Thursday, November 29, 2012

five minute friday: wonder

I'm exhausted and I should be in bed, but I'm going to try my hand at writing tonight regardless of how I feel.  If you want to join the party, hit the badge on the right hand side of my page.  okay so don't really hit your computer.  you'll just hurt something.  clicking works though...


walking on christmas eve, in freshly fallen snow.  past a church.  music wafting it's way out.  
silent night, holy night.

holding a new born baby.  nine years since the first and I still get "that feeling" when I remember holding him.  smelling him.  touching his wee hand. 
all is calm, all is bright.

little voices singing in unison and sounding so sweet and awful at the same time.  
holy infant, so tender and mild.

boys sleeping.  hands flailing.  hushed breath.
sleep in heavenly peace.

alone, with a piano.  closed door.  it's just me and the song in my heart.  
all is calm, all is bright.

silent night
holy night
all is calm
'round yon virgin
mother and child
holy infant
so tender and mild
sleep in heavenly peace
sleep in heavenly peace

wonder.  god in flesh.
holy night.


Monday, November 26, 2012

yellow light

so I grew up in church.  and when I say I grew up in church, I don't mean that we went to church every sunday.  no, the church raised me.  saturday night.  sunday morning.  wednesday night bible study.  friday night youth group.  pre-service prayer.  post-service coffee.  oh, and school.  monday-friday.  yep.  many of my misconceptions about church and God come out of this "full exposure" as a child.  and many of the spiritual practices that define the church were so pounded into me that I just disconnected.  too much forced prayer and too much forced bible reading and memorizing gives those practices a bad taste in my mouth.  literally.

and then there is tithing.  I have heard about 50 too many sermons on tithing.  my favourite was the impetus for leaving a church in my early 20s {the pastor preached that ananias and sepphira in the book of acts were killed because they didn't tithe.  pack your bags kids, we're going on an epic guilt trip.}.  and that is the sum of my tithing "preaching at you" experience.  guilt.

as a result, I hate tithing.  I give when I have a few extra dollars.  I had one year that I think I tithed 8 months out of 12.  I give to a couple of international organizations.  but really, I don't tithe.  or didn't.

over the last little while I've come to see my lack of tithing in a different light.  see, I've always justified my money decisions.  "I give of my time" or "I give when I can" has become the mantra of my adulthood.  it's true.  I am generous with my time.  I am generous with my stuff.  I am generous with my gifts.  but I'm not generous with my money.  and for a long time my excuse has been that I don't have enough money to make ends meet, let alone give.  when faced with the choice to feed my children or tithe the magic 10%, I choose feeding the kids.  and starbucks for myself.  and a cell phone bill that supports my data addiction.  oh, and that new pair of shoes.

so this my revelation on all of this:  there is a God and it's not me*.  that's right.  I believe that I know best for my life.  I don't trust God or myself.  and I'm not just talking about faith, I'm saying that it's taken me many, many years to figure out that God, the creator of this universe, has my back.  I grew up believing in God the judge; not in God the lover of my soul.  and the result of living this way has been a life of chaos at best.  my soul is in hiding.  I am in a huge financial mess.  my relationships are strained.  I don't trust myself or anyone else.  in the depth of my being, I believe I know best for my life.  I am God.  but I'm not.  there is a God and it's not me.  I suck at being in control.

here's the connection.  if I am not God, then He must be who He says He is.  and apparently, I'm suppose to trust him.  I'm learning this.  it also means that everything I have belongs to Him.  and in the same way that I want my boys to have every opportunity and all of their needs met, He wants that for me.  he's just asking me to obey.  it started with me beginning to replace my worries with a grateful heart.  philippians 4 says, "do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God." and it goes on to say that peace will guard your heart and mind.  try it.  it's really hard to worry and be grateful at the same time.  and in those moments, God was faithful.  and He continues to be faithful.  and very slowly trust is being restored.

what I discovered through this process is that the biggest cause of worry in my life is money.  the lack of it.  the shame of living as result of poor choices.  the shame of being 40 and not knowing what the heck we're doing.  the shame of feeding my kids lots of pasta because that's all we could afford in september.  but something happened.  when I started to trust God with my worries, money issues became less and less.  I wish I could say that we miraculously won the 50/50 at an eskimo game or some anonymous donor handed me a cheque for $10 000 and all my problems went away, but it didn't happen like that.  it was the small stuff.  it was only having to spend $35 on school supplies because I found a bunch of used and new stuff when I was packing up my classroom last spring.  it was a good friend of ours donating hand-me-down hockey equipment.  it was cheques not going through our bank account until payday when they should have gone through when there was not enough money in the account.  it was being invited for dinner when we had almost no food in the house.  all little things that added up to big things.

then I had an unexpected conversation with some new friends.  about tithing.  and obedience.  and the challenge was left that I needed to be obedient.  the amount of money that comes into our house has not changed, but God has proven Himself to be faithful.  so I decided to get over the whole "it has to be 10% or nothing" extremist attitude and to start with some fiscal obedience and responsibility.  I decided to start with 1%.  every pay day, I give 1%.  that was last month.  this month it's 2%.  it's going to take us 10 months to get us to the 10% mark.  and then, when we get to 10%, I feel so strongly, in every fibre of my being, that we need to go +1% every year.  it's obedience when I choose gratefulness over worry.  it's obedience when I tithe.  it's obedience when I give with a grateful heart.  God will bless each and every percentage I give because of the obedience and ultimately because of my faith.

what I've learned is that it's not mine.  when I horde, it slides through my hands like sand.  I cannot serve two masters.  I'm choosing to serve God not money.  I've learned that God has my back.  tithing is a spiritual practice that I cannot ignore.  it's not about guilt trips.  it's not about shame.  it's not even really about money.  it's about trust.  obedience.  faith.  stepping out on nothing and landing on something.  and for me, 1% more.

*not my original words...totally stolen from THIS guy.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

five minute friday: thank you

it's five minute friday...on saturday!  I've been exhausted this week, so staying up late to write seemed a bit daunting.  so you're getting it this morning!  and if you want to play along, hit the badge on the side and get all the deets!!


thank you for...

a roof over my head
clothes in my closet
a few bucks in my wallet
some food in my pantry
a song in my head
healthy kids with some smarts in their brains
a job that I adore
people that I work with - they're an amazing team
friends that surround me
parents that love and support me
a husband that works hard and loves his family
a starbucks close by and a card with some money on it
hot coffee
cable tv that's entertaining my kids right now
a car that hasn't died even though it really wants to
hockey and soccer - my boys adore their sports and I adore watching their passion
a church community that supports and loves me
a creative soul
being 40
my health
a creator that made me, loves me and pursues me

so much gratitude.  so thankful.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

big parade

holy tiredness, batman!

I just spent two full days doing PD {professional development for all you non-teacher types!}.  it was all really good work, but my brain hurts!  and my tummy.  sheesh.

it's time for some changes over here, boys and girls.  I was doing really good with taking gluten out of my diet, but then laziness snuck in alongside busyness and now I'm feeling icky again.  really, really icky.  and I'm up two pounds which puts me higher than comfortable for my clothes.  so, the next three days {there are only three more teaching days left in my week!} are going to be focused on drinking a lot of water, getting a lot of rest and making some better eating choices.  then, this weekend, I'll make some plans and do some baking.  my energy level is so low right now and I know it's because of what I feed my body with.  junk in + no rest = tired and grumpy.

I am really thankful that tomorrow is a new day.  and on that note, it sounds like there's a fight happening upstairs that needs some intervention.

I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

five minute friday: stay

it's friday somewhere, right?

gonna try something new tonight.  a bit of a writing challenge.  yippie!!!  go HERE to get all the deets and join, if you want!  {I'll also put the badge over to the right when I get a moment!}

so the topic is STAY


I've tried to run away from home.  more than once.  and not when I was a, as a full-blown adult.  I had a plan.  I had a motive, means and opportunity.  I was packed and ready to run.  and maybe part of my heart did run away, but physically I stayed.  I wish all of me had stayed, in hindsight. I'm still chasing down that piece of me that left on that cold, lonely night.

we give our hearts away so readily when all we're do is to stay.  to be still.  to be quiet.  to listen.  to watch.

I talk too much.  I give too much.  I share too much.

stay.  be still.

being alone and being lonely.  these often drive me into motion.

a restless, discontented heart.  disquieted by the status quo, yet asked to stay.  to be still.  to listen.  I am the kite flowing in the wind, just begging for someone to ground me.  to hold on.  to keep me close.  to envelope my heart and soul.  to stay with me.  to be with me.  to quiet my soul.

I have learned to stay.  and I am learning that a wild soul knows how to find rest in a world that is restless.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I do try to blog at least once a week.  this week has been a touch on the crazy side.  okay, what week isn't?  my life right now:  school. soccer. hockey.  repeat.  it's all good, just not a lot of down time unless I don't come home!  ha!  for real.  today I just hung out at school and finished my report cards.  and then had coffee with jill.  I love jill.  regardless, sometimes I just have to take advantage of the opportunity to step away from the chaos.  let's be honest.  it will always be there.

this is what I've been up to...
{stole John's batman t-shirt and wore it to all the sporting events on saturday}

{I'm cursing the roads, but the sun on the snow was really, really beautiful on saturday}

{sometimes playing the piano at church is really where I get into that sweet spot.  like it's not about me. and I am just the lucky girl who gets to facilitate.}

{remembrance day at next often includes a choir.  okay, well twice now.  but it was lovely.}

{oh, and a "conversation" with clinton kelly...that was pretty cool.}

{I shovelled that.}

{at ground level for one of nate's soccer games this weekend.  love watching him play!}

{coldest arena EVER.  froze my ass off.  grrrr.  oh, and ty almost scored and we lost.  double grrr.}

busy is good.  no time to think and sometimes then I don't have time to over think.  just to be grateful that I have kids that LOVE sports.  grateful that I belong to a community that loves me.  grateful that although we have massive amounts of snow in the second week of november {grrrrrr} that I got around safely with all the driving I had to do this weekend.  grateful for moments of perfection that I couldn't orchestrate if I tried.

the title of the mumford & sons song "reminders" was fitting tonight.


Monday, November 05, 2012

slow it down

things that make me happy on a monday:

1.  good music
2.  hang out time with ty
3.  stir fry and rice
4.  chocolate
5.  the chew
6.  watching the civil wars sing billie jean.  FOR REAL.
7.  laughing with my students today
8.  melting snow
9.  dr pepper
10.  seeing how many boxes of books that I need to get rid of...because I started purging the garage!
11.  taking some pause
12.  knowing that some days I need to just remember this:

Friday, November 02, 2012

stubborn love

y'all know my titles are song titles, right?  well the lumineers have been toping the playtime on my iPod as of late.  LOVE.  they make for some good thinking music.  so hunker down.  it's a long one tonight. oh, and I'm on meds - buckleys AND antibiotics; if stuff makes less sense than normal, well it's my normal for today...a little left of centre!!

so this week has been the start of a season of purging and fasting.  and full-on chest cold from hell.  eff.

on sunday I offered up a challenge to myself: "seven drastic changes" is what I called it.  heck if I know where I got the number seven from.  maybe just one for each day of the week!  and today, looking back, I'm not sure if seven was the correct number, but the effort has been there.

the purge:
I hold on to things.  physical and emotional.  this week has brought a conscious effort to purge my heart, more than anything, but it has been kick started by my drive to purge "the stuff".  the physical purge is one that I need help doing.  the garage is FULL of boxes that have been sitting there for 2+ years.  they need to be sorted through, purged and re-packed.  it's been on my to-do list for almost 6 months, but I can't do it alone.  it's just stuff.  stuff that I don't need, but it belongs to me, so it's my job.  john and I have an official plan that is going to work.  I don't know why it takes me so long.  funny enough, I don't have issues with throwing things away, or with giving them away; I have issues with getting started.  this was the week to get the plan in motion.  tomorrow is the actual day.  no more procrastination on the purging of "the stuff".

purging my heart has also come with some emotional procrastination.  I hold on.  I hold on to bad habits, unforgiveness, memories...all things that create a toxic place in my soul.  this week I've begun the purge.  it's making a conscious effort to forgive.  it's making a conscious effort to make a bigger effort with some people and no contact with the ones that are harmful.  it's hitting the delete button and not the send button.  and it's immersing myself in truth.  and it's bloody hard.  and I've not been super great at it this week.  but I'm trying.  trying hard.  forgiving myself is ridiculously difficult.  trusting myself, even harder.

the fast:
well this went sideways big time.  getting sick through my resolve out the window, especially since the bulk of this was food and drink related.  that said, I can't drink booze while on antibiotics.  somehow the fast wins.  no booze for two weeks has turned into no booze for the next 10 days.  My stomach was feeling pretty crappy last weekend and I know that is totally related to the amount of gluten I eat or don't eat.  I had planned to sort that back out this week too, but sickness makes me want kit kat bars.  yes, those ones all collected while trick-or-treating.  I've totally been snitching from the kid's candy stash.  I'm blaming the fever.  I should be back to normal in the next 24-48 hrs.  I'll start again.

john and I have also spent tonight working on creating a debt active fast from what we want to a focus on being good stewards with what we've been blessed with.  this goes with a shopping fast and man, that's hard!  we are held hostage by our debt situation and for the first time in a long time, I feel like we're taking it on.  together.  no more fear and shame when it comes to our money.  just a singular focus on the goal.

I know this doesn't look or sound like seven things.  and it's not.  and I got messed up in my plans by sickness, but I'm moving forward.  taking it all in small steps.  and feeling like sometimes when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  auto-pilot is not an option, regardless of how busy and overwhelming my life can feel.