Honesty With God

I haven’t blogged much lately and that’s because most of October and November were very difficult for me.

I’ve been talking more about my health this year and partly that’s because this year has been a good one.  I felt like I’ve been making a lot of progress, physically and spiritually.  I was in a good place and learning to take care of my body so I wouldn’t have such drastic health crashes.  It was going so well.  I even wrote out a text to a friend that went something like, “I’m really going to let myself believe that this could be my new normal.”  I looked at that text for a while before I pressed send because I was a little nervous to say it out loud.  But I went ahead and said it.  Two weeks later I had the worst pain day of my entire illness.  Possibly of my entire life.  It definitely competed with childbirth.  I had spent most of the day before in bed because I knew I was way overrun and I was trying to avoid a crash.  So I was feeling quite good about how well I was taking care of myself the next day.  I was getting ready for church on a Sunday morning when it hit me.  I would find out the next day that I had two ribs that twisted, one over top of the other, but I just knew at that point that it was some of the worst pain ever.  I yelled out for Michael.  Through sobs I told him I didn’t think I could make it to church.  He told me there was no way I was going anywhere.  Even though I was actually yelling out in pain, I was very upset that I was missing church.  Mostly because I had never allowed myself to stay home because of pain before.  So this was a bigger deal than it sounds like.  Michael had to get down on the ground in front of me and literally dress me.  It took about a week before I could walk normally or take care of my life easily.  And its taken me till this past week to feel good again.

The reason I didn’t blog during this was because this sent me into a struggle with depression again.  I was a mix of sad and angry.  I had a whole year of good that went away in one weekend.  I knew everything I was supposed to think and feel but I just didn’t.  So I started preaching at myself.  In my speaking this year I talked a lot about being honest.  How God responds to our honesty with love and care and not condemnation and judgement.  So it was time to pull out some of my own advice again.

I told my husband that I was really struggling.  I also confided in one friend.  I got prayers, verses, encouragement, and song lists.  It was helpful and I really need to talk things through to get over them so that was great.  But what really got me through the past 6 weeks was talking to God.  My prayers for a while started with, “Well God, this is what I’m mad about today.”  I told Him that this was unfair.  That I had seven years of lessons already so I was probably spiritual enough:)  That I was angry that I serve Him so much and this is what I get in return.  That I just wanted to run away to the cabin my brother is building in the Rocky Mountains and abandon the camp and the church.  Every dark, wrong thought you can think of, I probably had it and I told Him it all.  Hours of just pouring out my heart.  Even though I knew I was in the wrong.  Even though I knew that He was God and didn’t need my permission with what He let into my life.

I was in deep pain, physical and spiritual, and I just let Him take it all.  And that’s exactly what He did.  He took it all.  No lightening came down to zap me.  No judgement fell on my life.  He listened to my pain, put His arms around me, and pulled me out of the pit once again.  He whispered Bible verses into my memory.  He brought songs, sweet comments, fun with my kids, kindness.

In a strange way, those hours of telling God that I was angry were some of the sweetest I’ve spent with Him.  I’m usually a hider.  I don’t like people to know what I’m really thinking or feeling.  And I’ve done that with God even though I know I can’t really hide anything from Him.  But when I tell God everything, a closeness comes that can’t come otherwise.  Its freeing and beautiful.  He takes all the ugliness I tell him and turns it into a beautiful relationship.  What a wonderful, gracious, loving God.

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Canadian Politics

If you’re friends with me on Facebook or any other social media, you wouldn’t have seen a single post from me about politics in this whole election.  Its not that I’m not interested in it, I am.  Its not that I don’t think its important, it is.  Its not that I’m ashamed of my views, I’m not.  Its partly that I don’t think a two sentence post is going to change anyone’s mind anyways.  But its mostly that I hate the level to which most of the talk concerning politics stoops to.  But here I get to be a little more open with what I think and I also have more than a couple of sentences.  And I have a lot of thoughts about this last Canadian Federal Election.

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First of all, let me say that I thought Steven Harper was a great Prime Minister and I voted for him again.  I firmly believe that the reason our country is in such great shape financially when the US is struggling so badly is that God is blessing our country for Prime Minister Harper’s defence of Israel.  That may sound hokey to some of you, but I truly believe that.  But he is no longer going to be our Prime Minister.

I’m not surprised.  I heard from so many people that they were surprised or didn’t think they would see the day or other such phrases.  Really?  Have you looked around Canada lately?  Land of gay marriage and no abortion laws?  Every time I’ve gone to Toronto this year I’ve seen people smoking pot on the street.  In plain sight.  In fact, last year I walked through an entire crowd smoking pot on their break from the pot convention.  Ontario has a Liberal government and who knew this would ever happen, but Alberta has an NDP government!  Frankly, I would’ve been shocked if Harper was re-elected.  The fact that Trudeau was elected was not shocking, but just an indication that we live in a liberal country.

I’m not surprised and I’m glad that I live in a country where someone who I didn’t vote for can be elected.  I’m glad I live in a country where I get to vote at all.  Do you know how many people around the world would put their lives on the line to get a chance to vote?  There are refugees dying every day trying to get to a democratic country.  Also I’m a woman and its not even a thought on whether I will get to vote or my vote will be counted.  Not only that, but my country makes it as easy as possible for me to vote.  I got a card in the mail, I only had to drive five minutes away, and there was no persecution.  I’m sure its not a perfect system, and I’m sure some people could complain about something, but I guarantee you that Canada is one of the best places in the world.

I wasn’t surprised, but this election did make me angry.  Not the attack adds, not the fact that I figured Mr. Haper was out, but it was other Christians.  I have friends on Facebook who were totally anti-Haper and they never once made me angry.  But over and over again I saw other Christians berate their fellow Canadians, calling them Idiots, Stupid, and all sorts of names.  Really?  Is that what we are called to do as Christians?  How is that showing the love of Christ?  As soon as someone has a different opinion we resort to name calling?  There are people that I love and respect that voted Liberal.  I don’t think these people are stupid.  I don’t agree with them, but I don’t think they’re stupid.

The average Canadian voted Liberal.  What does that mean for Christians?  Almost nothing.  Our job doesn’t change.  Where we have our security doesn’t change.  Who holds our future doesn’t change.  How we pray for our government shouldn’t change.  The government doesn’t guarantee our financial security, our comfort, our stability.  We’re supposed to be dependent on God for those things, not worried about how Justin Trudeau’s policies will affect our bottom line.  What if every time we heard Canadians talking about Trudeau and abortion, or any other issue that we don’t agree on, we allowed it to break our hearts instead.  Instead of thinking that they are stupid and going to ruin our country, we use those words to help us realize that our country is already ruined because most of them are going to hell.  That’s the real issue here.  Not that we disagree on tax policies.  That is such a minor drop in the bucket.  Canadians believe these things because they don’t believe in God.  And that breaks my heart.  The fact that Justin Trudeau got elected didn’t break my heart, the fact that he is a lost sinner does.  Canada needs the Gospel, needs Jesus, no matter what colour the federal government is.

So in a few weeks, Justin Trudeau will be the Prime Minister.  That means that he will have my respect.  He is a man that is sacrificing to serve his county.  He will make mistakes, as did Harper.  He will do many things that I disagree with.  But I will use those opportunities to remind myself to pray for his soul.  Because that’s what’s really important in the end.


Creative Basics

If you follow me on Instagram, you were bombarded with posts with the words “homework” and #creativebasics.

Somehow I heard about this course offered by Crystal Stine on improving your social media presence.  I knew I could use help with that!  So, I signed up for the month of April.  If you are a blogger, you need to know about this course.  Even if you’re not a blogger but you like quotes or images with text on them, or you work at a church and do slides, or pretty much anything to do with a screen, you need to know about this course:)  I had a great time doing this and I learned so much!

Creative Basics is now available as an ebook and for today is only 2.99!  That’s a steal for what you’ll learn!  I won’t say too much more other than, you should click here and check out Crystal’s page about the course.

A little bit ago, I sent in a promotional blurb on a whim and today it came up on Instagram.  That was kind of cool:)

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Things have been a little quiet around here lately, but next week I should be back to real life:)  Its been crazy busy, but things are slowing down after this weekend.  Looking forward to writing out some ideas that have been kicking around in my head:)


New Year

So, its a New Year.  Again.

I’m not entirely sorry to see 2014 go, and I’m excited to see 2015.  2014 brought the beginning of some great opportunities.  Which as it turns out, usually bring with them lots of work; usually the trials come too:)  But along with those things come tremendous growth.  I’ve learned so much more about myself, how I work, my weakness and strengths, and drawn closer to God.  I worked on a huge special project, (more on that in the near future!), worked on relationships, (worked specifically on friendships, although I don’t know if they would’ve noticed since I’m terrible at these things:), got a good chunk of Grade 10 voice under my belt, (assuming that when I find out my grade in a few weeks that I passed!), and mostly learned to go with the flow a little better.

I also had more trouble with my health issues, I’m continuing to struggle with how to have a better prayer life, and I continued my battle with depression.  But the amazing thing this year was to see God start to get me through these struggles and not only help me through them, but start to show me how I can help others.  The opportunities that have come up because of these issues have been amazing to watch.  I have spent the past little while thinking and praying about talking about these things more.  I’m not an educated expert on anything, but I have lived through some things.  And even if it helps no one else, it helps me to talk about it:)

So here’s the game plan for 2015.  I’m still going to have posts that brag on my kids or talk about events in my life.  I may still bore you with mundane stories or complain about my ironing.  But this year I want to add in some of my struggles.  The real ones.  The big ones.  This gives me the opportunity to maybe be a blessing to others and it definitely lets me brag on God!  So here’s to an exciting new year!  Thank you for going on this journey with me!


New Years

My parent’s cottage is one of my favourite places on earth.

No really, its a close second to my house:)  When I go there its like my soul sighs in peace.  I don’t know why.  I think it might be because when I go there, I can’t do much besides just be with my family and whoever is there.  And its beautiful!  Even in the winter.

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We spent two nights there this week for New Years with our friends, the Bakkers.  I think its safe to say that its an annual tradition since we’ve done it two years in a row:)

We were blessed to have a great Christmas with family and New Years with our close friends was a wonderful way to finish the holidays.

Way too much food is a must!

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We played a LOT of Catan!  Jonathan is now obsessed with this game.  Ok, Michael and I are too:)  But Jonathan was so happy to have people be able to play it with all day.  He was always able to round up three other players.  Jonathan even spent his Christmas money on a new expansion!

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Lake Huron froze in a very cool way this year.  Out several feet it sort of rose into a massive mountain/wave.  It was pure ice and the kids had a blast sliding down it – my feeling was more fear that I was going to break something:)  It was so cold while we were up at the cottage but we managed to get out for a few minutes one day and an hour the next.  It was cold, but beautiful.

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(Photo credit: I took one, Michael took the great one of the kids on the mountain and Calvin took the rest:)

Already looking forward to next year:)


Why Battleship Should Be Illegal

I have always hated the game Battleship.

Well, maybe hate is a strong word.  There are very few things in life that I actually hate, except ironing, but that’s just a given:)  The game does drive me crazy though.  It drove me crazy when I was a kid and my brother was always asking me to play it and it drives me crazy listening to my kids play it now!  This is my list of why it should be outlawed:)

1) The game takes forever.  Like seriously, forever.  You are always convinced at some point that the other player has lied to you because for Pete’s sake, you should’ve hit something by now!!  Jonathan has instituted a new rule in the house where each player gets three guess at a time to “speed it up”.  He likes the game and even he thinks it takes too long!  Its like Monopoly, but I won’t even get started on that……

2) As I alluded to in the previous point, you start to think the other person is cheating and so it starts creating distrust.  Today, after a break in the game, Jonathan wouldn’t go back into the playroom without someone else so he couldn’t be accused of cheating.  We can’t even freely walk around the house now??  When I went to take pictures of them, they were actually playing in separate rooms so they couldn’t “Accidentally” see the other persons board.

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3) It’s only a two person game.  If you have three kids, you know the frustration and fighting caused by two children doing something and the third just waiting for their turn.  For an eternity!

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(I told Emma to look at her board for this picture.  She said, “Hold on.  I’ll grab a red pin so it looks like I’m sinking a ship!”:)

4) You have to call out letter and number combinations.  You may be wondering why this is a problem.  This is pretty much an exact transcript of Jonathan and Emma’s game this afternoon.

Emma: “EF”

“It has to be a number and a letter!”

“Oh yeah!  Ok.  E1”

“Miss.  F1”

“Jonathan, there is no S”

“I said F1″

“I just said there is no S!”

“I said F1 Emma.  F!”

“Jonathan!  Stop saying S!”

“I said F!  FFFFFFFF!

“OH!  Miss.”

“Ugh”

My thoughts exactly.


My Brother

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A while back, I decided that I was going to fly out west to visit my brother, Justin.  He used to live in Edmonton but moved to Calgary a few years ago and I haven’t been out to visit him since.  So I decided to do something totally out of character for me and randomly book a flight and go.  Then I looked up the prices and became my practical self again:)  I told a friend about it and she told another one of my friends, who works for my dad.  She then told my dad and ta-da!  I had an offer of a ticket!

I was sitting at the table homeschooling the kids around 10:30 on Thursday morning.  My phone rang and it was Krista telling me that she had to go out there for work on Saturday and if I wanted to go with her, Dad would pay for my ticket.  I pretty much had a heart attack.  I just don’t do things like that.  What mom with three kids decides to jump on a plane in less than 48 hours and go away for the weekend?  After talking to my husband, we didn’t see any reason not to!  So I booked my flight, worked like crazy to get ready, and set my alarm for 4:40 on Saturday morning!

I had the best time!  Here was a rare opportunity to visit my brother and have quite a bit of alone time with him.  Usually when he’s back home he has a lot of people to visit!  Not to mention my kids hog him terribly:)  We went up to the mountains Saturday right from the airport.  Long talks about music and the kids and catching up on life were followed by gorgeous views as we drove to Banff.  We saw a beautiful old hotel, a waterfall that was amazingly mostly frozen over, and then went out for lunch.  I understand a little of why he’ll never move back to Ontario.  Something about constantly being able to see the mountains is so peaceful.  Although I think the cold would do me in:)

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I also got to meet and go out to a play with his girlfriend.  We had such a wonderful time together.  I love people who make you feel like you’re totally comfortable right away.  And like you’ve known them forever.  She’s so sweet.  I’m looking forward to more fun times together in the future.

On Sunday night, Justin and I stayed up way too late just talking about the serious things of life.  I felt like that night we had a bit of a role reversal!  I’m the oldest and so generally feel like the wisest:)  But that night I learned so much from my brother.  His depth and wisdom are astounding.  I’m so grateful for the time we spent together.

Those were the highlights from this weekend.  What a precious gift family is!  The coolest part of this was, everything happened so fast on the Thursday that it took me a while to remember that I had prayed for a way to go and visit Justin.  I had prayed specifically that I would receive money designated for that purpose.  If I just got random money, I knew I should use it on something more practical!  But I got a ticket that could be used for nothing else.  How amazing is that??  God is good to me.


Family Dinner

It’s amazing to me how some of the most important people in my life can slowly drift away.  Not drift in their importance, but in their contact, their involvement in my daily life.  How did I get to the place where my brother and my sisters don’t know that Jonathan is obsessed with reading Red Rock Mysteries right now, that he’s developing some pimples on his nose, that the curriculum change we made in homeschooling this year is the best thing that’s happened to him recently.

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They don’t know that Arianna is starting to enter that stage where she’s constantly unsure of herself, that sometimes I have to tell her to stop practicing piano and do something else after an hour, and that she fits in perfectly with 14-18 year old crowd at church.

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That Emma keeps having nightmares lately, that it seems everyday I find a new collection of nuts, feathers, rocks or bugs in her room, or that she’s finally starting to tolerate the occasional kiss.  Image

The last time I was with my whole family at once was three and a half years ago.  Time and life and money steal away the little details of life.  I miss the days where we all saw each other so much we would even have time to fight.  I started searching for a way to bring back the joy of sharing the details with those that I love.

Then I realized that there were more people than just these three that I would want to share with.  Michael’s sister is moving away soon.  We have friends that love our kids like aunts and uncles would.  How do you keep up with that many people.  So on a whim, one day while doing my hair in the morning, I decided to blog.  To have a cyber family dinner.  Then I thought, you’re crazy, and took two months to think about it.  A friend told me to think long so that I wouldn’t just crash and burn.  I read blogs about blogging.  Apparently, I’m doing it wrong since I’m not trying to sell anything or become famous.  But in the end, I decided to give it a try.

I’m not an especially insightful person, although I have learned a few things in my 33 years.  I’m not an especially spiritual person, although I’m working on it.  I may not even be entertaining or funny.  I will use way too many exclamation marks and smiley faces.  I seriously thought about doing a whole post on the fact that today, my ironing got caught up.  And it wasn’t even my mom that did it.  But I will be me.  And I will have fun sharing my life with those who want to pull up a chair to the table and join family dinner.