Growing Pains

Every year September comes and I run smack into a brick wall. The wall is built of the image I have of my kiddos…

In a matter of days every September, I realize that the image is last year’s model. It never happens slowly. I don’t gladly watch them grow day by day. Nope. One day they look at me and I look at them, and last year’s model is a thing of the past. How does that happen, and does it only happen to me?!

For 7 years, this September-Epiphany has left me feeling a little sad. Bye-Bye babies.

As this 8th kick at the can unfolds, something strange and wonderful is happening. The boys (especially the older one ;)) are begging in so many ways to stretch their wings…

Can I go (Almost Everywhere!) by myself?

I’ll tell you about it in a minute, mom, I’m just talking to my friends.

Can I help you with that mom?

Is it OK if I go on ahead, mom? (Every Sport. Every. Single. One.)

Do you think this looks good (to wear), mom?

Mom, I don’t agree with you… and this is why…

… And this time, I am ready to watch them fly away… at least, a little bit.

Instead of the impending sadness that generally accompanies this time of year, when I notice that nothing will ever be the same again, this year, I am… hopeful.

Growing pains are less painful for children than they are for their grown ups because parenthood is the kind of joy that makes you feel giddy and a bit nauseous all at one time. But, OH THE JOY when it feels like it might be turning out right. Bumpy. Yes. Difficult. Yes. Messy and Gritty. Yes. Mistakes. OH GOOD GRIEF, Yes.

But, I am watching two people become exactly who God intended them to become, and I am privileged to help facilitate that process… even when it is so. darn. hard.

So, if you are also feeling joyful and nauseous, hopeful and terrified, I am right there with you! And, as I watch my kiddos grow, and I see the possibilities for them endlessly unfolding… and they are good… I am glad. I hope you will get a glimpse of that too this fall and rest in where you have come from as you soldier on towards the road ahead. It’s a wild ride, isn’t it?!

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Older. Not Easier.

Somewhere along the line, I developed the distinct impression that dropping my littles off on the first day of school would get easier as they grew older.

Not. Easier.

I’m sitting here doing what I do every year since kindergarten… racking my brain… did I remember All. The. Things? The simple things – paper, pencils, glue, markers, calculators, shoes, rulers, dictionaries… those things. But, more heavy on my heart – the real things…

remember Whose you are

be kind even when it’s the hardest choice

do your best even when others aren’t

look out for one another, there will never be another friend like your brother

be courageous, sweet boys – dare to be different than the world tells you to be…

I’m telling you friends, the older they grow, the harder it hits my heart… have I done enough?! They are in Gods hands today and every day, and I trust that goodness with all my heart. But. Man I miss them already, and I sure hope they have the best First Day ever (again, for the 8th time…).

To all you mamas and dads out there with hearts bursting today… we are in these trenches together! Let’s pray that our babies make this world a better place.

Have a fantastic 2017-2018 school year!

Half way there?

How do you feel about turning 40?

Do you feel older?

What are you DOING for your 40th?

Milestone birthdays are funny things.

I don’t tend to get caught up in hype, and I’m not the sort of person that dreads the years going by (quite the opposite, actually), but I’ll be honest… as I walked the path of my 40th year, even I had to fight the urge to jump on the bandwagon and make it “special.”

Except, I fought the urge – I fought the urge to make this past year and the one to come about anything other than the path that has already been so graciously, lovingly, and thoughtfully planned out for me by the One who made me. Things are unfolding just as they should… the good, the bad, and the ugly. And that’s OK with me.

But, for those of you 40-somethings, or going to be 40-somethings that wonder how I might answer all the 40-questions… here it is…

How do I feel about turning 40?

Banff, Alberta 10K… do it!

I feel like a finisher with a lot of run left in me. The first half of my life has been an adventure that I could not have planned for or imagined in all my dreams… and I am grateful beyond measure.

Do I feel older?

hanging with some of my peeps, Fairmont, BC

I feel wiser (but that I have more and more to learn every year that goes by), more comfortable in my skin, like I need to listen to my body well and honour what it tells me… so if that is “older,” then yes… I do. In the best way possible.

What am I DOING for my 40th?

Best. Dog. Ever.

Soul Mate, Marble Canyon, BC… do this too!

I am fiercely loving the people in my life (the little brown furry one too… he’s 105 you know… which makes 40 look pretty pathetic, really…). I’m learning that almost everything comes and goes… so these people, the ones God puts in my life for a long while, or a little while… they matter the most. I’m doing my best to respect that truth.

So… if you are my people, you know who you are and I Love You. I’m grateful for you and I’m blessed to know you. Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes. I pray that my everyday would reflect back all that love to you.

If you’re visiting my blog and don’t know me… can I just recommend that you go love your people? It’s one investment you’ll never regret!

Happy EVERY DAY to you all!!

Soul Food Sunday: What Time Is It?

I was recently encouraged by a dear friend who wrote this lovely devotional for us. I asked him if he would mind if I doctored it up a bit and shared it with all of you, and he so graciously agreed.

Sometimes the roads we travel are not those we originally set out upon… and that’s ok.

From HC,

Take a look at your wrist watch.  The longer side has many slots, the shorter side has the hook.

Imagine that your journey starts in the first hole on the long end of the strap. As life comes, you journey along the band until you come to a milestone event along the road. The first notch in the strap. You hook the clasp there. Surely you have arrived. Everything fits so perfectly together. The “right” spot for you. The trouble is, that when you turn your wrist over to check the time, you are frustrated to find that the watch just hangs on your wrist – upside down! This is not the “right” spot.

It is easy in that moment, to feel discouraged, to believe that somehow you have made a mistake. Everything seemed perfect! How could this spot be wrong? Take heart! It is not wrong, simply a step along the journey. It is time to unhook, continue to journey, and to look for another notch in the band.

Eventually, you will find yourself at another crossroad or milestone.  It is time to reset. Prayerfully and faithfully, set the clasp again. Thinking that surely this is the “right” time, the “right” place, you turn your wrist to verify the time.  But, the watch is still too loose – it is being used correctly, but it’s not the right setting.

BUT, now you know what to do! Keep learning, keep growing, keep journeying to the next fork in the road. The next milestone. The next decision. This is our journey! Not one of frustration, but of knowing that we are continually closer to the best version of ourselves and to the best life available to us! It is tempting to go back to familiar settings. Don’t. That is the wrong way – it will simply loosen your strap, not lead you closer to where you want to go. Keep moving forward. Always.

This journey called life can be hard. And tiring. And frustrating. We can become so focussed on the events that seem to be the “wrong” fit, that we fail to appreciate all that we are becoming in the process.  Continuing on takes a great effort. But that effort is what it is truly all about! Don’t stop. Don’t be complacent. Look for the next place to HOOK IN – readjust, rethink, persevere. Continue the journey – faithfully, prayerfully.

God has your journey all worked out. He can see the time and is walking along with you every step. You don’t need to worry about “getting there.” He is in charge of that. You are in charge of your forward steps.

So… keep journeying. Keep ticking along. Keep adjusting those settings and eventually, it will all come together. In His time. By His grace. And ultimately for His glory. WATCH it HAPPEN!

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” – Isaiah 41:13

Note: HC is Mr. to the lovely Sarah over at Pure Simple Change

Out of the Fog

So, for three years now… three years! I have been trying to write a post in the new year about resolutions. About starting the year off with a bang. About setting out on the right foot. About starting well and finishing well.

Well. I never finish that post. I start it. I muddle through it. I re-read it… it leaves me feeling yuck. It’s not quite right. And I think that I finally figured out why!

January can be a bit foggy.

Here in Sylvan Lake we get some good fog. The kind of fog that rolls in off a body of water and looks a little muddy, almost like you should be able to scoop it out of the air.

That is what January ALWAYS feels like to me. We ring in the new year with all sorts of amazing expectation… this one will be better than the last. This one has promise. This one is THE BEST! But then something strange happens, doesn’t it? By the end of the first week or so (usually about the time the kids have been back to school for a few days), that January feeling sinks in. The foggy one. Like it might never end (and for goodness sakes, I was AWAY for part of January this year!).

I think that I understand the fog a little bit better this year. I think it is all those expectations!! We put all this pressure on ourselves to stack up to some imaginary score-board that doesn’t even exist. It’s not reality!

At taekwondo this week, the masters asked the boys to repeat this mantra:

“A Goal Set is a Goal Met”

That got me thinking.

I do want to set some goals for myself this year. I do want this year to be a year of growth, learning, fun, and LIFE! But, I don’t want planning those things to suck the life out of me!!

So, in the spirit of simplicity, love, and gentleness that I hope you read in all my words… here is what I propose:

January might remain a foggy month. I will not put pressure on myself to re-invent the wheel each and every January. Instead, I will intentionally say “No” to anything that makes the fog more dense and “Yes” to anything that allows a bit of light to shine through. By February, I will set some clear, realistic, and flexible goals for the months ahead that give me purpose, direction, and put a spring in my step.

Here’s a few that I have already put in to action:

  • I will attend one month of Taekwondo classes to see if it is a good fit for me.
  • I will unapologetically go to bed at 9:30 every night.
  • I will devote 5 hours per week to beginning my own business as an Arbonne Independent Consultant.

And there. That feels doable. Those are not resolutions. They are goals. I can meet them. I can reevaluate to determine if they are working for me.

Fog is lighter. I can breathe.

Legacy

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks musing (like so many of you) about the state of affairs in our beautiful blue world. It’s been a rough month. Hate. Disaster. Greed. So much destruction and death. Heavy, heavy, ugly, ugly, stuff.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

My thoughts were consumed with my hearts true cry for peace. With my belief that peace can only come from individual declarations of peace, kindness, compassion, and love extended outwards to each and every human life – in our speech, in our actions… and yes… in our posts on Facebook.

“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Some might say these are dreams. Naive whimsy from a simple woman who can’t possibly understand the complexities of a frightening world. 

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” -Nelson Mandela

I say no way, and call as witnesses a host of sages through time who changed the world with peaceful ideology.

“But here is what I tell you who are listening. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who call down curses on you. And pray for those who treat you badly.” – Jesus Christ

If we truly are better. If we truly are right. If we truly wish for freedom FOR ALL. I believe that it can start at home. It can start in our hearts. Those who have gone before and accomplished unmeasurable gains for goodness, justice, peace, love, and freedom have always done so in the face of fierce opposition and extreme personal sacrifice. I believe that to promote peace with love and unity is the most challenging, the narrowest, and the most personally dangerous path. However, I also believe that it is the only path we are truly called to choose.

“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” – David Brower

Our family was granted a healing miracle this week. A dearly beloved, once sentenced to death, is well again. Her life is one devoted to legacy in many ways and her battle to become well again hinged upon her love, devotion, and trust in truth and goodness. I wish to also live such a life. I hope that one of the hallmarks of my legacy will be peace and love when faced with great adversity. I believe that cultivating that legacy must happen in each decision I make.

Every. Single. Day.

As a mother, as a friend, as a daughter, as a human being… I choose love.

What are you waiting for?

I love Natalie Grant. I love how her music has purpose. I believe there is great power in music with a message.

One of her songs has been rattling through my head lately.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

That’s the title. It’s catchy, but it’s also unsettling. Especially when you hear the rest:

“So you wanna change the world/What are you waiting for/You say you’re gonna start right now/What are you waiting for/

It only takes one voice… give a little more

The words to this song really get me thinking. What if every person took just one tiny step in their own life towards changing THEIR world? What if you decided that this was the time to do something about that SOMETHING that you keep saying needs changing? What if you started right now?

Here’s what I think. I think we all know what we would change. I think we are given in our hearts passions and convictions as they are necessary in our lives that we can ignore or heed. You know what you want or need to do. The question is,

Is now the time to change your world?

What if it REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE?! What if one small change in you could spark a small change in your family, which might spark something new in your neighbourhood, and get others thinking in your community. What if your community helped to change your province, your nation… and what if your nation could lead the world. Friends, I am just that simple to believe that this equation could work. I believe that we are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children who can make a difference – around this ball filled with humanity – if we would only heed that tiny voice already telling us what to do.

I tell my kids that I believe it to the bottom of my toes and up through my nose! 😉

Let’s be childlike in our belief in change, goodness, and difference-making. One small step… How different might your world look tomorrow, next week, next year, or in five years if you did? Imagine!

Sneak Peak: I did, in fact, take one small step this week to do something that has been in my heart to do for quite some time (but my bravery meter was running a bit low… I’ve fixed that). I’m not ready to share just yet, but rest assured, fine reader, I am taking my own small steps to make the little world I live in a little bit better too.

To those of you difference makers. Thank you for being you! For the rest of you, just taking the plunge like me… Come on in! What are you waiting for?!