Saturday, February 15, 2014

New Blog Home

I decided to switch over my blog to Wordpress - just for a change!  I'm still working on making it look nice over there, but from now on, that's where you'll find me!

Friday, February 14, 2014

What Makes Your Heart Beat?

If I could only choose three ...
what would they be ?

1. I choose nature for its wonder, its summer skies
and spring thunder, that feeling when the wind blows my hair,
how the waves are strong, but somehow peaceful, how each creature
has a purpose, from the giants of the sea to the tiny beetle.

2. I choose people, for the way that they can love, learn and grow
for the moments they create, and the strength they can show.

For the will to do good, for the will to believe, the ability
to move on and the ability to grieve, to comfort, to hold, to
say I love you when I'm young and still mean it when I'm old.

3. I choose something bigger, something I can't describe,
something that found me in darkness and brought me into light.

I choose something I can't prove, but something I can't deny.
A quiet whisper, a peaceful mystery, an open eye.
something that holds it all, but chooses not to control,
something that breaks me down, something that makes me whole.

My heart is split between many and yet some how complete.

What makes one love ? What makes your heart beat ?

(Written by Nathanael T. Presley)

This video was posted today on the Darling Magazine site, and I just loved it. I feel like it sums me up fairly well!  And even though I spend this Valentine's Day as a single, I can't help but celebrate this day of LOVE, and be grateful for everything that fills my life to overflowing. I am blessed.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Counting down to 30 ...

As I looked at a calendar last week, I realized that I am now into my final six months of my 20s.  A little crazy to think that I will soon enter a new decade - but I can honestly say, that this doesn't bother me.  I don't lament the passing of time, or the fact that I'm getting older.  I don't see my life as a success or a failure so far, rather exactly what it was meant to be for me.  It doesn't bother me that I'm not married, or that I don't have kids yet, while so many others my age do.  And I know that life will continue to pan out exactly as it's supposed to.

This decade of my life has been good to me.  Life has been rich and full - at times also hard, but always full of grace and joy, if I was willing to look hard enough.  I can say that my life right now is both more than and less than what I expected it to be.  More than because I don't think I ever could have predicted where I'd be right now.  And less than, not because I'm disappointed with my life, but simply because I am always expectant of what is still to come.  Thankfully, I haven't 'arrived' yet, and there is still much to look forward to, in my thirties and beyond.

There are some exciting things in the works for this year, hopefully including a trip to Europe with some of my family.  Details are still being worked out - but I'm excited to see how things start to take shape.  Mostly I'm just looking forward to making these 6 months, and this year, as good as possible.  I always strive to do this, but I guess I just want to try and be mindful of soaking life up, as I approach the beginning of a new decade of my life.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Meeting God in the Thin Places

During this most recent Advent season, I was once again able to contribute an entry to Glen Elm's Advent blog.  I still consider Glen Elm to be one of my 'home' churches, even though it's been over 8 years since I've been a regular member there.  It's always a pleasure to be able to contribute and feel connected there in this way.

One of my favourite authors, Shauna Niequist, in her book ‘Bittersweet’, describes Advent as a ‘thin place’.  This concept of a ‘thin place’, from the Celtic mystical tradition, was a new idea to me, but she describes them this way:

Thin places: places where the boundary between the divine world and the human world becomes almost nonexistent, and the two, divine and human, can for a moment, dance together uninterrupted.  Some are physical places, and some aren’t places at all, but states of being or circumstances or seasons.

I love this idea.  While I believe that God is accessible to us at any point in our days, I also understand that at certain times in our lives, God seems slightly more able to be touched or felt or experienced.  It’s almost as if a curtain is pulled back slightly, giving us a tiny glimpse or taste of what He’s like.  This taste leaves us wanting for more.  And I believe that Advent can be one of those times, one of the thin places in our lives. 

At its core, Advent is about waiting and longing.  This is something we all understand well.  Whether or not we’d like to admit it, each and every one of us has longed for something in our lives.  We long for days past, or days still to come.  We long to be done school, or working at a better job, or to be making more money.  We long to be married, or to have a better marriage.  We long to have children.  We long for better health.  And I could go on.  But Advent reminds me that I don’t have to feel guilty about my heart’s longings – I can lean hard into these longings.  This isn’t usually fun or comfortable, but it is often in these places, even amongst my brokenness, that God can do some of His best work in me, if I’m open to it.

Yet, Advent is also about hope.  It’s about knowing that this isn’t the end, that while circumstances might be less than ideal presently, that they don’t have to stay that way.  We know that Emmanuel was born, and with His birth – and His life, the whole world was changed.  He brought us hope, and we don’t have to feel the ache of our longings forever.

As we approach Christmas, let us be aware that we can meet God in these days.  Let us not get so caught up in the rush of the season that we forget to rest in His presence.  Shauna continues on about ‘thin places’, saying:

When we find a thin place, anytime, anywhere, we should live differently in the face of it, because if we don’t, we miss some of the best moments that life with God has to offer us.  These thin places are gifts, treasures, and they’re worth changing our lives for.  Reach through from human to sacred every time the goodness of the season moves you.  A thin place is an opportunity to be more aware of the divine fingerprints all over this world, and Christmas is one invitation after another to do that.

Give up for a while your false and failing attempts at merriment, and thank God for thin places, and for Advent, for a season that understands longing and loneliness and long nights.  Let yourself fall open to Advent, to anticipation, to the belief that what is empty will be filled, what is broken will be repaired, and what is lost can always be found, no matter how many times it’s been lost.

So, in this season of Advent and longing, and in our own seasons of longing, may we not be scared to lean in to our own longings and brokenness, and allow God to birth something new and beautiful from within us.  May we always remember the hope that we have because of Emmanuel – God Is With Us.  And may we seek to make these days leading up to Christmas a ‘thin place’, where God’s presence seems even just a bit closer.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

2013 ... in review!

The calendar has now been turned over to 2014 ... leaving 2013 as one to look back on.  And for me, 2013 was a good year!  Lots of memorable moments - mostly good, some hard - but all together, bringing me to where I am today.  I didn't write much last year.  It wasn't intentional - but just the way it was.  But something I've learned over the past couple years about myself, is how important words are to me.  Both in reading them, and in writing them.  Reading good words excites me!  I love good books and good blogs, and expanding my mind with what I've read.  The writing part doesn't come as easily for me.  I value the art of writing - but I find it is often a struggle to get what I want to say 'onto paper'.  I don't feel good at articulating what I'm trying to say.  Yet, even through the struggle, I find the process of writing to be somewhat life-giving to me, and I always value having my words, thoughts and memories down in a more permanent form than just stored in my memory.  So, for this year, I'm simply going to try and write more.  I'm not promising everyday, or even every week or month - but just more than I did last year.  I'm going to try and write more here, but also take pen to paper more often as well, in my journal.  We'll see how it goes!

But before I get too ahead of myself here, I need to give 2013 the time that it's due.  It really was a great year - full of some awesome times with family and friends!  Without going into too much detail, here's my highlight reel from 2013 (with some favourite pictures too!):

- A visit from mom & dad in February
- Michelle's graduation from Summit Pacific College in April

 - The whole family coming to visit at Easter, and a trip to Whistler

- Taking the youth group to HistoryMaker in Chilliwack

- A weekend trip to Victoria with Michelle & Wendy to visit Kari

- An amazing two-week trip exploring the Maritimes with Tamara & Matthew

- Canada Day weekend in Vancouver with Sandra and Alicia, including seeing T. Swift

- Buying a new road bike, and spending my summer training for the Gran Fondo Banff

 - Celebrating my 29th birthday!

- Completing the 142-km Gran Fondo Banff

- A beautiful fall afternoon at the shooting range - and getting to shoot for the first time ever!

- Kari & Cody's lovely fall wedding

- Another visit from dad in October, including a trip into Vancouver

- An awesome extended weekend in Waterloo, visiting old friends and classmates

- Getting to be at home for the Riders winning the Grey Cup!

- A week at home to celebrate my baby sister's wedding!!

- Getting to celebrate at the wedding of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Chelsa, as she married Tim!

- Spending Christmas holidays at home, full of many fun family traditions, like curling, family gift exchange, and skates on the backyard rink, visits with many good friends, and a little bit of relaxation too!

All in all, a pretty fantastic year!  And I'm looking forward to what 2014 will bring my way! :)