Thursday, April 29, 2010

Squeezing the juice out of life

What a beautiful day in Seattle. I am working today, which means I get to hang out with an almost one year old cutie-pie. She has been in a delightful mood and we took a long walk around town in between naps - hers not mine.

She is taking her afternoon nap now as I write this, precious.

On our walk, I stopped by PCC and got a salad for lunch. It was delicious. After we got home, I had a stop and taste the roses moment...well, a stop and taste the salad moment but same thing. It was a simple meal but the taste of the different greens, the lemon juice and the tuna salad were delicious. Each bite a different taste. I need to stop and enjoy my food way more often, we eat on-the-go far too frequently. In the space and the quiet I ate slowly and really tasted each bite. I hear that's the way we are supposed to do eat, it's better for us!

On our walk we also stopped by this little garden store on 35th Ave in Fremont. I bought some herbs and a strawberry plant which smell so good! I also wanted a couple more flowers for my pots and I saw a bright, cute little pot and on closer inspection I saw it was called 'English daisy'. Done. I bought two. However, the don't look like any of the daisies I have seen growing in English lawns, and I should know because as I child I would sit for hours and make daisy chains.

Enjoy this day my friends and all the things it has to offer.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Black. White. Grey.

I feel like a bad tomato mama, my poor seedlings are dying off. Each morning I am greeted by a new deadling. I even planted a couple of them outside today during the break of sunshine to see if they can make it on their own; clearly I am not doing a good job! I know you're worried, so I'll keep you posted!

Since this weekend's retreat and the revelations I was excited to put into practice, I have felt the heaviness of the enemy on my heart. It has been a constant fight to take the lies he is humming and replace them with the shouts of truth - I have made time to sit and reflect on scripture each day since and I love it!

In other thoughts...I know it is only natural to still feel sensitive about our miscarriage but right now it feels like something I am coming to God about daily for healing and comfort. My community here in Seattle as well as further afield seems to be blossoming with new babies. Each morning I feel the need to take a deep breath as I check emails and facebook preparing my heart to see "we have an announcement" or "I have a secret" because as happy as I want to be for my friends and family, a part of my heart just feels so sad as I remember what we have lost. I am not just in a place of grief for us but I am also mourning being the friend I want to be. I struggle to celebrate. It doesn't come with out some effort. I need to step away, take a breath, process, grieve and then can come back to the table bringing with me a genuine joy. Until the next email hits my inbox, and it starts over.

I love to see friends bellies swelling with new life, but I am also sad that my belly just swells with cookies! (I am sad about that on many levels, and am a little mad at 30 for the way it changed my ability to eat what I want without consequence!)

I have known grief before, I lost grandparents and some friends. It was so sad, and hard but it was very different to losing our pregnancy. This time something was taken from me, literally. My grief is not only for the pregnancy, but for the opportunity to be parents to this child. I am not in floods of tears every day anymore. I have whole days when I barely think of what happened but I do carry this loss with me and it is waiting to come to the surface when I least expect it. It can be the strangest things that trigger it.

I am starting to understand what I have heard other women talk about, the feeling and heaviness that my body failed. The burden of responsibility over what happened, was my shower too hot? That weight hits like a punch in the gut. The yearning for a do-over is unreal.

It's not even simply about fear of not having another baby but its the sorrow of not ever knowing this particular child. I trust that God designed our bodies well and I know that some little cell balls don't turn in to fully fledged babies because of chromosomal abnormalities. I understand that, but we don't know for sure that's what happened.

I am not here to dwell on this sad event, simply to journal some of the day to day scars it has left.

I continue to pray for healing and I fight for joy to celebrate the new life around me. It is such a beautiful thing. I am learning to find the grey area in life. The place where you can be genuinely sad and yet also truly happen in the same moment. I am a black and white kinda girl by nature and as hard as it is, I appreciate the way God is smudging those lines in my life.

I think this could be one of those moments, in simple form. As I end this blog the tear on my cheek is real but I smell the chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, and I look around my beautiful home, the sun shining through the windows, and I am happy to be alive. I am keeping eyes wide open to find these moments in the circumstances of life. They are the places we learn and grow, they are what transforms us and they are what brings us life.

Monday, April 26, 2010


This past weekend I was at a women's retreat with a group of wonderful ladies from my church. We were in Leavenworth, WA and from the picture below you can see the beauty we woke up to each day! It was the first time I have gone away and left Jeremy home alone. Normally it is him going away for work and me rattling around the house by myself! I think he enjoyed bach-ing it up for a few days!

The retreat was a sweet time of learning, hot tubs, global rhythms dance class, delicious dining, mountain air, small groups and new friendships. I really appreciate the role my church family play in my life and this women's retreat is a unique time to meet and have fellowship with women across generations as we come together in this one space. We had great teaching on the theme of being at a crossroads. I know that topic has huge cliche potential but the speaker, Staci Copley managed to navigate the topic without too many! She reminded us what the Lord has shown us to do as we face big and small decisions in our daily lives. We looked at Jeremiah 6:16

"This is what the LORD says:
"Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'

I have fallen into a slump when it comes to picking up my Bible outside of church. When I was in YWAM I felt like I was constantly giving out. I felt a true and urgent need to be in the word and to be praying seeking Him for guidance. I know that I couldn't do it without Him. In my need, I fell deeper and deeper in love with my Jesus. Since leaving, my day to day life has become much smaller. My need to be connecting with God and His word is not felt in the same way and I have another love in my life who I turn to to fill my needs. I am aware that Jeremy is not able to meet all my needs in the way God can and desires to but it is an easier option to turn to my husband first.

This weekend God really called at my heart, and through testimonies from other women as well as the teaching I was convicted about the way Jeremy has become an idol in my life. I see that putting expectation of Jeremy to meet all my needs only puts him in a position to fail and to become an object of criticism for me. It is true that God bought us together in this marriage to love each other, but He still wants to be the most important thing in each of our lives and he is still jealous for our hearts. I want to release Jeremy and once again make Jesus to be where I turn first.

The Bible is His gift to us. It is the Living Word. I want to make a new commitment to make my quiet times a top priority in my day. Since leaving YWAM, I feel like I have been floundering. My calling and purpose were so much a part of that ministry it left a void that I let Jeremy fill. In my confusion, I let my marriage bring light and purpose to my life. I am at a crossroads. There are so many options open to me for the future and I want Christ to be the one guiding my steps, and Jeremy to be the one holding my hand and walking with me.

As we sit here tonight on the couch, him catching up with Jack Bauer's adventures and me journaling my thoughts I feel a sense of peace and rest that has eluded me for some time. Just as promised in that verse in Jeremiah, when we seek him at our crossroads, he will grant us rest.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fresh coconut cake

One of the things I have enjoyed most about keeping house is cooking. I love my kitchen, and feel very at home there. Even doing dishes can be fun. We haven't decorated in our kitchen since we got the house (it's on the list!) but I have made it a special place, I have lots of plants around because I love them, as well as some family pictures - and fresh flowers as much as possible! I love being in the kitchen and I want others to enjoy spending time there too. We just bought some bar stools which has made it easier for others to join me as I cook!

Easter was a few weeks ago and I thought it called for something a bit special on the food front. We were spending the day with Jeremy's family and his mom, sister and I had come up with a menu and divided up who would bring what. I was excited that one of the things on my list was dessert.

So I turned to Cooking Light, my culinary bible for inspiration! Lo and Behold, this months edition has a Fresh Coconut cake recipe - done and done.

I like to push myself a little bit when it comes to using new ingredients and I have never had to open a real coconut for a recipe so I was up for the challenge. I set Jeremy the task of piercing the three eyelet holes and draining the water (which I used in the batter). He took it out to the garage and put it in the vice, which worked a treat! Then we baked it for a half hour before we smashed it open and got the flesh out. We shaved it and I toasted the shavings.

It was pretty involved and not something I would just whip up for Tuesday dinner but it was delicious. It turned into a team effort and Jeremy and I were up pretty late the night before Easter making the frosting and putting it all together. I think you can see the clock in the background of some of the pictures, and yes we are wearing our PJ's!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thoughts from Sunday

This Sunday was a beautiful sunny day here in the Pacific Northwest. Jeremy and I had spent the morning at the garden center picking up a few plants and flowers to make our front garden a little merrier for spring!
Jeremy headed off to church for worship band practise and left me to plant out in the yard! With the sun on my back, I separated out my tomato seedlings and planted marigolds, alyssum and geraniums. The colours are beautiful.

The fabulous weather had already made the decision for me that I would walk to church. I haven't walked the whole way before so I wasn't sure exactly how long it would take. In the end I think it took me about 45 minutes to door to door - and I even managed to stop for an iced latte on the way!

In church, we started as usual with a time of worship. And not that I am biased or anything but I love when Jeremy leads worship. I enjoy seeing the Holy Spirit work through him to minister in this way to our community, he comes to life and it's easy to see how much he loves meeting with God in a personal way during these times too.

I usually only have a few seconds of pure love for my earthly hubby before feeling fully enveloped in the worship of my heavenly husband. This week we sang "Desert song" I have copied and pasted the words below.

As we sang the line, " God is my victory and he is here", I felt suddenly aware of God's presence and got a wonderful glimpse of how he sees me. Someone who is no longer striving, no longer trying so hard, but someone who just is. Exactly as I was created to be. It is the truth that no weapon formed against me will remain, and in Him I have the victory. Over all my faults and failures, over all my weaknesses. I already have the victory in Him.

It was a special moment. In a time when my faith has been feeling dry it was what I needed. It feel like there is so much friction as I try and make changes in my life by myself, in that wonderful moment, I was aware of my need to come to His presence to be renewed. To see myself as he sees me, and step into that.

The sermon was about the parable of the 10 virgins and the lamps. It highlighted the importance of filling our own lamps and not living vicariously though others. Just because we surround our selves with a Christian community doesn't mean we can neglect filling our own lamps - does anyone else ever get that feeling that a sermon was written just for them?!

I feel renewed in a wonderful and deep way today. I know that this feeling will not remain without my effort and intention to keep being filled, but I am excited to walk in the steps God sets before me and be poured out for him. Unafraid. No longer fearful that I can't do it, that I don't have anything to give. It's true that I don't, but as God gives his Spirit to me every time I ask, He will be faithful to top me up when I need it!

We serve a creative, loving and personal God. He is a Father, a Friend and a Bridegroom. He is so in love with us. In that moment during worship when the sun was streaming down outside, and I knew at the depth of myself the truth of the words I was singing, I felt that my heavenly Bridegroom's eyes were on me and me alone. All I wanted to do was draw closer to him. I pray that this won't been soon forgotten, and that if are reading this and feeling stuck in your relationship with Christ; go to him, get your lamp filled, he only has eyes for you!

Desert Song Lyrics, Hillsong

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

This is my prayer in the fire
And weakness or trial or pain
There is faith proved more worth than gold
So refine me lord through the faith

I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and he is here

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So fill my his promise ill stand

I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and he is here

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

And this is my prayer in the harvest
And favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be empties again
The seed I receive I will sow

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Al Roker and his weather

What was up with the weather in Seattle today? Crazy confused weather. We had beautiful bright sunshine and blue skies, then heavy downpours and then snow pellets in some weird cycle throughout the day...and yet on the Today show this morning, as he done every day for the last month, Al Roker simply said that the pacific northwest would have showers. Even when I have looked out across delightful days full of sun and blue and green, there are still grey rain clouds over Seattle on their map.

I should be thanking him. After all, if enough of the country thinks it's horrible to live in Seattle then we won't have to share her.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lessons in life

I started the day walking around Green Lake with my friend Jessika. It had been a long time since we had spent time together and we laughed and talked the who way around. It was good to share our lives, and served as a reminder once again of the desire, need and calling we have to community.

A little later, I was dressed in bleach stained clothes fresh, or not so fresh, from cleaning bathrooms. I headed outside to the bins arms full of recycling and rubbish when suddenly I head the door bang shut behind me. I ran over and jiggled the handle but I already knew it had locked behind me. I was out in the cold, and rain with no coat, no keys, no phone and very thankful for the last minute idea to put on shoes. I quickly went over the last few things I had done to ensure that nothing bad was going to happen, no water was on to boil, no candles left burning, OK, I was good to leave and find help!

I knocked on a neighbours house but they weren't home, and then I saw our other neighbour out doing some woodwork in his garage. I headed over and he couldn't do enough to help me. I called and sent texts to Jeremy from my neighbour Mike's cell phone (luckily I do have Jeremy's number memorised) But after he had not responded to my pleas I had the sinking memory of him putting his phone in the office to charge last night. He has developed quite the habit of forgetting it the next morning and in that second I just knew he didn't have his phone with him. Now what? I asked Mike if he had a phone book and I found Jeremy's company so I called and had the operator transfer me to Jeremy. He didn't answer so I had to leave yet another message. Then another idea came to mind, send an email. If Jeremy was at his desk, he would see a new email pop up but I didn't have a computer...but I did have another phone number memorised - My church!! I called the church office and when Elizabeth answered, I relayed my sad story and she sent out and SOS email to Jeremy with Mikes home phone number in it.

Only a few minutes later my knight in shining armor called and said he was on his way to save me and would be there as soon as he could.

I want to continue to develop the community in my neighbourhood. I am reminded of the prayers that Jeremy and I said when we were looking for a house, and I truly believe He led us here. I am excited for summer B-B-Q's and more chatting over the fence as the weather gets brighter. We have a wonderful amount of friends in our lives, guys, girls, couples, family and must carve out time to embrace these relationships. As we grow and learn, and as God transforms us, he will do so individually and with our communities. We learn from one another and touch each others lives in ways that teach us new things about life, love, and Jesus. That's a beautiful thing.

What a day! Full of lessons to learn.

#1 Community is what we should be all about
#2 People are good
#3 I need to memorize more phone numbers
#4 I need to have a hide-a-key somewhere
#5 my husband is a wonderful man - officially not a new lesson but something it is good to remember and thank him for.
#6 'Law and order' is on TV all day in one form or another!


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