Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Out with the Old 2014

1 job lost
2 new mentors
1 new Etsy shop
11 years married
1 month in 1 sweater
6 years at Riverwood
2 counselling students
6 weeks teal hair streak
1 epic wedding weekend
3 road trips in 4 months
1 new ministry, 2 new roles
1 cancer fighting fundraiser
12 months luxury food forfeit
4 long distance friends visited
4 last months of fertility treatment


Thursday, December 25, 2014

His Kind of Love

Have you ever had a goal that would require a lot of hard work, mistakes, failures, cost significant money, and yet wanted it enough to go after it anyway?

The majority of people have I would say.

Those who go off to college/university to get a degree.
Those who choose to commit a lifetime to a spouse in marriage.
Those who choose to have children.

I think there are generally two groups of people when it comes to these kinds of goals.

Some people do not count the cost before beginning.
Some count the cost unrealistically.
Some change their mind about the cost being worth it.
They tend to give up on their goals.

Some take commitment seriously, no matter the costs that pile up.
Some want it badly enough, it is their top priority.
Some know that the end result being worth it depends on what you put into it.
They tend to pursue goals relentlessly.

What if you knew in advance though that you would have only 50% success rate? 25% success rate? That you gave up everything else to pursue something that ultimately in the end did not seem worth the cost.
You barely pass school to get a degree by the skin of your teeth.
Out of 55 years of marriage only 15 were good.
2 out of 3 children decide to reject you and your family and become estranged.

Many people, knowing this in advance, would at least think twice.
I dare say, most would change their mind and decide not to pursue those goals.
Even some of those second group, the most purposeful of people, would change their mind.

And those that were dedicated enough to move forward anyway, could in the heat of their battle, under duress and pain, lose hope. They could doubt. They could want to give up. They could cry out to God and say, 'please, I ask you to spare me, because I don't think I can do this anymore!'

Did you know God counted the cost?

God and Jesus formed a plan, they knew would be tremendously hard work.
They knew there was going to be the highest price to be paid.
They knew the plan would seem like a bunch of mistakes ending in failure.
But they knew their mission required no less than this sacrifice, and that it would be worth it.
They knew it was the only way to save EVERY human.
They knew not every human would accept that gift.
The 'success rate' would be low.
Even knowing that in advance they went for it.

Jesus gave up everything.
From the most perfect existence imaginable to the most defenseless existence.
Jesus gave up everything to pursue something that by the world's standards would not be worth it.
And once He was human, even He had doubts.
Under the duress and pain, His human spirit suffered, hope waned.
He cried out to God, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.'
But He also said something that most humans would not, facing such great loss.
'Yet not as I will, but as you will.'

He counted the cost. 
Because you are worth it.
Even if everyone else but you, in the entire history of humanity, did not accept this gift.
He would still find you worth it all.

Monday, December 22, 2014

All I Wanna Be Is Done

The last four Novembers my posts have looked a lot like this.

I'm am so over this year.

I want next year now please.

Maybe next year will be better.

Early November, I thought this year would be no different.

  • A job I was fed up with.
  • The infertility support group flopped.
  • Stopped all conception aids.
  • Christian community shrinking.
  • Best friend moved away.
  • Friend diagnosed with cancer.

There were of course some great moments too:
  • Starting running again.
  • Starting school again.
  • Deeper marital connection and happiness.
  • The chance to lead an infertility support group.
  • 3 fantastic vacation road trips.
  • Maid of Honor for my bestie.
  • Friend now cancer free.
  • Starting painting again.
  • Many meaningful connections with family & friends.
  • A potential new ministry God is calling me to.

As full of gratitude for those lovely cherished moments as I was, by first week of November I I already said a few posts the end of my rope with my job and with waiting. I felt like I was waiting for everything. I'd been feeling this way last year this time too.

Then, as you know, I was laid off mid-November.
In a way it was just a small change. I still have to wait for employment that God is leading me towards, but at least I wasn't waiting in misery and now I'm waiting in freedom!
In a way it was a huge change. My gratitude for God, blessing me in the way He did, ballooned and gratitude is definitely an antidote for attitude. My patience was renewed for other things I'm waiting for.

That was 5+ weeks ago. I've been happy and grateful and patient through that entire time, looking forward to the holidays and in no rush to be rid of 2014 nor begging for that 'clean slate.'

Until Friday.

In a way it was just a small thing. It was a month I didn't expect to get pregnant anyway. I was sufficiently distracted during the time I expected to get that news.
Then suddenly it became a huge thing. I won't go into details but suffice it to say I feel like my body is toying with me. I went through the emotional rollercoaster of believing I was pregnant and then not pregnant 3 times in 8 days. With each time the hope just grew and grew and grew.

Because it's Christmas, and like a few other annual celebrations, it is a reminder there is still just two of us in our family picture.

Because it's 13 days away from our nine year anniversary of chasing this dream.

Because this is the year we finally stopped help God....with conception.

Because 2014 was supposed to be the year, and it wasn't only I who heard it this time.

I'm at the point I just don't know anymore.
I don't know what to do.
I don't know how to feel.

By now I know 2015 will not magically make me 'all better'. But I'm still done with 2014.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Life of a House Wife

10 Things this new house wife does:

1. Dyes a chunk of her hair teal
Already had plans for this, just wasn't sure how much I was going to do or when. Free time solved that :)

2. Creates personal house wife dress code 
Some options could have been the dress, apron & heels. Or sweats. Or the yoga pants, hoodie, messy bun. I went somewhere in between, with the comfy factor meshed with the 'not ashamed to be seen like this in public'. A few of my fav comfy outfits for work were long tunic sweaters and leggings/jeggings, so I got a few more of each at thrift stores and now I am set, pairing them with my many awesome boots! 

3. Keeps the T.V. off
It does not get turned on until I have returned from picking Sean up from work at the end of the day. Not that I've been home much, maybe 50% of the time. When I AM working on my computer at various endeavors, planning and preparing, I crank up the K-Love (awesome online radio station). 

4. Keeps a schedule
Having only one vehicle and not wanting to increase expenses, I am still driving Sean to and from work everyday. This also gives me a reason and a time to get out of bed every morning. And a time frame in which to accomplish my tasks for the day as well. 

5. Bakes a pie
I again already had plans for this, like a month ago, for Sean's birthday, but he chose brownies instead at the time, so I saved the ingredients for a future date. 3 days into freedom, he got his pie. I told him, happy wife, happy life is true!

6. Eats less
Seriously, this one is surprising. I thought unlimited time and access to food would make it irresistible to munch all day long. Quite the opposite, I have been so focused on my to-do list (which hasn't been all work, have been hanging out with some friends too) that I have some days forgotten to eat. Sean reminded me an eating schedule would be beneficial to keep :)

7. Exercises
I made the excuse time was pretty much the only reason I wasn't exercising more. So now I am determined to validate that excuse by scheduling in exercise time every other day. I am starting slow so I don't burn myself out too soon, but I have stuck to my schedule so far!

8. Socializes
Another area of life that I wanted more of but had not enough time for. I have a long list of people I want to hang out with, near and far :) I have already managed a few dates and many more getting booked in the calendar.

9. Volunteers
I haven't started this yet, but there are quite a few avenues and types of volunteering I intend to partake in over the next few months, some will be increasing what I already do, some will be school related, some will stop in a few months, some might keep going. I am excited for the opportunities that I will have!

10. Starts a business
I always wanted to combine a creative endeavor with stay-at-home-momming (when time allowed). Time is needed to really put a valiant effort into making a living, even a part-time living, off of being an artist. I didn't think I would have that until I had kids entering a slightly independent season, but here I am with just enough time to see what I can do. So here's what I did!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Don't Have the Time to be Sorry

It has been exactly one week.

One week since my prayers (some of them anyway) have been answered.

I've been praying them since March.

How much longer God?

How much more do I have to endure?

For those that don't know, work has been a real difficult situation the last 8+ months. New boss in January. Didn't make good first impressions. Shook things up in March.

Legally I am not allowed to disparage them in anyway or my contract for salary extension will be retracted. But suffice it to say some decisions were made that affected me very negatively. My stress was high, my anxiety was back, depression came to light, existing back pain quite aggravated.

I was constantly asking God when I could leave. Silence for the longest time. Many occasions I looked for another job but nothing ever gave me peace. I began to plan for an exit by next March. When it got bad, I moved that up to Christmas. Then feeling no peace about that, went back to asking, when can I leave?!?

Then, I thought I felt Him say stay. Luckily distraction set in full force the next month. Then I took a vacation. Then I began a plan with my doctor on reduced work hours for my back pain. But even though things settled down again, even had a slight upturn, I just was so tired of waiting for everything. Especially since I knew this job was nearing an end, I could just feel it, I just wasn't sure how much longer I could wait for God's plan to unfold. So I asked again. This time I was sure I heard stay. I could never get a why. Just stay.

That was November 7th. The next 3 days of work were some of the best I've had in months. I'd finally let go and just trusted the 'stay'.

November 12th I was laid off. With quite enough severance. I felt not only like my prayers were answered but I was super blessed. It was the best scenario that could have happened. I have so much more freedom and potential now than if I quit.

Many people keep making sure I am ok. I am :) I have learned from other lay-off what not to do, and one of them is not to get stuck in the past. There were great things about my job that I have to leave behind. Most of all friends and financial security. But life is too short to get hung up on the what ifs. There isn't time to be sorry.


God had this up His sleeve. He has something in store for me. This was perfectly planned or I would have been able to leave months ago.

For the last few weeks a song has played excessively on the radio. I am convinced no one else is hearing it as often as I have. For a reason. It's for me. The key lyrics are:
Take your shot it might be scary
There’s no one standing in your way
We don’t have to be ordinary
Make your best mistakes
‘Cause we don’t have the time to be sorry

I am waiting, heart wide open to what 'my shot' is. What my 'un-ordinary' is. What my mistakes will be. I don't intend to be sorry.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The One Sweater Project

Some of you may remember a time about 19 months ago when I wore one dress for 30 days and I really loved the spirit behind it and all I learned about myself, so I decided to do it again, except for instead of the One Dress Project, this time I switched it up and I'm doing One Sweater Project. I will be wearing a Little Black Sweater all of October.

The basic idea is for one whole month you will build all your outfits around one single dress sweater. You will put this article on in some way, shape, or form, every time you get dressed. The focus behind this is to reduce consumerism, conformity, excess, vanity, and increase sustainability, contentment, simplicity, imagination.

For me in particular, my goals are:
Reduce consumerism and excess - Since the last challenge I quite returned to my indulgent shopping ways, and NOT just at thrift stores. I have become very aware of my tendency to make myself feel better through food and clothes in particular. I've been working really hard in 2014 to change that so I knew I needed to do this challenge again.  I have also been trying really hard to part ways with clothes I don't need and not replace them with more clothes I don't need. I'm hoping the reminder I can get through 30 days with a wardrobe consisting of only one sweater will help me reduce my excess.

Increase Sustainability and Contentment - Part of this challenge is that I am not allowed to buy anything new to help create new outfits, no new accessories to stretch out the outfits. In fact, the challenge would go so far as to not buy any clothes at all for the 30 day period, whether for this challenge or not. I fully intend to do that again. I want to be content with what I have. I want my life to be less about me and more about God. And less about me hopefully will also mean less about materialism. Even though I conscientiously recycle my clothing, my contribution to the clothing market is not helping the sustainability cause.

Trade Vanity for Imagination - I have realized I've become too concerned with how 'cute' I look in my outfits, hoping for external validation, rather than just enjoying my own sense of colour and style and the simple fun of using my imagination in this way. I love pairing colours and textures and getting dressed is really a creative outlet for me and I've seemed to have lost sight of that recently.

So, I embark on another 'One' Project, I hope you will join me and even are a little inspired to try a 'One' Project out yourself one day. You can follow me on Instagram @loriala77 or on my photo blog here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Enjoy The Ride

There is nothing new under the sun, and analogies about our endless struggle on the journey of life have been plenty. But you know, when you hear the right one, and it all finally seems to make sense. Well, for a time anyway :) So, on the chance that this speaks to anyone else but me, I would like to share my newest metaphor for life.

It came about as I was praying over a scripture study I was doing. Now, before I move on, I need to be completely honest, I have not daily read my Bible since spring, and I have likely not even read it once a week since July. But I was determined this fall to get back into a routine of scripture study, not just reading, but studying. Yesterday was my second day back into it.  I decided to do a topic study on trusting God. I've had a hard time of that lately. I've been very tired of waiting.  So, back to my story.

God, I called out, I am so tired of wandering blind. I feel like I have been wandering in this thick fog for 9 years, floundering around, not sure if I'm going in the right direction, and every time I find something meaningful it's because I stumbled upon it. When I have asked, You have shown me I am on the right path, you shine just enough light for me to look down and know I'm still on it. You assure me it is your path, not some other path, and then I go on my merry way. But I'm so tired of not knowing. Why can't the light shining on my feet show me arrows or a map, so I at least know I am taking the straightest route to my destination.

And then He showed me. Even if I got from point A to point B immediately, the fog would not have lifted, I still wouldn't know what to do when I reached point B. I would have just stayed, standing in that spot, until the appointed time arrived. In my mind the fog began to lift to reveal I am on a large ferry, floating along on it's own course, guided by the hand of God. My destination isn't point B. My destination cannot be found no matter where I wander, blind or with a map, because point B is just the docking station for when the ferry has reached the shore. I cannot go anywhere but where the ferry is taking me. And so no matter what I do I cannot get to my destination any sooner or any later than I am supposed to.

Life is a series of ferries. On each one we have freedom to do and go as we please, it doesn't affect reaching our appointed docking station. When the ferry arrives it arrives on it's own schedule. If we aren't at the docking station when it reaches shore, that's ok, it won't go anywhere, we won't miss our next ferry connection.  What we can miss is all the opportunities to grow closer to God along the journey. We can miss the opportunity God has given us to shine His light to someone else on the journey. But we won't miss the boat, so to speak.

For example, I believe at one such docking station, as I got on to a new ferry, Sean was also getting on that same ferry. There were a few times we almost connected but didn't. Once we finally did there were a lot of interruptions to the deeper connection. The marriage docking station was ahead of us, no matter what happened, but because of some of the choices we made in our freedom to do and go as we pleased we ended up taking baggage on to the marriage ferry unnecessarily. We arrived right where we were supposed to, but our experience on the next ferry would be shaped by how we had spent the last ride.

And, now I'm certain we're heading to the parenthood docking station. This has been the longest ferry ride yet. With all the time we've had we've certainly learned to get rid of some of that baggage, we've learned to avoid creating new baggage for the next journey. I know we've learned to make much better choices on this ride. But I realize now learning wasn't earning a faster ride. The length of each ride has always been predetermined.  It's the same with our desire to be counselors, we're on the school ferry now, and at least getting on this ferry we knew it is a long distance haul, but we're so eager for the dock where we finally get to make a life around helping people. My dear friend pointed out to me, just because that dock of being counselors is far away doesn't mean we aren't helping people on the ferry we're on now.  God still has purpose for us in the journey, the purpose isn't only at the destination.

And so, here we are on this ferry, and yes, still in the fog, with no ferry schedule to clue us in to arrival time. We're left with two choices; one, continue futile efforts to do things here that feel like they are controlling the ferry, or two, enjoy the ride. Not that we just sit idly by, but we learn to listen to God so we know when it IS time to just be still and wait and enjoy the scenery. Or so we know we should talk to that person sitting next to us.  Or so we know how to let go of things that don't belong on the next ferry. Or so we know how to prepare for the next journey.

Jesus, I really, really want to enjoy the ride, please help me enjoy the ride.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Giving Up or Letting Go

Awhile ago I had a friend who was in a really hard place in life and she asked on FB, 'what is the difference between letting go and giving up?' I don't recall the myriad of answers, not even my own, but now I find myself wondering the same thing.

I think my answer (if not in the comments, in my brain) was something about the heart of the matter. If I'm releasing something because I just am too tired and weak to hope and try anymore, that I don't want to continue because I can't on my own strength, then that is giving up. If I am releasing it because I am understanding that all my efforts do not impact the final outcome anyway, because I want to have peace despite my efforts or non-efforts, then that is letting go.

My tripping point in this philosophy is that other philosophy that I still need to do my part. Like the joke about a prayer to God to win the lottery and the punchline is that you still have to buy the ticket. I don't think I'm going to be another immaculate conception so basic biology says we have to do our part at the right time with healthy parts. 

I think 4 years ago I was giving up. I said I was stopping most every action (other than intimacy) that could be construed as trying and was waiving the white flag, daring God to perform a miracle. I believed it could happen, but not that it would. 

Hope of course creeped back in, trying was once again on the table.  I tried to be smarter about trying. Less controlling about trying. Including Sean and God in decisions about trying.  It all felt like I wasn't doing it on my own power, this time. Until April. Until I was faced with no more prescriptions. Until I was so friggin' tired of watching my temperature for nothing. I wondered, if I am not trying too hard at trying then why is this so tiring?

So now I am asking myself, am I just tired of hoping, tired of thinking about it every single day when I take my temperature and chart everything related so we can have perfect timing? Or am I making peace with the fact God has anointed a time for us to conceive and it will happen regardless. And am I tired of my body feeling really awful on medication and don't have the strength to keep it up for the unforeseeable future? Or am I just finally believing God will use that one last healthy egg I may have when the time is right?

I think I'm really close to the latter, with a tiny smattering of the former.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Summer Summary

I haven't posted as regularly as I have wanted to but life has just been so insistent on being lived rather than narrated. I've had a bit more time on my hands these last few days, a short reprieve as wedding plans for my best friend commence now, so I thought I'd give a snapshot of life right now.

My summer goals were to:

Read more (check)

Paint more (check)

More God time (mostly check)

Time with women God has laid on my heart (check) (although missing my best friend)

Travel (check)

I am very happy with the results of this list, even considering I spent about 5-6 weeks madly planning fundraising for my friend Esther, which was a actually not that stressful but was hugely successful! I also was able to sign up for school and was really affirmed by our pastor of the ministry we serve in and am looking forward to how I'll be serving at Church this upcoming year.

Yet, no matter how blessed I am. No matter how much God is teaching me about His perfect timing. I put this on my list for the summer:

Get pregnant (no check)

I have now hit age 37 and people have stopped saying when they find out I'm trying to have kids, 'don't worry, you are still young!'

I was so certain there was a magical combination of perfect things that happened around my birthday this year that would make it that just right timing.

It's been a challenge trying to keep the hope up.

Good thing distraction abounds. Tomorrow I'm off for the weekend, to finally visit the bestie and plan her wedding.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends - Part 6

I love it when 'friends' is also family. I am so blessed to (now) get along with my sisters, we have the greatest time together!

I love that we can get each other laughing so easily, if we are together longer than a few minutes, guaranteed we will be laughing a big portion of that time together.  And that we all share the same loud laugh that everyone who knows us knows about.

I love that Tami has inspired Jodi and I to run and we are aiming to be in the next Manitoba Marathon next June together. The picture above is to commemorate the pact exactly one year prior to the race.

I love that we share the same desire to honor our husbands, and become more Godly wives. When we decided to do a devotional together this year we all resonated with a devotional on that topic and have been really enjoying it.

I love that we have so much in common, it's pretty easy picking something to do together because we all love crafting, traveling (even if it's vicariously through Folklorama), home decorating, baking (or eating baking), clothes shopping, playing board games, Just Dance, etc.

I love that we share a level of silliness that I can get to with only a handful of people. We think the same things are ridiculously hilarious and can quickly get to the point where we can't talk or breathe and our abdomen's ache because we are laughing so hard.

I love that we can be honest with each other and even if it's an unpleasant conversation we are able to work it out pretty quickly because we know how much we love each other.

I love that they have given me 5 of the most awesome nieces and nephews ever, and given me the opportunity to be an Aunt which has changed my life and added more love to my life than I could ever explain.

I love that no matter how far apart we are, or how busy, we make time together a priority.

I love that when one of us is in need our generosity is an overwhelming outpouring of all we can give.

I love that we want sister tattoos. We need to get on that! ;)

I love that no matter how often or little we are able to talk, we always pick up where we left off like we have spent no time apart. But I love that we are talking more and more in between our frequent gatherings and becoming more and more friends than sisters.

I love you Jodi and Tami <3 br="">

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Very, Merry UnBirthday to Me! (And Birthday too)

After two weeks of birthday celebrations I figured I should finally post a little about my birthday blessings.

My birthday celebrations started early this year, a full week early. It was the day that happened to be chosen by our office to celebrate both July birthdays, and I was treated to Angel Food Cake, my favorite! But that wasn't all the day had in store for me. The recording of a Single for my friend with cancer (which I helped setup) happened today! I was also invited to give a mini-testimony at Church and video it that evening, which for me is an exciting thing now, not a terrifying thing like it used to be. Then I had the rare opportunity to chat with my long distance bestie for 30 minutes which NEVER happens these days! That was the icing on the cake ;)

My mother-in-law always drops off an early present so I received flowers Saturday morning.

Then I gave Sean the entire weekend before carte blanche to do as he pleased. He took me on a shopping spree, my only limit was my own budget since I'm the accountant in the family :) He strongly encouraged frivolousness and so here are some of the items bought!

Jewelry, which is always fun, and my tastes are not expensive, lol.

Books, always could use more of those, and have been consistently searching for this one at a better price, which I found for $12!

And something I've been coveting just a little lately, being a sucker for rainbows, unicorns and flying horses! :D

Then Sean treated me to pizza, wings and wine while we spent the night watching cheesy horror flicks.

My co-workers took another turn spoiling me the 29th and 30th, when I received a Starbucks treat and dark chocolate and many special greetings. Not to mention the many touching FB posts and texts I received throughout the day of.

I of course treated myself to Sushi for lunch :) And a visit with a very good friend and vanilla ice cream for my birthday evening.

On the holiday Monday I went for a 7 mile walk with my cousin and she treated me to more vanilla ice cream for my birthday! Thanks Pam!

Then, the last celebration was getting to spend the night out with my mom and my sisters at Folklorama yesterday night. We went to the Chinese pavilion and then Brazilian pavilion, both spectacular in very different ways! Then we capped the night off with Menchies, more ice cream! Mmmmmm.

Can't complain, turning 37 was pretty amazing!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Another Transition

Since I can't remember who I have told and what I have posted I'll just write from the assumption I've left you all in the dark :)

A little over a year ago my best friend made the statement 'you should be a marriage couselor.' This was after about  6 weeks of relationship advice but it also resonated deeply in me from over a decade ago. About 15 years of God giving me a burden to help marriages. Sean at this time was winding down his first year of school to become a counselor and I had become very interested in what he was learning. 

I had an ah-ha moment.

I went to God with this passion burning a hole in my pocket but felt I was supposed to wait a year. In the mean time things started changing in our recovery ministry and 7 months ago several possibities became an option for me there, facilitating groups to help finances,  marriages and infertile women.  I realized as a marriage counselor I could touch on all these! I felt very confirmed.

Then about 2 months ago, in the midst of feelings of purposelessness and depression I felt whispers about school again.

Well I wanted to sign up that minute but courses for next term were not posted until mid - June. Then they changed the requirements to enter even the part-time courses,  I need to have volunteered in a social services type setting for minimum 100 hrs. Well my recovery service was applicable but I had to quickly fit that verification in before our vacation. Then when we came back I found I had to go in person to do a name change since I hadn't been a student there since before marriage.  It took awhile to finally get down there,  then I had to wait for my application to be approved, then another day to get my verification in the mail. 

Yesterday it came! It is now official!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

It's been awhile since I posted on how the wellness is going. A lot has happened in a month.

Vacation (and preparation for a vacation) monopolized two weeks. Getting home and starting to plan a fundraiser for our friend to help pay for cancer treatments and related expenses has monopolized the other two weeks.

Not excuses, just priorities.

I actually have a big chunk of my fundraiser to-do list done, and the remaining pieces either are waiting for other people's contribution or I can fit in here and there because they are smaller tasks. So I think I can actually schedule a run in tonight! That's how I'm going to approach running until the end of summer, one day at a time.

As for food, I had some big successes and some big indulgences.

I am the kind of person who gets really hungry during traveling, I'm not sure what it is. So I prepared and I packed granola bars, pretzels, cashews, all mostly healthy snacks. But because it's vacation, I also packed candy :) That was probably my biggest indulgence was the candy, even though it's not technically a cheat, it's not a 'baked dessert', I gave myself the mandate that I wouldn't replaced baked goods with candy, I could only eat candy the same amount as I would have last year. If I had been on a vacation trip last year I would have eaten just as much candy ;)

Starbucks, that was another pre-planned indulgence just for vacation. And that one I only allowed on the US side of the border, just to help my head get around returning to eliminating it again.

The rest of my cheats I didn't plan, I made decisions in the moment. Like a vanilla milkshake, which is technically just vanilla ice cream, so still not sure if that is even a cheat. And while not a cheat, only two burger joints the whole trip, both healthier than most, and so filling we could barely eat the fries.

Then there was the wine....Sean started me off and our hosts kept it coming :) They were on vacation too!
Then there was the Cheesecake Factory, and you can't go there without having cheesecake! I actually could only eat half of mine though!

And my only other cheat was a few (giant!) cookies from Panera through the week.

 It was actually my meals I was most impressed with though, I think I did very good considering my vacation track record. I choose pretty healthy and had good portion control at restaurants, other than previously mentioned burgers, and one moving day pizza.

We actually had mostly homemade meals thanks to our generous hosts.
Coming home it actually wasn't too hard to transition back to homemade meals, especially considering I planned them out to be pretty easy to make before we left. The challenge has been denying myself the cheats again. A few times at work already I've been confronted with the choice, and I've come really close to saying, 'you were cheating just 4, or 8 days ago, why not?!' But I did it, I said NO! :) It actually feels pretty good to exercise that no and be ok with it. Here's to 6 more months of doing so!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cancer Sucks

I am fairly certain that everyone knows someone who has/had cancer. 

In 1982 was my first experience with cancer, my next door neighbor/friend's older sister, whom I only met once or twice because she was more often in the hospital in the year I knew her. Before she died. I had no idea what cancer, no idea the weight of that diagnosis. All I knew was it was a disease that made a very young girl very sick and die. 

As I grew older I knew people who knew people who had cancer, but mostly it wasn't terminal. Cancer was fairly benign in my experience.

The next time I personally encountered cancer was in 1998. It was closer to home this time, it was my grandma, who was in her 80s, and so her death 3 months after diagnosis, while sudden, was not focused on the cause. At that age it was not a surprise she would fall ill, that it was cancer didn't seem to cause any extra grief.

Over the next several years it went back to very little exposure to anyone battling cancer. The 2000's brought just a bit more. I met a childhood cancer survivor in our Church in 2002. Sean's estranged father, whom I never met and Sean hadn't seen in 20 years, died in 2005. A family friend was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and survived.  A woman at Church had an inspirational battle with cancer and died in 2010
My uncle (by marriage) who lived in BC my whole life and I didn't know that well, was stricken suddenly and painfully with cancer in 2012 and he passed away a few months later.

Over the last year or so I have known someone who has had a large influx of people in her life who have passed away from cancer, people she has felt such grief at their lives being ripped away from the world far too early. I thanked God I haven't been afflicted with such distressing loss to cancer, and wondered when the odds would catch up with me.

They just did. 

Right now we know very little. We don't know what stage it's in. We don't know if it's affected more parts of her body than the tumor that was biopsied. We don't know the treatment plan. We don't know how it will affect her imminent plans for the future.

And she has a BRIGHT future.

This young woman captured our hearts just under two years when she was barely 17. We knew immediately she was special. We very soon thought of her as our surrogate daughter. She is a star in so many ways, it's the meaning of her name and God knew what He was doing because she doesn't just shine, she radiates. People can't help but notice she's different, she has that IT factor, yet she is so humble and has a heart for God's heart, a heart for the outcast and the broken. She is mature beyond her years and I sometimes forget, she's still only 18.

And here she is, so young and faced with this weighty diagnosis. If anyone can survive cancer inspirationally it is she. But she shouldn't have to. 

And the worst part is it has hit her right in the heart of her dreams. She has been accepted at a theater school starting in September, she is a dancer, an actress, a singer, her talent and dream is to be a performer. The cancer is in her foot. She has no idea the condition her foot will be in after treatment. She doesn't know if she'll even make it to her first semester of school in 9 weeks.

While cancer has been in the realm of possible for the last 6 months, it still seems so unreal. We weren't going to live like it was real without a real diagnosis. But now it's real. And we don't know how to live with it.

I do know I was given this summer to spend a lot of quality time with her. God has been showing me that this summer I was to pour into women he had laid on my heart and I already knew, due to various circumstances, that she was one of those women. Now I know that even more so.  I don't think it is because we will lose her, I still have a strong feeling about her amazing future, but I sense God wants to do something through this season in both of us. I just wish the day after her diagnosis I wasn't leaving for vacation for 9 days.

So yeah, fyi, today sucked.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

So even though I've seen motivational posters that say even if you just started running 'You ARE a runner', I've been reluctant to call myself one. I've started down this road before and never felt like a runner.

Today I felt like a runner.

Even without my coach (informal coach, she's one but she's my friend), today I pushed myself further than I have been able to push myself before. And I was able to go further than the goal I set for myself today. And when I was going to walk the rest of the way home I decided to run some more because it felt good. I was actually enjoying it.

Granted I walked a big chunk in the middle because I wanted the stretch next to the river to be my date with Jesus this week, so I was really slow on that stretch but I think that's just what my body needed because when I started running again after I expected to have to push through the exhaustion but instead found renewed energy! 

And today's run brought me to just shy of 5 hrs, just over 25 km, in 11 days!

So, today I feel like a runner!

And, Jesus joined the running too, he was cheering me on near the end in some very 70s running gear. He cracks me up :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Schrödinger's Cat

TMI Warning

I'm weird.

1) I know about a quantum mechanics experiment named Schrödinger's cat, and if you do too it's because you are a physicist or you watch Big Bang Theory. I am the latter. The experiment essentially is a cat in a box with the potential for dying and while the box is closed, with no way of knowing the status of the cat, the cat is both alive and dead.

2) I related this experiment to my uterus this month. My last two cycles have been 37-38 days with no real PMS symptoms and yet negative pregnancy tests. So earlier this week I came to the conclusion I have Schrödinger's uterus. Not sure if life or death was waiting for me.

3) I found it hilarious the day after when I 'opened the box and the cat was dead.' Really I laughed....mostly because that result in that wording was a funny coincidence.

See, told you.

I'm weird.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why Me?

This is not a question I ask often, or ask in my depression. No this is a question I typically spout when I am perplexed by my abundant blessings. A few years ago we did a series at Church on what justice really is and I wondered why was I born in Canada, into privilege, into a home with Christian parents?  Something triggered this question in me again just the other day.

It was the movie Saving Private Ryan. It was the part when they finally find him and tell him they are there to bring him home.

Private Ryan: [after being told he can go home] "It doesn't make any sense, sir. Why? Why do I deserve to go? Why not any of these guys? They all fought just as hard as me. "

The reason this resonated with me was because of a truth that has been coming back to me in many different ways over the last month.

God chose me

Now His Sovereignty is something I don't claim to fully understand. I find the more I know God the less I understand, but the closer I get to God the less I need to understand. But I do understand God chose me. Chose me before I was born, before I was conceived, before my parents were married, before my parents were born, before the beginning of the world was formed. God dreamt me up and planned for me to belong to Him again one day.

I also understand He has hardened the hearts of people. This is where I understand less and less how Sovereignty works, but I do understand that there have been times He has hardened hearts for the good results it will eventually produce.

So why was I born soft-hearted?

I'm not sure. I have no answer to Why Me?

All I know is God sent Jesus into this war here on earth, on a mission to find me, Private Lori Michelle Alcorn. To find me, to save me, tell me I get to go home with Him.

And He did it at great cost. He lost His life in this war here on earth. (*spoiler alert*) Just like Captain Miller, the soldier leading the search for Private Ryan.

As Captain Miller dies he says, "James, earn this... earn it."  And it haunts Private Ryan the rest of his life. As an old man he desperately asks his wife, 'tell me I've been a good man, that I've lived a good life.'

Thankfully, because Jesus found me, I know that is not what He said as He died. He said, "It is finished." Which is completely the opposite, it means, "Lori, you do not have to do one thing to earn this freedom."

Monday, June 9, 2014

No Pain No Gain

Well, I am breaking personal records all over the place.

First yesterday, then today...running for a second day in a row! Often the first day of running after a long gap my hip is so sore I can't barely walk for a week, and even when it's not that sore I tell myself I need to space out my runs. But I had the opportunity to run with a new friend who is a marathon trainer! She wanted a slow run because she's injured but still training to do the 26 mile/40k run next Sunday, so I benefited from the privilege of slowing her down :) Couldn't turn that down!

Not only did she get me out for a second day in a row but she is definitely in the right profession because she was an excellent coach. She knew just how to encourage me, how to challenge me, when to let me walk, when to say I could run more, when I needed the strength of Christ, how to reinforce my good habits, teach me better habits and form. And the results speak for themselves....

Better average speed, better top speed, longer distance, almost no hip pain (yesterday had quite a bit) and she helped me learn how to run in a form that would continue to strengthen my hip while not straining it so much as well. And she taught me to run through the calf strain, which I thought at first would do me in but she said muscle pain is ok to run through, so I kept going. So many improved results I can hardly believe it!

But I don't want to sugar coat it. It was hard. I walked very slowly home.

But that gave me some time to think.

About hard work.

I didn't think I was adverse to it, but I realized today I had a fear of the hard work it would take to accomplish a marathon, even a 5k, a distance I have easily walked. This was not something I was conscious of before, and so I wondered where this fear came from? Especially considering I have at least 3 people in my life who have overcome their own adversities to become a multi-marathon runner and I was witness to their accomplishment, why did I think it was beyond my reach?

As I thought about it I thought back to other things I had to work hard for.

I couldn't think of anything.

It's not that I haven't worked hard, but it's usually been to work my way out of a bad situation, not working hard for something, towards a positive goal. I have felt most of my life that life happens to me, good and bad things just seem to fall into my lap without much effort on my part. Of course when the bad situations came (once I realized they were bad) there was a lot of hard work involved to move forward in a positive direction, but I had to do it, to survive.

Running is hard work for the sole goal of thriving.

When you need to survive you have a lot of extra motivation, to move away from pain. Motivation to thrive....sorely lacking when you are moving towards pain.

And in survival it's easier to take it one day at a time, it's easier to say, 'well at least I don't do that anymore.' When you are trying to thrive I think you are a lot harder on yourself, expect more of yourself.

So there it was. I had been avoiding accomplishing this goal of running in a marathon because I was afraid of this new territory of working hard just to discipline my self. Moving towards and into pain in order to accomplish something. Seemed silly when I was perfectly happy not running.

But I felt like I had been missing out on something by avoiding the pain.

And I realized I haven't always made the choice to run from/avoid pain.

Tattoos are a simple example, I felt making my story visible was worth the pain.

And I chose to go back to trying to have children after I had essentially given up because of all the pain. After 6 years of so much heartache and frustration I chose to try again because I believed all the suffering would be worth it. And now in the 8th year I still believe strongly that the pain will be worth it.

Pain was worth it if I believed there was a big pay off in the end.

And I believe that there will be a big pay off to accomplishing this 10 k run next year. The difference is I'm pretty unclear what that pay off will be. I mean obviously there will be the physical health aspect but I have a feeling there is much, much more to this. It's just a feeling I have but it's enough to motivate me to thrive!

I have never liked the saying, but it finally has new meaning for me, no pain no gain.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Slow and Steady

Doesn't always win the race, but still completes it.

This is the advice my sister Tami gave me yesterday. Tami, a personal trainer and marathon runner, first inspired me a few Father's Days ago when she completed the half marathon 13 miles (21k). I since tried getting on the marathon bandwagon, but I made a few mistakes, wrong motives, trying to do it all by myself, and taking generic internet coaching.

Now, somehow a conversation between my sisters and I last night ended up instigating a challenge to do the 10k marathon next Father's Day together. So, being an all or nothing kinda girl, I did my first run this morning already! Wasn't bad for first exercise in a few months and first time running since last summer, but about twice as slow as I would like to do the 10k...but we'll see. As Tami said, you don't have to run faster, just longer.

So that's where I started this morning, and I learned so much today. The main theme of what I learned was about distractions, good and bad.
Good Distraction #1: Breathing properly. Without having to try to worry about time or pace, and just running, I was for the first time ever able to pay attention to my breathing almost the entire run. I think it helped my lung capacity, energy and I was so into my breathing that I missed the street I was going to turn around at and ran 7 blocks further than I meant to, which meant 14 blocks further....which I ended up walking the second 7 so I could run the last 16 blocks.
Bad Distraction #1: I realized that previously my discomfort easily distracted me during a run and made it less enjoyable. I bought a new running outfit in winter hoping to motivate myself to get back on the treadmill (which it didn't) but today I realized a proper sports bra, a long fitted shirt I wasn't worried about riding up, and long fitted (not tight) pants I wasn't worried about rolling down or pant legs being too short, I was able to concentrate on good distractions. I didn't realize the poor clothing choices I was making before really kept me so self-conscious, which made running in them pretty unpleasant. Here's my new, relatively cheap, but very comfy running outfit.

Good Distraction #2: Music. When a song with a great beat came up in my playlist I found my pace definitely picked up, but also because it was a worship set I found myself full of praise and gratefulness for the ability to run.

Bad Distraction #2: Similar to ill-fitting clothes, ear buds that don't fit properly, that I had to constantly be putting back in my ears, or hurt my ears, had a negative impact on my running previously. I happened to get a new pair with some new electronic in the last 6 months, but they were different than other pairs so I decided to try them and they were fantastic! 

Good Distraction #3: Positive attitude. I'm doing this for many positive reasons, why would I want to ruin it with the attitude that running sucks. So I spent the time enjoying it, the perfect breeze, smiling at other people as we passed, my ability to run longer on cement than I ever have before, and more.
Bad Distraction #3: I admit, today I realized how much I used to set myself up for failure. In addition to all the above mentioned, I also didn't stretch before my runs previously. I know, shame on me. I have in the last 7 weeks every Thursday I have been privy to witness an exercise group who stretches, runs, and then cools down/meditates and so this morning my first thought as I stepped outside was that I should stretch. It made a world of difference. Duh! My usual leg strain was gone after 4 blocks rather than being my companion most of the run. That constant pain obviously made it unpleasant to run.
Good Distraction #4: Adding a positive voice to the internal tape playing in my head. The old wrong motives, and relying on my own strength, and holding myself to anonymous internet standards really was a discouraging bunch of voices to accompany every run. All it took was one simple phrase from my sister, advice she herself used to accomplish several marathons, and I found new grace for myself and those other voices were completely silenced. Another marathoning friend (who leads the Thursday classes I observe) told me today, 'the only person you need to race is who you were yesterday.' This is no different than any other area of life, the negative voices distract from accomplishing goals, positive voices give faith in myself.

So, with all that I was able to run farther on cement than I ever have before, I was in the least pain after a run I have ever experienced, I had the most energy after the run than I have ever had, and it was probably the slowest run I've had in 6 years, lol. So all in all, very successful!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

As I mentioned, May turned into cheat month. Yes month. Once you've gone completely off track it is so much easier to stay there. I am starting my count for just about every luxury no-no over again as of June 1st. So for now I will keep a running tally of how much I did eat in the last 4+ months, it seems a lot better more encouraging when I say it that way :)

So in the last 141 days I have had only :)
8 desserts
9 beverages
2 portions of chips

I still have not had any donuts, juices or milks! Still not bad considering most of that

And I went for an hour and a half long walk on Monday and about a 40 minute walk last week too. Rain hasn't been making walking outside easy but I'm going to keep trying, as long as it isn't too cold. A lot of season finale's on t.v. lately so my schedule is blowing wide open :)

And on all other fronts I am feeling good, feeling healthy. Intentionally working on how to keep hope afloat but more so how to remember my weakness is when God's grace and power are made perfect. I need to learn to let go of the desire NOT to be weak long before I reach the end of myself. And I have a few tools in my pocket now to help with that.

I have realized also though that I haven't had a consistent spiritual filling since our small group transformed. I think I might be spiritually dehydrated. My soul is refreshed now and then, through certain people, through certain situations, but those just are not happening frequently enough. I am in need of a small group where I have people pouring into me, not just me pouring into others. Or a mentor. I'm still looking for one of those. May have found a candidate or two :) We'll see where God takes that relationship. All I know is I'm doing a lot of pouring out without as much pouring back in.

But overall, I'm good. Better than good. Thank God for that.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Well, after just over a week of struggling, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, I think I am back to my normal. I am thankful I have a lot of wonderful people in my life I can reach out to, and talk to, each understands a different aspect, in a different way, and can speak truth into those moments. But mostly I am just surrounded by support and encouragement and hugs and I feel beyond blessed for the people God has placed in my life to love me back to health.

Even my physical health is bouncing back, which it had a lot to have to recover from. The fatigue is gone so I'm going to go out for some walks this week again. Back to cooking rather than eating out. Back to my plateau weight, so a small gain of 3 lbs. And the cheats are now done. I think :)

It feels like I was cheating for so long but it was really just the Sunday to Sunday. No offense to mom's but one day gets so dragged out, it felt like Smothers Day for 8 days. But with some cheating, great friends, and some avoidance tactics, I was actually mostly good by Sunday.

I capped this really difficult time testing out some talk therapy for my depression with my favorite counselor (technically in training), my hubby. I realized, the food did very little to help how I felt. The most helpful thing was talking with friends and God. But even that mostly only worked in the moment I was talking to those friends, in any moment of isolation and no effective distractions, I wasn't ok. And so I've learned I need to work on that while I am back to 'normal', preventative preparation, so that next time I don't feel so hopeless. Sean did an amazing job of helping me see hope that doesn't depend on a future event, but the hope I have in each day. It's strange how I can see and be blessed by joy, gratitude, love daily, yet the absence of hope still trumped that, and so I need to tie in hope to that joy, gratitude and love.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wellness Wednesday - Mental Health

Before I get to my usual health related confessional, I wanted to take a moment to talk about a topic still not very prevalent in our society, mental health, since it's mental health awareness week.

I admittedly have a limited mental health awareness. I have had more interactions with some than others, such as bi-polar, anxiety and depression. I did quite a bit of research on the former two, because they have both affected my life directly, anxiety has been a problem of mine and bi-polar was an issue of my ex. But the latter, depression, I hadn't felt it was my concern to understand why some people felt more sad and hopeless than others, I just felt I needed to be understanding of their struggle without needing to understand it.

It's actually been a curiosity unfolding though for 15 months now. After my miscarriage in January of last year I fell into an overwhelming sadness, I felt desperate, anxious, numb, had a lack of concentration, fatigue/low energy, couldn't sleep well, felt irritable and on edge.  I happened to have a close friend who deals with depression and I got up the courage to ask her, is this what depression feels like? Turns out I had described many of her exact symptoms. Because my limited understanding of depression was that it was beyond circumstances and control, I didn't want to equate my short-term feelings to the pain she's gone through a big portion of her life, but I also had this desire to label what I was going through. At the time I just ended up calling it grief.

But since then I've realized I've had these episodes before, and I wondered if it was possible to have situational depression? Could it be a real thing? I never really dived into it though. I, at the most, have only had 2 episodes in a year, usually only one. I could always trace my episodes back to either the hopelessness I've felt in my infertility, or relational stress from repressed feelings. Did it mean I am more prone to them through certain stresses? Possibly, but they were typically gone in a week, two after the miscarriage. I ended up just letting my concerns fade away.

Then I just went through a few more shorter periods between October and January, and even wrote about it here, how my hope was under attack. And I don't doubt that was in part spiritual. Maybe it all is, but just the awareness of the spiritual element only helped things temporarily. Because they are back again.

Last week, for reasons I'm not entirely sure of, the hopelessness started to increase and with it, most of the other symptoms started creeping back in as well. I invited prayer and God into the situation and it alleviated it for a few days, but Sunday it began to grow stronger again, and today at work I'm sitting here wondering how I'm even able to type out coherent thoughts because my mind is so numb, filled with fog. For the last two days I've just wanted to hibernate. I actually did yesterday, called in sick. It was my last chance at being pregnant before Mother's Day. I felt a little ridiculous calling in for just a normal period. But it wasn't just that. I was going to jokingly call it a 'mental health' day, which has been slang for many years for 'I'm just tired of working and I need a break from my job' day. Then it occurred to me though, the feeling of being under depression was truly a mental health issue, I was taking a legitimate mental health day.

Now back at work, a friend and co-worker brought up the mental health awareness week, and asked if we could tie in a talk about it in to our National H&S week activities. She will be giving a talk about it Friday and I decided to help do a little research. And guess what I found, there is such a thing as situational (or reactive) depression. With all of the symptoms I have (plus a few more) included.

What does this mean for me, having all but been actually diagnosed? I'm not sure. Talking about it in therapy-like sessions seems the normal recommendation. I do find when I am talking about it to the people who are understanding and let me verbal process, it really does alleviate a lot of the weight I feel on me. I do need to find additional solutions though. I have been so numb the last week I have been trying to feel through taste. I have cheated on my luxury abstinence in just about every category in the last 4 days. 4 desserts on Monday alone. So that tells you right there how my physical health has been the last week.

The reason I wanted to write about this though wasn't so I could validate that I have a type of depression, but so that other people might be aware that real feelings of depression do exist outside of clinical depression, they are valid, it isn't just you, and it isn't 'all in your head.' And there are options to treat it, you don't have to suffer with it. I intend to start looking for help, because frankly this sucks.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Well, April has been a hard month.

First the side effects from the medication were the worst ever. Usually they start right before and stop after ovulation but they kept going, no fading, just strong discomfort continuing day after day. It made me exhausted, hungry, emotionally hungry, uncomfortable, hot, cold, bloated, emotional, but mostly in pain. With Easter I know I fell off the wagon with chocolate quite a few days before these symptoms hit their worst, so I knew I had gained a pound or two back, but then I gained back 5 and my stomach was sticking out like I was 3 months pregnant (which I am NOT, so therefore DO NOT want to look like it). I had to wear loose clothes so as not to put any more pressure on my abdomen, but not so loose it looked like I was trying to hide a belly. Yuck. Some pretty tough, and not so healthy, days.

But, I went up for prayer after Church and the next day it was all mostly gone, just a slight bruised feeling from all that pain. I haven't yet dared step on the scale yet but the belly bloat is back to almost where it was before, so I'm happy about that.

Thankfully, one thing that helped alleviate all the above, AND helped me feel like I was making more of a healthy effort, was going on walks now that the weather is permitting. I walked about 2 hours last week over 3 trips and it was the one time I was feeling fairly good. Another highlight of April, because chocolate isn't a cheat (despite the chocolate overload) I didn't cheat at all on anything this month! My first full month of no cheats! :) That makes me very happy!

Oh, and I realized I forgot to add milk and chocolate milk to my list last time, I have not had milk to drink in 121 days and have not had chocolate milk to drink in 48 days. Although the only reason I cheated with chocolate milk (and forgot to record it in March) was because for some reason I wasn't able to swallow my medication with just water that week, only milk, so I figured if I'm going to cheat for necessity it's going to be chocolate milk :)

So yeah, a step back, a step forward. All I can say is I'm looking forward to ownership of my body back next month, because I'm off the meds. Maybe permanently, don't know yet. All I know is I need a break!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Just wanted to remind myself of some victories.

It has been at minimum 113 days since I have had:
coffee/cafe latte's
hot chocolate

It has been 87 days without tea/tea latte's.

It has been 68 days without chips.

It has been 53 days without alcohol.

It has been 41 days without cake.

It has been 27 days without coke.

It may have gotten rougher but now it's getting easier again. :) Yeah!

Now if only I had forfeited chocolate for the month of April :/ Yikes!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Inheritance

Insurmountable debt.

This is your inheritance.

An outrageous obligation!

What?! How?! Why?!

You didn't ask to be born into this!

You will NEVER be able to repay what is owed.

Not in your life time.

Not in the life time of your children, or your children's children.

In this fashion it was passed down to you from previous generations.

Which is why the debt persists.

And the burden of the liability weighs heavy on you.

It wasn't yours, but has now become yours.

It seems impossible.

It wouldn't have mattered if you'd known from day one, there would be no earning a way out of this.


One day, a man comes to you and says he will take the debt on your behalf.


'You're crazy! No one in their right mind would sacrifice that much just to help me.'

'I promise, I can and want to do this for you. Just sign it all over to me, I've got the paperwork already drawn up.'

'What is this, some random act of kindness?  Is there a camera rolling somewhere?'

'I promise you, this is not random. I have thought this through, long and hard. Now will you let me help you?'

You are at the end of your rope.

At the end of yourself.

You don't know what else to do.

What do you have to lose?

And so you do it.

You release the debt to this stranger, who seems to good to be true.

The bank statement shows zero outstanding.

It is finished.

You owe nothing.

Not even to your benefactor.

And then a surprise twist.

You start to read the 'paperwork' he drew up.

You drop the papers along with your jaw.

You pick it back up, studying the words carefully.

You read it over and over again, looking to convince yourself of their truth.

But there it is, in black and white.

You are now the heir to a king.

Your inheritance has been swapped, from pauper to prince.

You are royalty, bequeathed a kingdom, a mansion, land, riches.

Riches far more precious than mere gold.

You received an inheritance so vast it will take all of eternity to fully comprehend it.
You were not only freed but you were blessed.

Now that is Good News.

1 Peter 1:18-19, 3-4

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Well it's about time I did one of these again, on time! So I'm starting a few days early and posting today :)

Well, it has been 4 weeks since my last cheat, so 98 days down and only the 6 cheats.  I'm pretty pleased with myself! Especially with how many have been flaunted under my nose lately. Donuts, cookies, cake, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls....and more than half the time it's for work and I have to order and arrange it!

I have sensed myself cracking though. Thinking about the temptations a lot. I have had to really proactively deal with this and reach out for accountability. When I selected my luxury foods to eliminate, I did realize a grey area that didn't fall into my 'allowed' but also not in my 'not allowed.' My caveat was that I wouldn't have those items (i.e. candy & popcorn) more often than I would have had if I wasn't removing luxury foods, which is probably only about 3 times a year, each. I have now had my 1/3 candy and 1/3 popcorn. :/

Another thing I have noted is that I am eating out more, and only half/half on the healthy choices, other half not so much. For both my wallet and waistline's sake, I intend to be cutting that out. Entitlement at missing desserts has crept in at work, and busyness has taken over supper hour, but I have a meal plan for the next 7 weeks, so I intend to do much better!

That being said, as of Sunday morning, I have lost another 2 lbs. So, if I pretend the 5 lbs I gained and lost between Dec.24th-28th didn't happen, I have otherwise lost 11 lbs since January, and 8 lbs since starting Shaklee vitamins (and coincidentally haven't worked out either) 6 weeks ago. And now that snow is almost off the sidewalks, and I get out for my regular walks again, I hope to see even more of that happening :)

Spring (if you can call it that) is off to a good start!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wellness Update

Well it's been a challenging few weeks,  hence the lack of posts, particularly my wellness posts. Work has been changing my role, and an office move, have meant a lot of overtime
I am happy to report though :) in the midst of the last 2 weeks I have only minorly cheated once and it was on a very long day that I forgot to bring a lunch to work. There was a really tiny piece of cake left and I ate it :(
But, the 2nd hardest day, the very next day, was our move day AND our last Friday CR night. I was so exhausted and wanted coffee, but I didn't!  And we had an appetizer/dessert potlock with a bunch of tempting fav desserts and I didn't cave!  :) Although I had 2 helpings of the stuff I was allowed to have :/
I have still managed healthy meals despite the business AND I lost another 3 lbs, 6 in total!
I'm happy with that!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Happy belated wellness Wednesday :) For consistency I figured I'd post but not a lot of new healthy news. Although we celebrated our anniversary last weekend and I allowed myself one cheat, a bottle of wine. Dessert I still stuck to my guns and had chocolate with fruit! And it was delicious, Sean kept 'stealing' small bites :) Here's a glimpse into my delicious,  healthy, yumminess.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Eleventy Years Married

Today we reached the milestone of eleven years married.

Funny thing, on the way to our dinner plans we heard on the radio 'this day in history' that Johnny Cash and June Cartee were married March 1st!  We just happen to have an affinity for the couple, we LOVE the song inspired by them 'Johnny & June' and used lyrics from it in our vow renewal last year. Another interesting tidbit we learned after Wiking them over our starter soup was they were married the year my parents were married and they bothw passed away the year we were married.

I am certain we will have a legacy of love just as strong and devoted. ♡

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Week 7 and still no more cheats!  :) My veggie intake is growing! My activity has slowed down, I just don't have enough time in this season of life. 
However I am super excited about my new vitamins and going back to protein shakes for breakfast, I even got Sean on board! There is far too much info I'd like to share though so I'll save all that for another post :)
Oh, and I've lost another 2.5 lbs! Yay!

Friday, February 21, 2014

For such a time as this

I have been keenly aware the last several years at sensing when God is causing shifting in my life, I have blogged about it now and then. The first one I felt was in 2010, leading me to serve in my Church in a new way, which eventually led me to 3 new best friends and a recovery journey.

I strongly sensed 9 months ago that God was doing some Spring cleaning in my life for a purpose, and even 10 months before that I was getting the 'spidey' sense tingle. I rarely know the purpose, I've called it a 'winds of change' because it's nothing more tangible than wind, and yet it's more than just wind, it's His breathe. Breathing life into me where I didn't know I was lacking.

Once the change has happened, I see in hindsight where God was leading me, leading me long before I got that tingling. This time is no different. Now that I see the changes unfolding, I can see God's hand orchestrating this over my entire lifetime!  Yes it ties into the shifts I've seen in the last 19 months, but also the shift 4 years ago, and the journey of self-image deliverance, and the journey of infertility & miscarriages, and the journey of stewardship over my finances, and my heart for marriage.  Many of those journeys started in childhood.

For such a time as this.

But before I get to the now, I'll backtrack a little, as I haven't shared a lot about my heart for marriage here. I can't actually recall when this passion flared up in me, a heart to see wholeness in marriage.  I just remember about 15-18 years ago, I was full of dreams and schemes for entrepreneurship (just like my dad), and I dreamed of this marriage retreat that would offer not just a retreat for couples, but resources, and support, and counselling, all in one. Then, just a few months after marriage, Sean and I were invited by our Pastor to join a marriage seminar he was running for a few weeks in the community, to be other Christian contacts for the participants to get to know other than just the Pastor and his wife. That seminar was awesome, I still use things I learned back then, what a great foundation for marriage, but I thought to myself, why did no one offer some of this before we were married? And I began to see a need for better pre-marital relationship help as well.

But then, all was quiet on that front. For years.

Then God started stirring something old in me. He placed my bestie in my life who came to me for advice a lot and I loved that God used my past to shed light on her present and future, as a woman dating with marriage in mind. Combined with hearing about what Sean was learning in his Counselling courses, a seed was planted. I wanted to become a marriage counselor! I wanted to do what I was doing for my friend every day! And I wanted to help couples who were struggling with finances like I did in a previous relationship - and with all I'd learned especially in the Financial Peace course I took, and how much it helped us. And I wanted to help couples dealing with infertility, and counselling through the grief of miscarriage! I was overwhelmed with this desire. But God said wait. He asked me not to start school until at least September 2014. I was ready to sign up for September 2013! I was obedient but started to sadly believe that it would be 5-10 years (depending on Sean's education track, I also promised him his would stay priority) before I would ever get to be in the purpose I felt God was leading me towards! I was a little disheartened to say the least.

So, back to now.

My first glimpse into understanding this change was January 22nd, and believe me, even with just an inkling I knew THIS is what God had been leading me towards for a long, long time. But, as hard as it was to contain, I couldn't say anything until now because it involves the Recovery ministry at our Church and we wanted to be fair to all our participants and leaders about the evolution of this ministry. It has taken us a few weeks to communicate and plan and get feedback and we finally have something in place so I can finally share!!!!! :)

During an evaluation started in fall, partly with our Director leaving and partly because the Church finally felt they needed to be more supportive and involved in a ministry of healing, we realized that the Celebrate Recovery banner just didn't fit our Church, to place all healing under this model wasn't working effectively and it was limiting. So while we are going to keep some strong foundational pieces, we are going to let go of the name, we are going to become more inclusive  by broadening the number of struggles we offer support for specifically. New groups will be offered that won't require a commitment of every week for a whole year, which started to weigh on me over the last year, because I didn't feel I could do that when our children come :)

The most exciting part for me came when our Ministry Pastor laid out just a few of the support groups he would like to offer. Miscarriages. Struggling Marriages. Financial recovery. Inside my head, my jaw dropped. The joy inside me bubbled up I could hardly contain myself. And other ideas I had for groups over the years that just wouldn't have fit in the CR model started flowing through my brain. An Infertility group. A Self-Image circle. A creative healing (through arts) group. It doesn't mean all of them will happen, but I just am over the moon because the sky is the limits!

I just know that somehow our children tie into this purpose yet too. Nothing concrete, simply more winds whispering. Oh, how I love the winds of change! But more than I love sailing on those winds, I love my Anchor.  I love knowing THIS was the good God was working out of every pain and passion in my life. This was what the Potter is doing with the clay. I followed His promises, followed every rainbow, and I found my dream.
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