Thursday, May 24, 2012


Hello Readers!
There is a new post up today,  but you won't find it here! That is because my blog has moved. So check it out and please update your bookmarks/feedburner/blog reader to follow

See you over there :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Summer Begins

This week has been filled with fun and exciting, non-blogging activities! We've been eating well, playing board games, going on adventures downtown and soaking up sun. Also, Esther has been working on a new site to host my blog, so I'm looking forward to hopefully making that transition soon and getting off blogspot :)

Next weekend Matt and I are looking forward to throwing a party to celebrate paying off our student line of credit! (No, we won't be going back into debt over this party.) On our honeymoon in August  2009 we put $500 on it to bring the balance down to $18 400. Crazy I know - and now it's gone! Over a year ago when we were dreaming about ever having this loan paid off, we decided that when it happened we would take one month's payment and put it toward a party to celebrate with our friends! Then we will get back to paying off our government student loans like the responsible adults we pretend to be :)

While I'm posting pictures, some of you may be happy to know that back in April I did finish my Lent reading plan! I was one day late, finishing on Easter Sunday, but even that feels like such a huge accomplishment, and I'm really glad I made the time for this discipline because I got so much out of reading the Bible cover to cover (although not straight through).
Okay, that's it for now! We are alive and well and loving life, and I hope the same is true for you <3

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

I was really impressed with how my church handled Mother's Day this year - it's easy for the women in a congregation to be divided into mothers and non-mothers, but this can be really hurtful to women who may be struggling with infertility or who have lost pregnancies, those who deeply desire to be mothers but aren't yet, and those who are mothers unbeknownst to others and therefore go uncelebrated. It can also be awkward as a woman of child-bearing age if the ushers aren't sure whether they should offer you a flower (or whatever the token is) or not. And if there is pain under the surface, this confusion can bring it right out in the open.

The flip side of this recognition of mothers only, is the celebrate-all-women approach, which focuses on the mothering influence that many women have and the fact that emotional and spiritual nurturing are just as valuable as breastfeeding and diaper changing and homework nagging (I mean helping...), which is true! No woman is left out or left behind, which is nice, but I always feel a bit awkward being included in whatever gesture is made because being a mom is a big deal, and I haven't done anything to be celebrated as one.

Today I experienced a beautiful middle ground: flowers for all the women, to celebrate the mothers, the priest explained, "and if you aren't a mother, you had a mother, so take a flower in her honour."

I realize that if Mother's Day is a difficult holiday, there is no perfect phrase or gift or gesture that will make the pain go away, but I was touched by the simplicity and sincerity of this approach. I don't feel weird about having taken a flower even though I am not a mother, and as this day passes with my own mom thousands of miles away, I can enjoy this sweet reminder of the beauty and love she has allowed me to take for granted in this life.

I love you Mom! Happy Mother's Day :)

Friday, May 11, 2012


I didn't think anything much of the email from Matt that popped up on my screen at work today: the subject was Car, and I hoped that ours was still running. I was fairly sure I hadn't brought the keys to work (again).

It turns out our car was broken into last night. We lost CDs, some fishing gear, a GPS, and our blue disco party cigarette lighter. Also, our hood was smashed (maybe in frustration that our crappy-looking car was actually as dumb of a car to rob as it looked?). Overall, it could have been worse though - there have been times we left things in the car over night that we shouldn't have, given our building's iffy reputation.

Funny story: a couple months before we got our car, some kids went through the parking garage smashing windows and ripping out stereos and taking whatever looked interesting. They were caught on surveillance cameras going into the garage, and they got caught because when the police showed the superintendent the video, the superintendent recognized them from our building. So busted.

Anyways, back to our car. At this point in processing my surprise and feeling somewhat violated, I am most of all relieved. Nothing that was taken is irreplaceable. This is the second time Matt has had a nagging feeling to go back for valuables he left in the car and it ended up being robbed, so we thank God for that. Also, it's a fresh reminder that our car is not secure, and neither is the underground parking, so going forward we will stay vigilant about what we leave in there. It's also a good reminder that what matters the most to us can't be stolen away.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Learning to Trust

I’m hoping this post will be part one of a series on Simple Spirituality. But I don’t have the other posts written yet, so that is a gamble. It would be so nice if it happens though! One step at a time :)

I don’t know how I learned to fear God – not the reverent fear, but the always-unsettled fear, the everything-good-could-be-taken-away-in-a-second fear, that “God can use all things for good” was a threat, not a promise – but somewhere along the way, I did. And then somewhere along the way, I had to unlearn that fear and put trust in its place, and God is still helping me to do that daily, monthly, on and on. Because he CAN use all things for good, this I now believe. But that doesn’t mean he does bad things just to show off all the good he can bring from them. Which is what I used to be afraid was true.

I think the seeds of distrust were planted very innocently when I was a little girl who grew up in church, hearing testimony from missionaries and people who had been converted to Christianity from crazy situations. A lot of those stories involved God using bad things for good, and somehow it occurred to me that God might do something horrible to me so that I would have an awesome testimony. By horrible, I mean wipe out my family in a car crash so that I could learn (and testify!) that all I need is God. Shudder.

I also remember some well-meant teasing along the lines of “never say never to God, because sometimes that’s just what he gives you!” Because I hate hate hate bugs, and wouldn’t it be hilarious if God sent me to Africa as a missionary? Incidentally, I did a semester in Brazil, where I was properly horrified by cockroaches and thereby desensitized enough to live in our current apartment when it was infested with Canadian cockroaches. Also, back in the day, my Mom thought she’d never marry my Dad, and then she did, and here I am! So that backfired “never” worked out pretty well for me.  But again, this seed was planted in my mind that God would give me what I didn’t want, that he was a prankster in the sky who I had to trust or else he’d make things even worse.

Ironically, I think the experience that has given me sturdiest reasons to trust God sounds exactly like the testimonies that terrorized my imagination for so many years: I got cancer. I was getting out of the shower one day when I was 14 and noticed a lump in my neck, and by the time a year passed, I’d had three surgeries and radiation treatment, and it was all over.  The whole thing is so surreal in my memory, but I know that God brought me and my family through it. Any time I got scared, I knew I could cry to God about it; every time I got put out so more pieces of me could be cut out, I knew that if I didn’t wake up on Earth, at least I’d wake up in Heaven. Honestly, the whole thing was a lot harder on my family than it was on me, and the label of “survivor” probably belongs more appropriately on my parents for watching me go through it than on me for simply not dying.

If getting cancer had any negative effect on my faith, it came a year or so after my clean bill of health, when I decided I was tired of needing to be grateful just to be alive. I decided I’d rather try to be a cool kid than a good Christian, which failed pretty badly, and that story is my real testimony of why I put my faith in Jesus.

Since then, God has given me so many outrageous reasons to trust him! And still I struggle. Each new step of faith is just that: a new step. Sometimes it helps to have the experience, to draw on that for courage and hope, but very often it is just as stomach-dropping as the first time I let Jesus be the boss.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May Goals

I've been thinking more and more lately that I should make some goals. It wouldn't be the first time I've dabbled in it, but I never have done much more than dabble for any length of time (I was looking for a post to link to and then realized I never published it. It was half-written and kind of about goals. That pretty much sums up everything I need to say about that). The thing is, Matt's pay cut is kicking in this month, and our rent is going up this summer, and while I'm hoping to get some extra hours here and there at work to help cover people taking vacation time, that won't start for a few weeks and in the meantime my current homemaking routine only works because there are giant buffers of time for me to waste. Plus Matt and I have so many pairs of socks, I don't have to do laundry as often as I should. Plus, Esther and Josh are coming next week! I don't want to spend the summer naggy or cranky or in crisis because I still spend more time reading blogs than meal planning.

So I'm making some goals for May - weeks go by too fast, and I am too easily overwhelmed by failure for me to start with weekly goals - and hopefully they will be helpful to this month being pleasantly productive :)

They are: 
  • {Spiritual} Be more consistent praying with Common Prayer. My specific, measurable goal is to do this daily.
  • {Physical} Do something active for at least 20 minutes 3 times a week.
  • {Nutritional} Make a meal plan, including notes for required prep.
  • {Financial} Keep budget up to date, even past the point where I'm sure we'll break even.
  • {Housekeeping} Don't run out of socks! lol, but seriously... Housekeeping is the area where I am most likely to over-plan, and it stresses me out, which makes me miserable over stuff that I don't care about other than feeling like a bad wife. Then Matt is stuck with a cranky wife over stuff he doesn't care about either! So for now, I am going to skip housekeeping goals other than keeping our apartment livable.
  • {Other} Finish crocheting a baby blanket I started over a year ago. I was thinking I could give it to a friend who was pregnant, but her baby is now 7 months old and has all the blankets he needs! Whatever I end up doing with it, I want to get it done.
Speaking of Matt's happiness related to my housekeeping, I had a revelation the other day. I spend the afternoon doing whatever I want at home, which is usually not too much, and then after dinner I realize our house is a mess and want US to get busy cleaning it up! But that means Matt usually comes home to a list of chores that has been in the back of my mind all day while I didn't do them, plus dinner dishes.
So an additional, somewhat unofficial goal is to use my time after work to get stuff done (especially by focusing on my goals!) and save relaxing for the evenings. Hopefully less time will get wasted overall with this strategy, and most importantly it will hopefully mean even happier time together :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Already

It's hard to believe that it's May already! I think it snuck up me this year because for the first time in 5 years, April was not a frenzy of term papers and final exams. I've had space to breathe, and April just slipped away in a few gusty, rainy days. The grass is so impossibly green after the rain, and the air smells like dark, clean soil, and the days are getting warmer and longer, and I've loved watching Spring unfold for its own sake, not to wish a semester over and Summer on its way.

Of course, I'm excited out of my mind for this Summer! Esther and Josh are my sister and her boyfriend, and they'll be staying with us for the Summer, so that will be cozy and hopefully lots of fun! I'm trying not to set my hopes too high for the four of us adults sharing a two bedroom apartment (yes, our living room will be a part-time sleeping area), but I can't help feeling like our individual awesomeness will just be multiplied as we figure out how to do life together in close quarters.

On the decluttering front, we haven't thrown out/donated too much else, although I sold my old Hebrew textbooks and a DVD set that was unopened. We also rescued a dresser from next to the dumpsters, which is not too pretty but made from real wood and could totally be refinished, so we are up one large piece of furniture that will give Josh a place to store his clothes (it's clean Josh, don't worry). I was going to take a picture, but my phone is failing me, so... maybe later!