Mountain Get Away

Hello friends! I am attempting a purely mobile post !

I just got back from a couple nights in Banff and a day away with my honey in the mountains. It’s been such a long winter I needed a change of scenery, and Troy and I hadn’t yet been to Banff together!

It’s amazing how the closer you get to the majestic Rockies, your brain starts to rest just a little bit more. Even in coming back tonight I realize how the rest makes me more ready and excited for work. Go figure ;)

When I checked into my hotel room the lady at the front desk (Aussie of course) said, “We’ve upgraded you to a premium suite I hope that’s ok. It’s got a king size bed.” Is that ok? Yes. Yes that’s just fine! When we brought my bags to my room I was stunned. Half the room was windows and I had a mountain view. I felt God hug me and say, “this is just for you!”

I devoured a couple great books, and happily meandered and soaked up the lack of technology for a couple days. Ohhhh summer you can’t come soon enough. I came home very thankful! Even a couple days’ change of scenery can do wonders.

Here’s a few pictures from the weekend …

This was the view from my room at sunset the first night!

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Happy One Year Old Pippa

_MG_9272One year ago I had a baby. Well, a baby puppy that is. My sister and her husband were having puppies and giving them all away, and I was moving back into my own place – so it seemed destined.  I also just wanted something, well, to love. I wanted something other than myself to take care of! Growing up on the farm I always tried to train our dogs, and my Dad recently even said how badly I had wanted an indoor dog.

When they were one day old I picked her up out of the six and held her in the palm of my hand. I drove home that night very excited about the new little bundle, and dreaming up inspiring dog names. I grew up on a farm, come on, this can’t be THAT hard to name a pet? Then I began to think about English inspirations, and Pippa popped into my head. I smiled, and the decision was made.

Nine weeks later when I brought her home, she was crying in her crate in the back seat.  Yet as soon as I turned on worship music, she calmed down. And since then, I have noticed if I turn on quiet music at bedtime she will go to sleep sooner. Diva ;)

Through all the months of potty training, meal time disruptions, road trips and snuggles – I know it was a great decision. People have told me, “It’s good training for kids!”

I always mocked people who dressed their pets, and this winter I became one of them. I always thought I’d be washing my hands all the time if I had an indoor pet, yet some things I’ve just learned to let go of because she’s mine.  She is social, sensitive, affectionate and my little fluffball of snuggles when I’ve had a rough day.  Her underbite makes me laugh and the way she rests her butt on my shoulder when she sits on the back of the sofa is annoying and endearing all at the same time. She follows me from room to room and I am surprised I haven’t yet stepped on her and hurt her!

Ever so grateful for this little bundle … Happy first birthday my little Pippa!

Divergent – shut you down or wake you up?

divergent-trailerTo this day, it is probably one of the most satisfying jobs I have ever had. The long days challenged and fulfilled me.  I cried. I felt insecure. And I felt like I was doing what I was born to do, and yet wanted to retreat back from ever doing it again.

For three summers in my early 20’s I was a Chaplain at an air cadet base in Alberta. It was a 10-week summer position with the Department of National Defence that worked superbly with my schooling and other job at the time. The pay was great and my expenses were low since we lived on the base. It was a world I had never known since I had never been through cadet training.  As Chaplains, we taught classes, counselled, brought kids to a variety of churches in the city, and were the overall ‘morale builders’ of the base.

I had the opportunity to teach Life Skills classes to kids who were, many of them, away from home for the first time. Basic Cadets was their ‘class’. As I stood at the front of my classroom I was confronted with with sweaty ADD ridden 12-year-olds and I was on fire with both fear and exhilaration. Did they even hear what I just said?

There were four of us in the chaplain role, and we would pass off the pager so that someone was available 24/7. I recall getting called into counselling sessions where I would talk to young girls who were cutting themselves, and young boys who were convinced they had seen a ‘face’ in the toe of their polished boot. I learned SO much in those three summers.

In that role, the fear of the unknown and the sense that I was so unqualified for what I was called upon to do – woke me up. It didn’t paralyze me even though it scared me. I realized the state of what youth were dealing with. I realized that I could rise to the challenge of creating a curriculum for 30 youth that would inspire and challenge them. I realized I did have something to say to an Officer who had been in the military for years, but needed a friend to listen to.

I truly felt alive.

This past weekend Troy and I went to the movie Divergent with some family. Well written and captivating, the movie has a Hunger Games vibe to it. The main character, Triss, is called upon to choose which ‘faction’ (a societal classing system) she belonged to. She chose the one that was full of action and adventure, who were called upon to protect the fallen city – Dauntless.  She had to fight and challenge herself in ways she never had before.

You see Triss didn’t fit in any of the class systems that had been created. She was unique and thought differently. She was a divergent. In one scene, the man who is training her (whom she of course falls in love with!) says to her when she asks him why she is different, “Fear doesn’t shut you down, it wakes you up.”

Fear doesn’t shut you down, it wakes you up.

It’s made me think how in every situation we have two options when we face difficulty: it can either shut us down, or wake us up.

What challenge are you facing right now that seems bigger than you? I know the thrill of being awoken by challenge. I also know the feeling of shrinking back and regretting my retreat later on.

2 Timothy 1:7 says that, “God has NOT given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.”

God never created us to be people that retreat. He actually created us to face challenge, and overcome it. He created within us the ability to meet something that is scary and bigger than us and say, “I can rise to meet this.” Through Him and His strength, we can actually be woken up in every situation. And find a deeper, more fulfilling life in the meantime.

So I ask you…

What will you say to the next challenge that comes – shut me down, or wake me up?

 

Homestyle 1955

Someone once told me that I should be a Sarah Richardson. And that I would love love love Disney because it was so detail oriented. And that I could come design ‘their’ home anytime.  I just smiled and agreed.

I recall over and over again trying to ‘make things pretty’ where I grew up. I loved gardening and discovering hidden treasures that I could restore. I just came by it naturally – liking things a certain way. Call it feng shui. Peaceful. Homemaker. Whatever you like. I love texture, colors, designs, shapes.

About ten months ago I moved back into my 1955 townhouse with the intent of ‘fixing it up’ to live in it for an indefinite time. I went about painting every room, including almost every ceiling. Hiring to do new vinyl tile floors. Lighting. New vanity and backsplash in my bathroom. Kitchen handles. I had to buy a few pieces of furniture and home items.  It was an exhausting few months and done on a fairly limited budget. On top of that business at home, I got a puppy. A sweet, sensitive, social, full-of-life puppy named Pippa. And wouldn’t you know it, after two months of ‘settling in’ back into my home with a new puppy companion I met a wonderful man from another city…. It’s funny how life works. Right when you busy yourself with tending to what you have, God gives you something you’ve always wanted. But I’ll save that for another blog ;)

Back to home. I’m a believer in making the space you live in like a sanctuary. You spend a lot of time there so you should surround yourself with things that make you smile. In the winter, I light candles and have tea as often as I can because I find it so peaceful in my home!

I’m a lover of mixing old and new, metals and woods, and you just have to work with what you’ve got, whether it’s your ‘dream’ or not. Make it your own. The majority of my home shopping is done at HomeSense or Target!

I would call my style rustic romantic chic.  Like an elderly woman who has lived some life, clothed in the nicest vintage lace dress, with some sass and class – umm, yeah. I won’t attempt to take that metaphor any further!

So, have a looksee into a few things around me … perhaps it will make you smile and inspire you to make your home a little more of a sanctuary.

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Book{worm}

Bookworm

I’ve always been a lover of books. You know, the kind that smell musty, reek of tales untold and that leave you feeling breathless or challenged – or both.

My bookshelves growing up were full of Janette Oke Christian romance and Nancy Drew adventures. And my trusty True Love Waits Bible ;)  And to this day I love words and learning from other people’s experiences and stories. I decided I would start a new installment in the blog called “Bookwork” in which I will share a brief synopsis of a recent book I read, and how it challenged me. I do warn you though, I tend to read more inspirational and teaching books than novels. It took me a year to read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens but I did it! I do aim to read more novels and biographies!  I’m just hungry to learn more about my walk with Christ and to grow as a person. And since the bitter Canadian winter’s blow a mighty wind, I decided reading more and less TV was a must this past winter.

And so herein I will share books I have enjoyed and would recommend!

Daring Greatly | Brene Brown

I first discovered the teachings of Brene Brown while looking for inspiring videos on TedX to show at a team-building meeting at work.  This was probably over a year ago now, and it is only recently that her teaching on vulnerability and shame has truly become an actual undertaking in my life. The title Daring Greatly comes from Theodore Roosevelt’s famous speech on how it is not the critic who counts, but “the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again…if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.”  Brene Brown uses humour and nearly 15 years of vulnerability and shame research to prove that what we view as weakness (vulnerability) is actually at the core of creativity, joy and innovation. She talks about our scarcity mentality as a society and how nothing is ever enough. Including ourselves. It’s a journey worth unpacking if you want to dare greatly in life, work, parenting, and relationships!

Sun Stand Still  | Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick uses the story of Joshua’s fight against the Amorite armies in Joshua 10 to display how his prayer to make the sun stand still literally caused God to change the trajectory of earth. Science has proven that in history, there is an actual day missing in all of time – where no light shone in all the earth. The book challenges you to get clarity on what you’re asking and believing for, and to believe that God is able to greater things in and through your life.

A House in the Sky | Amanda Lindhout

You may have heard her story, maybe not. But this novel is the tale of a young Canadian woman who loved to travel so much that she would waitress for six months at a time and then head off into the unkown territories of Afghanistan, Baghdad and the Peru. She chose off the beaten paths. Amanda began to work as a journalist and was drawn to cover Somalia in some of the most dangerous times of its history. While travelling with a photographer friend, they are captured by Somalian men and held captive for over 430 days. She was tortured, raped, starved, and nearly died if not for the image of ‘the house in the sky’ that she held on to. It’s a true story of hope, forgiveness and humanity!

The Emotionally Healthy Woman | Geri Scazzero

This book is written by a New York pastor’s wife who literally ‘quit her husband’s church’. In order to understand her story, you have to read the book. She had been a yes-woman all her life and finally hit a breaking point. Geri and her husband teach on healthy emotional Christianity and in this book she lays out 8 things every woman must quit to change their life: Quit Being Afraif of What Others Think, Quit Lying, Quit Dying to the Wrong Things, Quit Denying Anger, Sadness and Fear, Quit Blaming, Quit Overfunctioning, Quit Faulty Thinking, Quit Living Someone Else’s Life

Happy reading ya’ll!

Letting Go

Bethel Music has a new album out called Tides, with a really amazing song titled, “Letting Go”. The lyrics are poignant for me and all that God is cultivating in my heart. How could I not share it and encourage you as well? Music is powerful.

For those of you who have the gift of writing and playing – never stop. We need your gift in this world!

You’ve brought me to the end of myself
And this has been the longest road
Just when my hallelujah was tired
You gave me a new song

I’m letting go, I’m letting go
I’m letting go, and falling into You

I confess I still get scared sometimes
But perfect love comes rushing in
And all the lies that screamed inside
Go silent
The moment You begin

You remind me of things forgotten
You unwind me until I’m totally undone
And with Your arms around me
Fear was no match for Your love
Now You’ve won me

Have a listen…

Recovering or Generating?

Shiffrin at the FIS NORAM Giant Slalom in Aspen, Colorado on November 29, 2012.

The 2014 Sochi Olympics have just finished and I can’t help but think about the focus and determination of the athletes. For years they will train for what could be a 60 second challenge. Or less. They put all their energy, attention, finances and time to become that which their heart beats for – an Olympian.

A couple days ago I was watching with my boyfriend the Slalom skiing. I’ll admit, I had to ask him how you pronounce it! As the female racers swished too and fro around the poles, the one athlete came in less than a second under her competitor. Pushing her further down the podium rank.  As the announcers shared their account of her run, the one anchor said, “She’s recovering from mistakes rather than generating speed.”

She’s recovering from mistakes, rather than generating speed.

It hit me as though a lead balloon with a red bow had just dropped into my livingroom.

I’ve often had the thoughts of, “I don’t want to be that or that.” Or “I wished this was different about me…” This mindset makes you end up feeling like you are recovering from (perceived) mistakes or in essence, avoiding something, rather than running towards something. It makes you live on the defence rather than the offence. And the strongest way to live on defence is to focus on where the competition, or enemy is. It affects every area of your life when you live this way… you’re always recovering rather than generating.

Recovering affects perceptions (that’s a WHOLE other blog. Or BOOK for that matter!). When in fact, what I need to focus on is MY race, what God wants me to become and contribute.  And get generating speed already!

Proverbs 4:25 says – “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.”

The Word also says in Corinthians that HIS grace is sufficient for YOU, for His power is made perfect in YOUR weakness. Don’t look for others’ grace. See that His is sufficient for your race alone.

So I ask you… what do you allow to determine how far up the podium you will stand?

Is it your competition, or the grace given your race?

What, and who, determines your race?

I know that statement held HUGE weight for me – and I hope it does for you to. Let’s stop living in recovery mode and get generating speed!

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