Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting Ready...

With the launch of my new year's challenge, "365 Days of Celebration," just a few days away, I'm planning out the month of January. Taking my cue from, here is a list of the random holidays I'll be helping my family celebrate in January. I look forward to seeing how I can turn these into fun, memory-building, and even educational celebrations, and invite anyone reading this to join me in this adventure:

1 New Year's Day
2 Run up the Flagpole and See if Anyone Salutes Day
3 Festival of Sleep Day
4 Trivia Day
5 National Bird Day
6 Bean Day
7 Old Rock Day
8 Bubble Bath Day
9 Play God Day
10 Peculiar People Day
11 Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day
12 National Pharmacist Day
13 Make Your Dream Come True Day
14 Dress Up Your Pet Day
15 National Hat Day
16 National Nothing Day
17 Ditch New Years Resolutions Day
18 Winnie the Pooh Day
19 National Popcorn Day
20 Penguin Awareness Day
21 National Hugging Day
22 National Blonde Brownie Day
23 Measure Your Feet Day
24 Compliment Day
25 Opposite Day
26 Spouse's Day
27 Chocolate Cake Day
28 National Kazoo Day
29 National Puzzle Day
30 National Inane Answering Message Day
31 Inspire Your Heart with Art Day

Monday, December 21, 2009

Countdown to the New Year...

I've been remiss at posting in quite a while. Life it seems got in the way, what with an active toddler to care for, a house to maintain, a husband to love and support and a part time job to hold down. The busy-ness of life actually got in the way, and over the past few months I feel like I've forgotten to live. So, I'm heading into the new year with a renewed passion to celebrate life. To live every day as if it were my last. To cherish and enjoy each moment. And to remember that there is a higher purpose than just diapers, dishes and dental appointments.

My goal:
To celebrate each day and create memories with my family; and ultimately to renew my desire to rise above the mundane of every day and live the life God has given me with passion.

My commitments:
1. With the "random holiday calendar" as my guide, I will find creative ways to make each day a special day for my family and those around me.
2. With a nod to the movie "Julie & Julia" which, in part, inspired the idea, I will blog about my experiences each day for the 2010 year.
3. And with an express desire to make this more than just a "frivolous, let's have some fun" adventure, I will find ways not only to celebrate life but also to give life purpose and point those around me to Him.

So as I make my plans and gear up to start my 2010 adventure, I invite you --random reader who has found my blog -- to join me. Let me know you are reading this, and participate with me in this adventure!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Is this my life?

I often find myself these days sitting and asking "is this really my life?" 15 months ago my life was all about ministry. There was my ministry/job at Focus on the Family Canada, where I made an impact every day in the lives of countless people who contacted us for help. Then there was the ministry my husband has been called to as pastor of a church in Vancouver. And then there is my "family ministry", which at the time consisted of simply caring for and loving my hubby of 10 years.

Then all that changed when we found out we were having a baby, and now, as she gets ready to turn 6 months old, I find myself sitting here wondering what happened to my life! I went from leading a team of exceptional people in a job that I loved and felt called to, to spending my days in the following routine: get up, feed the baby, play with the baby, put the baby down for a nap, do household chores while said baby sleeps, get the baby up, feed the baby, play with the baby... you get the idea. I often feel like I'm stuck in a monotonous routine that produces nothing of any value, and I daily ask my husband to remind me why I thought I wanted this.

But wait. What about that "family ministry" that was a small but significant part of what I now call my "former life?" Each day when I open my Bible and spend time with the Lord, I am reminded not of what I have given up, but of the new ministry I have been called to. While the rewards of this ministry may not be as obvious as those I saw in my previous roles, the rewards are there if I chose to see them. They are there in each smile my daughter gives me when she sees me coming. They are there in the sound of her laughter as she plays with her daddy. And they are there in the sweet embrace she gives me as we cuddle at bed time. These are priceless rewards from a little one who's world literally revolves around me. And each morning as I spend time with the Lord, He reminds me of the huge role I play in ensuring that this little one knows Him and loves Him.

So yes, the diapers, the spit up, the endless loads of laundry... this is my life. A life of ministry to a little person who, Lord willing, will grow up to be an amazing woman with a ministry of her own.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Picture This

Ok, so apparently I've been tagged by a friend for a little blog game of "Picture This." According to Sharon, you are supposed to take a picture of yourself the minute you read this, and then post it on your own blog. I read hers just now... so here's what I look like right now...

Scary I know. Not as bad a I thought it would be considering how I'm feeling -- tired from a long day with a baby that just would not nap, and heading into a weekend when I'm alone with said baby for 48 hours while my husband "fasts" on the 30 Hour Famine with our church youth group. Anyhoo... this is me, in my pjs, hair up and out of my face after a long day, pretty much ready for bed at 8:30 pm, only still needing to wash bottles, clean up toys, and of course... watch CSI! ;-)

I tag Drew, Meghan, Julie, Heather and Xavier. Have fun!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Have you ever practiced the old tradition of Lent? Do you plan to do this year? If so, what are you giving up? And, more importantly, what are you vowing to focus on -- to be more disciplined in -- until Easter this year?

I read an interesting piece on Lent recently that helped me prepare for it this year. Ironically, Lent begins this year on my birthday (Feb 25th). My birthday is always an excuse to sleep in, eat what I know I shouldn't, etc., so I considered then putting on my practice of lent to the following day. But then I considered how appropriate it would be to start on the 25th. I celebrate 36 years of life tomorrow, and have been thinking a lot about my life and where I'm headed as I inch closer to 40. What better way to set new goals and focus on having more discipline in areas I am weak, than to start my 37th year of life vowing to give up something and put more focus on something else. What better way to refocus my life, as I seek the Lord's direction, than to get back to basics and focus on the intimacy of my relationship with Christ through the practice of self denial and discipline.

So what am I giving up? I'm giving up television (at least through the day time). I've found, now that I'm a stay at home mommy, that I spend much of my day with the television on. It runs in the background all day, "entertains me" when I don't feel like doing what I know I should be, and interrupts the quality time I should be spending with my infant daughter. I'm going to discipline myself keep the TV off until the evening (and even then only for programs my husband and I enjoy), so that I can do all the other things I always tell myself I should be doing.

I'm also giving up simple carbs, sweets and snacking. While I've always avoided calling my cravings gluttony, that's what it is. The eating of excess or the indulgence in overeating. Gluttony is basically eating anything your body doesn't need to survive. And, since my husband and I have been talking about eating better and doing what we can to improve our overall health, this seems like a logical thing to give up and a perfect way to focus on self discipline. Jesus gave up His life for me, the very least I can do for him is give up pasta, cookies, etc.

Instead, I intend to put my focus first and foremost on the discipline of simply not wasting every minute before me. Not sleeping in, but rather getting up early to spend the quiet moments of the day in prayer and in communion with God. Not lounging lazily on the couch, but instead grabbing the baby and going for a good walk or playing with her on the floor. Not indulging in useless carbs, but enjoying the simplicty of a fine vegetable and a perfectly grilled piece of salmon (or whatever) while lingering at the dinner table to enjoy the conversation... not the dessert. ;-) And not thinking about all the things I told myself I would do while on maternity leave, but instead actually doing them -- scrapbooking, writing more, soaking up every minute with my infant daughter, being the best wife possible to my overworked and underpaid husband, and ultimately, growing closer to the One who saved me and gives me life.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

I am

I saw a commercial the other day that intrigued me. It's for a new TV network for "boomer" women called Viva. After listening to the women on the commercial describe themselves in this creative way, it got me thinking about how I would describe myself in the same fashion. I tried to find the commercial online so you could see it, but couldn't find it. However, I did come up with my own list... so here it goes.

I am a ...
God following
bible reading
life embracing
true love finding
meal cooking
home making
silly song singing
blog writing
family cherishing
belly laughing
friendship seeking
joyfully mothering
holiday celebrating
photograph taking
coffee loving
music listening
movie watching
television viewing
travel desiring
worship leading
imagination creating
honest speaking
decor designing
husband adoring
gift givint
hug relishing
game playing
chocolate eating
slightly greying
and hopefully gracefully aging
Christian (not VIVA) woman.

Describe yourself!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Give me a "T"!

So I was reading Sharon's blog, and she did this... it sounded like fun and a bit of a challenge, so I left a comment on her blog. She then sent me a letter... the letter "T".

If you want to participate, leave a comment on this post and I will assign you a letter. You then write about 10 things you love that begin with the assigned letter and post them on your blog. When people comment on your posted list, you give them a letter and the chain continues on and on...

Then Things I Love...

1. Tacos. No list for me would be complete without expressing my love for tacos, or bascially anything Mexican! ;-) I could live on tacos, or pretty much anything with a tortilla!

2. Toes. More specifically, baby toes. I've always loved baby toes, and now that I have my own little one, I can't get enough of her little toes! They are so cute!!!

3. Tornadoes. I'm fascinated by tornadoes, and would love to be a storm chaser. "Twister" is one of my favorite movies.

4. Trees. I love trees... big, full, looming trees. That's one of the things I love about where we live... the big huge trees. In fact, my husband proposed to me under "our tree" at Stanley Park, and then had a water color painting done of the tree for a wedding gift.

5. Television. Ok, I admit it. I am a TV junkie. I enjoy a good crime scene drama (CSI, Law & Order, the Mentalist, etc.), enjoy curling up with my hubby on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons or the latest cheesy TV movie, etc.

6. Travelling. Being an MK, I can never stay very long anywhere. If I can't physically move somewhere, then I have to travel. I love road trips especially.

7. Typing. I love to write, but hate writing anything by hand. I think so much better when I'm typing. Even letters to my family... it has to be typed or I go blank. It's a good thing that's what I do for a living eh? ;-)

8. Tandoori Chicken! I love anything India (2nd only to Mexican), but Tandoor Chicken is my favorite. Wrap it up in some naan bread and add that cool, green dipping sauce (can't remember what that's called) and I'm yours.

9. Tea, specifically iced tea. That's all I order when we are out for dinner, and I ensure I have a pitcher of it in the fridge at home all the time.

10. Tulips. Since I grew up in Ecuador, where the tulip was rarely seen, I love getting tulips from my husband. They are so colourful and just scream "Spring!"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A new appreciation...

I now have a new appreciation for the role of a single parent. My soon-to-be 3 month old daughter is sick, very sick, with her first cold, and never before have I been so grateful to have a partner in this journey. It's made me wonder how single parents survive when they have no one to lean on and give them some relief! Dr. James Dobson refers to single parenting as the "toughest job in the universe," and I have to agree. I don't know how I would manage if I didn't have my husband to help me out, give me a break, and worry alongside me.

So here's to all you single parents out there... may you be blessed beyond measure for the difficult role you have in caring for your children on your own. And to those who know a single parent... may you be challenged, as I have been, to offer help, support, and love!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Love List

It's Friday, and that likely means my friend Sharon will be blogging her traditional "Friday Love List"! I look forward to reading it, and sometimes create my own. Since she hasn't yet posted hers... I figured I'd do one first!

1. A good cup of coffee.
2. Cuddles with my 12 week old.
3. Watching my husband play with our daughter.
4. Emails and phone calls from home.
5. Reconnecting with old friends.
6. Mondays - our day off together as a family.
7. Baking and creating things in the kitchen.
8. Making our house a home.
9. Blogging, writing and putting my creative juices to work.
10. Playing Wordscraper with the Rachels (two of them) on Facebook!
11. Good movies.
12. The perfect picture (photo).
13. Warm socks, comfy PJs and no place to go for the night.
14. Inspiration.
15. Celebrating silly holidays (did you know today is National Nothing Day?)

What do you love?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Parenthood: the Lesson of a Lifetime

I recently enrolled in the hardest class of my life. The teacher? My daughter, Abigail. My mother always said that children end up teaching you much more than you teach them, but I never really believed that to be true until my daughter entered the world. At two months of age, she’s already opening my eyes to new things each day, and teaching me more about myself and what truly matters in life.

I’m learning to find pleasure in simple things. It’s amazing how your perspective changes when you have children. Through my daughter I’m discovering the world again. Things I’ve taken for granted, like the intricate details of my fingers, the glow of a lamp, or the way shadows dance on the wall, I’m seeing again through Abbie’s eyes. Suddenly the materialism of the world, and the need I once had to be entertained by the latest gadget or movie, have been replaced by the joy of watching my daughter discover the world around her.

I’m learning to take time to play, and rest.
Before my daughter came into our lives, my husband and I were on a roller coaster ride of busy schedules, and overloaded lives. But something about having a baby has forced us both to re-evaluate our schedules, to slow down and take time for fun and rest. The life of a baby is simple, play, eat, sleep. Nothing more is needed, and through Abbie we are learning to take time simply to stop and rest.

I’m learning that I can’t do it on my own.
I’ve always prided myself in being an independent woman, able to do things on my own and rely on no one. But when I gave birth to my daughter, I was suddenly met with the reality that I can’t do everything on my own. I’ve had to learn to ask for help, express need, and rely on the fellowship of others like never before. And I’m learning that that’s okay. We aren’t designed to travel through life alone.

I’m learning to give up control.
I love control. I am an organized perfectionist, and my home has always reflected this. I live by schedules and routines, and make lists and rely on calendars to organize my life. But when my daughter came into my life, suddenly the control I once had was gone. No longer could I obsessively clean, or live by a tight schedule of tasks and activities. I’ve had to learn to relax, even with a sink full of dishes! This doesn’t mean my house has turned into a mess of laundry, clutter and chaos, but it does mean that I’m learning to accept that the dusting may not get done, or that I may not always look my best.

I’m learning just how selfish I really am.
I never really considered myself to be a selfish person until Abbie entered my life. But it turns out I am. Each day my daughter teaches me to be selfless; to put her needs, and the responsibilities I now have at home, above my own needs. I knew this would be the case in theory, but putting this into practice day in and day out is hard. I’ve found moments when I’ve resented my inability to do my own thing. Through Abbie I’m learning the joy of selfless devotion and sacrificial love.

But above all else, I’m learning to trust and pray.
Never before have I felt so inadequate, so out of control, so overwhelmed, and so dependent on the Lord. I’ve always been someone deeply rooted in my faith in God. I’ve seen Him do amazing things, and have trusted Him in times when my husband and I struggled through deep valleys. But the birth of our daughter has tested my faith in ways I never imagined. Each day I’m forced on my knees, crying out to the Lord for wisdom, patience, peace and selfless love. And each day He rewards me with the smiles of an infant who has taught me more in her few short week so of life, then I have learned in my 35 years on this earth. She’s the best teacher I could ever ask for, and I look forward to many more years of learning as I cling to God’s faithfulness and trust Him for her future.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A year in review...

I read this on Sharon's blog, and then on Meghan's. I enjoyed both of their reviews and agreed it was a good exercise in looking back before looking forward.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Got pregnant and had a baby! What a shock and life-changing event that has been!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't really make resolutions, but rather focus on a theme for what I want to work on or focus on for that year. 2008 was a year of "discipline" (see my post on it). It didn't turn out the way I thought it would, due in large part to the baby we found out was on the way not long after the year began, but it was a year of discipline none-the-less.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! Me! LOL. Aside from that, several women I work with had babies in 2008.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, but there were several deaths last year that made an impact on me. The first being the sudden death of a close friend's husband. Another being the death of a member from our church. And the final one being the death of Steven Curtis Chapman's little girl, Maria. In each case, I saw God move and learned about His faithfulness in times of storm.

5. What countries did you visit?

Only the USA.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

A better sense of God's calling in my life and in our life as my husband and I take stock of the past year, ponder our future and seek His will for us when it comes to our family and our ministry.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

February 18th - the day I found out I was pregnant (read the story here).

May 21st - the day Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter died, made all that more poignant given that we had just learned we were having a girl.

October 22nd - the day our baby girl was born.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I'm going to sound like a broken record through this review I think! My biggest acheivement in 2008 was carrying and delivering a healthy baby girl!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not trusting God enough when my faith was tested.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope. I was the healthiest I have ever been while I was pregnant. Amazing huh?

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The family portraits we had done for Christmas. Never thought I'd live to see the day that our family pictures would be more than just me and my hubby!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband's. Through the labour and delivery of our little girl he was my rock. (See more here.)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I'll have to think that one through. Nothing comes to mind at the moment.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Again... the baby!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Once I got over the shock of it all, I'd have to say that our little Abigail Joy got me really excited! ;-) Our trip home for Christmas, to introduce Abbie to my family, is also high on my list of excitements in 2008!

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

"Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman for the reasons stated above.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:?
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?

Happier, surprisingly thinner (especially given I just had a baby 2 months ago) and poorer thanks to the newest addition and my maternity leave!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

More time with God; more time with friends; more quality time with my husband; more time resting in God's faithfulness rather than worrying about the future.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Again, less worrying about what I could not control.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

In Ontario with my family, as we celebrated not only the holidays, but also my parents 40th wedding anniversary.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

Yes. All over again to the love of my life... my husband and friend of 11 years.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Not one, but several. Heroes, Prison Break, Fringe, NCIS, and The Big Bang Theory top the list.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


24. What was the best book you read?

"What To Expect When You're Expecting" - yes, really. It was a God send as I waded through the pregnancy and tried to understand and look ahead to all that was happening to me.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Can't think of anything.

26. What did you want and get?

A family; a baby. Still can't believe I'm writing those words.

27. What did you want and not get?

A trip to Europe (specifically Italy) for our 10th annivesary. Instead, we had a baby.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

"The Dark Knight" with Heath Ledger. Amazing.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 35 on the 25th of February. One week after finding out I was pregnant. Best birthday gift ever.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?


31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Comfortable and roomy. ;-)

32. What kept you sane?

My husband. Again, he was my rock; my parents, and everyone who prayed me through 9 months of a high risk pregnancy.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Did I "fancy the most?" Ha ha. Hum... Steven Curtis would be on the top of the list. I'm also continually intrigued by the Jolie-Pitts.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I hate politics, but the US election (while irritating towards the end) was fascinating to watch unfold.

35. Who did you miss?

My family; my mom. Having a baby will do that to you. I hate being so far away.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

No one comes to mind, but I'm sure there is someone.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

That God is faithful. I knew this, of course, in my head, but 2008 was a year that tested my faith and taught me, in ways I wasn't expecting, of God's amazing faithfulness.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

From Steven Curtis Chapman`s song, `Bring It On.`

Now, I don’t want to sound like some hero
‘Cause it’s God alone that my hope is in
But I’m not gonna run from the very things
That would drive me closer to Him
So bring it on