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See ya later, Alligator!!

OK… Its time.  Time to move on, time to grow, time to stretch.

I’m moving my blog and would LOVE if you’d come along with me.

Simply click this link, and scroll to the bottom of the page.  You’ll find the “follow me” button at the bottom of the first blog post.

That way, you’ll get an email when I post a new blog post, and you wont miss the oh so exciting details of what’s going on 🙂

Hope to see you there!

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Month of my Birth

Some people say the only things that are certain are death and taxes, but they are forgetting one thing.  Birthdays.

It is the month of my birth.

It’s the inevitable time of year where I look back and think of what I’ve accomplished in the last year.  Where I sit in relation to the goals and dreams I had.  It is the time when I go a little crazy.

Last year I decided to take the optimistic approach.  The year before, I tried something similar.

I want to love my birthday.  I want to embrace it and all the great things it represents.  I’m one of those people who does the annoying Facebook countdown to my birthday.  I make a big deal about it before hand.  You’d think it was my favorite day of the whole year.  You’d think.

But truth be told, I make a big deal out of it because I’m scared if I didn’t, no one would remember.  That it would be halfway through the day before someone said “there’s something about today..” Or worse, that no one would.

Deep down I’m just a little girl who wants a tea party with her friends, pink lace tablecloths and finger sandwiches, or a surprise party filled with people I haven’t seen in years who wanted to see me and help me celebrate. I just want it to be a day I can look back on and smile about.

 

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Crazy Mode Be Gone!!

It started off innocently enough.  The Hubs was planning on preaching on Mary and Martha, so I was cooking up a Sunday School lesson on “The Important Things First”.  I had found a really cool object lesson, and was moving onto an activity.  It seemed simple enough.  Draw a Pie Chart showing how much time you spend on THE important thing (Our relationship with God) and then how the other stuff fits in.  Sounds easy enough for my 11 year olds to get, and yet still drive the message home.

I like to have examples done to show the kids, so they understand what we’re aiming for.  SO there I sat, with an empty pie chart staring at me.

Can we be real for a moment?  Like in that hesitate to post, worry what your health nut sister in law (whom I love very much) or your Minister parents and in laws (whom I adore) will think kind of real?

This is what my pie chart looked like:

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So let me break it down for you….

I made my chart by creating 7 slices (one for each day of the week). And then I coloured in the activities.  So Green is work (and you can see it spill into Saturday and Sunday because.. as a pastors wife, it never truly stops). Red is meal preparation.. and yes, we’re that “Fend for yourself” weekend meal family.  Yellow is the whole bed time routine, And the pinky purple?  Well that’s the mind numbing junk reading, reality tv watching, app downloading, video game playing shame that stopped me in my tracks.

And what is the blue?  That’s my God time.  You can see a ring in the AM’s before work, that’s my before I’m out of bed prayer time and my worship in the shower time.  you see a ring around meals, that’s grace, and then the circle around bed for bedtime prayers.  Saturday evening shows a spike, that’s my Sunday School prep time.

I’ve been feeling unorganized, unfocused, unmotivated, you name it and I was un-feeling it.  Is there any wonder why?  Clearly my priorities had somehow slipped out of whack.  Because my life had become so unorganized, I was coming home from a day of work where I was unproductive to a meal I had forgotten to prepare, which meant eating out, or eating junk.  Then, because I had the wrong fuel in my body, and the wrong priorities in my mind, the evening was spent trying to get the energy to go to bed.

So Sunday came (thankfully it was just my kid for Sunday School so I skipped the embarrassing pie chart activity) and went and I thought something’s got to give, and that “something” is me!  That night my prayer went something like this; Lord, I can’t keep going like this.  I need to stop and give you the time and energy I’m wasting on other things.  I need you to be the #1 priority in my life, but I need your help to get there.  Help me to focus, listen and respond to my craving for you instead of my craving for food, for control, for reality tv, for… whatever else is getting in the way.”

It’s a work in progress… I can’t show you a new chart yet because I’m not there.  I’ve not got it all down to a schedule yet.  But I will.  And I’ll come back and show you.

And!  And and and!! How`s this for exercise?  As part of our work, the Hubs and I are responsible for a winter shelter here in Beautiful British Columbia.  On February 22nd, the whole town is participating in a fundraiser for our shelter as well as our food bank and one other in the area. What is the fundraiser?  a 5-10km walk!!  I am the ultimate couch potato.  In fact there are days that walking to the mail box at the end of our driveway hurts.  But I’m co captain-ing a team with the Hubs, and I’m going to get out there and do it!  Here’s the link if you want to know more about “The Coldest Night of the Year”  (or *shameless plug** sponsor our team 😉

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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2014

It’s the time of year where I say “I don’t make resolutions” and then proceed to come up with some other way to phrase my “hopes and dreams list” or some other silliness. I don’t know why I have such an aversion to the idea of resolutions. Maybe it’s because I know so many people end up breaking theirs that it seems like a recipe for disaster. Maybe it’s my deep rooted fear of not succeeding. You’d think, with my OCD being what it is, I’d embrace the chance to plan out my year 365 days in advance.

This year, I’m looking at it as my to do list. I work well with lists. In fact so well, that I may try on at least a weekly basis to convert The Hubs into a list person. I’d say it’s a work in progress.

So… In no particular order, and for the accountability of the 4 of you out there that read this, is my to do list for 2014;

– Take better care of the body God has blessed me with. How’s that for an outlook change? I’m not in the shape I want to be, very far away from it, in fact. But 2013 reminded me over and over to be thankful, and I cannot start anywhere else but being thankful for being alive, for having the full function of my body. What I’ve done to it… That’s all on me. I own it, I know it, I can change it. And I plan to.

– Not be afraid to ask for what I need. Have you seen the commercial of the woman who can’t sleep? She’s flopping all over the bed and at one point (In her mind) yells at her husband “How can you be sleeping?” That’s me. That was me a lot of 2013. And 2012. I get so caught up in a certain way I expect things to go that I will be stubborn enough to wallow in the way it “Should be”. An example of this? I have caught myself sitting next to To Hubs thinking ” I wish he’d reach out and hold my hand” or ” I could use a hug. I wish The Hubs could sense that and hug me” and then the me who spent too many years in bad relationships will sit there, wondering if I sigh long enough, or look doe eyed at him, he’ll read my mind and know what I need, and if he doesn’t, that poor little girl with baggage that I carry around, she will go without rather then ask. You see there are some days, the poor guy can’t win, and he doesn’t even know there’s anything going on. I know expecting him to psychically know what I need is irrational, but you’d be surprised the number of arguments that have broken out because I needed something and didn’t ask. So this year, if I need something I will ask. Or better yet, I will give. If I need a comforting hug, why not go and give him one? I know I will get one in return. (I know you just read that and uttered an eloquent “Duh, Sharon!” But this honestly is a new revelation for me.

– Speak More. When The Hubs and I were dating, and found ourselves in uncomfortable situations, we’d often remind the other to be “Loud and Proud”. I am a woman who’s faced adversity. A woman who’s stood between a pimp and “his girl”. A woman who’s sat at the bedside of women who’ve lost family, friends, everything they’ve owned, and vowed to protect them. I’ve literally jumped in the middle of fights to break them up. Stood strong while staring down the barrel of a gun. Attended too many funerals for people when it’s been just a few of us shelter workers and the funeral director. I’ve designed programs that change lives. I’ve helped negotiate a union contract (Some of you will know the fortitude THAT takes). I am a strong, smart woman, and it is time to start remembering who I really am. 2014 will see me … Or rather hear me Loud and Proud.

-Talk less. Yes, there is a difference. The hubs and I were in bed not 30 min after watching the ball drop in Time Square. While settling down, and for no reason I can think of, I made a biting comment about someone we both know. Not 30 min into a new year! As soon as the words left my mouth, I looked at him and said “wow!” I knew it wasn’t nice. I knew if they had heard it, it would halve been hurtful to them. I could tell you that this person and I don’t see eye to eye. That I’d been on the stinging end of some of her remarks. But does that matter? Does that excuse my behavior? I cannot say that it will not happen again, but I can say that right now I am making a commitment to stop talking just for the sake of talking. To take seriously gravity of the words I use.

There are other things. Re-focus my daily Devotional time. Read the Bible cover to cover. Unplug more. Drink more water. Laugh more. Be spontaneous. Love harder. Skype more. Be a better friend. Trust. Focus. Change.

Hold on… It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

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#iBelieve

Its that time again!! A new Bible study (that couldn’t come at a more appropriate time) based on Renee Swope’s book A Confident Heart. Yeah, God’s sense of humor isn’t lost on me with this one, ladies and gentlemen…

When I was reading my options for our Blog Hop topics to the Hubs, his response was… “Wow… those aren’t easy choices!” My thoughts exactly!  But if I’m doing this study to face my fears and deal with my doubts head on, there was really only one option for me.  I believe (or my trendy iBelieve… get it?  huh??).

This study has caused me to confront some of my biggest doubts head on, and that has NOT been easy.  (AND we’re only on chapter 2!!) We’ve looked at the story of the Woman at the well (John 4) or Sam, as Renee calls her.  Its not a new story to me. But for some reason, listening to Renee’s take on it, I suddenly found myself seeing it with fresh eyes, and through those eyes, I saw myself.  I’ve struggled her struggles, felt her loneliness, and avoided her tormenters.

But in going through the study this week, its become pretty clear that the tormenters I’ve avoided, the whispers I’ve tried to ignore…they come from me.  From the darkest place’s I’ve not let anyone in.  “I’m not good enough”, “I’m sinking”, “I can’t”…

My past is not a pretty one.  In fact there are parts of it I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, as the saying goes. If people knew me… the me from back then… they would dismiss me in a heart beat.  They would say “Who are you, to preach to us?!”  2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ says This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

6 years ago, I was running a homeless shelter in Toronto.  I was a Single mom, fresh from a very abusive relationship, forced to move back in with my parents, and I burnt out.  HARD. I blamed everyone around me, it was their fault I was in the position I was in.  I went from being a strong confident woman to the role of a victim almost every night.  Everyone was against me.  There are times now, when that mindset comes creeping back.  Romans 8:31 ~ If God is for us, who can be against us?

There are times I can’t figure out Left from Right (not literally, of course) I don’t know if I’m making the right choices, if I’m doing things in the order God intended. Proverbs 3:5-6 ~ Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.   I’m scared.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline ~ 2 Timothy 1:7.  There are times I feel completely alone in a crowded room.  The Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you ~  Deuteronomy 31:6  Times I can’t bare to look at the 80+ extra pounds I’ve become in the mirror. Ps 45:11 ~ The King is enthralled by your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord. Times I feel like I just don’t have the right words, or will know the right thing to do.  And God will generously provide all your need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others ~ 2 Corinthians 9:8.

In my head, in my heart, those doubts screamed. Echoed.  Drowning out everything else.  But saying them out loud.  Typing them here for posterity. There is something freeing in that.  Writing this tonight, every time I came up with another doubt, another excuse, I’d look at the list of God’s promises that Renee compiled in chapter 12 of her book and there it was… Gods promises… His assurances… His #perfectlove there, waiting for me to accept it.

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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And so starts 34…

I took a walk down memory lane again today. Last year this time (go ahead… click… you know you want to…) the Hubs was just home after a 4 day stint in the hospital after some pretty scary moments in our family.  I felt like everything was falling apart, and was grasping desperately at  the rainbows everyone kept telling me were out there.

33 was crazy! Actually… 32 & 33 were crazy. I thought my husband was dying (which, thankfully wasn’t the case), I thought we were getting ready to adopt a baby, a process we were told would take 1-2 years (at least).  The middle of 33 got a little hairy when we got a frantic call while on vacation about an hour outside of San Antonio from our social worker that meant we had MAYBE 4 weeks to prepare for a sweet baby boy to enter our home.  33 involved a lot of lows… a lot of sacrifice, or so it felt at the time.

I have no idea what awaits around the next turn.  The Hubs would tell probably tell you that not knowing is eating away at me.  And… he may not be far off.  I’m trying to trust. TRYING.

A lot of the circumstances are the same as I start 34.  The baby aches still hit, the Hubs is still sick. I still wake at least 10-15 times during the night to make sure he’s breathing.  2 of our boys still live around the world… too far to comprehend sometimes.

34 will be different.

I have no control over the Hubs health. I can do my best to make sure I don’t take one moment I have with him for granted.

I can’t snap my fingers and make our family grow.  I can make sure that the time I spend with our boys is memorable.

I can’t change the fact that, at times, I feel so inadequate that its hard to function.  I can turn those moments over to God and trust that He will give me rest, as promised.

I can’t change the fact that money isn’t the same for us, and that we’ve had to stretch further then we’ve ever had to stretch before.  I can use these as teachable moments for our whole family (myself included) on how to appreciate the little things, not just the high ticket things we buy to fill a void.

I can’t change the fact that I’m not the me I want to be right now.  I can start here… today… and refocus, renew and recharge.

Before you think I’m focusing on the negative for yet another birthday, I’m really not.   I’ve spent a very long time hiding from who I am, from what makes me…me. I’ve apologized for being who I was, thinking my faults and past defined me.  I’m pretty tired of that.  Just today, I was griping to the Hubs that people who are two-faced are probably my biggest pet peeve, but when I stop to think about it, not being myself, the good bad and ugly… that’s a kind of two-faced… So maybe its time I take off my own mask.

I take today, this year as a challenge.  Step out, say yes more, get uncomfortable, push boundaries, rediscover what I love, what makes me a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.  I don’t know how it will work out… the path of self discovery is often littered with baggage , costumes and relationships shed along the way.  But… I’ll keep you posted… I expect it will be filled with a lot of moments like this…

life

 

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Aside

I feel like I should rename my blog a day late and a dollar short… or something witty like that.  I was on the road yesterday so I couldn’t type at the risk of loosing my cookies. (which only almost happened twice during the twitter party, thank you very much, but I digress)

When we found out we were moving to Salmon Arm, there was a lot of excitement in our house, to say the least.  Nervous excitement about what laid ahead.  Within a few days, The Hubs received an email that included “Dates to Remember”. Listed in that email is words I’ve never really liked. “Leadership Camp August 26-29, 2013”.  The moment those words registered in my head, a seed was planted.  Actually not a seed.  A seed brings to mind pretty flowers. What I had was more of a pit.

For 7 weeks we trucked along. The topic of Leadership would come up, and I would deflect, change the topic… anything to stop the pit that was growing. The Hubs printed off registration forms for all of us and I said “I think this camp if just for ministers.  Child III and I will stay home”. Reluctantly he agreed.  When he emailed a question about accommodations, a response came back including the words “Which will be great for your son”. Ugh! We are included in the invitation!  Almost in tears, I reluctantly agree to go. The pit was growing…

Even up to the day before we left, I was looking for an excuse not to go. “We can’t really afford to board the dog”, or “Well, its so close to when school starts”… the excuses even started to sound weak to me.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to learn, or didn’t want to really go even.  My anxiety came from the unknown. Going to camp, I wasn’t in control. There would be people I didn’t know, doing activities I had no idea about.  THESE are the things that set off the growing anxiety I had.  What if they asked me to do something I “Couldn’t” do?  What if they were watching me to see how I reacted to certain things (which I’m not terribly convinced they weren’t, BTW). New people, New experiences, New people to see through this thin veil of “Got it together” that I’m struggling to hold up. What if I didn’t say the right things, or made a fool of myself?

We arrived at Camp Sunday night, and got our registration packets.  I opened it up and was actually really excited about the first 2 days. Business stuff. HR, PR… I could handle those things, I actually love those things!!  They had a morning of all the new people together. Then… there it was… Group work. SMALL group work. Instantly my anxiety went into hyper drive, and the voice of worry began to grow until it was all I could hear.  And camp hadn’t even started yet!

I began to flip through the material we’d be covering in our small groups.  The process was called “Encounter God”.  What it entailed was covering some pretty personal topics like Rebellion, Addiction, Sex, Cults etc. etc. The small group exercises were to go as follows; One person would confess their sins in the category they were covering, and the other two would pray with them through the admittance and forgiveness process. And then on to the next category.

I’ve never pretended to be a perfect pastors wife. I’ve never denied the troubled past that has led me to where I am today.  One of the greatest joys in my marriage is the fact that The Hubs and I have no secrets.  Being best friends for 16 years, you share with that person things you may not even tell your spouse… and we didn’t think anything of it because we were BEST friends.  We’ve seen the good the bad and the UGLY in each other. The things that this group was asking me to share were THESE things. The things only my husband knew. Things I still have nightmares about. Things that I’m still working to heal from, even 12-13 years later.  Although these things have made me who I am today, they are things that I am NOT prepared to share with total strangers.

As I sat there, reading these things we were to be doing, my anxiety grew.  As we went through the sessions, as we met people, as we worshiped together, nothing could quiet these fears, and by the time Tuesday night came, I was sitting in my cabin having a full blown panic attack as The Hubs sat across from me completely lost as to what to do.  The anxiety attack led to a migraine, which gave me the excuse to huddle in my bunk, closing off the outside world and giving in to the anxiety and fear that had surrounded me these last few months.

Great behavior for a #palmsup #YesToGod woman right?

As I lay there Tuesday and Wednesday, feeling lost, confused and convinced I’d messed up any chance of these people taking me serious as a leader, or as a sane person for that matter, my phone buzzed and the email I got was titled “There’s No Easy Button” from Proverbs 31 Ministry.

It was as if a light bulb went off.  God had laid the perfect #SayYes moment at my feet, and I said “No. Its too hard. I can’t.” Through the 7 weeks of anxiety, the fear, the physical illness from worry… not once did I turn to God with it.  Not once. In that moment, feeling as low as possible, feeling alone, feeling like I was destroying not only my relationship with these new people but also with my husband, I cried out to God.  But why did it take me so long?

In those moments I poured it all out.  The months of anxiety, the fear of being rejected, the pain of reliving those moments I didn’t want to share. I pulled out my bible. I flipped to passage after passage. I wrote page after page in my journal, and in the end, peace started to set in.

The last day of Camp, I attending the closing session and what I learned was that I wasn’t the only one who was uncomfortable with the groups, with the subject matter. I…wasnt…alone.  These people who I was scared of… they struggled too! These people I looked at who had everything under control… they were like me. Except they said Yes, when I said No.

 

 

 

Ugh, But at least I decided to #StickWithIt

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2013 in Uncategorized