Making common sense, a little more common

I can be very inconsistent with habits.

For example, wanting to form a habit of writing, yet not always disciplining myself to do so in the off hours of my day job. Accountability is so key for me! As we speak, the sun is shining and I am taking a lunch break, to write and enjoy some October sun on the back deck.

For me, writing is a way of expression, that even as Troy and I start to build a life together, he sometimes will say, “Go write it down!” He knows that my heart is expressed best through writing.

It’s been two months now that I have been working from home, and one thing I have noticed is that habits make all the difference. For the first few weeks, I didn’t get up early to have some time with the Lord, but rather lingered in bed with my husband (who wouldn’t! ;) ) My relationship with Jesus must come first, and taking time with Him first thing in the morning fills my spirit so that I can really meet my day.

I also didn’t exercise at first, other than walking Pippa. Exercise and movement makes me feel so good. I may not need to lose weight, but my body responds well to toning and cardio. I have gone to this zumba class a couple times, and the instructor, who appears to be new, is enough entertainment in her zany ways, even if I feel more sloppy than sexy in the class. But, it fills my soul when I go.

Since I’m working home, alone, I do miss my office mates. There were a few days that Troy would come home, and I was in near tears because I felt alone in my work, like I needed to talk to… someone! As I get older, I realize more and more that I function best with a mix of both people and alone time. In a new season of life, I needed some form of social atmosphere as I adjust, so I go to a coffee shop at least once a week now. I know that being a newlywed in a new community, church, life…will take time to develop these new relationships. So for now, my social metre is filled by meandering Homesense and Starbucks and calls and texts to friends and family! I also force myself to shower before work and not stay in my pj’s, because that too, would affect how I feel, and I’d much prefer to feel fresh when my husband comes home!

It takes time. New seasons of life, to figure it out hey?

Sometimes though, we just need to eat a bowl of common sense if something feels off. Feed our heart for a moment, and then get back on track. I am not negating allowing the Lord to mould our heart throughout seasons of life (gosh, one could write books on that!), but I also believe that sometimes we need to give ourselves a kick in the pants and incorporate the things we already know keep us healthy and strong!

For me…

*time with Jesus
*movement be it exercise, dancing, walking
*trying new recipes (way more fun to cook for two now!)
*people time – shopping, coffee with friends, talking to family
*creative projects where I can do things with my hands, other than sitting at the computer
*and a totally new one for me as a newlywed – date night and conversation with my hubby

In a rut? Maybe you need, like me, to incorporate the things you already know feed your soul!

This was me, feeding my soul yesterday afternoon…
I got this desk for free (beside a dumpster!) and I will distress it white. This was me starting the sanding process ;)  Watch my instagram feed for the finished product in the next few days! Doing this made my heart happy! And now, I have unlimited access to all the tools I want for all the projects I can tackle!

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The mirror of love

She can’t help it. It’s in her nature. It’s the way God created her to be. She senses when I’m feeling off, and she is right there. She follows me from room to room, wanting to bring comfort. There is just something in her nature as a Bichon Shitzu, that makes me think of the love of my God for me.

Now, in no way am I about to compare my dog, something God CREATED, to her CREATOR. Not at all. But something about the creation that I enjoy, makes me reflect on the heart of my Creator.

Even when I scold Pippa, she comes right back. Even when I want nothing to do with her, she is right there, waiting to give me affection. I don’t deserve it. I haven’t earned it. But she cannot help but be by my side, making sure I am loved and ok. I love that about how she’s wired.

And something about her, makes me think about the love of God.

Sometimes I share life on this here blog, and sometimes I share other family’s photos or journeys, but this blog, I just want to preach a bit from my heart.  ;)

heart tree1 John 4:8 says GOD IS LOVE. He doesn’t just love, as in make a decision to love you, He IS love. Jesus doesn’t just love us as His creation, He embodies love. Everything He does, is because of His nature.

And yet, as mortal human beings, we can still choose to walk away or resist His tough love that is meant to refine us and bring us closer to Him. Maybe we don’t understand it at the time, but the purpose is to reveal His heart, His character.

Colossians 3:10 says (paraphrase) that we are to put on the new nature that we have in Christ that is constantly being renewed as we learn more and more about Him. The same gospel that saved me, is the same gospel that will change me, more into His likeness, if I let it. And then I am to be a mirror of His love to our very lost and very broken world. Oh how many times I have failed at that!

I am not a parent yet, but I know someday I will understand the things you do for your children’s betterment, and protection, that at the time, kids just don’t understand, until they’re more mature.

I remember kicking and screaming on the floor as my Mom, bless her heart, tried to teach my siblings and I how to play the piano. I. Did. NOT. Want. To. End of story, and that is why in Grade 12, I had only completed Grade 2 Conservatory. My Mom loves music, and even still plays at church. And she wanted us to also discover the love of playing. She knew it would bring joy to our lives, with some discipline of practice laid out. But, we all fought the ivory keys. Tough love, right?

I just had a feeling that someone else who may read this needs the reminder, that God’s love is right there. Whether it feels like tough love, whether you are walking on Cloud 9 and feeling His presence, or whether you’ve never even spoken to Jesus, He can’t help, but want to love you and reveal Himself to you. Just the way you are, imperfections and all.

And don’t for a minute think that He wouldn’t fight and do everything He could, even though He already has, to make sure you know His love and the truth of His saving gospel. To Him, you are worth fighting for. You are worth fighting for.

My husband (I love saying that! It’s like name dropping, you squeeze it in whenever you can!) recently discovered a new artist, Andrew Ehrenzeller and his song called, “Set My Love”. The lyrics are amazing, have a listen, I leave you with that… :)

Your love makes no demands, never accuses.
You know, true romance is when I get to choose.
So I set my love upon you. No expectations, only revelations. I set my love upon you. My salvation is to see Your face.

….You are the risk of love that I get to trust.

Mr. and Mrs.

A brief hello to say – HI as Mrs Lupul!

I don’t know at what point newlyweds get used to saying ‘my wife’ and ‘my husband’, but I’m loving saying it! I am in a new city, with a new church, working from home and settling into married life.  It’s a lot of new, but I feel so blessed and daily lean on the Lord and my hubby to embrace all the change together ;)

We are living on an acreage in a suite above a friend’s garage for the next couple of months until our house (or duplex) is finished. The suite is tiny, but works for us and Pippa (the doggy that graces this blog every so often)!

Looking back to six weeks ago… our wedding day was perfect, at least for us, and that’s what matters! When Troy and I left the reception that night I had a tear in my eye as I looked at him, sighed and said, “That was perfect.” We cried. We laughed. We danced. We kissed. We hugged. A lot.  Three months to plan a wedding and move IS doable! Here here.

We haven’t got our wedding photos back yet, but we did get a sneak peek of the album, so here’s a few low res sneak peeks, thanks to Danielle from This Beloved Life Photography
(I am so so glad she caught Troy’s look as I came down the aisle, it was exactly what I’d hoped for my whole life!!)

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And a few of life thus far… road trips, my hubby playing guitar after dinner, a coffee table we scored that I aim to paint, roses from my love, a country sunrise, my adorable niece Lily, some amazing doors at a local Starbucks, and of course Pippa smiling ;)  Yes, these are the things that make me smile!

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16 days

86c541efa8f7e88a45a50e7dcb11e7c816 days. 20 hours. 18 minutes… until a season of life changes, and a brand new one begins!!

As I sat in my hairdresser’s chair this week we had a moment. I’ve known her for three years and every time I go to see her the two hours in her black leather chair are filled with talks of the Lord and the craving for simplicity in life.   She’s heard the weeeeees and the woes of my dating life. And this time in particular, I began to share how the week of the wedding I plan to take some time with Jesus just to say, well, ‘Thank You’; to reflect on the years on my own, and close a chapter of my life. A chapter with no regrets and I can, with a smile of thankfulness to God, put on the shelf of life and say “that was good”.  She teared up, and so did I. She grabbed my shoulders and said, “I am so so happy for you. I hardly know you, but I am so happy for you.”

My heart is so full of gratitude.  I’m on the doorstep of becoming a wife and marrying my best friend, Troy, and as I look back on a season of life that was oh so dear, I am also fully ready to bid adieu to that season!  How many people get to leave one season and enter another with no regrets?

Just as the Lord walked with me through the years on my own, I know He will also give me the grace to be the kind of woman Troy needs. I know there will be both learning curves and glorious discoveries, and I am ready for it all!  *Ahem, sound the trumpet to get this thing going already! ;)

Let’s not wish away the seasons of life; they will go by quickly enough, and in the right time. But let’s be able to bid adieu when the time comes, and loosen our fingers from the strings and let a new season arise.

The feeling of being able to let go and embrace at the same time is truly remarkable!

(More writing and adventures to continue as a Lupul, in the near future!)

 

 

Baby Caleb

This little guy arrived a few weeks early, but was welcomed with open arms. You can see it in his big sister’s eyes ;) I have known this couple from a distance the past few years; I had served with Christine on the coffee bar at church, and knew they travelled and did Bible School together as a married couple (kudos by the way!). But it was in their home I saw the natural way they parent and are growing their family, together. Introducing Caleb…

 

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The Story of Us: The Proposal

photo (2)Troy knew that I’d be expecting a proposal at some point because we’ve just always known we were meant to be together.  It has always been easy with us, comfortable, and people have even commented that something is so peaceful with us together. It was just a matter of making it official!

You see Troy had quite the task – I’ve been slated as an incorrigible romantic and hard to please at times. He knew I wanted an ‘experience’, and not just a dinner proposal (not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with that! Each couple is different and we both just wanted something extra special). So, little did I know that he’s been planning schedules for a couple of months.

So, this last Friday, my brother texts that he and his wife are coming into town for a family ‘catch up’, since they’ve been to Europe and back and us siblings hadn’t met up yet. Nothing toooo out of the ordinary, but like I do, I was trying to figure it out.

Is this it…is it happening?!

My brother offered to pick me up at my house, and Troy texted that he would get into town and just meet us at the pub. That was my first clue – the fact that they insisted on picking me up.

So, I rushed home from work, let my dog out, and freshened up. Thinking, “What do I want to be wearing if I’m about to get engaged!!!!??” See what I mean? He had a task set before him.

So 5:15 rolled around, I get in the backseat of their car and my bro says, “We just have to swing downtown to meet Garrick (his best friend), so I can give him a lens he wants to borrow.” I played along, again thinking, “This is strange!”

We pulled up to, you guessed it, City Hall Park, and immediately my heart is pounding out of my chest and I’m looking for Troy’s truck.

Britt and Jocelyn get out of the car and say, “Lani, why don’t you hope out?” So, I do, as any girl whose about to get engaged does – she obeys.

20140502_Troy_Lani0017I start to walk up the sidewalk and I see my sister approaching around the corner with a massive (2 dozen) bouquet of my favourite coral roses.  She’s crying. And not just because she’s about to have a baby, but because she’s delivering the first note of my proposal adventure. We hug, I smell the roses, read the sweet sweet note from Troy and she says I’m off on my adventure. Are you ready for it?

We all four hop back in the car, and Jocelyn turns on a playlist that Troy has prerecorded with his voice as an intro. “Hi sweetheard. Here’s a few songs that make me think of you. I’ll meet you in a little while, but for now, sit back and enjoy the adventure.” The first song was “Great Are You Lord”, one that we had slowdanced to and cried to several months back.

As I’m wiping away the tears of love and realization of what’s about to happen, I’m escorted next to the lake where Troy and I spent a lot of time last summer. I’m told to get out of the car and walk towards what I soon find out is a good friend of mine, waiting for me down the pier.

Again, I’m pausing in my mind to take it all in.

Lani, you’re about to get engaged!

20140502_Troy_Lani0070I see my good friend Kathy with a gift in her hand. We hug. Cry. And I open another card and gift. This time, a photo book of all pictures of Troy and I.  All throughout this time my brother, a photographer, is capturing the whole journey on film. Which is now AMAZING to have!

I hug my friend good-bye, and hop back into the car with my sister, brother and his wife. We next drive to my church, and as we pull up to the front doors I see my good friends Craig and Heidi and their adorable four month old girl waiting for us. I cry some more. (I cry when I feel loved, I cry when I feel something, anything deeply!) Again, another gift and card from Troy are waiting for me.  This time, a beautiful thick journal that I have since decided I will journal my first year as a wife in! Troy’s note said how he wants me always to keep writing and that he brought us to the church because he always wants us to come to God’s house to worship. Cry some more. Hug some more.  And we’re off again!20140502_Troy_Lani0146

Being the gal that I am, I am asking questions and my siblings are ssshhhh-ing me. Not that I WANT to know, I love surprises, but what else do you do but ask?!  So we had to stall for a few minutes (I didn’t know why at the time), so we went to Starbucks. What should be the sign on the entrance door but Oprah’s latest ad to drink the new Chai latte, and it says “Say Yes to what’s next!” We thought it was so appropriate so we took a picture!

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We hop back in the car with coffees in hand, and my heart is racing more.

When will I see my Troy?

We park downtown, close to where I think we are going – the coffee shop, Dose, where we had our first date. But no, we walk into a candlelit furniture boutique shop, Hudson Madison, just down the street. Our song is playing, my ‘sibling paparazzi’ is close behind me, and I look down to see a trail of tealights lit, beckoning me forward. I look back, breathe, and walk forward. Troy comes around the corner smiling, and then we both cry! Actually, I ugly cried and have my brother’s pictures to prove it! ;)

We embraced, and held each other. To be honest, it’s a blur all of what he said, but my sister caught it on video (it’s too personal to post, but amazing to have now!). He spoke from his heart of how he wants to have a family with me, take adventures, and that I’d make him the happiest man ever. And then, “Let’s not put this off any longer…” he got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. The words barely escaped his and I squealed YES!!!

Troy put on the most massive beautiful diamond ring I could’ve ever imagined having and we held each other close. My best friend and I, about to start a new chapter. Troy then whispered, “Look behind you.” I turn around and there were about a dozen of my closest friends, some of whom were on the journey that night, all whooping and hollering!

I was in shock, and then squealed, showing off the ring and embracing my friends and family.

Troy had planned to propose at the coffee shop, but apparently there was some miscommunication and it was closed! So with some quick help from friends, we got into a beautiful shop and I SAID YES!

Now, to plan a wedding three months away! I already am ooogling as I look at Troy and say, “Hi fiaaaaaance!” ;)

God is good!

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The story of us

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I was never the girl that had her whole wedding planned out at the age of 16. I knew what age I wanted it all done by (23, only 10 years later than my original plan), but the details hadn’t embedded in my heart just yet. But I was the girl who silently trusted and waited on God’s perfect timing, and perfect choice for me. As all my friends got married and started having babies, I was off travelling and trying to enjoy being a career woman. I waited, then pleaded, and even sometimes denied the desire for a husband thinking that that would somehow bring it to pass more swiftly. All the while, I knew deep down that God’s gifts come at the right time. And this past weekend a dream came true – Troy and I got engaged!!

I am going to do two separate posts – one that shares the story of how we met and fell in love, and the other of how he proposed (it’s worth coming back for!). So for this post, take a journey with us on how we met, nine months ago, and how our story has begun…

Last summer was busy. I had a full plate of things to do like getting a new puppy, reno’ing my older townhome, serving at my church and dreaming of the next trip I would take. I had dated a lot over the past couple of years and to be honest, was tired of putting myself out there. (Apparently my nephew said to my brother-in-law the night we got engaged “It’s about time, she’s had too many boyfriends!”)

I’ll take the summer off, settle into my home, and then maybe in the fall I’ll go online again.

But, my sister and her husband would not have it. He said, “Lani, your dog is going to die, your house will sell, but you need a husband!” Fortunately for all of us, I took their push, and on August long weekend 2013 I found myself at home alone on a Saturday night with Indiana Jones on the TV and a dog for a companion. THREE, I said, THREE, ads for online dating sites played within a period of an hour (apparently single white female was the demographic for paid advertising for Indiana Jones that night!)

Hmphf. Maybe I should just go back on again. There’s no harm right?

I took the advice of the best-marketed ad, Match.com, and signed up.

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(our first selfie together, last summer by the lake as we finished our ice cream and the sunset, Troy said “We need to take a picture!”)

Meanwhile, on the other side of hello, was Troyden Lupul. A guy who had recently been through extreme heartbreak, but God had carried him through and made him stronger for it. A man who knew that God wired him to have a wife and was determined not to give up; a man who was already tired of ‘trying online dating’ and was ready to close his account the next day.

Two hours after filling out my profile and carefully choosing my photos, my inbox was filling up with ‘hi’ and lacklustre responses.

Really? That’s it?!

I was already disappointed. I went to bed, and then came Sunday, August 4.

That Sunday evening I got a note from Troyden. It was kind, brief, and really just said he loved my profile and what I had to say. (He has since told me he read my profile before he saw my pictures and then was won when he saw my photos ;) ) I was sent to him as a match on the day he was going to close his profile! And, on his birthday ;) He had facial hair (usually not my thing, and now I absolutely love it!), strong arms (mmmmm) and seemed adventurous. The three things that stood out for me in his profile were that he clearly loved the Lord, had travelled, and said ‘chivalry isn’t dead’. Ding, ding, ding! We may have a winner!

Unfortunately, the site has deleted our emails since we logged off so I honestly don’t remember all of what we shared! But 10 days after our first hello, and countless texts and emails (we hadn’t talked yet!) Troy came to town to visit J He fortunately was just finishing a job (hardwood flooring) so he had five days in a row off. We were both hopeful. Scared that the other might have some freaky voice. And filled with great anticipation.

Wednesday morning came and I had the morning off. We had planned to meet at 9:30am at City Hall Park; somewhere public should either of us end up being crazy, bald, or both.

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I was early. I wore white skinnies and a green tank top. Accessorized with curly hair and a lace vest.

A good first impression I hope!

As I stood in the middle of the park I kept turning a 360; my heart racing and my bladder’s need to unload ever increasing. As the nerves grew I finally saw this guy with a sweet smile walking my way. He had a t-shirt, vest, good shoes and a MAN PURSE!!! WHOA! I was impressed. Ding! Points earned ;) His hair was neatly in place (immediate points for having hair!). I knew Troy worked in trades, but was also a musician, so I really had no idea what his style would be! But he made a very good first impression. We hugged, heard each other’s voice and breathed a sigh of relief. Then, in true Ledingham fashion, I stuck my foot in my mouth.

“I have to pee!”

And we walked. To a coffee shop named Dose a few blocks away. Troy paid, as a gentleman does, and we sat out in the morning sun sipping lattes. After about 20 minutes or so in, Troy handed me a note, one I still have in my Bible. It said:

Lani, to say I have enjoyed getting to know you is an understatement. I am so thankful I get to meet you today. No matter what, you have been a huge blessing and encouragement. Thank you for being you. Troyden.

And on the back of the note was a beautifully hand-drawn rose.

Ding! He was earning more points.

We walked back to the park, and sat under a tree with a blanket I had in my car. And those three hours disappeared. While we sat in the shade and told stories of travel and family and what we want out of life (because when you’re 32, you just don’t waste time!), Troy asked, “Are you feeling comfortable? I sure am.”

I stopped, and smiled, “Yes, yes I am.”

Ding! He cares about how I feel in the moment!

Since the morning went so well, Troy asked if he could barbeque me supper that night at his family’s RV at the lake. Of course, I said yes and asked if I could bring my puppy. To say I was distracted at work that afternoon was an understatement!

And that night – well. WE began. A perfectly seared steak. Walking the dog for ice cream. Troy grabbing my hand and me feeling tingles and ever amazed at how natural it felt. A bonfire, and even our first kiss. Now let me tell you – I NEVER DO THAT! But, with Troy, there was ease and chemistry and I just decided to go with it! I think that first day we spent about 11 hours together. And the next four days, whenever we could, we were together. And every weekend ever since (he lives almost two hours away).

That is how we began… online, by the lake, with some good coffee and ice cream. God is so so good.

Troy makes me laugh when I’m feeling crusty. He has a third personality, ‘er, accent, we call “Hank” that he brings out when I’m down. Troy is the most generous, strongest, godliest, best friend I could ever ask for and it makes me tear up to think about how much I love him and he means to me. The little things like a man in a tool belt and that can play guitar – God gave me that. Little things like a man who will watch movies with me on a Friday night, or plan trips with me – God gave me that. Little things like a man who will call me on my crap without making me feel like less of a person, or share honestly from his heart – God brought me that. Little things like a man who will dream up inventions and pray with me every night – God brought me that. Troy is a man that challenges me, loves me as I am, has embraced my friends and family, and will even go shopping with me ;) He just, well, feels like home.

God is faithful. And I hate to say it – but I wasn’t looking. But my Heavenly Father was, all along. And His timing is perfect!

Tomorrow….find out how Troy proposed this past weekend!

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