity issues. So, since I couldn't say anything 'nice' I didn't say anything at all and prayed instead. It worked......slowly. But Sean grew at a much more rapid pace when I learned what real encouragement was.

About 8 months ago I read a book, 'His Needs, Her Needs.'  The section about His Need for Admiration hit me like a bullseye. Summary - Admiration is one of the greatest motivators for men. When a woman in particular expresses admiration for her husband that inspires him to achieve more. Then he sees himself more capable of achieving more. Admiration from his wife gives him more satisfaction than from a paycheck. He needs to be appreciated for what he already is, not what he could be (if he lived up to your standards). Without admiration men lack belief in themselves and are inherently more defensive about their shortcomings. They hate/fear hearing a critical view of themselves. A man expects, and needs, his wife to be his most enthusiastic fan. That's where he gets his confidence and energy. So when a woman feels it's her right/obligation to 'straighten out' her husband it feels like a downpour of disapproval, not the shower of approval they need. Criticism/disrespect makes massive Love Bank withdrawals. 

At the GLSummit this fall I watched a session by Craig Groeschel, the toxicity in different relationships, and he gave an example of counseling a couple with his wife and the woman spent the entire session picking apart all that her husband needed to fix about himself. They couldn't believe, even in a counselling session she would speak so disrespectfully about him in front of others, and tried to correct her on that attitude, and she replied to Craig's wife, 'well, if I had a husband as great as yours maybe I could appreciate him more.' His wife quickly replied, 'maybe if you appreciated your husband, he could be a great man.' That really confirmed what I read and I tried to really absorb that message.

Well, this message from Craig Groeschel reiterated that same idea, and it sunk in even deeper. The words I speak to him are either life-giving or life-taking. I want my husband to feel like he's winning! I want my words to build him up.  Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

 If you struggle with how to talk to your husband with life giving words (or anyone for that matter), I greatly encourage you to watch this video.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Soul Detox

 So, I am pretty great at multi-tasking, not so great at power tools, so a few years after I had the idea of a shelf in front of my treadmill to watch online sermons on my laptop WHILE walking/jogging! Brilliant! But because I had to wait for the power tool user of the house to finally have time, it's NOW finally done!!! I'm so stoked, I watched 2 in one evening! And the only trouble is, it's HARD taking notes! :)

But I managed just enough in order to share just a bit.

Thoughts. I have spent a life time being too affected by my thoughts. Thoughts that have often had toxic effects. Leaking poison into my life.
Negative - I give and give and give, everyone else takes.
Worry/Fear - what if I can't, or what if I never...what if I'm rejected
Discontent - I don't look like I'm supposed to, I don't have what I want....
Critical - how can someone do that, or why can't you just, or why am I so....

Lately I have the self-critical variety of thoughts seeping into my mind; about my body, my lack of self-control, lack of self-discipline, lack of obedience, self-sabotage and lack of self-love.

I've been so mad at myself!

WHY do I listen to that thought that says I want.... (insert unhealthy treat here)? Or. The thought that says I don't want....(insert exercise of any sort here)? Why do I insert self-blame here? I treat myself, or I failed myself. I allow myself to listen because it's my desires. Right?

I am learning, there is no such thing as neutral thoughts, thoughts only from myself. Yes, I am the one making the choice to act on those thoughts, but I am not giving enough credit to the creep whose voice rings in my head, sounding like my own, saying I want chocolate and I don't want to be active. My thoughts I've considered, at worst, undermining but mostly harmless, but now I know those thoughts that aren't from God are lethal!

It sounds so stupidly simple now. I know it's called 'temptation', duh, but I gave myself all the credit for those desires. My mind has been has been a little blown! Hopefully this is the transforming by the renewing of my mind I need! Now I know, those thoughts are attacks, I need to take them captive and recognize them as trash, not truth.

If you struggle with your thoughts, I really encourage you to watch this message on detoxing your soul from toxic thoughts.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Artificial Intelligence

Think of the process of humans creating robots. Did you know the concept of a robot (automata) has been in mythology since ancient cultures? The first design was by al-Jazari in 1206 (ish) and he inspired Leonardo da Vinci's next step in robotic design in 1495.

We weren't satisfied with the first result. We wanted them more and more human like, and so that's been an endeavor for hundreds of years. Whether for them to be in our service, or some an attempt at a 'better' peer, the pursuit is ongoing. Even our fiction has a genre for finding ways to bring life to inanimate objects, stories as old as Pinocchio, or as recent as AI or I, Robot.

So, if we do it, why wouldn't God? Why wouldn't He want to create something more than a robot? Want to be more than a puppeteer? Want something closer to Him?

An all powerful God has 2 choices, essentially robots or something in His image - with the freedom to choose. It must take a lot of strength to hand control over to imperfect beings.

A good and loving God only has one choice. That's the only way His creations could truly become His family. His ultimate goal for His creation.

We can't have it one way sometimes and the other the rest of the time. 'He can control the evil people but not me.' We would call that God manipulative. Mostly because we would believe our choices are not bad, but God would have a different opinion. The only good and fair thing to do is allow all of us to have complete control of our choices all the time.

To me, it is artificial (or, bogus) intelligence to blame God for the results of our collective choices. Why don't we blame the psycho with the gun killing children? Why don't we blame satan for influencing our world so negatively for his own warped validation needs? Why do we ask instead where the all powerful God was, implying He is not all powerful.

He's the Father, watching His children put their hand on the stove top over and over again, and weeping.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Musical Monday

I grew up somewhat resenting singing hymns when there were songs so much more upbeat and feeling like I was actually praising God.  Then I just happened to spend a lot of time in Churches that sang modern worship music (or I wasn't in Church at all), and so I didn't realize one day how I had grown out of the immature point of view. Sure, I enjoyed hymns with a makeover, but sometime this last year I noticed how much I really love when we sing hymns, even just as they are. Now they feel nostalgic (especially when we seemed to sing a lot of them at the time of my mom's heart attack), but I started connecting with the words on such a deep level.

Yesterday was an all hymns Sunday, and I just wanted to share the phrases that especially stir my heart, that make my soul sing.

What ever my lot you have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus....
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.
Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe.

Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art....
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed:
Then sings my soul...How great thou art!
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

He's catching on

I forgot to take a pic of these when they were fresh, but I still think they look lovely on the way to decay.
A gift back in 2012, so that's flowers 3 times in one year. That's a record! <3

Sunday, January 6, 2013

First Re-Fashion

First sewing and clothing upcycle for 2013.

Cable knit sweater didn't fit right so I found a much better fitting one at Value Village and saved the old one for this project I found on Pinterest.

Ta da! A new skirt and leg warmers.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Photo Blog

Well, I did it. I created a blog just for those random moments to capture life as it goes flying by. I'm not promising one every day, this isn't a 365 blog, besides I already missed Jan. 1st and I'm an all or nothing kind of gal, lol. But I do want to be more intentional about capturing the moments I might forget one day.

The link is on the right side of my blog if you care to see what I'm up to.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Aspiration, Not Perspiration

Ok, try as hard as I might, I can't give it up cold turkey. I can't stifle the desire to change for the better and I can't resist the need to document it, in a sequential account....otherwise known as a list. I refuse to call them goals, I call them aspirations (I know, semantics) because that feels more like dreaming than scheming and it feels whimsical not tactical. But the important differentiation to me is that I'm not out to fix myself (those tasks are an every day commitment to live the life God desires for me). Also, my life won't go into chaos trying to achieve these inconsequential aspirations, they are not to challenge myself but rather shift my heart - finding new ways to love myself and others.  So, therefore the following list is in NO WAY a resolution and I just can't help I'm getting all these ideas at New Years!

1. The One Dress Project - I had never heard of this challenge (otherwise known as The October Dress Project - ODP) but a few blogs I read have mentioned this lately and peeked my curiosity.  The basic idea is for one whole month you will build all your outfits around one single dress. You will put this dress on in some way, shape, or form, every time you get dressed. The focus behind this was to reduce consumerism, conformity, excess, vanity, and increase sustainability, contentment, simplicity, imagination. I immediately resonated with the tie in to more of God, less of me, "We must decrease so that HE can increase". So I intend to try this for one month at some point this year, there has been an additional movement inspired by ODP called the 12x12 project, and they have causes to focus on each month, with a piece of clothing they wear for that whole month. I don't plan on linking my month choice to any in particular, and I likely will not choose October - Winterpeg can get just too cold. You'll just have to stay tuned to see when the ODP inspiration hits! Good news is, I think I already have the dress, which I may slightly alter - some OPD-ers buy a special ODP dress that is more versatile, I instead may have to hit the thrift stores to accessorize instead.

2. Sew - Speaking of dress alterations, I don't care what, or how much, or when, but sometime in 2013 I want to buy a sewing machine and have at the pile of clothes I would love to upcycle or even just fix. Maybe it will even be that quilt I've been hoarding fabric for. Whatever it ends up being, I will sew.

3. Blog more - that is one thing I truly regret (in the sense that I feel a loss of) not having blogged more. Same with journalling. I am torn between taking the time to capture moments to cherish and actually living out moments to cherish. I am a very reflective (and forgetful) person, so I will try harder to bring balance to the capturing end of things this year. I find it really does help me feel grateful and appreciative of achievements.  I'm thinking a few more photo challenges or photo-a-day months are in order, possibly even start a photo blog.

4. A blessing a day (keeps the divorce lawyers at bay - lol, just kidding). Again, this one is inspiration I read in my blog-o-sphere and loved this idea of blessing my spouse with small thoughtful gifts. I used to do the 30 Day Honor Hubby Challenge (that frankly left me feeling a little stretched after 3 years), but this idea of just a couple of weeks is doable. I likely won't do it for Christmas, but I'm thinking the week before and after his birthday, which also coincides with Thanksgiving will be the perfect time.

5. Project Minimalization -there are a couple of facets to this idea of becoming a minimalist. First, to purge the clutter, things that have gone unused in a few years clearly have no their current state. I intend to go through unused items, boxes, rooms even, and free myself from items that I no longer use or cannot find an alternate use for. I have already re-purposed some items from my disassembled craft room to create storage elsewhere, and I hope to continue along this trend so I can also be free of purchasing new stuff I really don't need.

And that's it! See, doable, right? ;)

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