Thursday, May 27, 2010

Loving Life

Feeling so in love with life right now.
Today I am working. My 'boss' is pretty cute - here is a picture of us. She is napping right now. I am blogging. As I said, I love my life!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Still Small Voice

I have been thinking lately as I spend days feeling suddenly overwhelmed by learning to drive and insecure about registering for classes at college, "shouldn't I have done this already?"

I am returning to school and getting a driving license in my 30's. Seriously. Most people get this stuff out of the way in their teens and 20's and here I am feeling so out of place because I am a decade behind.

But am I really 'behind'? When I walk around the college campus I feel like I am at a cocktail party in my sweat pants and a paint stained t-shirt - out of place. The more I thought about it though, the more I remember how full my life has been and how much it has taught me; my life experience is the reason I am taking advantage of these new opportunities today.

I may have to fight through my fears and walk uncomfortably in these shoes for a while but soon enough these new experiences will become old hat. I hope that soon enough I will be driving myself around (yes, I did get my permit!) and that I will know my way around the college and feel confident in my ability to learn again and to write papers!

With YWAM I led teams in some of the most amazing places in the world. We dealt with extreme temperatures and navigated international transportation and survived eating some pretty crazy things. Perhaps I should have felt more out of my depth living the life I did in my 20's? But being in full-time ministry meant so many people were invested in praying for me and I felt totally dependent on God at a different level than I do now. I saw God's grace was all I had and I clung to it. Today I am married to the most wonderful man and he is the one God uses to provide for my daily needs, food, house, clothes. My need for God looks different.

Today when I am scared to step out in these new adventures I am reminded of my need for God, and reminded that He is guiding my steps. I do not need to fear or doubt myself because I can trust that God is leading me, and He continues to be faithful.

Perhaps in the worlds eyes I am starting some of these adventures late in life, but I see how God brought me here and I am thankful for all I have been blessed to be a part of. I trust my life is in God's hands and it is in God's time that this is all coming to pass.

So yes, when things get hard and scary and I complain, "shouldn't I have done this already?" If I listen hard enough I hear that still small voice telling me, "Chrissie you are right where I want you" - and suddenly everything is OK again. I can take on these new endeavors with a joy and anticipation of where they will take me!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Little Gem

It's Monday already - what happened to the weekend? Seriously.

We had a great weekend but it was busy, it always feels like a toss-up between being busy and feeling accomplished or doing little but feeling like maybe we wasted our time?! We yard sale-d in Kirkland in the sunshine on Saturday morning then came home and worked in the garden before we headed to the Spilling Hope concert at Bethany. On Sunday morning we had our friends Patrick and Paige over for brunch which was a great chance to try out some new deliciousness!

On Sunday evening, we were a part of a panel of newly-wed couples as part of the pre-married class at our church. We were asked questions by the couples who are presently preparing for marriage. It was a great time to reflect on our experience of the last 9 months. People wanted to know about everything from how we fight, to how the wedding day went and everything in between.

I can't believe it was a year ago Jeremy and I were in this very same class. We asked lots of questions too but looking back we had very little idea what would really happen after the ' I do's' were said! This class did however give us some great tools for navigating some of this journey! One of the gems which I loved when I heard it during our participation in the class and was reminded of last night was this; in an argument or during times of tension always believe the best of your spouse. Always assume they have your best in mind.

This reminder was so good for me. It is so true that when Jeremy forgets to hang up a towel or offer to make dinner I get frustrated and hurt. This happens because I am assuming he is doing it because he doesn't care about me. My response to him is not always as loving as it could be if I took a moment and remembered the truth that he does love me. He is not going out of his way to do (or not do) something, just to hurt me. It is much more likely that he is just distracted, or didn't think about it, or forgot.

When I can take the time to remember he loves me and assume the best, our interactions are much healthier! I chose kind words rather than criticism and sarcasm. I am able to express how I feel and not attack his character. In return, he has the chance to really hear me and understand my point of view. I give him space to apologise if it's needed and I am in a place to grant forgiveness.

I hope we can continue to remember to take this mental step back before we open our mouths to speak. Our words have power. They can hurt and destroy, as well as building up and encouraging. I really want our relationship to be a safe place. Somewhere we can be fully known and loved fully. I want to be more conscious of the part my words play in creating that space.

I want to encourage, support, affirm, build up and love Jeremy with my words. He is such a wonderful man; a faithful partner, a generous provider, my biggest cheerleader. I am so blessed. Our marriage is still so new, we have a lot to learn and much space to grow. I am a perfectionist but I need to calm my anxious heart and trust that God knew what he was doing when he brought us together, and we have a life time to get this marriage thing down! We will never be 'perfect' but we can always choose to be kind.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Chair project

I was so excited to find this chair at Good Will the other week. It had a pretty flower carved into the back of it, and it has a really beautiful shape on the legs. I had big plans for that chair!!

I found some great fabric at the Quilting loft and even though I wasn't sure where the chair would go so I just got fabric that I loved and decided I would figure that out later!

It needs a tiny bit of touch up, but for the most part it's finished and I do LOVE the finished product. Now to find a home for it.



Close up of the fabric

And a quick shot of our house guest Mabel. She belongs to Jeremy's sister but is making herself quite at home - as you can tell. Shhh, don't tell Jeremy she's on the couch!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mother's Day - A Memory and a Promise

Last weekend was Mother's Day in the U.S. I hadn't thought too much about it, and then suddenly I was waking up on Sunday morning and this wave of emotion rushed over me. If we were still pregnant, this day would have looked so different. It would have been a celebration, our first Mother's Day. Instead, this was just another day. A time to celebrate our own mothers, yes, but also a reminder of what we had lost.

It was an absolutely beautiful day weather-wise and after Jeremy left for worship band practise, I was able to spend time with my fabulous friend Lindsey and walk in the sunshine. That helped lift my mood in the most wonderful way.

I have really felt the Lord's healing over the past few months. I found my heart felt almost conflicted on Mother's day as it held hope and expectancy for the future and also an awareness of loss. I didn't exactly feel sad but I didn't know how to put into words how I was feeling.

When we got back from church, I received and email from a friend, her words touched my heart, meant so much and she put into words beautifully how we feel about our pregnancy. I continue to be touched by friends who share about their own experiences of loss and am amazed by the healing that can be found in this supportive community - near and far.

"Have a great Mothers Day. I had a miscarriage with my first pregnancy too, so I know what this day is like with a little child that is only a memory and a promise. You are a mother in every sense of the word. Happy Mother's Day!"

The sadness is truly passing and we are left with just that, "a memory and a promise". We know God is good, and we know and trust he has a plan to give us a future and a hope. We want to have a family, but we choose to thank God for each day he gives us, and try to remember to rejoice and be glad in it - whatever it holds.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM!!!

Jeremy and I didn't consider registering for an ice cream maker when we got married because I never thought I would use it, but I recently borrowed one from a friend and I have been on such an ice cream making kick!!

I thought I would post links to the two recipes I have made - both have been met with rave reviews (from Jeremy and I as well as many various friends) so if you can get your hands on an ice cream maker I suggest you try these out. Treat yourself.

(Yes, of course they are cooking light!!)

Strawberry-Rhubarb Ice Cream

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

I also have plans to try out these babies, as soon as we've eaten the left overs from my other scrumptious experiments!

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Double Chocolate Ice Cream

I'll be sure to let you know if they pass the taste test!

Enjoy and roll on summer!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The dog ate my homework, and other very good reasons

I just got back from taking my placement test as part of my enrollment at North Seattle Community College. I have known for a while that God has been holding open this door to further education but it feels like such a huge undertaking I have dragged my feet.

Honestly, taking the placement tests is only the very initial step to going back to school, but you have to place in English and Maths before signing up for classes. If you score low on the tests then you have to take other classes to get to the necessary standard to take the college level classes.

I have not been in an education setting since 1995 - that's s along time, and another country ago! I have been totally intimidated by the whole thing. I am scared I can't do it, scared I will fail and that fear has paralysed me.

In our Bible study, we have been reading the book our Pastor wrote called 'O2'. It is about developing a rule of life to grow in our faith. It is the second time I have read it (clearly I needed I re- read, because not much stuck the first time!)

Anyway, as I was reading it the other day something really stuck out to me. When he was talking about the reasons we have for not developing our spiritual disciplines, I realised how quick I am to hold on a reason for not doing things that make me uncomfortable. These 'things' include, but are not limited to, learning to drive, testing for college and starting a rule of life.

I woke up this morning and discovered I had an unexpected day off work. I had wanted to go and take my English test for school yesterday but I procrastinated, the weather was bad, I didn't have time, it was nasty weather outside, the dog ate my homework, you name it, I found it - excuses and reasons not to go. By the end of the day, it had been relegated to a list for another day.

But this morning when I woke up I had no excuses. This was an extra day. The house is clean (enough) dinner is planned and prepped for Bible study tonight, laundry is done...oh no! No reasons. Now I have to face the truth that I am afraid. Am I willing to go be uncomfortable, perhaps fail, but take a step forward in this process that I claim I am heading towards? I couldn't stop thinking about what I had read in that book, and felt God really tugging on my heart, to stand up against the fear which was holding me captive.

I didn't think too much more about it. I walked out of the house and towards the college. It is about a 15 minute walk, and I prayed almost every step. I considered calling others for a pep-talk, I even called my friend Jen, but when she didn't answer, I went back to praying!

I tried to look as little like a deer in the headlights as possible while I paid my testing fee, and found the testing room...I am not sure how well I pulled it off. It felt like people at the college were being extra nice to me, maybe that was the prayers in action, or maybe it was because they could tell I was on the verge of nervous tears?! I don't even know what was SO scary, but I felt totally out of my comfort zone, starting this whole new journey. It felt like a big deal.

Forty minutes later, the computer told me my test was over, and to go and get my results at the desk.

The guy handed them to me, and circled my 97/100 in my reading and 99/100 in my writing for a combined 98/100 score which places me into English 101 (testing into that class is best possible out come of the test!!)

This gave me the hugest confidence boost, and I feel less overwhelmed by the whole 'going back to school' thing. Walking home in the sunshine I tried to call Jeremy and other friends to share my delight, but again couldn't reach anyone. I had a sense that God wanted to share this with me. As I revelled in knowing he was celebrating with me and giving me an omnipotent high five I realised how truly good it feels to know you have been obedient to God's call. I think this is made even more sweet when it means trusting God to meet you in your fear and having him carrying you through. I knew that peace and it felt wonderful!

Jeremy was also proud of me when I told him of my test adventure - he also joked, it was a good thing they didn't read my emails to assess my English skills! I can't deny the results would probably have been less friendly if that was the case - any of you who have received something from me in your inbox know what he's talking about! ha ha.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Homemade Strawberry-Rhubarb ice cream

I have never made ice cream before but tonight seemed like the perfect time. There was a strawberry-rhubarb recipe in Cooking Light and Jeremy mentioned how much he loves strawberry-rhubarb desserts, then our rhubarb crop in the garden started exploding and strawberries were on sale...the stars aligned for homemade ice cream!

It was more work than just pulling the container out of the refrigerator but it was a delicious treat.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What do you ask of me?

At church on Sunday our Pastor spoke about the identity of Israel as a people who spent their time striving to get the blessing that God had already promised them or being complacent that their actions didn't matter because they were the chosen people. Never just receiving the blessing.

Even today, we as God's children tend to fall into one of those categories - we are either trying to do so much and be and do 'enough'. Or we sit back and let our lives be nothing that reflects God because we know we are going to heaven. Where do you fit?

I think my nature is more a strive-r and a do-er. I want to be the best to earn my spot in heaven. I want to know God is happy and satisfied with what I have done abd I live under a shadow of never feeling like I am doing enough.

This is a season of God reminding me that He is in control of my life. I feel as if I am inbetween things in my life. I am not in YWAM anymore, and I am not in school yet. I feel like I am flailing and trying to find something to attach my self-worth to. Three days a week, when I am not working outside our home, being in our house can feel so stressful. I feel surrounded and fenced in by endless things that need to be cleaned, organised or simply thought about - more than could be done in a month of Sundays.

I have moments of feeling, "how did this become my life?", "What is my purpose?", and I begin to feel some resentment - or a less serious word with the same meaning - towards Jeremy for being able to go out in the morning and do a job he enjoys and feels challenged by. When he comes home, and my 'job' is to make dinner I feel frustrated. I didn't choose this. I want to be spending my days fulfilled and returning home in the evening to 'fight' over who makes dinner! (I am now hearing the fake fiddle being played over some shoulders. I know I have it good - more than good, but I am a strive-er and it's not good enough.)

It's not even that I dislike cleaning (I know, crazy but I really enjoy it sometimes) and I love, love, love to cook but my struggle come from the feeling that this as a role I am stuck in and not one I am choosing.

With thoughts of Sunday's sermon running thought my mind as well as the lessons of standing at the crossroads, looking at asking from the retreat I felt like I had a possible solution to these feelings. Monday morning, and each day since I have made time at the beginning of the day at sit and ask God, "what do you ask of me today?"

As I have waited on him, I hear his heart for my day. When he says, "you are a homemaker and a wife" I find peace and rest as I am finishing the sixth load of laundry. I have a difference countenance as I vacuum and it's partnered with a renewed appreciation for the blessing of our home. I prepare dinner for us and I can't wait for Jeremy to taste what I am making!

On Tuesday I went to work, and found a renewed appreciation for the job I get to do in caring for this little angel! Lucy is almost a year old and each moment holds a new discovery. What an honour to get to see her grow and learn about the world.

It has just taken a moment each day to give to the Lord, and ask for his call on my life that day. When I am feeling like I don't have a purpose, I just need to ask God to give me his.

After the day is done, I get to know I did what I was asked to do and find true rest in that. maybe this is an in-between time in life, but it is where I am at. It is a place to learn lessons which continue God's transforming work in me if I am only willing to ask.

"Today Lord, what do you ask of me?"

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Shopping score and more

Did a little thrift shop shopping yesterday and scored some great deals. I love second hand stores and the bargains you find.

Full sheet set - Martha Stewart brand $5
Glass trifle bowl - $5
Cool ribbon $1
Material cutter and board $3.50

I also made a cute (even if I do say so myself) gift for my cousin by marriage, Kristyn's wedding shower. It was a gardening theme so I made her a herb garden gift basket. I bought a cute fluted spring green planter and some mini chalk board herb markers, and a couple of little herb starters. I gift wrapped it with polka dot tissue paper and pink ribbon.

This week we have had some of my YWAM friends staying with us this week. We have enjoyed having such a houseful. Here is Jeremy with the girls enjoying breakfast!


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