You’re Going to Miss This! WISE Project 2017 #TenaciousTuesday

I wrote this four years ago but today it feels very relevant, as the world turns as it continually does, life as we know it changes quickly but one thing will always remain the same; the moments that at the time seem like nothing special or out of the ordinary are the moments that we would do anything to have back.

I wish you a Christmas season full of love, laughter and warm memories. xoxxo

Dancing in the rain!

I am sitting here on this frigid and snowy winter night thinking how quickly the moments of your life sail by and all the things you wished away that now you would give anything to have back. When you are five you want to be ten and at ten you just want to be a teenager and when you become a teen you can’t wait to become an adult. Then it happens, you legally become an adult and you just want to be a kid, you want to have the freedom to make your own choices but none of the adult responsibilities that come along with that.

Your parents inevitably told you to be careful what you wish for, they told you how quick it would pass by and how you would long to have the time back. What did they know? Old fogies! THEY KNEW EVERYTHING!

I remember how…

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Blown Wide Open

 

“Tomorrow we die, today we love.

We are living in some precarious times, I can barely turn on the news as the anguish and ambiguity of it all serves only to compound my grief and fear. I am trying desperately to navigate my way around what feels like a whole new world, a world without the love of my life and somehow that feels like enough right now. My world, along with the rest of the world seems to be blown wide open.

Back in May I attended a Workshop at Wellness on Whyte and one of the facilitators; Dr. Geha used a quote that had a profound affect on me, and though I have mentioned it here before it certainly strikes a much more familiar chord with me now. She said “Tomorrow we die, today we love.” She later told me that to her it sums up our human purpose in one broad stroke.

We are here to love.

I read that quote earlier today and I was thinking about that workshop and what a powerful experience it was for me. I had been struggling with my teenage daughter for quite awhile, as she unknowingly struggled with the affects of untreated ADHD and I had been fighting with the demons of my husbands depression for several years all the while trying to accept that I was enough and that I was worthy of all the love and care that I was giving to everyone else, that I deserved saving too. In January of 2016 I finally decided that my health and wellness was important; if I was going to continue to be strong for my family when they needed me. You never know what lies ahead of you, the best we can do is learn from the things that are behind us. When we have moved through and processed the pain, we need to let go and keep the lesson.

I have been trying to very hard not to spend a lot of time on “what if” but it is an impossible place not to visit periodically when you lose someone so tragically to suicide. I know that something drew me to that quote this morning, and I contemplated long and hard. People do not understand illnesses of the brain, and people that suffer them do a great deal of their suffering in silence. Lost in pain, sometimes those left behind sift through the wreckage eager to lay blame or find a reason.

I did know that my husband suffered, I did however not know that he was suffering that day and I certainly do not know how much he was keeping from me in the months leading up to that day, to avoid drawing me into his pain. These are things that I will never know. I do know this with certainty, I am not to blame. I loved him with all of my heart and when he was in pain and acting out of fear I loved him even more. I spent a great deal of time slaying demons and chasing away ghosts, just like you do when your children are small and terrified of things that lurk in the darkness.

The problem with Mental Illness though is that the ghosts that lay down with you at night also wake up with you in the morning, they are with you throughout the day and they shout at you internally. They are inside of you and it gets really tiring trying to remember that they are not really a part of you. Silencing them is a constant task. My husband tried excessive work, booze and even drugs to chase them away when their voices were loudest. Unfortunately the medicine he chose to shut them out eventually helped them to grow stronger.

Lost in disbelief, the survivors look for reasons and some, in moments of weakness and distress look for people to blame

My husband was not a large man physically, but he was a huge man in every other sense. He was a huge presence, he had a gigantic personality and he loved big. Sadly, these illnesses that we judge are so often misunderstood and are very complex, deteriorating the minds and the lives of our loved ones almost invisibly. Lost in disbelief the survivors look for reasons and some, in moments of weakness and distress look for people to blame. Kirk and I talked about the illness a lot but during the worst of times his initial defense was to try to shut me out. He didn’t necessarily want to suffer alone but it broke his heart to have me suffer along with him. That weighed very heavily on him. I thought I understood the illness quite well, but I could only understand from my level of perception, the illness didn’t inhabit my body and mind and scream at me from the inside out.

Love is really all that I am qualified to give

This week I have been offered some amazing and unexpected kindnesses, and every time someone reaches out to me and embraces me in love and understanding it gives me a moment of lightness. The other thing that I have been offered which has been a blessing wrapped in a helpless ache is many glimpses into the minds of people that suffer deep depression. It has been a blessing because people are willing to open up and share their experiences and help separate myth from reality and tell their stories about how the illness feels from the inside out. They do this out of a want to end the stigma and to ease my heart and stop that endless train that powers through my head asking me if I could have done more.  I say helpless ache because there is little I can offer to ease their pain, I can offer gratitude that they want to help me by sharing their authentic stories of deep pain and suffering, and love because I do love them and love is really all I am qualified to give.

Kirk didn’t rebuff his life or all of the great things in it; he didn’t choose to leave behind his children, his wife or his family and friends. Depression stole his joy and in desperate times it withered all of those great things he had and made them smaller than the sickness. He died from an illness. Some people have expressed anger and tried to assign blame to people, places or things. That has not been a part of my journey so far, I have felt anger but not anger towards him. When my Dad died of a heart attack, I wasn’t mad at my father. I was mad at the illness that took him so young.

He really implored me to not be so judgmental, I was guilty of seeing people and situations through a small crack in the blinds and he inspired me to open the blinds, throw back the curtains and look for the big picture, offering love before judgement

Kirk was an amazing husband, father, son, brother and friend. He was a strong and conscientious worker and he was unbelievably smart and caring. He had wonderful things in his present and great things on the horizon. He would often tell me that I taught him and showed him so many things about love and friendship and respect but he did the same things for me. He lifted me up when I was down and took my hand and led me into adventures and taught me how to be spontaneous and to have a good time. He really implored me to not be so judgmental, I was guilty of seeing people and situations through a small crack in the blinds and he inspired me to open the blinds, throw back the curtains and look for the big picture, offering love before judgement.

He was loved and he loved, but his health was compromised. The disease became larger than him. He didn’t die because he was selfish or weak or hardhearted. He was sick and he died of an illness.

Nobody can tell a person how to grieve or how they should feel or give them a step by step manual and tell them what stage of grief they should be at. Grief is a personal journey. There are several things that I am relying on to guide me through this time of deep sadness.

  1. Hope

Hope is a huge. Hope is optimistic. Hope is the light at the end of a long dark tunnel. Hope is a trust in the process and the belief that better days are on the horizon. A glimpse of hope during difficult times is the promise that there is a light that resides on the other side of darkness.

2.

 Acceptance

The willingness to lean into uncertainty and accept what is. To reasonably accept that you do not know what is coming next. To recognize that it is OK not to be OK all of the time and to put your faith in the Journey. To accept challenges as they come and rise to meet them and be open to the changes and the development of character that comes with facing uncertainty and fear.

3.

Connection

As humans we are hard wired for connection but I have found that in the last several months the political climate in the world has divided us into smaller groups and created an us vs. them mentality. I have always been very led by energy so I try to limit my exposure to large groups of people and prefer a small friendly tribe. Sometimes a large part of my interactions are online but I try very hard to remind myself of the importance of human connection and of gathering the right people in my sphere of influence.

4.

Purpose

Why are we here on this earth and why does it matter? I have believed for quite some time now that our fundamental purpose is to love. Love is not a luxury, love is a necessity, not just personally, humanity requires love. I saw a video recently where a little boy talks about why humans are on the earth longer than dogs and the little boy explained that humans are put on the earth to learn to live a good life and love and be kind to people. He went on to say that dogs already know all of that so they do not need to stay as long. That really touched me, especially since most days I would like to replace a great deal of the humans in the world with dogs. That being said, it is unrealistic to think that we can or should love everyone but I think we need to start by loving ourselves, loving our lives and loving the earth. When everything we do is rooted in love I think our potential for growth is unparalleled.

Marrianne Williamson said something that really spoke to me. “One of the most tragic ironies of human existence is that we conspire in the belief, most often unexamined, that violence is more powerful than love. We spend hundreds of billions of dollars on ways to kill each other, but a tiny fraction of that amount on ways to help each other….as though it isn’t masses of desperate, hopeless people who are the main recruits to the collective pathologies that threaten us. This one awakening, harnessed and turned into political force, would completely change the direction of human history.”

I choose love as my purpose right now; I believe that it will successfully guide my children and I into the future. I could be jaded in the face of profound sorrow but I would not take back a second of the love Kirk and I shared to ease one second of my sadness. In the words of the late Henry David Thoreau:

“There is no remedy for love, but to love more”

 

That summer feeling: W.I.S.E. project 2016

In Don Henley’s 1984 classic Boys of Summer, “The summer’s out of reach” and so is the lady in the song that crushed his heart. “Those days are gone forever,” Henley croons. “I should just let them go.” The wistful lyrics gently remind us of the past slipping away, which is what the end of summer is really all about. However; with every ending we are offered a beginning as well and let’s not forget that Don Henley indeed saw a “Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” which gave us us one of 1980s most iconic song lyrics.

The blazing evening sun hangs in the sky just a little lower than the days before, warm nights awaken to cool mornings and the emerald green of the trees has been dulled by hot days, some of the leaves have already turned to yellow, curling up around the edges. The summer of love will inevitably give way to the fall of responsibility, to sweaters, fuzzy blankets and pumpkin spice lattes. It is a time for long walks, thick socks, big books and new ideas and inspiration. Don’t mourn an ending but rejoice a beginning some would say. The promise of fall is just around the corner.

We always have a plan of what our summer is going to be like and I think no matter what we did it never seems enough. We long for just one more warm night, walk on the beach, hike in the mountains, skinny dip in the lake. It is a feeling of incomplete-ness that leaves us longing for more. Wet bathing suits wrapped in damp towels, dripping ice cream, sandy flips flops and iced coffee step aside for cardigans, hot soup and long pants. The change is inevitable, it happens every year but somehow we find ourselves not quite ready.

Fall is a beautiful time in Canada though. I felt the hint of it in the cool air this weekend as we visited Victoria. Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada, and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada’s Pacific coast. Victoria has a temperate climate and boasts rugged shorelines and beautiful beaches. Some of the trees have already started their decent into the gold hues of autumn and tourists line up at downtown restaurants and ice cream shops for tasty eats and cool treats, one last taste of summer.

Summer slows down at my work so the shift between seasons is quite significant. Fall means more responsibility, longer hours but less daylight, more to do lists and less quiet time.

I do enjoy seasons. There is something subtle in the intervals between the changing climate that makes you cling to one while at the same time longing for what is to come. For instance I hate shoveling snow but I sure love the way street lights glow against the diamond like powder of a fresh snowfall.

My W.I.S.E. principles for August were willing, idea, strong and evolve. I didn’t focus on these as much as I would previously in the project as I tried to just focus on the good of everyday. I mentioned in an earlier post that I felt like I was focusing so much on the principles that I was losing sight of the present moment, of being mindful and seeking joy in everyday. I do however appreciate looking back on the principles and reflecting on my growth and the areas where I have learned and things I can improve on. The purpose of this project was to be more mindful and find and create a deeper experience of joy in the present moment. Unchaining myself from the shackles of the past and becoming the person I am meant to be. Instead of living in a place of pain or shame I am learning to walk through it, to feel it, to take the lesson and to move on stronger. UN-scarred but possibly with a warrior wound or two.

I visited my husband in Vancouver last week as he is working there and I had not seen him in over 40 days. My second night there we had an argument and it wasn’t awful it was inevitable. I always say that if a couple does not argue someone is getting their own way all the time.

It was one of those times where I feel like I used all of the above principles. I was willing to speak up when I encountered a problem, I had ideas on how to make things better, I was strong enough to say what I wanted and I feel like I have evolved in my fighting style to be less mean and more meaningful. I have never been the type to hold back in an argument but I was the type to hold onto the bad feelings. These are the things I am working on.

My husband has worked away for years and although it has always come with it’s own set of challenges forty days apart has never been the norm for us but it is quickly becoming so. We are at a point in our lives and our relationship that we enjoy each others company, we are not afraid to share our feelings and we genuinely want to share our time. Loneliness has become a very real thing and we are challenged everyday to find the time to stay connected. When my husband worked away in the Oilsands no matter what he told me about the work conditions and living in camps there was an undeniable disconnect between what he relayed to me and what I understood. This year I have been visiting him at his away jobs and I am able to get a sense for the solitary feeling that looms around you when you work and live alone. I want to hold unto him like I want to hold unto that summer feeling and it has had an affect on me to the point that I have to dig very deep everyday to expel the foreboding perception of emptiness that torments me.

For those of you who have spouses that work away I am more than open to ideas on how you nurture your connection during long periods apart. I want to be able to acknowledge that I miss him but I don’t want to be miserable and lonely all of the time.

My September principles are wellness, improvement, savor and effort. I am hoping with some effort I can find an improvement to my current situation of loving and longing, to savor the moments we get to steal together and to continue to journey towards wellness and living purposely in the present.

If we can’t hold onto summer lets try to hold onto that summer feeling.

Be W.I.S.E. friends!

 

 

Romeo and “just a minute….” W.I.S.E. Project 2016

Kirk and I

Relationships are hard. I don’t have a PhD but I do have 18 years of experience in the same roller coaster relationship. So trust me, I know things.

We expect a lot from relationships and too often we expect to get more out of a relationship than we put in. The probability of getting credit for more than you have deposited is unlikely. If you put five dollars into the bank you can not withdraw twenty. It is not rocket science. We are all smart people here but admit it, when you got married you expected something a little more Cinderella-ish as opposed to a Hitchcock horror movie where you are constantly fighting for your life. You’ll make it, but not without work and sometimes it is harder than you can ever imagine. Sharing your bed and your bathroom and peeing while your spouse shaves looked a hell of a lot sexier in your head than it does in real life. Nobody told you that you might have to compromise…a lot. Even on stuff like pizza toppings! Nobody told you that you would face more fears and insecurities than you did when you were single. All of the cards we got at our wedding said “have a wonderful life together” They didn’t say that some days your greatest struggles in your relationship and your greatest frustrations would be an opportunity to not lay blame, but to confront yourself. It seems easier to keep a running tally of your spouses shortcomings and invest in the belief that their issues are the only thing standing between you and that fairy tale marriage you once dreamed about but if you allow yourself self awareness you will learn to be more compassionate to yourself, and in turn your spouse. You may not love finding dishes and socks strewn all over the house but it will not break you. You cannot change your spouse, no matter how much you cry, nag, scream or throw things; you will waste so much valuable time trying to change people. If you want change, change yourself!

I am devoted to my husband. I have been with him for almost half of my life. The experiences that we have shared together have been transformative to every aspect of our lives. We started out as these young fools that thought we knew everything there was to know about everything and we couldn’t have been more wrong. As we grew as individuals sometimes we grew apart and sometimes we came together. We didn’t always show each the other the consideration we deserved but somehow we soldiered through to the place we are now and it feels like a good place where my heart is safe and full.

I can’t say why I decided that my husband was the one, why I was willing to put in the hard work and to allow him to slowly chip away at the walls I had built up over the years. I am not even clear if it was a decision at all or if it was beyond my control. I do know that I had no idea what a real adult relationship was supposed to look like and wouldn’t for a very long time. We got married and exchanged rings bounding us together forever and subscribing to the age old notion that two had become one.

The fact that for almost 18 years we have committed to work through problems as they arise (and they keep coming) shows that we truly aspire to achieve full intimacy, the kind that is not corroded by years of stubborn resentment and abundant expectations. I have chosen to evict years of hurt and anger from my brain and live in the here and now. My husband will undoubtedly piss me off again and I will without question drive him to the brink of absolute madness. We will love through it; and move on until the next jackass thing comes up. Ahhh…marriage.

When my children were born there was nothing more miraculous than those experiences. I was overcome with such intense love and emotion for these wondrous little creatures with their perfect fingers and toes, soft bodies and faces that were so animated yet completely void of pretense or fear. I spent endless amounts of time just looking at them, entirely captivated by their very nature to just exist and be happy doing so. It is an incredulous experience to be overcome with a love so pure. I guess it is similar to the way I fell in love with my husband, it wasn’t something that I decided to do, it was unavoidable. I was weakened with this sincere and eager feeling that distracted me day and night. In fact I tried really hard to not fall in love with him, I liked being single and I was pretty determined to not allow the existence of mysterious forces to take that from me. Apparently my defenses were feeble against these enigmatic powers and would continue to be many times over the years when I tried to battle against them. Sometimes love hurts and I admit that over the 18 years of my relationship with my husband I would try several times to struggle against it to no avail. I have loved him through all of the times, even the ones I didn’t like him very much, often neglecting the importance of loving myself.

I would describe most of my relationship with my husband as fiercely passionate, amplified by the fact that my husband worked away for many years and we all know that separation makes the heart grow fonder. My husband is also a Scorpio so he can be ardently intense! However there are also periods of time that we are slaves to the mundane daily tasks of working parents. sometimes marriage is boring, but at a certain point you really come to appreciate knowing what comes next.

Romantic love often thrives on separation because of the fantasies that we create during absence. Unattainable love can be quite thrilling but it can also be impersonal and wrought with bitterness and distress. Though there is an incredible amount of energy in passion, if we do not have the courage to make a real connection, to allow ourselves the abandonment of our mental inhibitions and our selfishness then we will never turn our romantic love into true lasting love.

From the beginning of time there has been darkness at the center of passionate love. In classical myths and literature such as Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights, one possesses their lover completely in death only. Trusting in this type of passion glorifies a lifetime of unhappiness and life is too short to be anything but happy!

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I have been distracted on more than one occasion by the delightful agony of passionate love. We endorse this type of feral romance in books, music and on the big screen everyday. It can be torturous but it makes us feel wildly alive.  Though we use our bodies to connect and relieve loneliness and frustration, believing in the meaningfulness of our rampant romance, we rarely allow ourselves to  be open enough to  dissolve the walls we have built around our heart to protect us from hurt. So when the fantasy starts to fade and problems emerge we are left with the realization that we barely knew the person at all. The truth is we didn’t, we didn’t get to know them and we barely allowed our guard down enough for them to know us. When you look back on failed relationships were you ever willing to be vulnerable enough to allow true love to grow? If you are honest you might be surprised at your answer.

A long term committed relationship takes a certain amount of courage to let down your guard, to love, to forgive and to share your space. As a young woman emerging into adulthood I relied on a deceptive belief that to make someone fall in love with me I had to be everything they wanted. I had to like their music and share the same hobbies and beliefs. Compatibility is based on a lot of things but not on becoming a completely different person to attract another. It is an impossible charade to live up to and very damaging to our spirit to align our thoughts and beliefs with another to a point that we are giving up the beauty of what makes us unique and special.

There are so many things I wish I had known years ago but there is always something to be said for learning the lessons the hard way. The been there, done that, bought the friggin t-shirt approach gets you to the same conclusion eventually. If we have any intention of enriching love and deepening our relationships we really need to begin with ourselves. We are not responsible for our significant other’s happiness, decisions or well-being.  To be in a fully committed and loving relationship we need to relinquish our clingy need for dependency. Relationships thrive when we nurture and support our partner’s without solely relying on them for our contentment and wellness. Chains of love are chains just the same.

I am sure you have all been told on occasion “you cannot love another before you fully love yourself”. You may have even repeated it to a friend when you thought they needed to hear it. How much of what we hear, repeat and even believe do we put to use? I have said that phrase to countless people over the years. I was free with advice that I never seized myself.

When we are in a committed relationship, or a marriage, we do not become one. We share a common space of mutual responsibility, sharing and joy but we still preserve our individual space and we are completely independent individuals. I always wonder if couple’s with joint Facebook accounts truly believe that they are one person, sharing a mind? If you respect and trust your partner that will allow you to afford them independence, than being together and spending time together becomes a choice instead of a chore.

One of the most important things I have learned in my marriage is that love is being present. The most precious gift you can give the one you love is your presence.  Presence in the here and now. I spent a great deal of my relationship stuck in the past, tormenting myself with old hurt and agonizing over the future. I would allow these worries to invade good times and ruin them. To put it in black and white it seems ridiculous but I know a lot of you fail to enjoy the present moment because you are apprehensive about what tomorrow will bring or you are still clinging to the bad thing that happened yesterday or five years ago.

“The past is no longer there; the future is not here yet; there is only one moment to which life is available and that is the present moment” –Buddha

Nothing annoys me more than when I am having a conversation with my husband and I have to keep repeating myself because his attention is focused elsewhere. While researching relationships it was very sobering to realize that I am even guiltier of doing this. If you have ever spent a moment wondering why your significant other doesn’t confide in you more, ask yourself if you are present when they do? Are you playing with your phone, making a mental grocery list, thoughtfully planning what you would do if you won ten million dollars? If you are consistently not present, your lover will bore of confiding in you and you will get the same attention when you confide in them. We want to be treated equally in a relationship but often what we really mean is that we want what we want when we want it with minimal effort on our part. We are setting ourselves up for failure.

Learning to be mindful and live in the present we are not stuck revisiting the pain and the mistakes of the past or torturing our worried minds about a future that is not here yet. Instead we are mindfully enjoying our time together in the moment. It takes a lot of practice to mindfully embrace each moment with a willingness to accept things just the way they are. Once they have happened, we cannot change them but if we allow ourselves we can enjoy the moment or learn from it. Either way we accept the experience.

You can look for love and happiness everywhere which is the equivalent of looking for love in all of the wrong places. Love and happiness resides inside of all of us. My capacity to create joy and be in a healthy, committed relationship comes from loving and accepting myself. Loving myself and investing in myself really does allow me the choice to completely love another.

From the very beginning of my journey to be more mindful and create a life full of happiness and joy I knew that my relationship with my husband would need some examination. Looking back on what I have learned about marriage, from years of being in one, it is amazing how little either of us knew about relationships and what it meant to be in one when we said “I do”. I didn’t even know what the basic principles of a relationship really were and spent years of tortured angst believing it was my responsibility to make my partner happy, instead of subscribing to the notion that I was accountable for my own happiness, as he was his. Building enduring and gratifying relationships depends largely on our ability to extend warmth and kindness to ourselves. It is foolish to expect someone to love us unconditionally if we do not entirely love ourselves!

“They say marriages are made in heaven. So is thunder and lighting”

                                                                                  ~Clint Eastwood

Enough. W.I.S.E. Project 2016

enough

The couch was a rich shade of red earth brown distressed leather. It was soft to the touch with classic rolled arms and a button tufted back, reminiscent of days gone by. The length was beyond generous and you could immediately imagine yourself kicking off your heels and curling up by the warm fire for a night cap. The room was littered with navy wingbacks adorned with fuzzy pillows in hipster fabrics but neutral shades. An eclectic mix of nautical and old world accessories cohabiting on tables of different sizes and shapes, some sleek and glass, others a chunky chocolate brown wood.

In Burnaby’s Metrotown district it feels more like Greater Vancouver’s SoMa meets Shaughnessy , hipster meets posh, Spumante meets Cristal.

There was a time when I would never have imagined myself sitting alone in an upscale hotel lounge by myself, sipping a nice red wine by the glass and feeling comfortable in my own skin. There were times it would have been more likely for me to walk by the lounge en-route to my hotel room, wistfully thinking what a quaint place it was but never going in alone.

I would never have been confident enough. I would have needed someone to accompany me.

Not this day.

This day I sat sipping on an easy drinking house red, in front of a warm fire while rain drizzled against the tall glass pane windows and I finally felt like I was enough.

It was more than OK to enjoy my own company.

Nobody tells you about the nights you will spend alone enveloped in sadness, waiting for someone to complete you. Wrapped up in covers and wreaking of guilt, shame and inadequacy. Even if they told you, you would never have believed that where you were cracked wide open would one day be the spots where you were filled with light. That you would have amazing adventures and endless laughter, the ocean would soothe your soul and the mountains would bring you a peace you never thought possible. People would love you, all of you.

All of your thoughts and perfect imperfections.

More importantly you would love yourself.

They would compliment you…but not complete you. You complete you. You are ENOUGH. You always were.

THE SHACK

The Shack/The Missy Project

The Shack

Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity

The Shack is not a book I would normally buy because it confronts the grief of a father (Mack) after the brutal murder of his young daughter. Having daughters it is a subject matter that I would normally back away from. I was with Haley at her School Book Fair and something drew me to it. I picked it up and put it down several times before deciding to take it home and spend an evening curled up reading.

The Shack confronts grief and heartache in a very real and relatable way. It explores the power of forgiveness, faith, hope, grace and love. It asks questions, it helps you seek and find answers, it shows you beauty and truth and for me reinforced some things that I believed to be true.

The Shack wrestles with the timeless question “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?”

I became absorbed in this book and I found that the answers that Mack was seeking were often to questions I had asked myself. It took me on a brilliant journey, both compelling and daring, shining a spotlight on things we all struggle with, our faith, our beliefs, our shortcomings…

From beginning to end it painted a vivid picture of human emotion. Sometimes wonderfully eloquent and others deceptive and ugly.

I was captivated, I cried, I was angry, I was justified, I was redeemed, I passed judgment in haste, and I was enlightened.

It is a book that will weave it’s way into your heart and fill up all the cold and empty spaces. I believe in one way or another it will have an impact on you. Powerfully clarifying and gracefully simple, if you read it, you will be changed.

I felt compelled to join the Missy Project to get the word out about this fascinating tale. If you have read let me know what you thought or give it a read and let me know.

Michelle

The Shack/Missy project

Candlelight Confessions

Morgan at Sportsworld Roller Disco

I am a self diagnosed night owl and have a problem going to bed, in the same token when I stay up till all hours of the night (technically morning) I am not exactly excited in the morning when my alarm goes off. I do however have a great appreciation for the early morning hours the rare time I experience them. I like that the floor is cool on my feet and the weather hasn’t quite been decided. I like the smell of fresh brewed coffee and the warmth of a fuzzy robe. I like the sound of the traffic as early morning commuters start their day.  However I also like the quiet of the late evening hours with pale shimmering moonlight struggling to peek through the slats in the blinds. I am writing by candlelight with the drone of classic rock radio in the background contemplating how I can manage to enjoy my late evenings and still manage to see early mornings. It seems a challenge, especially for someone like me who also enjoys sleep. It was 3 am this morning when I crawled into bed. I love that feeling of lying on my belly, stretching out my limbs and sinking into the warm comfort of my bed, quickly contemplating my day and taking a moment to smile and be thankful for the good parts.

This week I was extra thankful for a long weekend, it really seemed to last for an eternity. On Friday Morgan turned 14. Where does the time go? Hubby is away working so we decided to take off after the Remembrance day ceremony at school and have a girls fun day! Morgan had the opportunity to design her custom Antiks .

Antik Skate Boots are born of passion, design and quality, brought together by Mo Sanders aka “Quadzilla”, a lifetime skater who put his heart and soul into the process and design of the way roller skate boots were made. Morgan started Roller Derby when she was ten (almost 11) and these are her dream skates. They are pricey but I am told they are worth every penny.

After a day a Roller Skate shopping, clothes shopping and dinner we picked up a friend of hers and one of mine and we went to the local Roller Disco. My friend commented on how it appears that Morgan seems at home on skates and this is true. On skates she feels free and content. Haley as well loves the freedom of skating till your hearts content with disco lights and loud music. I admit it is hard not to get caught up in the atmosphere. I am not fearless like my girls but I strapped on a pair of vintage rentals and happily rolled around to classics such as I love Rock and Roll and Don’t Stop Believin. I really did have fun.

Morgan introduced me to the world of live streaming movies so I watched more movies in one weekend then I usually watch in a year. At one point Morgan and I were curled up in front of a roaring fire watching a romantic comedy while Haley gallivanted around the rec-room in her make-shift dance attire watching Dance Moms on YouTube and making her own dance routines. Then Haley would come hang with me while Morgan watched the WFTDA championships (Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Assoc.).

I got to hug my girls, stay up late, sleep in, make good meals, read stories of war recollections out loud so that they can truly understand the meaning behind Remembrance Day and share some big hugs and laughter too. I got to talk to them candidly about current events, issues that they will one day face and give them my special blend of Mom wisdom that I am sure they cannot get enough of.  Alas all good things must come to an end and without a fight to stay up late they snuggled into their beds and fell fast asleep.

I immediately missed my husband. I realized that though we texted in the morning and when he got off work we hadn’t spoken on the phone. By the time I realized how much I missed the sound of his voice it was way too late to call. He will be rising early as he always does, facing a frosty morning and a full workload.

So as my candle flickers, illuminating the darkness I am a little lonesome but very thankful for my husbands work ethic and dedication and how it affords me the time to raise our girls and not allow society to do all their rearing.

I am thankful for so many things, not the least of which being the remarkable sacrifices those who have served our country past and present have made so that we can enjoy our beautiful country and live free.

Haley and I skating at the Roller Disco!!