A Duck Call for love.


So I had this gigantic ranty post written about the whole Phil Robertson explosion…. And I woke up this morning and hated every word I wrote because I hadn’t practiced what I was calling all of us to preach, so I deleted every word. I’ve never scrapped a 1600 word, link-filled post before… And now, post-ice-storm at my Grandparents’ farm, their internet is down and so I write with my thumbs from the 3G on my iPhone because the words are burning to get out of me. So here we go. Round two.

You see, my rant from yesterday was full of angry accusations that Phil Robertson wasn’t being very loving with the things that he said in his interview with GQ, and that our job as Christians is to speak in love. Do you see an issue here? I do. God must have softened my heart up overnight because I read my words this morning and became so grateful that I’d saved the draft before publishing. Guilty. It’s so easy not to speak in love when we get all fired up.

I’ve decided that rather than rewrite my rant, I’ll share and echo the thoughts of three of my favourite bloggers. Their words are more eloquent than mine, and I’d like to share the words of women whose writing I respect deeply. And I agree with each of them wholeheartedly. So especially while I write with my thumbs, why reinvent the wheel?

So here we go:

Jen Hatmaker, my favourite author, says

“As for me, I care deeply for all the watching eyes, waiting for something real, something that heals instead of wounds. I dream of a faith community that demonstrates a love so scandalous and embarrassing that only the foolish and the rejected and the misfits and the cynics will find any solace in it. My heart’s cry is that someone far outside the sphere of Christian endorsement might whisper, “Even me?” and be stunned by Jesus’ answer: “Always you.””

Jen tells us to make the gospel real. Making it real means making it loving. Love love love. Love is so vital. It’s what God is, after all.

Ruthie Dean talks about the stark difference between making a point and making a difference in the lives of others.

Ruthie says:

“But then, something changed. I awakened to the truth that the Gospel is an absurd love story. That God gave his only Son over to ridicule, torture and death that we may have life. The Bible says that people outside the church will know Jesus because of our love for one another. Nothing else, just love.”

She also says:

“We cannot be content to sit back behind our computers and make a point. As Christians, we are called to make a difference in people’s lives–and making a difference is usually slow and messy because when you’re meeting someone in the mud, in the darkness, in the betrayal, in the pain, they’ll need the healing power of Jesus flowing through you. They need us to be with them, not preach at them.”

And finally, a woman whose words pack so much punch… Always…. Ann Voskamp talks beautifully about the power of words and how desperately important it is to choose them carefully and speak them with love.

I have huge quotes from her, but her blog post is so well done, and there’s so much more there that I didn’t quote…. So please if you only read the work of one of these three ladies in its entirety, let it be this one. Let it be Ann’s words.

A guy I know often mails books.

And every time the postal clerk asks him the obligatory question about if there’s anything hazardous or flammable in the package, he always speaks truth: “You bet — words.”

Whoever said sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you?

Was dead wrong.

Ask a bearded guy from Louisiana or a tweeting PR exec en route to Africa to comment on that.

Don’t ever forget it, kids:

There is nothing more explosive than words.

Words are nitroglycerin. Words can literally ignite a heart, detonate like a global bomb — or explode in your face.

She also says, and I love this:

You can mean something — but if you say it mean, no one can hear your meaning.

Have convictions — but if you don’t have compassion, you will have trials.

Please, say what you believe — but please, always be love.

Or you’re an annoying, clanging cymbal who a whole lot of people will be desperate to make silent.

Also:

Hear me, get this, don’t ever forget this: The tongue is the tail of the heart. The heart is known by how the tongue wags.

And lastly, the ones with the biggest punch. The ones that made me gasp in air after I’d written my own rant that I ultimately trashed…. These…

The only words that are infallible — is the Word of God Himself.

So — we grant grace.

Grace is air — without it we all die.

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There’s No Place Like Home


I went home this weekend.  Like… home home.  Home to the town I lived in for 17 years with more cows than people, one stop light, and fields as far as the eyes can see.  I’m from the country, and I like it that way.  Sometimes, part of me yearns to go back.  The school board I work in extends just far enough that I could move back home and only have a 15 minute commute to a town in my board.  But, I own my house here and I love my friends and I like my church, and so as much as I miss home right now for the reasons I’m about to tell you, I am staying where I am…. and I have reasons for that, too.

So here we are:  Reasons I miss home:

1.  If I could live at or near enough to home that I’d be around for dinners with the fam jam and such, the fam jam would likely tend to know what’s up in life, and I therefore wouldn’t have to explain that no, I’m not teaching French anymore; No, I don’t actually live in Sault Ste. Marie (even though I never have and that question was confuuuusing); Yes, I love my job (the switch out of French was voluntary AND welcomed!); Yes, I love owning my own home; No, no, no, no… I’m still not seeing anyone…. Yes, I know I’ll be 29 on Tuesday.  Yup, believe it or not, I’m content.  My family would know me, ideally, or at least better than most of them do now, so I would be able to go beyond small talk at family gatherings and enter into meaningful relationships with the people who are supposed to be close to me.  (I did two Christmas parties in two days with two different sides of the family while I was home this weekend — it’s why I made the trip.  Lots of small talk.)  Now don’t misunderstand me.  I know that only being an hour and a half away, I could make the trip down more often.  Life seems to get in the way and I turn around and my good intentions have made way for “oh, it’s Christmas again already?!  How did that happen!?”

2.  When I moved, I left a lot of solid friends behind.  This is not to say that I don’t dearly love the ones I’ve made since I’ve settled, but it’s hard not to miss the ones you left behind.  They’re great.  I went to the church I grew up in on Sunday morning, and was bombarded with hugs and “I’m so glad to see you!”  I sat between two girls I literally grew up with, and the best part is that it feels like nothing changes.  But there were a few girls who weren’t there… a few who I really wish I’d have been able to see.  If I lived at home, I’d see them all the time.

3.  I miss there being acres between me and the house beside me.  I miss hearing coyotes and crickets at night… though admittedly the coyotes freaked me right out.  They always sounded so close.  I miss being a country kid.  I miss gravel roads.  I miss fields.

4.  Like I said in number 2, I went to the church I grew up in.  And I love that church.  I always have.  And if I lived even half as close… I’d probably make the drive.  An hour and a half is too far when I have community here.  I do like my church here, I really do.  It’s not home, though.  Even though the pastoral staff has changed, it still felt like going home.

Don’t get me wrong, I had reasons for leaving home, too.  Mostly, home couldn’t be home anymore.  My parents sold the house I grew up in and moved up North, and the people who bought it put up uuuuugly fences.  It doesn’t look like home anymore.  Not the home I remember.  You know how your childhood home always holds those memories… and when someone changes the outside, even though they haven’t changed any of the actual memories in my head, it’s hard to look at it the same way.

I love where I am.  I love my community.  I looooove my job.  I mentioned above that I could switch and could move home.  I don’t want to.  I really don’t.  I miss what I left, but what I have is fantastic.  I won’t trade it now.  But after a weekend at home, it’s hard not to wonder what if… ya know?

Dodged Bullets — My Relationship Kevlar


Truth be told, this prompt actually really hits home.

Tell us about a bullet you’re glad you dodged — when something awful almost happened, but didn’t.

I honestly consider every single failed attempt at a relationship to be a bullet dodged.

Do I want to get married?  Yes, of course I do, I’m a nearly 29 year old single woman who’s never really technically been in a relationship at all… of course I want that.

But do I want it at the expense of it actually being good?  Nah, I cherish my independence and freedom too much to give it up for one who’s not worth it.  I’m sure there will be one who is, but until then….

Until then, I’m thankful for every hurt God has spared me from by never allowing anything to take off in the first place.  I’m thankful that every time I’ve earnestly prayed, ‘Lord please help me guard my heart,’ He’s listened.

I’m thankful that I don’t have a string of failed relationships behind me, leaving me with awkward baggage I have to explain when I do find a good one.  I’d so much rather explain why I haven’t been in a relationship than why I’ve been in a series of bad ones.  Truly.

So have I dodged a bullet?  Yup, every time I’ve had the wisdom to walk away from a guy I knew I wouldn’t be good with, I’ve dodged a bullet.  At the same time, every guy who knew we wouldn’t be good together and so he didn’t pursue anything — he dodged a bullet for himself, and let me dodge them too.

It’s like I’ve been wearing Relationship Kevlar.

Does that mean I’ve never been hurt?  Absolutely not.  I’ve been disappointed and let down, my heart has hurt for sure.  But has it been saved in the process from a lot of unnecessary damage?  Yes, I do believe it has.

Skinny Jeans and my very first friend.


Some nights I feel like the prompts to write with are icky, and I don’t want to write anything about them, nor do I feel like I have anything to say.  Some nights I’ve wandered off the ‘prompt’ path and I’ve written my own stuff.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that; I’m not trying to justify myself to any of you.  Today though (well, and yesterday), the prompts were great!  So I’ve chosen to tackle two of them.  Both are BlogHer NaBloPoMo prompts, not WordPress prompts… which is also a bit of a new thing for me.  Today I will be writing today’s and yesterday’s BlogHer prompts.

Today’s asks us to “Describe an outfit that makes you feel good. (It can be from any period of your life.) Double points if you post a picture of yourself in the outfit.”  I chose….. a very current outfit.  I may or may not have bought it on Saturday.  You see, at the moment, I am a plus-sized woman.  I have been most of my adult life.  There was a brief stint in there where I wasn’t, but even then, I still felt like I was too… um… solid…….. to pull off skinny jeans.  In my opinion, they were named ‘skinny’ jeans for a reason.  Then I see girls in skinny jeans and boots, and not all of them are super skinny, and that’s completely ok, and they all look really good!  It’s a really classy look!

I tried to buy skinny jeans once before.  In the spring, I was in Wal Mart looking for dress pants and came home instead with a pair of aqua blue skinny jeans.  Well, they don’t fit great (not sure what I was expecting, shopping at Wal-Mart), and it’s hard to match clothes with them…. shocker…. so I don’t wear them very often at all, and I should probably give them away.

I gave into the sad fact this week that I am in fact a plus-sized gal once again.  I haven’t been for about three years, but the style of clothes I’ve been wearing those past three years are simply not looking nice on me at present.  While I don’t plan to remain a plus-sized gal, because I miss my size 10 and 12 jeans, I think there’s something to be said for dressing for the size that you are instead of what you want to look like or where you hope to get.  As a result of this acceptance…. I walked into Pennington’s for the first time in three years.  For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to live in the glorious land of Canada, Pennington’s is a plus-sized women’s clothing store.  Check them out.  Apparently they ship to the US, so…. shop happy.  Warning:  it isn’t cheap.  To be fair, though, cheap clothing never lasts very long, and I find especially with plus-sized clothing, if it’s cheaply made, it fits terribly.  At this point, I was willing to pay full price for something I could feel good in.  Though… I only technically paid full price for the jeans (I got two pairs… skinny jeggings are my new favourite thing….).  The tops I bought were all on sale, and the amazing wide-calf boots were 50% off.

I found my search was completed in the skinny jeans/high-heeled boot/long, flowy top combination.  I feel amazing in this outfit, and even though I weigh a solid 50 pounds more than I’d like to (or more), I feel like I look good in this.  If you disagree, feel free to keep that to yourself, as I will not be approving your comment 😉

Apparently I get bonus points for posting a picture…. what can I use my bonus points toward??

photo 1(1)photo 2(1)

My First Friend

The other prompt that I thought I should cover is today’s.  Write about my first friend.  For her privacy, we’ll call her Jenny.

I lived across the street from Jenny for a long time.  We were in Junior and Senior Kindergarten together, as well as Grade 1.  We played all the time.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.  We got in trouble together a few times, too…. especially the time we took off without telling our Moms where we went so we could go to the roof of a friend’s apartment building and try to save what we thought was a pregnant, dead frog…. we didn’t realize at the time that frogs lay eggs, not give birth, and so the pregnant-looking tummy was actually postmortem bloat, not pregnancy.  Nevertheless, we tried our hardest to save those baby frogs inside that tummy with tongue depressors.  In hindsight, I am SO GLAD we heard our Moms looking for us before we pressed on that postmortem bloat too hard………

After Grade 1, my parents informed me that we were moving.  25 minutes away from Jenny, into the country.  Where it stunk.  Really badly.  I cried for weeks.  We moved in and settled, and I cried for a few more weeks.  Sure, our parents would drive us to see each other every once in a while, but nothing compared to living across the street from each other.

Through elementary school, we still hung out as often as our parents would drive us to see each other… we’d spend March Breaks and weekends at each others’ houses.  We made the best of it.  By junior high, we’d spend hours and hours on the phone, just catching up on life.

By high school though, we were different people.  We had different sets of friends and we got busy lives.  We drifted apart.  We’re friends on Facebook now, and when we run into each other it’s great to catch up.  It doesn’t happen very often since I moved an hour and a half away from home, but still.

I think our first friend is a really important person in our lives.  They help teach us how to love someone other than our family.  The saying friends are family you choose for yourself is a really valid one, I think.  Even though Jenny and I are no longer close by any stretch, I would like to think that the years I spent being friends with her have helped shape me into who I am today.

Blog Back Sunday and Prompt: Love to Love You


Remember when Facebook put Notes out for the very first time and shortly thereafter came the explosion of quizzes/surveys that were especially useful whenever I was trying to write a paper or do some research or something… you know, the things in my life that were completely unimportant but only led to a degree… or two… or something like that 😉

Before blogging was really cool… or a thing, even… there were surveys that you copied and pasted into a Note, changed the answers to your own, and then tagged all your friends in hopes that they would do the same.

Well, I found one today in a blog post from Olive to Run

Here goes… here are my answers.

Your cell phone? Is never very far away from me.  When I can’t find it, I panic a bit… and I experience separation anxiety when I can’t have it right with me… like… during movies or whatever when I have to put it on silent and it’s not OK to have it constantly on me.  It’s a problem.  Legit.
Your significant other? Doesn’t exist.  Well, he probably exists, but I don’t currently have one.
Your hair? Is amazing.  It’s so long, I’m thinking about renting a tower….
Your mother?  Is my best friend in the entire universe.  Unbelievable woman. 
Your father?
has to be awesome cuz I’m a lot like him.
Your favorite thing? Laughing til it hurts
Your dream last night? One of the teachers at my school died over the weekend and they put me in charge of telling everyone in the entire school all at once.  CRAZY.
Your favorite drink? Cream Soda and Egg Nog… not together.
Your dream/goal? Publish all my ramblings into a collection of famous ramblings.
The room you are in? my rec room
Your fear? #foreveralone
Where do you want to be in six years? Ideally married, maybe a kid or two… but… in the absence of that because I’ve been saying it for years, I’d like to be loving life at whatever I’m doing.  More than likely teaching…
Where were you last night? on the couch watching a movie with a friend.  It was great fun.
What are you not? emotionally open, lol, unless I’m writing.
Muffins? pumpkin spiiiiice with the icing in the middle.  Gosh.
One of your wish list items? a new couch to replace this horrid futon, haha
Where you grew up? A tiny farm town in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada.
The last thing you did?  Tied everything outside that could blow away down (in preparation for the coming storm), and changed a load of laundry.
What are you wearing? sweats.  Ahhhh Sunday afternoon.
Your TV?  When In Rome is now playing on the flat screen.
Your pets? The pooch is curled up upstairs, sleeping on the couch.  Spoiled rotten that dog is.
Your computer?  13″ MacBook Pro.  With Mario stickers on the back.  Almost equal to my phone in importance.  I’m a bit of a technology junkie.
Your life? Is pretty great.
Your mood? Content
Missing someone? A few people.
Your Car? Is dependable and functional and cute and I love it.
Something you are not wearing? anything remotely attractive.  See above where I say I’m wearing sweats.
Favorite store?  I don’t know, really… um…. probably Target or Wal Mart
Your summer? spent all summer blogging for Camp, loved it.  Amazing.
Like someone? yup.
Your favorite color? Lime Green and/or turquoise.
When was the last time you laughed? very recently.  When in Rome is funny.  Also — I laugh A LOT!
Last time you cried? I don’t remember, honestly.
What is one thing on your To-Do list?  Write an article for the camp newsletter — inspiration for which is NOT arriving.Also — now that you’ve learned a little about me, I feel like I should also do WordPress’s Prompt, because it’s somewhat related.

 

WordPress asked us today to talk about one thing we love about ourselves, and what we love most about our favourite person, and how that connects us.
What I love most about myself is my sense of humour and my ability to find enjoyment in simple things that some people may call childish.  I prefer to call it child-like, and there IS a difference.
I love the very same quality in my mother, whom I love dearly.  It usually results in us both giggling/laughing in unison until we can’t breathe, which, as you learned above, is one of my favourite things.
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A Different Perspective


I woke up this morning, and it was difficult to do.  I was pretty much just “not in the mood to get up.”  I concocted a bunch of reasons not to drag myself out of bed until 8:04 am….. trust me, that made getting to work at 8:25 tricky.  I made it, but barely.  I had gotten up at 7:30 to let the dog out (and that would have been plenty of time), but I found this….

snow :(
snow 😦

 

I know, I know… that’s nothing.  Welcome to my little banana belt pocket of South-Western Ontario.  Other spots get pounded with lake effect snow, and we get quite literally a dusting… and one that only lasts in the shade beyond 10 am.

But to say I loathe the stuff is generally an understatement.

I was out the other night letting the pooch go pee one more time before bed, and it had just snowed… I had to admit the smell of the freshly fallen (even smaller amount than that) of snow was kind of exhilarating… it kind of smelled like Christmas.  I’m trying not to admit that too loudly… though I guess I just did just display it for the internet to see.

Before dragging myself out of bed at 8:04, I uploaded that picture to Facebook, as well as posting a plea as my status for someone to give me five good reasons to leave the house because I couldn’t come up with any.  I was really looking for reasons to get out of bed, but at the time I was disinclined to admit that I was still in bed at 8 am.

My Facebook status plea was met with nothing less than hilarity.

Here are the reasons I should leave the house:

Andrew:  A mad leprechaun is standing right outside your front door with a stick of TNT getting ready to blow the joint.

A colossal marshmallow giant is getting ready to use your house as a golf tee, he’s using motorhomes as his golf balls, get out now.

Hercules himself is getting ready to use your house for shot-put practice

Your house stands in the flight path of a swarm of parasitic carpenter ants that devour all products made from wood or synthetic wood, your house is next

A local restaurant in your area is giving away what they call free scholarships for living, essentially free money for the rest of your life, all you have to do is show up at their door step and play the fiddle for an hour

Madison replies:  Looks like Andrew just about covered your five reasons, but most importantly you need to go to work to pay for your house, otherwise you will lose your house, and have to be outside ALL the time.

Me:  LOL this is what I call perspective!!!! Thanks, guys!!

Andrew:  You also just got a summons to become the teal power ranger. With great power, comes great costuming.

Me:  bahahaha YES! Now THAT, Andrew, THAT I will leave the house for

Andrew:  Not to mention that your house stands right in the migratory path of a herd of unicorns, you need to see the herd of unicorns.

Oh and a giant talking spinach has just started sprouting in your neighbors front yard. Talking spinaches, while they can be quite condescending, are nevertheless a joy to talk too

Also, a giant, flying St Bernard has just landed two doors down from you. Flying dog… need I say more?

Finally, a dancing bowl of jello will only tango with you if you take it to the beach. You do not under any circumstances want to disappoint a dancing bowl of jello. They are extremely difficult to please once they have been rejected.

Sooooo there you have it.  That’s my perspective that came throughout the day today… that knocked me out of my funk and reminded me that a little bit of snow is not worth making me sad and moody.  I’m thankful for my friends who can turn anything into fun and always know how to make me laugh.

When your attitude is bad, all it takes is the sense of humour of a few funny friends to shake you loose.

That’s Intense! (WordPress Daily Prompt)


Today I am being asked to describe for you… the last time I was surprised by the intensity of a feeling I had or by how strongly I reacted to something I thought wouldn’t be a big deal.

I’m having a hard time with this one — You see, my emotions tend to run pretty close to the edge of intense on the best of days.  I’ve been described as ‘intense’ by several people, and it hasn’t been a surprise any time it’s happened.  I experience pretty much everything while being surprised at how intensely I felt or how strongly I reacted.

This explains why when I’m really happy, I’m REALLY happy!  Caffeine and sugar merely intensify my intensity at that point.  It also explains why when I’m sad, I tend to hold onto that feeling really tightly as well.  If you’ve never experienced the intensity of my excitement as Christmas gets closer and closer…. picture a 4 year old holding up hands and yelling “THIS MANY SLEEPS!!!”  I still love my birthday with the same enthusiasm, even though 30 looms closer and closer…. and CLOSER… with each step (I’ll be 29 in a month).

As I’m writing this post though, and it’s starting to come together in my head (that’s right, I started writing without a clue where I was going), I realize that I think the emotion I tend to experience the most intensely, and it almost always surprises me…… is disappointment.

It would appear that I have some unbelievably high expectations for most things that occur in my life.  Dates (seriously… I had high expectations for this guy… and they were not warranted), important conversations, lesson plans… you name it.  I set the bar high, and when expectations don’t meet reality, I experience heavy disappointment…. often in myself, but also in others.  And as I’m thinking this through, it occurs to me how potentially damaging that can be to my relationships and to my own sanity.  When I expect this much of myself and those around me, I’m setting all of us up to fail…. because we all know first-hand that not everything in life is going to go exactly as we expect.  Even if everything goes smoothly in a given situation, disappointment can still hit when it just wasn’t “enough.”

I wonder if I do the same thing to God… I get my expectations all set, ask for God to step into something, and wind up miserably disappointed when it doesn’t work out the way I expect or want.  I think expectations not meeting reality, and the consistently intense feeling of disappointment I tend to experience when it happens… I think they probably say something about my trust in God’s timing and His plan.

Anyone else out there feel like this?  You’re a pretty intense individual and your emotions are always running crazily high… and it results in crazy disappointment that you’re not great at handling?  What do you do?

P.S. – Please check back tomorrow when I post for my 2 year blog-iversary (and write without a prompt!) about some Red Flags from my last couple of misadventures in online dating 😉

On Giving Advice


I was reading through Blogs tonight – something I haven’t had a ton of time to do in the last few days, so I had 22 new post notification emails to sift through when I got home tonight. One of them referenced Word Press’s Weekly Writing Challenge, which I’d stumbled upon in August, bookmarked, and promptly forgotten. This week’s is on advice. Mrs. Roberson over at Finding Neverland, in keeping with this week’s theme, wrote some advice on How to Make a Good First Impression on a Room Full of Teenagers.

I’ve decided to summarize both the best and worst pieces of advice I’ve ever received.

I’ve struggled with being single off and on for a while now. Sometimes I’m completely content being single (where I’m sitting right now, mere days after a wretched date – see the story about George* here – this is especially true). You see, I’ve had expectations of where I’d be by now many times, and every time I was disappointed because reality didn’t match my expectations, I’d go through a bit of a discouraged stint and wallow – until I reset the goal time for “getting married” back a little bit, and convinced myself I was regrouping and refocusing. I’ve realized now that the ‘when’ is irrelevant.

The best advice I’ve received to this in my life has come from people whose opinions and advice I truly value. They also happen to be people either in crappy marriages or those who escaped them. I mean, it sounds cliché… “it’s better to be single and happy than stuck in a bad relationship and miserable.” It sounds like the easiest answer to give anyone who suggests they’re lonely because they can’t find a ‘special friend,’ as my Grandmother loves to call them. But it’s the best piece of advice anyone could ever have given me. The first time I heard it, I’m pretty sure I shrugged it off, and thought “that’s rich, coming from someone who married their high school sweetheart…” You know what, though? Those people who got married young or who didn’t find dating all that difficult… they’re still married…. and being married is hard. Maybe they had regrets when they gave me this advice, or maybe they were just wise enough to see that being married would be so much more difficult if it wasn’t to the right person. Either way, why argue that?

It comes up during “would you rather?” games late at girls’ nights. It comes up when I’m trying to honestly reassure people that I’m fine not being in a relationship at nearly 29 years old. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to be in one, trust me, I do… but I don’t want to be in one just to be in one. I’ve seen FAR TOO MANY crappy ones to be alright with settling. From where I stand, I’ve been single for 29 years… and for 10 of those I’ve been keenly aware of it. I can see the temptation to give up and settle just because of the fear that no one else may come along… but I can also (and more so) get behind the idea that given how settled into the path I’m on, and how great my life is and my friends are, why would I give all of this up for less than great?

This brings me to the worst piece of advice I’ve ever received.

It was the middle of summer. I’d been talking to a guy I found on eharmony for about four months. We hadn’t met in person yet, with him being on the East Coast and having a job that made travelling rather difficult. It had been a while since I’d heard from him, and this is something I’m a touch insecure about. It seems to happen to me a lot – I talk to someone for a while, then for whatever reason (I never get to find out), they decide they’re not interested in me anymore, but they don’t tell me – they just stop talking. Maybe they think they’re going easy on me, by not coming right out and saying it… but if you’re reading this and would ever consider doing that – please know I’ve never met anyone who found it better to wonder for a week or two while waiting to hear from the guy. At any rate, I was upset, because we’d been talking for months and then he just stopped talking … it was at two weeks and counting.

A long-time friend, whose advice I’d valued until this point, gave me advice that left me in a puddle of confused, angry, insecure, tears. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I sobbed myself to sleep after this conversation, and it took hours to get there..

He expressed to me that perhaps the reason I was still single and was having limited success with my attempts at not still being single was a direct result of my attitude that makes me unwilling to settle. Perhaps if I stopped saying “if he can’t accept that part of me, he can shove off” to parts of my personality, and molded myself into a more acceptable person in the eyes of those I’m trying to attract, I wouldn’t still find myself unfortunately boyfriend-less. Perhaps if I stopped saying that some of my evidently inherent character flaws were part of my personality that need to be accepted, and were more in tune with what others find attractive, I’d BE more attractive to those I’m trying to attract. Because apparently my shape and my face are plenty attractive enough, but the essence of who I am needs a bit of work. To be fair, he didn’t really have concrete examples – other than like… I’m intense. Yes, I am. I’m intense. And somewhere out there is a guy who will love that about me. Oh, also, I’m boisterous. Yup. I’ll own that. I’m that, too. Yet another thing I’m not going to give up just to find a guy… because I will be miserable. Those two things are a very big part of who I am, and I know many people who love both of those things about me. SO essentially… the advice giver got a ‘shove-off’ for a long time. We’re talking again, but not like we have in years past. Even if any of it were true, he didn’t have the right to speak over me in that way, especially not with the justification “I felt if I didn’t tell you, no one would.”

The advice given to me by a very trusted friend the next morning was like a breath of fresh air as I struggled with my own sense of self because of the words spoken to me. I was told that, in fact, those things WERE endearing qualities of mine, and that those aren’t things I should need to change in order to make myself attractive.

Long story short: There’s someone out there. He’s going to love my passion and moments of high intensity. He’s going to love my high energy, and my bouncy boisterousness. And between the super wise advice of my amazing, trusted friends… paired with some dangerous untruths, I have fully embraced my quirks, and hold true to the idea that since they are not in fact flaws, and are in fact personality traits, I will not settle for anyone who doesn’t love me for them, along with the rest of me.

Oh, and ps — if this is too serious for you, please stay tuned for a Red Flags (like the good old days!) post scheduled to release on November 6, 2013 — my two year blog-iversary.

#bestweekendever


This weekend was the best weekend…. quite possibly of my entire life to date…. I seriously can’t remember a time where I’ve had more fun, laughed harder, or been sadder when it ended.

I did a Color Me Rad 5k in Hamilton this weekend… well, at Christie Lake Conservation Area… and I’ve never been, but it’s beautiful, and I’d love to go back and hike/wander at a time when it wasn’t being overrun by runners.  haha I’m punny.

I ran it with two dear friends and a new friend.  Now this new friend is unlike any other new friend.  Have you ever met anyone where the second you’re introduced, you know you’re going to be mega bummed when you have to part ways?  I’ve only ever had it happen one other time in my life.  But it happened yesterday.

I met Jeannie right before we got in the car to drive to Dundas.  We’d been informally introduced by Ange on Facebook, but boy oh boy Facebook does not do this new friend justice.

#iminlove

Oh, bad habit we fostered this weekend… I now hash tag at completely inappropriate times and I think it’s hysterical.  I’m sure not everyone will agree, and I’ll have to try really really hard not to say “hash tag criss cross applesauce” tomorrow, I’m quite certain.

We hit up Starbucks pre-race, because everyone needs a little caffeine, sugar and whipped topping to course through their veins before a 5k.  (Please note, most of us are not hardcore runners by any stretch of the means, and this being a fun run, we decided to maximize the fun and minimize the run).

We weren’t quite sure where to go, but stopped at a stoplight, to what did our wandering eyes did appear, but a lovely young lady with “RAD” tattooed on her face.  I yelled out from the backseat…. “FOLLOW THAT SUBARU!”  And we did.  Thankfully, they knew where they were going!

We arrived, took copious selfies as we got all layered up and warm and ready to #beastit.  Walking toward the check-in point where we picked up our swag, Becky yells out “I HAVE A CRAMP!” and the laughter started all over again.

I also have to admit that for the first time in my life, I fell prey to the duck face photo… I’ve never done one before that wasn’t clearly mocking everyone else who’s ever done one… and I’m looking back through the pictures now to realize to my own shock and horror that I duck faced… on my own phone… and I kind of like the picture an awful lot.

We stopped along the way, took many more selfies, asked strangers to take pictures of us, and we laughed and laughed and laughed….

We changed in the parking lot… legit.  Well, now me…. I chickened out and changed in an outhouse.  I should have changed in the parking lot…. it was gross.

We went for lunch and professionally carb loaded.  East Side Marios anyone?  I don’t think we truly deserved it since we didn’t run that hard, but meh!

Then, after some time apart (mostly to spend the whole time showering to get the corn starch dye off of everywhere…. seriously… it went through two shirts.  EVERYWHERE!), we met back up at Value Village and then back to one of our houses to continue the fun.

The fun spilled into today, but then Jeannie left.  And while I still have other amazing friends here, and I do not take them for granted, I love my new friend already.  It’s like I’ve known her all my life.  And I hope I see her again soon.

And — if you’ve never done a colour run — I highly recommend that you find the nearest one and sign up.  Amazing.  You don’t need to be a runner.  You don’t need to run the whole thing!  The first one I did, a lady did it in flip flops and her wedding dress…. seriously… do it.

Please enjoy the pictorial recap of what I just wrote to you…. and I have not included the picture of what my bathtub looked like at the end…. but it was gross.  (ps — the pic of me running is me imitating the Phoebe Run from Friends... I don’t actually run like that…. I hope…. and I definitely didn’t run into a horse)

1275868_10151927642560240_1023442542_o 1391677_10100301476037300_1288295131_n 1392048_10100301476052270_284288669_n 1410693_10151927642895240_2012514323_o1400180_10151927652345240_193553838_o 1402056_10151927647480240_1915548991_o1399144_10151927650985240_1755436195_o856605_10151927657275240_382768421_o1399411_10151927659730240_604759945_o

oh… and the dye is Gluten Free!  (random fact)

When Words Fail


I’m not often rendered speechless.  There aren’t many times in my life where I can honestly say I didn’t know what to say.  I can usually talk my way through things (though fantastically enough, I can’t usually talk my way out of things), and I’m normally able to come up with something to say in most situations.  Especially in writing.  I’ve had times where I’ve fumbled to string words together coherently in person because I was nervous or upset or (insert excuse here), but I don’t often find that words fail me when I sit down to spill them out.

In the last couple weeks I’ve had a few instances where I’ve found that my words have failed me.  Utterly, abysmally failed me.  And as a writer, a talker, and in general, someone who is fully capable of using words to adequately express herself — let me tell you, it sucks.

But I’ve sensed a common theme.  I’ll give you the examples and you see if you can guess what the theme is before you get to the bottom of the post.

1.  There’s someone in my life who’s been on my heart for a long time, and I’ve been trying to come up with ways that I can be an effective witness, and all of them seem to fall short.  I squander opportunities to have meaningful conversations about Jesus, His unfailing Grace, and His unconditional love, and I let them slip by the wayside — either that or I completely botch them.  I’ve been trying.  And I’ve been failing.

2.  Lately any time anyone has come to me for relationship advice, I have been left pretty speechless (side note:  I don’t know why I strike people as wise enough for this, I feel completely and embarrassingly inexperienced and inadequate in this department, but I’m thrilled to be of assistance where I can regardless).  I do my best, but I often feel like I come out sounding like an idiot.  Perhaps my best angle in this case is to be a good sounding board — to provide the ear that listens really well but doesn’t follow up in speaking — because otherwise the best I can do is guess “well here’s what I think I’d do if it were me,” which is weak anyway.

3.  Recently, someone I know lost a baby mere weeks before her due date.  She and her family are understandably devastated.  I wasn’t able to attend the funeral because I was sick and I couldn’t bear the thought that I’d add more to her life by giving her this stubborn cold that has settled into my chest and set up camp over the past three weeks (I love working with young children, I really really do).  I wanted to express my sympathy to her and her family, but I was nervous about it because if there were ever a time where it would make sense for words to fail me, here would be an excellent example.  I’m sure in this instance words have failed many people and they’ll continue to do so as the grieving continues.

Given that I couldn’t attend the funeral, I wanted to pick up a card and mail it.  I figured that I am so much more well-versed in the written word than the spoken that it shouldn’t be too difficult to express myself in a card.  I spent a solid half hour in the card aisle at Target, just looking for a card that didn’t say something weak like “cherish the time you had together.”  It turns out, Hallmark and Carlton don’t know what to say to grieving parents who never met their child, either.

I found one eventually, and I’ll labour over finding the right words of my own to write inside, but it’s been this process of trying to find words that has made me a wee bit introspective in the past few days — why do words fail me?  They so rarely do.

Let me tell you why I think they have.

Have you found a pattern yet?

It’s been my experience that when I rely on myself, I’m able to accomplish ordinary things at ordinary levels with ordinary efficacy.  Conversely, it’s been my experience that when I rely on God, I am able to immeasurably more than I ever could have imagined.  After all, these words that I’m usually able to pour out whenever, wherever, and often feel I NEED to if I’m ever going to be able to relax… these words and my ability to put them together are a gift from God Himself.  When I try to keep them in my own power, and I try to use what would otherwise be a strength on my own, not trusting the Giver of this gift, of course they fail.  Why should I expect my own words to be the ultimate selling point on how amazing Jesus is.  My faith, and the faith of others, and what we’ve collectively been able to accomplish because of our faith — that should sell Jesus.  And when I rely on my Precious Saviour, the words that need to come out should come.  When I let myself be the vessel through which God speaks, that’s when the real magic can happen… well, not magic, but… you get the cliché.

Relationships are a gift from God.  We’re designed to long to be in them, and they’re designed to give glory back to our Father.  When they don’t seem to be working out how they should, no matter the reason, even if it’s that we aren’t yet where we thought we’d be by now, trusting God can help me have the words to say (if I need to say any at all — I think the point I made above about being a good listener is valid and not at all a cop-out when it comes to this point… I have no relationship experience, I shouldn’t pretend that I know what to say).

And finally — how could my words outdo those of the Great Comforter?  What could I possibly say on my own strength that would be more sufficient than what God could say through me?

If you were reading along and you thought that it sounded like I needed to pray before I entered these situations and be more open to the leading of the Spirit, who will guide me to the right words when and if they’re needed — then you were right.

My prayer this week is that I’m a better listener than I am a talker — both to those who need my words, and to those who don’t.