Saturday, November 27, 2010

That time of year again

I cannot believe the year has gone by so fast. Turkey leftovers are in the fridge we went and cut down our tree yesterday and today it is covered in decorations and twinkle lights. Every time I have one of those moments where life feels like it is just flying by, I have to take a moment to take stock. What have I done in the last year? What difference have I made in the world? Am I a better person today than I was a year ago?

My friend Katie made a list of everything she wants do do before she turns 30 and has picked a few to work on in the coming months. While I missed the 'before I turn 30' boat (I had my own pretty successful pre-30 bucket list)I think it is time for a new goal setting strategy and she has motivated me to make my list and then pick a few to start with. I am excited, and hope that it can help me answer positively some of those pesky 'time flying' questions if the next time they arise.

Speaking of time passing by, I just had to get glasses. Genetically I was always going to be prone to less than perfect vision but I have made do until recently. Headaches from working at the computer for long periods of time for school has highlighted my need for some eye-help. And this was confirmed by my eye test. I actually have one eye which is struggling much more than the other but glasses are needed for both. So I now enter the ranks of spec wearer. I like my new glasses.

I'm off to make my list (which I can now see clearly with my new glasses!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow day P.S.

More snow fell this afternoon and late into tonight. It's 10.15pm and THIS is the final snow tally.

Jeremy just made some peppermint hot chocolate with chocolate covered marshmallows in (he knows the way to my heart) and I sipped it sitting cozy by the fireplace putting the finishing touches to the draft of my paper for school. All is well with the world. I am feeling incredibly blessed with my lot in life.

It is supposed to be FREEZING tomorrow and with all this snow the roads will be icy so I am not-so-secretly hoping Jeremy doesn't try to get into work but decides to take a snow day with most of the rest of Seattle. I'll need his hot chocolate making skills to get through the day!! Goodnight all.

Snow day!

This will be short and sweet because it is a way to put off working on the inevitable, my research paper that is due tomorrow.

We are only in November and after a few flurries yesterday that turned into wet, we woke you this morning to snow on the ground, and falling flakes. Buses are on snow routes and schedules. Some schools are having snow days and all is well with the world (except for that darn paper!)

The world looks beautiful under a blanket of white. Even the most mundane views have a magic about them when snow is falling.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and I have some lovely sounding treats to whip up. I couldn't decide which dessert to make, so I am making both. A chocolate ganache tart and a cranberry blueberry pie, there are no calories on Thanksgiving right?

Here are a couple of snow pics. This 7.30am view from our bedroom window, turned much whiter by the second picture taken 10am.

The view from our front door of our front garden and driveway early this morning (first picture) on looks much different now too (same plant pot and rhodie in both pics). I LOVE snow!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

"big bag of weird in there"

Wow, so almost 400 hits later I guess 'submission' is a hot button topic. I am not going to dwell on it, it was simply what was on my mind when I started to blog on Monday morning, but I will follow up with a comment from my very wise friend Suzanne who said, "I think when we cling first and foremost to our desire to love and please God, we don't worry about who is going to submit to who. We just work to express our love to God and express our love to others." That's what I was trying to say but she did it better!

As I write today, I am looking out my window to a sunny autumn day and not the snow flurries we were promised. Now, I am never one to shun sunshine (especially in November) but I was kinda looking forward to some real winter weather.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and I am left wondering where the time has gone?! Jeremy and I started dating (officially) in November, and the first time I met his family was just a few weeks later at Thanksgiving. It feels like a million years ago. So much has happened in those years. I thought my 20's were busy years, but I had no idea how non-stop my 30's would be!!

Our house projects continue, and a part of me wonders if this 'joint nesting' is a way for us to prepare for parenthood. I know you normally that doesn't kick in until you are pregnant, but I think all the talking and hoping, planning and emotions of the last few months have caused us to be a little ahead of the game! I will be so excited to post pictures of our new fireplace and lovely painted green walls in the next couple of weeks.

I am also excited to get the Christmas shopping under way. I mean, I have started here and there but I have some major purchasing and creating to do. I am really wanting to make a lot of our gifts this year, and while that is fun it takes extra time. It means I have to really be good student to make sure assignments get in on time and I have time left over to make Christmas special.

With the holidays coming up I thought it was also the perfect reason to start to eating our way through the fridge and freezer to make room for storing holiday goodies as well as just using up the odds and ends that get left behind from making something specific. Tonight we are having our friends over for dinner and instead of slaving away in the kitchen, I pulled out a butternut squash and spinach lasagna and a peach raspberry crisp. Delicious, homemade and just throw it in the oven! I found a great new blog which I am slowly working my way through and I am loving, it's called 100 days of real food, it is a great resource so if you are interested, you should check it out.

To submit or not to submit, that is the question

Last night we met with our newly wed group, and after some great catching up we began to discuss a chapter of a book called "The language of Love and Respect." It is a marriage book Jeremy and I started a little while ago and even though we are not too far in, we thought the books discussion of more traditional gender roles in marriage especially from a Christian perspective would spark some good conversation. We were not wrong.

It is amazing how six people can read the same words and hear totally different things. Some of the traditional views of womens and mens needs and roles within marriage were challenged in discussion, but what caused the most lively debate was the issue of submission.

When Jeremy and I wrote our marriage vows we didn't include anything about submitting. It was not because we were anti that point of view, but more that there were things we felt were more important to focus on like love and respect. With these things in place I feel confident in the structure of our marriage and the fact that our foundation is on Christ. Which feels like the perfect environment for submission to work.

Until last night, Jeremy and I had never had a specific conversation about how submission works in our marriage. As much as I consider myself a strong and outspoken women I would also say that if it came to it on an important decision in our family and after we had had conversations, sought counsel, and really sought the Lord together if we still didn't agree I would ultimately submit to Jeremy. My submission can come from a place of trust in his love for me and because I believe he would be submitting to the will of the Lord.

I consider us equals in our relationship. We both have roles to play but ultimately we are called to love and serve and submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

The discussion in our group turned to the way 'submit' has become a dirty word, and how in the church especially it has been used as a license for men to abuse, "Do as I say because I am the man and you have to submit to me." Or has also been used as a reason for women to stay in bad situations, afraid to leave because they feel their role is just so submit - that is the 'good Christian' thing to do.
I am not saying that this is ok, abuse is never ok, but the abuse of submission was never God's intention. Trust humanity to take something beautiful and poop all over it. Marriage is a way for us to reflect to the world Christs love for the church, and clearly if you are being abusive or controlling to your spouse you are not loving them well and scripture should never be used to justify unloving behaviour.

I see the way Jeremy and I submit to one another and I hope it can begin to reclaim the word for good. I see the pain and damage that word has done in the lives of some of our friends and it is so sad.

As our conversation took this turn last night I feel so blessed to be sharing with these friends. God has brought us together to share life and learn about marriage in community. It is conversation like this that sharpen all of us. I hope it begins to challenge all of us to consider others experience and find healing and beauty in our own lives.

This seems to be a pretty explosive topic. After last night I recognise there is so much baggage around the word for some people. I pray that whatever your experience or bias to the word 'submission,' those of us in relationships can feel loved, cared for and respected in a way that feels safe and life-giving. In my marriage, this is what submission feels like for both of us, as we choose to put one another first.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pajama day!

So my funk continued yesterday despite my best efforts to shake out of it. Walking around Greenlake, fun coffee date, World Market trip to get coffee tables served as a good distraction but my heart was still heavy.

So today I am taking a different approach. I declare this Pajama day! It is 10.30am and I am tying this from my bed. I have eaten a yummy bowl of oatmeal and have already finished and ordered the Shutterfly book I made of our honeymoon (I got it with a great Groupon deal from a few months ago - yay, Groupon!) I have completed an extra credit assignment for school, thrown in a load of laundry and have chased my doctor's office to have them send my records to the fertility clinic which they have not yet done - Please say a prayer they send them ASAP so our new doctor will have them for our visit tomorrow. All that to say, despite of my apparent sloth I have been very productive.

It is cozy and warm here in my bedroom but I can hear the rain hammering against my window and the skylight. I have lots of things to check off my list today, I wonder how many I can accomplish before I have to get dressed? That sounds like a challenge to me.

This is an afterthought really but I am just starting to venture out in cooking with my crock pot. We got a fabulous 6.5qt slow cooker for our wedding and until this weekend, had only used it to make a catch of apple butter. This was amazing apple butter, don't get me wrong but I knew I was not using this fantastic machine to it's full potential. Last weekend, Jeremy and his dad had worked hard to install can lights in our TV room which is attached to our kitchen. I knew it would be a dusty day so I thought it wold be a prefect scenario to throw things in the CP in the morning, let it cook dust-free all day and then be able to serve a scrummy meal in the evening. I found a recipe online which sounded mouth-watering and put the wheels in motion for our CP dinner debut. It was a Guinness Beef stew. I tweaked the recipe a bit but I heard you couldn't really go wrong with a CP.

It really was as easy as everyone had said and served with a green salad and warm rosemary olive oil bread, made a very satisfying meal after a day of hard work. I think I will start a weekly tradition of using the CP as my sous chef. Please pass on any good recipes that you have.

P.S. Take that funk. I can add 'wrote a blog' to my list of things accomplished. HA.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A funk

I'm in a funk. Is it just the Monday blues? Perhaps daylight savings put me in it; having the darkness roll in just after 5 last night felt ominous. Maybe it is more to do with our visit with the fertility doctor this week, seriously, when did this become a part of my story, what did I do wrong?

I think it just hit me. This is something that is supposed to be so easy, so natural. Something just between Jeremy and I. And all of a sudden there's doctors and blood tests and hormone levels and questions and forms and suddenly this beautiful thing, making a baby, has become so much more of a burden and I hate that I feel this way. I watch couples all around adding to their families without any problems and I want to cry out, "it's not fair!" I see other couples struggling to have a baby, and anger seeps into the picture.

I have to make the decision each day that bitterness will not take a hold of my heart. I have to remember that God is good and just. That's a tough one. And some days are just harder than others.

We just wanted to have a baby. Instead we are learning lessons of faith, and hope and prayer. We are forced to confront our fears, recognise the gaps in our theology and the misconceptions we carry about the character of God. We are reminded that we are not in controls, that we cannot make this happen in our own power. And in certain moments, like today, this feels overwhelming.

I want to trust in God's plan and power, and most days I can find that faith, but today the funk makes it tough.

Praying that after Wednesday and our visit with the fertility doctor, when the unknown of that is over the funk will lift. Today I am going to let a few tears fall and pray that my, "it's not fair" 's will be met with grace and comfort from my Jesus.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Skinny jeans

So we are entering week 3 of my new fitness plan, and so far so good. I confess I have skipped a day here and there but it's been pretty consistent and now I have stepped out of my nanny position I can settle into a strong daily routine. I did avoid doing the work out yesterday, and even through it is only a DVD, Jillian made me pay for my sloth this morning! That is motivation to keep at it daily - fear!! ha ha

Today I woke up, made breakfast for Jeremy while he took a shower, worked out, took a shower myself, had a quiet time and then got ready for a study date with a friend who I haven't seen for a long time. I'm here at the cafe with her now, studying - can you tell? It felt amazing to be up and out so early with so much under my belt already.

This new life routine of life has got me thinkin'. I am so blessed to have the freedom to step in being a full time student and home maker. I had many internal conversations about being a failure, or a wuss. How could I possibly feel overwhelmed with life, I was only working 2 days a week, my class load is so flexible. So many of my friends have full time jobs, kids, manage households and study I have no excuse to feel the way I do. I pushed forward for a few weeks feeling like this before I verbalised it to Jeremy and to friends, who were all so reassuring.

I was helped to recognise that in the last year or two I have gone through some pretty crazy life changes. Going back to school was a huge leap and as well as the assignments, papers and tests I am still re-learning how to study. That is a lot of pressure. I went from single to married, which has its own stresses and joys but any change can be tough on the body and mind, and as changes go that's a big one. I also went from having one room to care for in my old house, to a big ol' house to take care of and keep clean - a bg potentially messy blessing! I have Martha Stewart aspirations which don't help my cause in feeling the pressure of keeping house but with or without those there is laundry to do and bathrooms to clean, and carpets to vacuum.

So I have decided to put down my playing piece in this game of comparison and stop trying to fit in someone elses skinny jeans. That is never going to make me feel good about myself, infact it only highlights my flaws. I can't fit into someone elses life. One day, as life moves forward, school is more natural, I get a hold on running our house the way I want to and other things fall into place I can look for another part time job but for now I accept where I am and what I have on my plate is enough.

I can squeeze into my own skinny jeans and feel really great about myself. I can get my morning routines down to include working out and a quiet time (21 days to make a habit) and then as that becomes less of something to even think about I can add to my pile. Starting at the bottom with the things that are most important. My faith journey, the health of my marriage, taking good care of our bodies by eating well and working out, doing well in school. These are all important, very important and I am so blessed to be in a place to start with these building blocks as a foundation. And add to them as I can. Becoming a better friend, serving my neighbours, being creative, working outside my home. These are things I get to experience in snippets as I stand on my solid foundation.

I am so thankful for God's provision through Jeremy's job to have the freedom to take these steps, as the world watched me step out in the skinny jeans of my life.
This blessed season lets me find a new purpose, form a new vision and be the person I was designed to be.


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