Friday, March 26, 2010

Discipline and New Beginnings

So far it's been a pretty complicated break-up, me and chocolate. Not the clean break I had wanted but I guess we have some history to work through, but I can make it!

We had some beautiful weather in Seattle this week and it made me so certain that this is where I want to be for a long time. The beautiful sunshine and the views of the snow capped mountains. Perfect! (If you've never been here you should come and visit hint, hint).

This week has been kind of a tough one, I am realising that my life is not very disciplined. I am not good at getting anything accomplished when I have so little structure to my days. This is not a new revelation, but every once in a while I need a reminder to get things back on track.

This morning I had a quiet time, which I have not been making a priority, so it felt really good to just sit and be still. To journal, to read my Bible and pray. I read in Matthew when Jesus explains to the disciples that it is in giving up our lives that we gain true life. It was what I needed to hear. Each day I want to live for Him. I want to use my time, each minute in service to Him. Whether that means cooking meals for the sick or the newly parents, keeping the house clean, or making time in the day to sit with God. I want to be disciplined because in doing so I have more time to give away. And in giving I truly do receive. As I invest more time in deepening intimacy with my husband, and pursuing friendships I gain community, support and accountability. I will gain joy and laughter, I will be a part of creating a place to be broken and a place to heal.

I see the glaring need for schedule in my life. And so I set to it. Starting with a cleaning schedule to keep on top of things at home, and make our house a place people can feel comfortable. Make a place that Jeremy wants to come home to at the end of a long day at work, somewhere we can open up to show hospitality to friends when they visit.

I feel pretty excited about that list now, and you know me, its pretty thorough! No room for error!

So now to the fun stuff, with the cleaning out of the way I have space to schedule some time for other projects. I am very excited to cross some smaller house projects off the list - so is Jeremy so I will include a couple of those when I look to the week ahead.

I also have a list (it's a long, long list) in my head of things I want to try or to learn. Now there can be space for that to happen too. I want to grow a garden and learn more about the plants we inherited with our house. My Nana and Grandad were very keen and skilled gardeners so I hope to have gleaned something from them growing up - even if it just the memories of their amazing plants, and all the fruits and vegetables they grew. There is nothing like the smell inside a greenhouse full of tomatoes. I started some seedlings which like a proud mama I will post pictures of soon! They need to go outside soon so they can start to grow more but I never read past how to grow the seedlings so I guess I have a little homework to do in the next day or two!!

I also want to learn to drive, I have been studying my little 'how to' guide but need to take my written test before heading out on the open highway - probably more like an empty parking lot - who cares, I'll be behind the wheel! I need to overcome some pretty significant anxiety to get on a road with other vehicles so I will be praying for courage and boldness - and ask you to pray for me if you think about it. If they do someday give me a licence, you may personally benefit from those prayers!

Preparing my heart and massaging blood flow back to the far corners of my brain as I get ready to take placement tests for school. God gave me a good brain, but it's been out of commission in many ways for a wahile so I am up for the challenge of this new beginning.

Learning to sew is another area of creativity I want to explore. I have so many ideas in my head but have not made the time to fine tune this skill either. So that goes on the list too.

Now before this post turns into just a long to do list I want to say this, our lives matter to God. Our passions are gifts. Our desire to learn and grow is a part of figuring out who we are created to be. I have so much anticipation for the months ahead as I rest on God to work in me to find the discipline I need to be the person I am called to be for today.

Easter is a season of new life, and I want to claim that for myself today. I am a new creation. I am not sure how I slipped into the rut that I'm in but I am unsatisfied and unfulfilled. God, I need your direction and I need your strength as I step out in faith and push open some big, heavy doors! I am jumping into your will with both feet.

Lord, I am surrendering to you today, again. Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to You.

Monday, March 22, 2010

enough is enough

My B.F.F (Best Fictional Friend) Lorelei Gilmore once had a love affair with snow. She loved it, she associated it with good things in her life. Then one day, a snow drift landed on her car, and it was the beginning of the end of their relationship. That's where I am at in my life with chocolate. I love chocolate, it used to be a treat. It used to be something I associated with goodness. However, somewhere along the way, it has turned into more of an addiction. Now I groan when people bring treats over because I know they will not survive in the house. Now I fight this urge to devour and I can't seem to kick the chocolate habit. It just doesn't taste good when their is guilt and shame involved.

So as Lorelei announced out loud to the snow, I am announcing out loud to chocolate, " You and I are through!"

My discipline has to happen at the store because the fight is over once it's in our house. I am tired of feeling like this compulsion has a hold on me. As Jeremy and I look into the future and thinking of getting pregnant again I want to be in the best health I can for that, and I think that my half-hearted efforts finally found a full-hearted reason to come through.

My diet is not the only place in my life that needs a little fine tuning, my exercise level has seriously decreased since I got married and moved in with Jeremy. Now I don't walk very much anymore, we drive everywhere and I need to make more of a conscious effort to keep fit. In the sunshine, I am more determined than ever to get into better shape. It's fun to be outside when it's not raining!

So this is my public announcement, my accountability. I am making smart choices about my health. From today, this is it. I have been inspired by the online journey of a friend of mine who is on a similar quest for health and fitness. She told me today that I am the most introspective extrovert that she knows, I think that's a pretty good description so I will be sure to keep you all the loop as much as possible with how all this is going to pan out. Please feel free to offer and words of wisdom you have, such as a chocolate patch for example?!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

lazy spring days

The sun is shining and I came downstairs to be welcomed by last nights dishes. We had a really fun night and the beautiful weather meant it was the time we used our grill this year! Our friends Dylan and Cassie came over for the evening, and even though it got too chilly to actually eat outside our meat was cooked in the open air!!

I am having a lazy start to the day, and beyond the kitchen clean up I have no real plans for my morning. Well, I guess that's not strictly true. I have some pretty set plans to finish my book, I may even read it outside if the weather stays nice.

Jeremy had to teach a class this morning and I am looking forward to when he gets home so we can go outside and enjoy some of this wonderful sunshine.

I guess spring is really here and I have beautiful, bright yellow tulips in a vase to prove it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

(wo)man in the mirror

One of the things we were told in our pre-marriage counseling was that a challenge of marriage is that through the eyes and experience of our spouse we will see reflections of our own character that we would be trying hard to keep hidden.

A couple of nights ago, Jeremy and I went out for coffee. We had wanted to just get out of the house and spend some quality time together. However after only a few sentences, we had slipped into a pretty big argument. A mixture of my own frustrations and insecurities, as well as our joint tiredness made it a really honest, and from my mouth ugly, conversation.

As we left the coffee shop and walked to the car we tried to figure out what had just happened. It led to some pretty strong accusations flying in my direction. Those are hard to hear and in times of heightened emotion they are even harder to process.

My poor little heart hasn't been that sad in a long time. Not because of what I had been accused of, but because it was true. I have some ugly places inside me and Jeremy had not only seen some of them, but spoken them. Out loud. Yikes.

Now I was left stuck in a really uncomfortable spot. Part of me defensive and wanting to throw back reasons and justification. Another part broken and exposed and a final part of me sad and scared about the way we had just spoken to each other. (Two sides to every story of course, some unfair things were thrown in my directions too.)

That was a fun car ride home. Not.

In the safety of our home, I began to peel apart the huge jumble of emotion and narrow down all the words I was churning over and figure out what I was really upset about. Now, there are layers to this onion of course, but I think the biggest reason was that there was a yucky part of my character which had been uncovered. Something I couldn't justify away. My words hurt him, and that is painful to me too.

After some space we reconnected, confessed, sought and received forgiveness. Peace reigned again in our hearts.

This is all a part of the journey of marriage, and more so the journey of life. We develop intimacy with others and have to live with both the joy that brings but we also open ourselves up to the potential of great hurt. There is truth to the verse in the Bible about iron sharpening iron, in my closest relationships, my real self is exposed. When it's out in the light there is possibility for transformation.

I want to be transformed. I want to walk more closely with the Lord, to know him and be like him. I need to be walking closely with others to put this into practise and to let them sharpen me too - as I in turn sharpen them.

Day by day, I fall more in love with my husband. The good experiences are wonderful but even the hard ones, the arguments and disagreements give up opportunity to grow deeper in intimacy. We have the possibility to truly be known and loved. Fully. We must choose to admit when we fail, to seek forgiveness and to be forgiven.

Last night as we sat at a Scottish pub celebrating St. Patrick's day (?) surrounded with old friends and new, I began to think about ways these people had influenced my life, and vice versa. I feel so blessed and see this is truly God's design in motion. Long may it continue - I have a lot that needs to be sharpened!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood...

Jeremy and I debuted our hospitality skills and our guest room last week. Our first guest was my friend Sunne. She came to stay overnight on her way from Florida to a conference to Portland. It also happened to be her birthday so we were able to take her out for Thai food to celebrate her. Then on Wednesday my dear friend Amy arrived. We have had some wonderful girl time including getting makeovers at the Clinique counter at the mall with some other girlfriends!!

It is so fun to have other people in our home. I miss living in community. I guess Jeremy and I will have to take the pin out of that discussion again soon.

Yesterday, my old housemates throw a party for some mutual visiting friends. The gathering was about 30 people, there were kids everywhere, meat smoking, lots of beer, and our gracious host in a tie deep frying onion rings which were oh so good! We ate wonderful food, caught up on each others lives, laughed together, shared our hearts and generally enjoyed each others company. Later in the evening we sat around the chiminea and kept warm while the conversation continued. These friends were all from my YWAM days. Sometimes it seems like a million years ago when we were all in each other lives every day and in the next heartbeat it feels like no time at all. We all shared so much life together, good, bad and sometimes ugly. Those foundations have made it so easy to just pick up conversations even when haven't been in the same country for years. I have such a love for these people. They became my family here in the US.

It used to be hard to bring Jeremy to parties or gathering with a lot of YWAM friends because he didn't have the history that we all shared together. Yesterday I realised that times have changed in that respect. It was fun to be there with him. He and I have spent enough time developing relationships with my friends as a couple that he can call them his friends too. It so nice for me to see the way he has been accepted and welcomed into this group who are so important to me.

In other news, it is a beautiful day in Seattle today! I spent the morning out for coffee with two of my very special friends and then have been in the garden all afternoon pruning rose bushes and apple trees and tidying up a little bit. I felt like a grown up. And now, I feel like an old lady - my knees are killing me!

I feel like the weeds were mocking me, and I still have a lot of them to destroy but at least I made some headway. I am enjoying this new season of being more in tune with nature. Last year, we were distracted by planning our wedding but this year, summer is all ours! I have some tomato seeds to grow to seedlings and then plant outside. I hope we'll be eating delicious home grown tomatoes in our salads this summer.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Getting our groove back

We have been "home" for 3 1/2 days. We had one day of weekend - which to be honest we lived in a haze of jet lag, and after that we were back to real life.

Jeremy started work bright and early Monday morning. But actually we both started Monday off bright and early, me at 3am and him at 5am. We got up, I cooked breakfast - yes, I cooked breakfast on a week day! Jeremy was out the door by 7am and then I was left to my own devices. Laundry, organising, thank you card writing, running errands, cleaning, friends stopping by, making dinner. That was my day.

Then Jeremy came home. We ate dinner together and then he headed out to worship band rehearsal. He left at 7pm and bed was already calling my name. I gave in at 8pm and got ready for bed, just watching TV to keep me awake because reading my book had truly been a lullaby to my sleepy body! Before 9pm Jeremy came home and the "stay awake, stay awake, stay awake" switch in me clicked off. It felt like a wonderful dream as I snuggled down under the covers and let my heavy eyelids close.

I woke up a little later Tuesday morning, around 5.30am(!) and got ready to go back to work myself.

While we were in England, Jeremy and I spent two whole weeks together, 24/7 pretty much. Now we're back we have just a few sleepy minutes in the morning and then a snatch of time in the evening when we are tired from work, hungry for dinner and trying to get our own projects crossed off the lists in our heads.

I think it will take a few more days for us to fully get our groove back. We are both feeling a little discombobulated at present.

So many emotions have hit us over the past few weeks, not to mention so many time zones. It feels like what we have experienced, seen and learned makes it impossible to just slip back into life here again. Too much has changed now, and we have to work through those changes and figure out who we are again. I guess it's OK if that takes a little time. Slowly does it...we'll just continue this process tonight over dinner!

Here we are at the top of the Eiffel tower, just one of the adventures we took in the last couple of weeks!


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