NaBloPoMo

The end…of NaBloPoMo

Well…I made it to the end of the month. I missed a few days here and there but kept it up for the most part.

Life’s been busy this past month and I didn’t get a chance to write about some of the things I wanted to, but there’s always next month.

I’ll leave you with something I’ve been thinking about for the past few days. I don’t think we, as a society, know very well how to “hold space” for each other. What I mean is that we don’t know how to deal with the darker emotions like regret, sadness, anxiety, anger… From my observation, when these emotions are expressed people tend to be quick to find an encouraging word or divert attention to something else. How well do we actually allow ourselves and each other to “sit” with the emotion for a while? Not to wallow in it but to acknowledge it, name it? Sometimes there isn’t a solution to the problem, sometimes life is hard and that’s just the way that it is.

How do we help each other in the midst of life’s “hardness”? I would suggest that we learn to sit with each other…in the mess…not try to “fix” it. But to sit and be with the person – to say “this sucks” and I’ll be with you in it. You’re not alone.

I know that’s often what I want to hear. That I’m not alone. Even though my circumstances tend to be beyond my control, walking the journey doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming when I know I’m not alone.

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Bittersweet

I spent this evening going through boxes of old photographs, looking for photos of my mom. There were lots of photos of when my two sons were little. It was kind of hard looking at them. They reminded me of who I was back then. I was so young and insecure! I wish I knew what I know now. I wish I was who I am now. I would have done things differently. I would have had more patience, more gentleness, more grace. I couldn’t help feeling regret  – that I could have done so much better by them. I know I was doing the best I could. And yet…and yet…I still feel the pang of regret. (sigh)


My daughter likes cars

Just about every time my daughter & I head out shopping…if there’s a car in the mall, she wants her picture taken with it. She really loves cars.

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Thankful

It’s American Thanksgiving. I couldn’t think of what to write and then I remembered this great little graphic I discovered a few months ago and I thought today would be the perfect day to share it.

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Three generations

I started scanning photos of my mom this evening (I’m making a photobook of her for myself and my family). I found a picture of her in grade 4. Just this past weekend, I happened to dig up a photo of myself from grade 4. It didn’t take much to locate a photo of my daughter from this past October (she happens to be in grade 4 this year). So there you have it – 3 generations all taken during each’s grade 4 year. Crazy, huh?

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Sick

My daughter’s been down with a cold for the past two days (she’s extra sweet and snugly when she’s sick) and our cat is under observation at the vet’s as he doesn’t seem to be doing so well either. I hope everyone can get better soon. As much as I love the extra hugs, it’s hard to see those I care about under the weather.

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Drat!

Drat! I forgot to post yesterday.

Feeling a bit of a brain drain today. It’s been non-stop busy for the last couple of weeks and all I want to do is be a lump on the couch.

That’s the extent of my post for today. Too fried for deep thoughts (or at least the ability to put them into words).

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Winter is here

While having the white stuff around is good (Christmas would feel strange without it), I’d much rather have spring and summer. Here’s a little reminder of what we can look forward to 6 months from now.

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Still Alice

I watched the movie “Still Alice” tonight. I read the book a couple of months ago and the movie stays true to the book. There’s a line near the end of the movie: “Nothing is lost forever.” It amazes me how this book/movie can tell a story of such tragedy and yet there is hope. And I have to wonder if God feels the same way: nothing is lost forever. There is always hope.

“Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

“…through him [Christ] to reconcile all things to himself…” (Colossians 1:20)

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On vulnerability, weakness and meaning

Great quote from Brené Brown.

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Snip snip

Today our boy kitten became a eunuch. And because he was licking his wound so much, he now has to wear the “cone of shame” – boy, was he ever mad when we put that thing on him! The next few days could be interesting…

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“Glitter” & Spice & Everything Nice

Today is my daughter’s 9th birthday. She brings us such joy! She is our little ray of light (her middle name means that). She’s fun and quirky and has so much love and empathy in her heart.

To celebrate her birthday and my “birthing day”, we both went shopping with her grandma Jan at the Glitter after hours shopping night at Lawson Heights Mall. Grandma bought her some books she’s been wanting and some necklaces.

And I found some fantastic deals – a pair of red boots which I love (an early birthday present from grandma Jan) and two sweaters. Here’s me with my boots and one of my sweaters.

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I don’t go shopping for myself very often and there are many times when I’m trying to find something specific and I can’t find it (which is so frustrating). But the most fun I have is when I’m not looking for anything in particular and then I come across things I like AND they’re on sale. What fun!


On the Prairie Lily

I took this photo this summer on the Prairie Lily paddle boat touring the South Saskatchewan river in Saskatoon. It has not been photoshopped. I’ve had an incredibly busy weekend, am completely fried and this post is taking as little brain power and energy as possible.

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Oh, whoops! / Perfectionism, my nemesis

I completely forgot to post yesterday. Whoops!

I spent a portion of today preparing for what I’m going to talk about at church next week. And perfectionism is rearing it’s ugly head. I’ve been agonizing over this for weeks. I want to get it ‘just right’. But I’m getting the impression I need to trust God and be myself. The topic I’m speaking on is shame and grace so it’s not like I haven’t spent some time with the content. And when I get together with a group of people and start talking about this stuff, it flows out of me – unscripted – because I’m passionate about it and have thought about it a lot. That’s what happened this evening over supper with a group of friends and they seemed to be encouraged by it.

So…down with perfectionism! Onward to trust and surrender…

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Inspiration eludes me

It’s November which means it’s NaBloPoMo month which means I’m supposed to write a blog post every day. I’ve been doing pretty good so far, with finding things to post. But today I’m stumped. I got nothing. And I’m going to post this just because I can and it counts.

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Photo albums

I spent some time at my dad’s today, pouring over photo albums. I was looking for pictures of my mom because I want to create a photo book of her for my family for Christmas. It brought back a lot of memories, some good, some not so much. But I saw photos of all my children when they were little and that brought a smile to my face.


Lindsey Stirling

I discovered Lindsey Stirling this weekend. She is a violinist, dancer, singer, and composer.  In additon to her original works, she has done arrangements of many popular songs, soundtracks (like The Lord of the Rings), etc. She is amazing. What blew me away was watching her music videos for she dances while she’s playing the violin.

I’ve linked to two of my favorites below. Enjoy!


The subscription widget

Well… I’ve actually kept this blogging thing up for over 5 weeks now. This might actually become a “thing”. That being said, I don’t consider myself a ‘serious’ blogger – I’m not researching how to develop my blog or get more traffic or anything like that. I’ve basically just written down my thoughts. But I found out some bloggers have subscription lists – I was talking with a fellow blogger, Lani over at All This Crazy Grace, a few weeks ago and she said she doesn’t really follow blogs unless she’s subscribed to them. That way she gets an email whenever there is a new post on the blog she’s following. Hmm…

After a bit of digging around my blogging software, I found the subscription widget and installed it on the front page of my blog today. So there you go, Lani, you can subscribe to my blog. And if any of you other folks (who I don’t know are actually reading this blog) want to ‘subscribe’ to my blog, you can go to my home page and at the top right you can enter your email address, click ‘subscribe’ and all my new posts will be emailed to you.

On another note, I follow a number of blogs as well but I don’t subscribe to them. I use a RSS feed instead. It would be similar to a subscription except new posts from all the blogs I follow show up all together in one app or on a website. I use the feedly.com app on my phone (but you can use it on your computer as well). It’s fairly user friendly. You need to create an account and once you’re logged in you can choose “Add Content” and use that to search the blogs you want to follow by title, url or topic. Once the blog is added to your ‘feed’, you’ll see new posts showing up on the main window with the titles in bold.

So there you go – ways to follow me and ways to follow blogs on the internet. Have a nice day.

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I must kill the editor

I’m going to be speaking at my church for the Sunday morning sermon two weeks from now. I’ve been working on what I’m going to talk about and it is taking a really long time. The problem (and I didn’t realize this until I was talking about it with my husband) is that I’m trying to write it like a blog post – carefully crafting my words, rewording things, going over it again and again until it is perfect…

This is my modus operandi. I learned this when I was a child – to carefully choose my words and work very hard to ensure I am clearly understood. This, however, is not helpful when composing something to say for half an hour.

There is so much I want to say and I don’t know how to “get it out” and my internal editor is having a field day. I’ve had a sudden revelation.

My internal editor must die!

(if only for a little while)

I must kill the editor and just write. Anne Lamott calls it the “sh*tty first draft”. She also mentions how perfectionism (which I suffer from) keeps you from getting to that first draft.

(sigh)

Okay…I’ve got to get this thing done. I’m going to blurt out my thoughts onto the page – I can clean it up later.

…I feel like I’m climbing Mount Everest…

…maybe a glass of wine will help…

 


Behind it all

I devoted last month to talking about the things I’ve learned about shame and vulnerability and grace. I mentioned the impact of actually experiencing grace and love and belonging but I didn’t go into detail about it. When I wrote about my experience, there was always something in the back of my mind, a fact always present, but I didn’t realize that I hadn’t articulated it. It has had the greatest influence in my experience towards knowing grace and love and belonging.

It’s my husband.

Without him, I wouldn’t know half of what I do about grace, love, acceptance. It has been Leighton’s constant grace for me particularly when I dive into self-berating that helps me believe that it’s okay for me NOT to beat myself up. I am learning to have grace for myself as I experience grace from him. For me, a large part of the “beating myself up” tactic is a learned protective measure – if I blame and beat myself up first (before someone else has a chance to) it won’t be as painful. Which, of course, is not actually true. Damage is done, it’s just at my own hands and not at someone else’s. As I live with Leighton (it’s been over 10 years now) and he doesn’t berate me when I mess up, I’m slowly unlearning this really unhealthy pattern.

While no one’s love is perfect, my husband’s love for me is unconditional. He has always maintained that he loves me and he affirms that particularly when there is tension between us. Leighton understands me and knows I will immediately go to the dark place of self-hatred and believe that he must hate me, too. He makes a point of telling me that isn’t true. In addition, he gives me daily affirmation – telling me that he loves me, that he believes in me, that everything will be okay… I need to hear these things over and over again. It helps override my internal tapes that tell me that I’m not lovable, that I’m a screw-up, that everything is all my fault.

I didn’t experience unconditional love when I was growing up – it felt to me as if there were always strings attached, that I needed to be perfect to be loved. In experiencing unconditional love, I am learning more about what God’s love is really like. He has much grace for us – but I wouldn’t really know that unless I experienced it with other human beings. The reason I know this to be true is that the opposite is true – if we experience the opposite of unconditional love, if we don’t experience acceptance and grace, particularly from the people we are in closest relationships to, we grow up living in a tremendous amount of shame. And when we’re living in shame, we don’t understand grace.

So my husband has been a significant influence behind it all. My journey would look very different without him. We are shaped by the people in our lives and I am a better person for my relationship with Leighton. I have learned so much and am incredibly thankful that I get to experience this life with him.

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“Never Gonna Let You Down” – Colbie Caillat

This song has been encouraging me for the last while.


Trying out new technology

My husband is an IT person (he has his own IT business). And this means he is constantly researching new technology. He loves technology. I, on the other hand, am typically suspicious of new technology.

“Do I REALLY need this iPod Touch?” “Why do I need a SmartPhone?”

The history of our (IT) relationship has been one of my husband dragging me along towards new technology and innovation. He basically has to buy it for me and once I start using it, I absolutely love it! So I’m not “against” technology – I’m just not going to be the first one to go out and get the newest thing.

My husband has been fairly successful with his approach of putting the technology in my hands and me realizing I love it. Currently, I own a very large smartphone (I call it a Phablet – tablet and phone rolled into one). It’s a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (with a 5.7″ display). My reasoning was that I couldn’t justify owning a tablet and a phone when I would use them for the exact same things (other than making phone calls).

I use my phone for everything. Now that I’m writing so much I thought I’d try blogging from my phone (I have the WordPress blogging app). But typing on a phone keyboard (even a big phone) isn’t very convenient.

So tonight I grabbed my husband’s compact bluetooth keyboard, paired it up with my phone and typed up this post. It works pretty slick!

I do like it when technology enhances my life (which is the case most of the time, I just don’t realize it until I actually try it – which takes some coaxing).

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Brené Brown on Blame

I always giggle to myself when I watch this video. Enjoy!


The temptation to numb

I woke up this morning feeling the weight of the world. Actually it felt like I was drowning in manure. I was feeling very intensely a lot of dark, despairing emotions. And my thoughts jumped right on that bandwagon. I was not in a good place.

There have been a number of things churning up for me in the last while: the passing of my mother, processing memories and emotions from my past, family dynamics, outside circumstances. It makes for a pretty overwhelming mix of emotions at times. I understand this is a process and it’s going to take time. I believe I will be more healed and whole on the other side of this. And…I need to allow myself to feel what I’m feeling, as painful and excruciating as that may be.

And yet…and yet…

When I feel those intense, dark emotions, there is such a temptation to numb. There’s a part of me crying out, “I don’t want to FEEL!!!” I certainly felt that temptation this morning. The temptation to distract myself, to eat or drink something to make me feel better, to mindlessly read Facebook, to not think. I understand why so many people in our society turn to all manner of activities (some more destructive than others) to numb the pain in their lives – TV, video gaming, shopping, eating disorders, addictions. The emotional pain we experience is very real.

How do we learn to sit in our pain? Not to wallow in it, but to acknowledge it’s presence and to not run from it.

Being in community helps. My husband continues to encourage me and speak of hope and truth even when I can’t see it (or feel it). My children offer love and hugs and acceptance. Friends express care and concern…

I had coffee with a friend this evening. Being able to talk with her about my pain and to be able to hear about hers helped. I know I am not alone. We are not in this alone.

We are not in this alone.

When we learn to carry each others’ burdens, to empathize with each other in our struggles – we learn that we are not alone. And it births hope within us. To not despair. To receive love. To experience connection and belonging. It is the beauty of the human experience.

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