Happy Flipping Valentine’s Day

**That title is very much the PG version of what I wanted to call this post… I decided to behave :p**

This year, I’d determined that I was not going to let Valentine’s Day get me down.  I was doing really, really well with that actually until about 1 pm.  I got slammed with a cold.  I was teaching Grade 2 Drama and my head plugged up, I couldn’t finish sentences without sneezing, and the kids were all like “you sound funny!”

I know, right?  Funnier than usual, of course 😉

I’m supposed to be headed away for the weekend, since in Ontario it’s Family Day weekend and it’s a long weekend.  Wooo!  No school on Monday!  I’m picking my brother and his fiancée up on my way, and it’s supposed to be fun.  I was supposed to go away two weekends ago as well, to see a bunch of my Camp peeps… and I got sick then, too.

You see, this is the curse of working with children who don’t blow their noses, who sneeze directly onto my arm without covering my mouth, and who insist on hugging me all. the. time whilst snot drips from their noses.  And you’d think that by Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2… they’d have figured out that these things are not ok.  Well… some of them haven’t.  They share their germs quite freely.  I’ve been sick off and on since November…. more on… but I digress.

I was having a really good Valentine’s Day until I got sick, and then came home and opened Facebook.  I should have known better than to open Facebook when I was already feeling icky, but Facebook did me in.  When I opened it up, I found that….

  • Several of my friends received beautiful bouquets of roses today
  • Several of my friends are going out for lovely dinners this evening
  • Some of my friends are going out with their friends to celebrate their singleness together (which I’d totally be doing if not for the snot coming out of my own nose… bahaha)
  • Many of my friends are chilling with their kids
  • Every blog I follow has posted about Valentine’s Day… all week.
  • A friend’s Dad drove all the way out to her home to deliver her flowers, a Starbucks card, and a card just for her.  My heart melted.
  • One friend has posted honeymoon pictures

Now, this side of a spoonful of Buckley’s, I have a bit of a better perspective.

I love my God, my friends, my family, my job, my students, my house, pretty much my life… I don’t need to be upset because I lack any of the things in that point form list on Valentine’s Day for a couple of reasons.

  1. It’s one day a year, and it’s highly over-commercialized …. therefore its sole purpose isn’t for love, it’s for money.
  2. I was completely content with everything in my life … um… yesterday.  So this is silly.
  3. I am genuinely happy that all of the people in my life have things that they can look at and be truly thankful for.  We’re all blessed.

So instead of burying myself under my blankets and crying or moping about the things I don’t have, I choose to be thankful for the many, MANY things I DO have.  I think that I will go to the store, and I will buy some conditioner (I’m almost out, and I’m going away all weekend.  Bad news bears.), and then I will hit the Tim Horton’s Drive Thru for some soup.  What else would any good Canadian girl do when she’s not feeling well?  If it can’t be cured by Timmy’s Chicken Noodle and some Buckley’s, you might as well buy a gravestone.

This post was brought to you by Buckley’s — the giver of perspective (because it’s the clearer of heads).  Also brought to you with indirect support from Tim Horton’s and WordPress.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie

Apparently selfies are starting to be displayed in art galleries and art shows… so…. wanna add my best selfie to the shows?


However, normally my selfies look like this:  (this set was all the result of the brilliant decision to spend 18 hours in a car driving to Georgia last March Break.)

IMG_0584 IMG_0583 IMG_0537

Mirror Mirror

Look in the mirror. Does the person you see match the person you feel like on the inside? How much stock do you put in appearances? (WordPress prompt)

I have to be honest.  I wasn’t going to write this prompt (it’s from two days ago).  It strikes me as just the kind of thing that takes away from my One Word for this year (value) and makes me focus too much on outward appearance.  But I came across some pictures that are a few years old today, and they pretty much broke my heart.  Let me tell you why.

I don’t like to put too much stock in appearances.  Or at least…. I like to think that I don’t like to put too much stock in appearances.  But I think that when I am really honest, I actually put a lot of emphasis on it.  And it bothers me how much emphasis I do seem to lay there in my life.

You see, here’s the deal…. I’ve written about my struggle with weight before.  I’ve written about my struggle with self esteem before… I’ve even tried writing love letters to my body…. I’ve struggled with both of these things fairly consistently since I was 8-10 years old, and it pains me to admit that, but it’s true.  And I don’t know how to fight it.

Sometimes it feels like the voices in my head that tell me I’m fat and ugly and not worth anything have gone away… and then sometimes they show back up, and they pop back in, and they mess with my brain, and they make me want to hide.

Today is one of those ‘I want to hide’ days.  I truly do.

I was going through some pictures in iPhoto, trying to select some that I needed to print for a Grade 1 Science project for tomorrow.  I scrolled too far back, and ended up scrolling through the pictures of trying on bridesmaid dresses for my Mom’s wedding… almost three years ago.  If you’ve been following my blog at all, you know that I recently had a bit of a debacle with dress fitting… because my brother’s getting married and I’m in the wedding party… and I’m a size 18.  Well, I found these pictures from when we were trying on dresses for my Mom’s wedding… of me in the dresses I was loving life in… because I was thin.  I hadn’t done it properly… I know that… but I was thin.

IMG_0724 IMG_0743 IMG_0748

But I still thought I was fat.

I remember being very self conscious that day because my arms were flabby and I still didn’t like my legs.  I look at the pictures now, and I wonder how I ever thought it would be a good idea to trade that body for food… but that’s precisely what I’ve done, because now I need to start all over, and I want to… but it’s so disheartening to know that I did it once… and now I have to do it again.

I don’t know what the solution is other than to give it back to God yet again, and to ask Him to help me see my own value.  And I’m not saying that isn’t a good idea… I know that’s a good plan… I just wish I could stay rooted there.  I never seem to stay rooted there… and then everything comes sneaking back.

I know I’m supposed to be seeing value here… but I’m struggling with that tonight.

So… long story short, yes, I suppose I do put stock in appearances… but more in my own than in anyone Else’s.

I am feeling defeated tonight.  Please pray for me.  That is all.

When you’re a really little fish in a gigantic ocean

I went into downtown Toronto yesterday to go bridesmaid and wedding dress shopping with my brother’s fiancee and the rest of the bridal party (I’m a bridesmaid).  I’m not a city girl, by ANY stretch of the means.

I drove from my town to the nearest GO Train station and left my car in the parking lot.  It was a little over an hour on the train, and to my shock, I’ve discovered that while I become violently motion sick while moving if I read in most other forms of transportation, I can read quite happily on a train.  I read for a glorious total of 2.5 hours yesterday with all the time I spent on trains and subways.  I think, if I ever had to take a job in the city, I’d move closer, but not that close… just close enough to take the train.

I made my train by a measly 4 minutes, which if you know me at all is not acceptable, and I felt quite at odds about it.  Once I was settled into my seat on the train with my open book though, I was much happier.

I arrived at Union Station and Roseanne, the maid of honour, was to pick me up at Front and Bay street, but if you’ve been downtown Toronto lately, you know that Front Street by Union is pretty blocked off because Union Station is completely under construction.  Roseanne had trouble finding me.

Once we finally met up, after I’d waved off many hopeful taxi cab drivers and explained to very many random wanderers that no, sorry, I have no idea where the aquarium/York Mills/whatever is… I don’t really even know where I am…. we were able to proceed to our first appointment.

We went for lunch after the first place, and it was delicious!  If you’ve never been to Artegelato on Bloor, I recommend it.  Good panini, and the gelato looked AMAZING!

We then traveled all over the city, between the downtown core and North York and back again.  Traffic sucked.  There were SO MANY LIGHTS!  There were SO MANY CARS!  There were so many angry motorists who weren’t driving properly, and then got really angry at those who were!  People trying to turn Right, stuck at red lights behind people going straight through (who obviously can’t run red lights) would honk incessantly until the light turned green.  Motorists going straight through would honk while waiting in line behind someone turning left, who obviously couldn’t just turn left into a steady stream of Bay Street traffic.  Drivers would just drive down the middle of two lanes.  Drivers would sneak up in closed construction lanes, bike lanes… really, wherever they could.  It was insane.  I’m beyond glad that I wasn’t driving.  There would have been tears.

By the time we got to the last place, I was exhausted and my self-esteem had taken a huge hit while dress shopping, so I was already edgy and nearing tears.  We did four appointments between 10:30 and 3.  Nutso.  At each appointment, I found that each store only carried my size of dress (18) in two or three styles, and so trying to try on different styles was like trying to stuff a big, fluffy, Queen-sized pillow into a cheap twin-sized pillow case.  It wasn’t working.  At one point, one of the staff at the last place we visited handed me a size ten dress and expected it to work.  I hadn’t looked at the tag because I assumed when I told her I was a size 18, she’d understand that that meant probably the smallest dress I’d be able to get my hips into would be a 16.  Maybe a 14 if it were forgiving.  This conversation actually happened while I was in the dressing room.

As she kept trying to open the curtain, she says “Laura, are you ready?  Need help?”
“No, this dress is a size ten, it won’t go past my mid-thigh.”
“Put it over your head!  I’ll hold it closed for you!”
“I’m an EIGHTEEN!  Putting it over my head isn’t going to work.  My chest won’t fit.  My waist won’t fit.  My hips won’t fit!  It’ll be a really awkward shirt, and I may never get it off again!”

Luckily, despite my not being a size ten, we had tons of time at the last place and were ALL able to find our dresses!  Super exciting.

This is where the fun starts, though.  I had plans to meet my cousin downtown at the Eaton Centre for dinner, and that means I had to navigate Toronto’s transit system all by my lonesome.  I’ve taken Subways, I’ve taken buses, but I’ve never been left to figure it out all on my own before.

I left the last bridal store on Sheppard, which unbeknownst to me is technically in North York, and I started walking the direction I thought I needed to walk to get to the Yonge-Sheppard Subway station.  I was texting my cousin as I walked… even though to my dismay, I left the bridal shop with a mere 29% battery life.  I asked him to text me instead of iMessage so that I could turn my 3G off to save battery, but for whatever reason it wouldn’t work, and I was only receiving his messages as iMessages, so I HAD to leave my 3G on.

It was rainy, it was damp, and the wind picked up through the day yesterday, so it was rather chilly walking through the streets of North York in the dark by myself.  I felt like I was walking out of civilization… which I wasn’t, it just didn’t look built up like I thought it should when I was supposed to be walking toward Yonge Street.  I was actually walking toward Rexdale and Brampton, turns out… because I was walking West and not East.  It would have been a very long walk had I not recognized the fading signs of big city life compared to the quieter buzz of suburbia.  I imagine I’d have clued in by the Allen Expressway if I hadn’t figured it out sooner :p

As I was walking, I got swamped by a TTC Bus… and let me assure you, when you see it happen in the movies, they’re not exaggerating it.  A bus drove through a giant puddle of muddy, icy water and sprayed it all over me.  It ran from my hair onto my neck, down my back, and soaked my leggings and coat.  My purse was soaked.  I was soaked.  And now I was chilled.  And I was lost, and quite frankly at this point, I was scared.  This attempt at independence I had made was not working well, and my poor cousin was waiting at a mall for me.  I felt bad for keeping him waiting.

Found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmuffins/5465619890/
This picture was found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmuffins/5465619890/ I do not own it, and I did not alter it.

Thankfully his phone had much more juice than mine, and he was able to look up transit routes for me.  He explained that I needed to get on the 84 bus going East and take it to the Sheppard-Yonge Subway station, take the Yonge-University line going South, and get off at Dundas, and he’d meet me at the Subway.

I finally saw a bus.  It was an 84 bus!  I had hope!  I ran across Sheppard at the cross-walk and flagged down the about-to-depart bus, got on in the nick of time, and made my incompetence known immediately.  This conversation with the bus driver actually happened:

“Thanks for stopping!  How much is it?”
“Ok.. *I fish change out of my purse.*  Where’s it go?”
*she points to the change intake thing.*
“Thanks!” *I put my change in the thing, and out pops a ticket*
*she hands me the ticket.*
“Is this my ticket?”
“where do I need to get off if I need to go to the Eaton Centre?”
“Sheppard Station ma’am.  Step behind the white line, please.”
“ok.  oh.  ok.  Thank you!”

My cousin is still texting me subway instructions at this point, and asks me if I got a transfer ticket.  I look to the unsuspecting woman I’m sitting beside, hold up my ticket, and ask “is this a transfer ticket?”  She nods.  I tell her I’ve never done this by myself before.  She smiles and says it takes some getting used to.

I managed to get off the bus at the right station, and I managed to get into the subway station.  I found the first person dressed in a TTC uniform, and asked him to tell me where I needed to go.  He brought me to a map, where I was made keenly aware of just how far away from the actual city’s downtown core I really was, and he very kindly explained to me exactly what I needed to do.

This picture was found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/imuttoo/8320951638/lightbox/ and was "posterized" in Picasa to hide faces.  This picture does not belong to me.
This picture was found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/imuttoo/8320951638/lightbox/ and was “posterized” in Picasa to hide faces. This picture does not belong to me.

I texted my cousin to let him know I was off the bus and at the subway station, and then I planned to text him once I was on the subway to tell him I was leaving, but I had no service for like ten minutes!  I turned my phone off for a little bit to save some power.  By this point I had 16% battery life left.  I turned it back on after about ten minutes, only to find that I had a text from him saying “u ok?”  I assured him that I was, told him I was on the subway and would be there soon, he told me he’d meet me by the doors at the Dundas station, and I told him I was turning my phone back off.

Luckily, I was able to find him, and let me tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to see a familiar face in my life.  He gave me a big hug, and then as the stress released, it hit me that I was in fact quite hungry, and needed to eat.  We went into the food court, and I purchased a meal that was far too large, and couldn’t finish it.  Then, I made the very wise decision to go to the Telus store and purchase myself a car charger for my phone so that I’d have it when driving after returning to my car.  The last thing I’d want would be to break down on the 403 at night with a dead phone.

We had a nice visit, and decided that on a Saturday in the near future, I’d come up to Toronto for the day, and we’d see some of the sights and do some of the cool things the downtown has to offer, and I’m looking forward to that.  I feel like I can handle the GO train, and I can handle the Subway, but without my cousin texting bus instructions, I don’t know what I would have done.  Walked to Brampton, maybe?  Died on the streets of North York?  Who knows?  I’m being dramatic, of course, but I was getting quite scared.  If I hadn’t had battery dying issues, I’d have just Google Mapped my course, but I wanted to make sure I had at least some battery power in case I had an emergency.

The biggest thing I learned through this entire ordeal is that I am not cut out for big city life.  I very much enjoy that my city takes 15 minutes to get across, and that while the drivers here are also idiots, I feel much safer at home.

It was an experience…. one that may have shaved a year off my life due to how tense I was.  At one point I couldn’t decide if I wanted to cry or vomit…. or do both… and then I couldn’t decide what order I’d do them in.  I was stressed.  It did, however, give me an opportunity to pray.  I asked God to help me see where I needed to go as I stood in the lobby of an apartment building trying to get warm, and regrouping my thoughts trying to figure out what to do.  Just after I walked back out the doors to turn around and walk back East, I saw the 84 bus on the other side of the road, and I booked it.  It had to be divine intervention that the crosswalk let me walk just as I needed to to be able to catch that bus.  I don’t know how far apart those buses run, but at the very least, I knew I wasn’t going to die on the streets of North York.  There was hope.  And in that moment, that one thing was enough to get me going again.  Thank the Lord.

As I watched all the people around me moving seamlessly on and off the bus, then transferring to Subways without any hesitation, I very much felt like I was on the outside looking in on a totally different culture and way of life.  Big City living is not something I’ve ever had to navigate solo, and while I will try it again to go meet my cousin in the city, I will make sure I have a charged up battery, that I bring my charger with me (an outlet at a Tim Horton’s for 20 minutes would have saved a LOT of trouble!), and that I’ve planned my routes out ahead of time.  Never again will I assume that public transit “can’t be that hard” when you’re a teeny tiny little minnow swimming in a sea full of really experienced, gigantic…. whales?  I think that’s about how small I felt yesterday.  A minnow in a sea full of whales.




** The photos used in this post are licensed for use by Creative Commons.  I do not own them, and I was not endorsed for using them.**


I am a professional procrastinator.  Legit.

Today’s BlogHer Prompt asks us …. “Do you have a tendency to procrastinate, or do you like checking things off your to-do list?”

I procrastinate my procrastination.  Earlier this evening, I decided I wanted to play Mario Brothers on my Wii instead of blog.  But there were no batteries that were alive in my Wii controllers… so I played a game on Facebook for an hour.

I work considerably better under pressure….. or at least, I have been professionally convincing myself of this since…. about the 6th grade.  Once I figured out that I was conveniently intelligent enough that I didn’t technically have to work that hard for my grades, my work ethic was flushed down the toilet.  It got worse in high school.

And trust me, it got worse in University.

I don’t think I knew how to study before University.  But I got there, and all by doing my homework on the bus on my way to school or sitting in front of my locker before the bell rang (I lived a ways away from my high school… the buses did two runs… we were first run.  I was always at school early).  To be perfectly honest with you, I have no idea how my Grade 10 math teacher read ANY of my homework.  If you’ve ever tried to ‘show your work’ while on a big yellow school bus on back roads, you’ll know that nothing gets written legibly.  Sorry, teach.  I don’t even remember her name… was high school that long ago??  Gosh.

All this to say… I procrastinate.  I still do it, though I’ve gotten moderately more responsible.  I can remember the paper I wrote for my History of the American Revolution class in 3rd year of University on the Causes of the American Revolution…. I had a presentation from 9-10 pm on Tuesday, the paper was due at 10 am Wednesday.  I finished the presentation, then since I commuted to Uni, I had a 30 minute drive home to start working on this 10-15 page paper that I hadn’t even thought about yet.  I got to the parking lot, and my car wouldn’t start.  I fought with it, pleaded with God, called my Dad in tears… everything… I needed to go get started on this paper!  Had not occurred to me that I could have started two weeks prior…. well, it’d occurred to me… but… Facebook had JUST become popular, and, well, there were notes to write and surveys to post, and people to poke.  Trust me.  Not a good scene.  (and very little has changed)

Anyway, finally got the car started.  I left the school parking lot, determined that I was going to drive at a sane rate of speed toward my bedroom and my computer, and get.  to.  work.

Worst snow I’d ever driven in… started five minutes out of the parking lot.  My thirty minute drive took seventy minutes.  It took me an hour and ten minutes to get home, because it had been icy and foggy, and then it started snowing.  Underneath the growing piles of as-of-yet not plowed, not sanded, not salted snow… was a substantial layer of ice… and as the snow blew in my headlights, the fog rolled in off of the empty fields.  I drove home very slowly, arriving home at 11:30 pm.

I booted up my computer and started researching and writing.

I don’t know if my fingers have ever typed that quickly.  I don’t remember the stretch of time between 3 and 6 am, but I obviously wrote like my life (or teacher’s college acceptance) depended on it.

I hit print at 6:15 am, and, knowing I didn’t have to be at school until 10, I decided to go to bed until 8:30 am.

I unburied my car (remember how much it had snowed the night before), and… you guessed it… it wouldn’t start.  You can’t imagine the measure of panic (well maybe you can) at the idea that I literally stayed up all night long to write this paper… and I thought it was brilliantly done at that (even though I didn’t remember a straight three hour chunk of writing)… only to not be able to go dump it in the drop box in the History department.

More tears.

Not being able to get the car to start at all, I called our lovely next door neighbour (my parents were away somewhere, I forget where), and begged Jennifer, bless her heart, to drive me to school.  She was happy to do so, thankfully!  I dropped the paper off, on time, explained to my TA that my car wouldn’t start and I’d been driven in by a neighbour so I couldn’t stay, but here was my paper… went home, and slept off the panic.

After reading this story, you’d think that this would be the turning point in my life where I’d decide that in the future, especially in fourth year when my papers had to be 20 pages long each, and they were all inevitably due in the same week because no one in the history department ever conferred with each other… you’d think that I’d decide that this was the end and that I should plan things out in advance.

Well, I started planning a LITTLE bit more efficiently.  I adopted the ‘to-do’ list… and eventually started to use it.  But it took until my first set of report cards before it really had to happen.  And even then, they still get left to the last minute because otherwise I’m not motivated what.so.ever.

I do create a list so I know what sections I have left to finish, but am I a ‘put my marks in in December as I finish them’ kinda gal?  Absolutely not, and I doubt I ever will be.

So to answer the question… do I prefer procrastination or check lists?  I’d like to think that I prefer the check list… but if history shows anything at all, it shows that I completely prefer procrastination, and that I will only get on board with the check list at the last minute, when it really matters, because it’s do or die.

**Disclaimer:  To be clear, I do think that post-secondary education is an incredibly invaluable experience, and while I found most of it fairly easy to tackle, I can appreciate the struggle that many have as I’ve struggled in other areas.  And to any University students reading this, thinking “hey, I knew procrastinating was fine!” I’d like to throw out my biggest regret:  Slacking left me without the skills I needed when it really counted.  By the end of third year and by fourth year of my degree, when my marks counted the most for teacher’s college, I was so overwhelmed by my workload because I’d never learned how to manage my time, that I was in a constant state of either panic or stress, and it took years to learn how to combat that.  I still fight those habits.  I didn’t get into the school I wanted to for teacher’s college, and it cost me thousands more dollars than I wanted to spend, because I had to move away from home and pay rent and buy my own food.  Everywhere I’ve been has led me to where I am now, and so that’s ok because I’m happy where I am, but I honestly think that had I learned the skills necessary to avoid having to do everything all at once, I’d have saved a lot of tears and frustration.


“When you look back at your blog on January 2, 2015, what would you like to see?”

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, lately, and thanks to WordPress, today I get to write about it.  I haven’t started with BlogHer’s prompts, yet, because WordPress’s have held my attention so far, but there appear to be some good ones coming from BlogHer, since January’s NaBloPoMo theme is ‘Pressure,’ and I feel like that topic can stir some stuff up.

Interestingly enough today, though, I can combine them both and talk about the pressure I’ve created for myself to blog well this year.

When I look back at my blog, this blog, on January 2, 2015, I really hope that I can say I’m proud of whatever I accomplished, regardless of what that is.  I have hopes and dreams for this blog, to be sure.  It’s becoming a baby of mine, in that I want to see it grow and flourish, and I want a base of readers built so that when I go to write my book (probably starting this year, I think I’m ready!!  …. that’s terrifying…), there will be people who want to read and buy it.  What’s the point in writing a book no one will read?

I gain followers with every post that I write, so I figure if I’m writing regularly, this trend in theory should continue.  And ultimately, I work much better under pressure so if I’ve created a little bit of pressure… perhaps I can create a diamond out of my blog?  This has inspired the theme change you may have noticed.  I figured after over 2 years with the same look, it was time for something new.  It may change a few more times in the next day or so… but, you know… New Year, new changes 🙂

 But my biggest hope and goal when I look back in 2015 is that no matter whether I’ve gained 1000 followers, or none, I’m able to smile at the personal reflection that writing lets me do, and that I’m able to smile and say I’ve done well for myself.  My ultimate goal in blogging is to reflect and express, so if I’ve done that, I’m happy 🙂

When you lose your voice

November 2013 has been the month where, unlike any other, I have battled with my voice.  I’ve lost it as a result of a cold a few times before, but never as frequently and for so long as I have this month.  I was without it for nearly two weeks between a concert and a cold.  I JUST had it back last week…… but…. it’s gone again.  Well, I have half of it.  I got another cold.  I’m a victim of working in an elementary school with little little kids.

The thing is… my voice is really important to me.  It’s hard to teach with no voice.

Even bigger than that, though…. I sing.  As often as I can.  All the time.  In the car, in the shower, at church, at school, while cleaning.  Whenever I can.

This morning at church, my step Dad leaned over during worship and whispered “it must be killing you not to be singing right now!”

And it was.

But it made me do something I don’t normally do.

I had to listen.  I had to worship with my heart while listening to the words, which is harder to do than I thought it would be.  I had to focus on the words and what they say and mean instead of just singing.  I find it can be so easy during worship to just sing without really thinking the words through, but that doesn’t work when you can’t get enough sound out of your vocal chords to sing a note.  What you can do, though, is focus on the lights, the other people, the sound booth, and everything going through your brain.  It takes real intentionality to be able to have a worshipful spirit when you can’t get words out of your mouth.

I found I was able to quiet my thoughts and my heart down, and I was able to realize the beauty in the words that everyone around me was singing.  But it took the first two songs of distractedly looking around before I could do it.

It was these words that finally got me:

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm

He is my light, my strength, my SONG.  My song.  Jesus is my song.  My voice doesn’t have to sing.  My spirit can.  I can focus with my heart, and Jesus knows what’s there.  Worship doesn’t have to just be with my voice.  Worship is the very act of letting God know how worthy He is of my praise.  I can do that without my voice.  And it’s like it just hit me this morning….

Though, while I’m mentioning it, I would REALLY like my voice back any day now… I miss it.

How I Feel About Endings (a Tribute to my buddy, Jack)

Today is November 30th.  It is the end of NaBloPoMo.

This means that when I wake up tomorrow morning, I will not have to think “I need to think about something to write about.”  It’s the end of the month.

I feel very similar to how I felt at the end of the summer, when I left Camp, went home, and didn’t HAVE to blog anymore.  The thing was, though, the habit had become so engrained after a little more than two months of blogging daily, that when I got home I felt like I was still looking for things to write about.

Today feels very much the same.  I know that when I get up tomorrow morning, I won’t have to think about what I’m going to write about later in the day….. but my reality is that I will likely write something anyway.  I just won’t be able to tag it “NaBloPoMo,” and I suspect greatly that my readership will take a bit of a nose-dive.  I do want to throw out a HUGE thank you, though, to everyone who read with me over this past month while I rambled my heart out onto these ‘pages.’

Endings are something that I’m not totally comfortable with right now.  Spoiler alert:  If you cry easily about dog stories, you may not want to read further.  My Mom has two dogs.  She has for ten years.  That means that I lived with both of them for a long time before I moved out of the house.

Jack and Keisha are brother and sister.  They were born to Jena in our kitchen in Wainfleet.  Jena was the first dog I ever really loved.  Prior to Jena, I’d been more of a cat person.  She broke down that wall in my heart that wouldn’t let slobbery dogs in, and she threw out all the pieces.

When I was in my first year of University, Jena got hit on the highway and was killed.  I sobbed for days.  Like… silent, gigantic tears running down my face the entire way through my first ever university exam, and I came home from it and collapsed in a heap on the floor and bawled… sure that I botched the exam because I couldn’t concentrate and even more sure that I would never get over missing Jena.

That wasn’t true, of course.  I did get over it, as great of a pooch as she was.  But we were left with her 2 month old baby girl — Keisha.  We’d found homes for every other puppy in the litter Jena had, and that left poor baby Keisha with no Mommy.  She’d go out in the yard and just cry, looking around… she did it for days.  When Jena’s life ended, there was sadness that I’d never experienced before.  I’ve never lost a close friend, a parent, or even a grandparent.  So far, my deepest-felt losses in life have been pets.  They really do become family.

A few months later, we got a phone call from one of the families we’d given a puppy to.  Their work situation had changed, and they couldn’t keep Shadow.  They wanted to know if in light of losing Jena, would we like to take Shadow back.  We did.  And we gave him his original name back — we welcomed Jack back into our lives.

It took Keisha a week or so to get over being a jerk to Jack, and they’ve been inseparable for the past 9.5 years.

But now… I have a heavy heart tonight, because Jack’s life is ending.  And this ending SUCKS.  I know he’s ten.  I know he’s ‘just a dog.’  I know he’s been sick for a very long time, and it’s the end that he needs because he’s in so much pain…. he’s being put down on Monday.

And it sucks.

And every time I think about it, I get a little weepy again.  It took a long time to make the decision.  Mom wanted to be sure she’d done everything she could before making the decision, but he’s in so much pain and he hurts all over.

So on Monday morning, I will have to say goodbye to my buddy, Jack.  And it will suck.  It will be so hard.  I don’t like this ending.  This is not a happy ending.  And it’s like Keisha knows.  You see, they’re at my house right now because my parents are down… and Keisha follows him around all over, and snuggles right up beside him for what little sleep he does get.

I am going to miss my buddy….

And that’s how I feel about that ending.

And with that, here’s a picture tribute to my buddy, Jack.

Jack as a baby - November 2003
Jack as a baby – November 2003
baby Jack - November 2003
baby Jack – November 2003
Jack at 6 months -- when we got him back.  2004
Jack at 6 months — when we got him back. 2004
Jack and Keisha... not yet best buds, but even then Jack was smiling.
Jack and Keisha… not yet best buds, but even then Jack was smiling.  I like how the flash made a perfect heart right over his head when I took the picture of a picture frame.
Jack with my baby Kloe sniffing at him.  August 2010.
Jack with my baby Kloe sniffing at him. August 2010.
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Jack always likes to be cool… just laying in the snow. This was today.
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Relaxing with Keisha by the Christmas tree (taken yesterday)
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Ohana means family…. and family means nobody gets left behind… or forgotten. In this case, Keisha will be left behind, but I doubt Jack will ever be forgotten, even by her. (taken today)
The three musketeers. (taken last night)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light!

Let there be light! Many of you already know that the photo in photography means light.  More often than not, though, we shy away from actually showing its source in our photos. In time for the shortest days of the year (at least in the northern hemisphere), let’s give our trusty light bulbs, flickering candles, and pedestrian street lamps their due respect.

We’re entering a truly light-filled season. Christmas trees, Hanukkah menorahs, and Kwanzaa kinaras are spreading their glow in homes the world over (or are just about to), while main streets and public buildings are being prepared for the winter holidays with an explosion of bright decorations.

Take a look around you. Choose one of the light sources you see, and make it the focus of your challenge entry. It can be a dramatic chandelier or a pair of dying candles; the moon, a row of glaring light bulbs in the parking lot, or a gaudy lava lamp stored in your attic: anything goes. The light doesn’t even have to be switched on: some lamps are just as fascinating for their shape as for the photons they emit.


The timing on this post could not be more perfect.

My Christmas tree went up this evening.  It’s a lot of work to get an 8′ tree put together… The biggest part of the work behind this tree… my BEAUTIFUL 8′ Martha Stewart Living, pre-lit, rotating tree…. that I got for 15 bucks at an auction ten years ago… is getting all the plugs hooked in together in the right order so that all three sections of the beast actually light up.  I’ve no joke nearly thrown the entire tree over both a 6th and 13th story balcony before… two separate apartments… never have I been more tempted to hulk something over the railings or out into traffic or something….

Anyway…. now that it’s all up and it was a peaceful set-up because my beautiful, dear Mother hooked it all up for me while I prepped the ornaments…. it’s sitting in the living room, it’s the only source of light (other than the television), and it’s letting off this super festive glow.  It’s stunning.  The picture does it no justice, but you can see the glow that the light gives off, which is the point, no?

I won’t say any more.

Check it.

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