Tuesday, December 28, 2010

our news

we're adopting!  
God has blessed us with a wonderful gift, a gift that reflects His own heart in so many ways.
in march, we will be adopting - not a hippo, a pelican, or a giraffe - but a brand-new baby boy :).



how it happened:
patrick and i have wanted to have a family for a long time.  ever since losing our baby in 2009, we have been looking into different ways to deal with my pcos and the infertility/difficulty carrying a baby that comes with it.  it's pretty disheartening, and we also started looking into adoption.  knowing the costs that adoptions entail, however, we didn't seriously consider it as an immediate option, since patrick's still in school and i'm not able to get a teaching job here in tbay.
on my first day at work, i met a lovely girl.  she was pretty, and sweet, and competent.  we had a lot of time to sit and chat, and since we're both pretty open about our lives, managed to share a lot of personal stories with each other.   i told her about my miscarriage and longing to have a child; she shared with me her sorrow about being unable to keep her baby.  i felt my heart leap, but didn't say anything.  (how do you ask someone to please give you her baby?)
a few days later, she confided that she had found someone she thought would be perfect to adopt the baby (she didn't want to go through an agency - that was too cold & impersonal, and also, she wanted to know her baby would be raised by christian parents, but she hadn't been able to find anyone she felt was just right).  she laughed and said she didn't know how to approach the prospective parents - she didn't know how to ask them if they would consider taking her baby.  i said, yes, it would be awkward - and awkward for them too, if they didn't know how to make it known that they would love to adopt her baby so she could feel comfortable asking.
"you, for example" she said "i would love it if you would be interested in adopting the baby.  but how would i ask you?"

:)

it was like God simply placed this gift into our hands.  patrick and i had been praying - and continued to pray! - about this.  and just felt comfort and peace.  Jesus was adopted - raised by joseph as his son.  and God adopts us into His family.  and God gave up His Son - for our abundant life.  if God has done so much through the beauty of adoption, maybe He wants to do this for us - and for the baby - as well.

so, we've met with an adoption practitioner everything is getting under way.  we've got paperwork coming out our ears :).

also, we have some beautiful ultrasound pictures - one in particular melts my heart: he's sucking his thumb and rubbing his ear with his other hand, just like my nephew used to do when he was a baby.  i can't wait to meet this kid face to face.

here are some answers to the most popular questions we've had so far:
1) yes, we do know the birth mom might change her mind.  yes, we're keeping that in mind.  (in response, i just want to say that there is a higher rate of miscarriage than of this happening, and it's definitely considered taboo to tell a pregnant woman she could likely miscarry.  adopting moms are no less emotionally invested or in love with the baby than other moms, and are completely aware of this possibility.)

2) we're currently going through a homestudy and taking adoption classes.  we're following all the proper legal channels, and the baby will be legally totally wonderfully ours 29 sweet days after he is born.  (we will be taking him home from the hospital, but the adoption can be voided up to 29 days after his birth.)

3) it will be an open adoption, but precise details about what this means for all of us are still in process of being sorted out.

so, that's our story.  please pray for both birth mom and baby.  :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

pieces of my heart

i'm missing the kids more & more as we get closer to christmas.  i absolutely adore them, and miss their perfect hilarious wonderfulnesses.  it's like pieces of my heart are walking around outside my body, and i can't do anything at all to prevent life from hurting them ridiculously. 

i wish i could be there so that they're reminded there is one more person who completely loves them, who wants life to be very very good to them, who thinks they rock no matter what happens.  i want them to grow up totally surrounded by a huge fan base - and i want that to include me!  i want them to know they're prayed for, cheered for, and cherished.
and i want them to know that i know them, as they are, and think they're amazing.

kid 1 is smart and funny and beautiful.  she's breathtakingly smart, and always has been, and is unintimidatable.  she's completely her own person, frank and lovely.  she's the kind of person who asks questions and finds out the reasons behind things, and files the knowledge away tidily in her mind.  and she's always ready to laugh and jump into the next fun thing that pops into her head.  it kills me to think that she was just an itty bitty baby and now she's almost 12 and when i blink again she'll be 24, and i hope & pray she still greets life with the intelligence and glee she's always had.

kid 2 is a beautiful warrior.  when she was teensy, she was all princessy pink and bows and tiaras.  now she's still girly, and always surrounded by friends and parties, but there's something stronger in her, fierce and unstoppable.  last summer, we bought ice cream in the park.  she dropped hers.  no squealing, fussing, or pouting - this kid wrapped her hand around the chunk of ice cream on the floor and stuck it firmly back on the cone.  she's strong and winsome and i miss her snuggles and confidence and her adorable elf-grin when she's trying to worm out of getting in trouble.  i pray that she will find strength in Jesus and grow beautifully stronger in Him every day of her life.

kid 3 is a heartwarmer.  she's generous and spontaneous and goofy, and really considerate of other people.  if you walk into her house, she immediately thinks of ways to make you welcome.  this may include (but is not limited to) dancing around crazily and singing, leaping on you for a hug, or rushing upstairs to get her bubblegum to share with you.  she has a huge and simple faith - she prays with complete confidence.  she loves with her whole heart and forgives faster and more completely than anyone i've ever known.  and if someone is hurt or sad, she's the first to try to make them feel better.  her tenderness breaks my heart, and i hope life is as gentle with her as she is with others.  i pray that she will grow in faith and love and be used by God to bless others more & more.

kid 4 is amazingly fearless and playful, and fearless in the coolest way.  one of my favorite memories is when he performed a concert for patrick & me.  he turned off all the lights, plugged in a strobe light, and sang us a spectacularly sweet version of fiveforfighting's superman.  his voice (gorgeous) was wonderful, but the best part was that he gave us such a cool gift, so un-selfconsciously and generously.  once, he made me a keychain and gave it to me, saying "i made this for you because you love me."  i do - i sure do.  if you're ever looking for someone who is kind, and up for all sorts of daredevilry and a crowd of laughs, he's your man.  i pray that he will walk, like Jesus, generously and beautifully all the days of his life.

kid 5 is a fierce bundle of loyalty and love.  she's the kind of kid who will wrap her arms around you and hold on like the clingiest of koalas, and make you laugh with her silly faces.  she's game for just about anything (which is great for kid 4, who gets lots of practice doing stunts and making jokes with her around).  she's an incredibly appreciative audience/participant.  she adores her family and everything they do, because she's loyal and proud.  she's got the world's biggest soft spot for animals, and lists pets as basic human necessities.  i am so glad and proud to be loved by her.  i pray that the people she loves will always see what a huge gift she gives, and that she will never stop loving generously with all her heart.

i love them.  and miss them.  with all of my heart.

Friday, December 17, 2010

cadeaux!

i've been making some itty-bitty cadaux for christmas.  as soon as they reach their destination, i will post pictures and how-to instructions.  fun & awesome.
but!  i'm not the only one who has been making presents!
caitlin and victoria's amazing mom Lucy made me a gorgeous apron.
it would be very greedy of me not to share, so here's a pic:

(i'm not trying to raise the roof, i was spinning around with glee :))

:)  come visit and i'll use it to make something snacktacular.
xo.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

temp

just sent my resume to  a temp agency!  :)  here's hoping they can find me something other than burger flipping at a&w ...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ode to vinegar

o vinegar, dear vinegar,
how i love you.
how perfect you are with
salt.
how delightfully you clean my
windows - dishes - laundry -
and countertops.
you absorb odours and repel mildew
you combat germs with all the force of bleach
and none of the nasal discomfort.
today alone you have helped me to
scour pots and freshen apartmenty washing machines
and sanitize the bathroom and clean a raw-chicken-y plate
and flavour the chicken as well,
o vinegar!
they say you are made from fermented grain or coal tar
and whether they've got their stories wrong or not
you are made
for making my life
clean
and
delicious.
hold your ugly gallon self proud, and doff your little cappy lid in joy
for today, o vinegar, 
the shiny, tangy universe celebrates you!

Monday, December 13, 2010

a merry little christmas

i was feeling festive last week, and wanted to make something.  i had already taken my daily trek through the freezing winds and ice pellets, so had to settle with using the craft supplies i have.   i didn't think i had anything christmassy, so it was a nice challenge, raiding the closet with as much imagination as i could muster.

i found:
1 glue gun, lots of refill sticks
1 empty boot box
1/2 a bag of cranberry scented potpourri
1 exacto knife

so i unfolded the boot box and had a reasonable amount of cardboard.  i cut out a circle, free-hand - nothing like a little whimsy to add personality to a craft.  (okay, i just didn't bother finding something round to trace.)
then i hot-glued the potpourri onto the cardboard ring, and ta-dah, i had an envy-of-etsy cranberry scented christmas wreath!

(okay, etsy wouldn't touch it.  but the cardboard doesn't show and it smells good.)  for extra festive oomph, i added it to the gorgeous star hanging in my kitchen (a goodbye gift from katie).
also, it wouldn't be a day in my life if i didn't injure myself in some way ...
the glue gun somehow found its way to my arm, now i am sporting what looks suspiciously like a cigarette burn - just in time for the holidays.
merry christmas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

nogcakes

it's a cozy snowy wintry sort of day, and we skipped breakfast, so i wanted to make something quick and comforting for lunch.  we had a little eggnog left in the fridge, and the other day patrick had asked what eggnog pancakes would taste like.  we both drooled a little at the thought, so today we tried it out.  it was so simple - i just added a few dashes of spice and replaced half the milk with eggnog in my favorite pancake recipe.   it was so yummy and christmassy i wanted to share.



okay, this isn't a very appetizing example.  there's a reason it was left behind when all the others were eaten.  but it's all i have left to show you, because we ate the entire batch.  (we had help.)

*eggnog pancake recipe:
1 cup milk
1 cup eggnog
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar (or a little less.  measurements aren't exact)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or a little more.  yum)
a dash of cinnamon
a dash of ginger
2 cups flour
1 and a half tablespoons of baking powder.

stir it all together until it's all mixed in (none of this slightly lumpy business, i use a whisk and make it as smooth as i can).  then cook them like you always do!  (i do a minute on each side, at medium temperature, when i'm not surfing on facebook and letting them burn ... like the one in the photo.)

*i think it's the beastly amount of baking powder - these are yummy and fluffy even without the eggnog.  it's a quick & simple go-to recipe when you want something with little hassle and lots of deliciousness.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

why i quit my job

i quit my job.
no, i'm not crazy.
this is me explaining why.

first off, i had turned down the promotion and was convinced to take it against my better judgment.  i knew i didn't want more hours and responsibility.  full time supervisor was enough for me - and then some.  i'm not a work-driven person; i like a job that makes me feel successful and positive relatively quickly (like my first teaching placement ... i loved jr. high.  i could definitely handle the workload and saw changes in my students' learning as i taught).  i guess i need that kind of affirmation, or i don't see a point in going on.  if it's taking me an unusual amount of time to achieve results, i might as well step aside and let someone with more skills take the reins - we'll all be happier in the end.

secondly, i was working way too many hours.  i was pulling 14 hour days (on salary, so no correlation in my paycheque) and i saw patrick for weepy half-hours in the evenings and mornings.  at first, i liked the challenge of seeing if i could get through the grand opening.  but as time went by and i was still learning - slowly, slowly - while the amount of work i was required to do increased, my desire to get up in the morning decreased.  all i could do was come home at night and collapse into bed.

next, i was stressed out.  i was working 14 hour days, missing my husband, rarely getting days off, and getting one break per day.  i lost ten pounds in a month.  (the weight loss is nice ... but stressing it off was not the best way to lose it.)  EVERYTHING was a BIG DEAL!  and i was getting boring.  on the two occasions when i did see my friends, i just talked about work.  ugh.

fourth: weekends.  when i took the job, my biggest hesitation was that i wouldn't be able to get to church every sunday.  i was assured that every second sunday i would be free.  ... but in actuality, after a month, i got to one service.  not my thing.  i don't want a job that rules my life, even if this busy time is supposed to end in 3 months - i don't want to be a stranger to my christian family.

finally, the support i was assured i would have was just not in place.  when i asked for help, i constantly heard "you'll understand everything in time, don't worry."  which wasn't the best answer when home office was emailing and calling me constantly, asking me to correct mistakes and to get things done yesterday.

so, after considering it carefully, and after finding myself crying more days than not ... i said goodbye.  life is short and i want it to be sweet.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

i'll be home for christmas ...

if only in my dreams.

i admit it.  i miss my family.  i wish i was snuggled up with my nieces, drinking hot chocolate, listening to their stories about school and friends and what they want for christmas.  i wish my nephew was telling me, in his adorable breathless way, about his dirt bike and what he wants to do with it in the summer.  i wish my sisters were making chai tea and planning sledding dates with my mom and dad.  i wish we were putting up twinkly lights and complaining about the shopping traffic in bayers lake.  i wish we were listening to kenny and dolly and boney m and patrick complaining about it. 

i wish i was at home with my wonderful, beautiful family.

i miss you.

Monday, November 15, 2010

grand opening weekend and things i'm thankful for

we opened for business on thursday, and people were bursting down the doors.  it was like a tickle-me-elmo-christmas-crush ... for furniture.
for four days, the population of thunder bay streamed into our store in droves. 
it was insanity. 
we were working 15 hour days, with not even time for breaks.  customers were amazingly patient with us, because we're all in training - but even so, the stress was intense.  i've never managed before.  agh.
by saturday, the lack of sleep and immensity of the workload made my neck ache.  it was still hurting yesterday, and today at work, the girls were telling me i didn't look too great. 
so they told my boss i was going to the clinic, another manager drove me there, and i walked in.
within 5 minutes, i was standing at the pharmacy counter with my prescription in hand.
i've never had a shorter visit in a clinic.  i'm so glad to have such amazing coworkers who take care of me even when i'm too blind to take care of myself.
then patrick tucked me into bed and did the laundry while i slept ... and is making me supper while i type.
so blessed.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

winnipeg: over

i'm home!  i'm home!  yesterday afternoon, caitlin met me at avis, and brought me back to my beautiful, amazing, dear husband.  i was so tired i could hardly think straight.  i slept for ten hours, and yet this morning i still have bags under AND over my eyes.  ick.

it is so nice to be back in my life again.  i love my place.  i love my sweet cozy bed.  i love my thoughtful husband.  who knew: i even love thunder bay. 
weirder still: i'm excited to eat vegetables. 
(eating out for a week was not as awesome as i thought it would be.  ugh.)

thanks for all the comments and love on my blog, friends.  i love you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

winnipeg: day six

last day of training!  brain is mush.  but i've learned a lot and hopefully will take most of it back to a gorgeous new store :D.

after work, we went shopping - to two malls and a maze of outlet stores.  2 kind of cool things happened ...

i was sitting outside starbucks, and could see a kid further up the mall who looked so much like ashlin.  and i was missing her so much, and all of a sudden she texted me!  it made my day. i love my nieces and nephew.  they're fun people.

another cool thing that happened was at the end of the night.  a girl walked up to me, and she was like 'you seem so familiar!  do i know you from somewhere?' and i was like 'i don't think so - i'm not from in town.  i'm janelle.' and she was like 'i'm janelle!"  and then she introduced her friend, and they said that they (young people from their church) walk through the mall on friday nights and pray for people who stand out to them ... and then she asked if they could pray for me, and about anything in particular.

and then, right there in the mall, she did.  and i thought it would've been awkward and weird, but it was really awesome and i am so glad she did.

it made God feel so close.  even in the food court of the mall.
so thanks, winnipeg.  it's been a weird and difficult and good week.

tomorrow: patrick. <3

winnipeg: day five


Today we worked from 1230 til 915. It was so nice to sleep in! Afterwards, we went out for supper and laughed our butts off.

Until I put my foot in my mouth ... . A girl we were with was swearing earlier in the evening, saying Jesus Christ! for emphasis. Later, when I made a joking reference to some popes' less-than-holy treatment of kids, she freaked out and almost cried.  oops.  but I don't understand a view of God that makes it okay to curse His name but worships his (so-called) representative. Anyway, that made for an awkward night, with me apologizing for hurting her feelings, and her telling me that I was being worse than anti-Semitic for suggesting that popes aren't perfect ... but i'm a “nice person” and she doesn't want to hate me, so she's trying to remember to “be happy.” ugh! Catholics freak me out. Especially the ones who think they're good Catholics.

Jesus is God and I worship Him. Anybody else who tries to be worshipped is stealing His glory.

I'll be in Patrick's arms in less than 48 hours ... Lord Jesus willing, regardless of what the pope thinks of it!
Hurray!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

winnipeg: day four

i have the strongest urge to jump on my bed.  it's huge, and i have the biggest pillows to land on.  i know when i get home, i'm going to find our bed small and our pillows flat ... but the best part will be snuggling with patrick, no matter how small or crowded it might seem!

today, a guy walked into leon's wearing a stripey brown shirt and black-rimmed glasses.  for a second, my heart leaped into my throat.  i thought it was patrick, coming to visit ...

anyway.  tonight we went to mcdonalds for supper - got take out - and watched movies.  then i talked to patrick and cried for the first time this week.  it just hit me hard how much i missed him.

we're working a later shift tomorrow, so get to sleep in.  yay! 
goodnight, friends.

ps thanks for all the comments :D

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

winnipeg: day three

another day.  today i learned how to do some more reports, some scheduling, and some finalizing of orders.

i also learned how to take a little bit of a stand, and not let one of my girls - who is awesome, but strongly opinionated - push me around.  which is cool.  i wasn't mean or anything, but i didn't reward pushiness with compliance.

after work, we went out to sushi cushi, which was cute & fun, and then to the movies to see social network.  it was good to just totally relax and enjoy the movie without thinking about work or stress about inter-office-cliques or anything like that.  also, it was free popcorn & pop night ... sweet!

thanks for praying for us.  i need more wisdom and patience than i possess! 

sweet dreams, all!

Monday, November 1, 2010

winnipeg: day two

today we went to the winnipeg store.  they were amazing.  so nice, so helpful.  we learned a lot.

i am sooooo tired.

good night world.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

winnipeg: day one

today we drove to winnipeg.  in a sweet rented routan.  (thank you, silmara!)  one of my girls was sick ... we had a gross moment on a bridge - where we couldn't pull over - and she puked in an empty tim's cup.  i had to drive with my knees and cover my ears with my hands so i wouldn't puke too.  all the other times, we got pulled over before the ickiness.

i killed my first roadkill.  the cutest little squirrel tried to kamikaze the van.  sadly, we won, and the last we saw of it was its little corpse spinning in circles from our deadly force.  agh.  i don't know how soldiers do it.

also, we saw llamas.

and cows.  lots of cows, yeah yeah.

and we only stopped for gas once - the routan has amazing mileage.

anyway, we arrived in winnipeg and i suddenly started to get excited for the week.  up til then, i'd mostly been bummed about being away from patrick.  (i still am.  but it's fun chatting with him online.  he's hot.)

so we checked into our hotel, and went upstairs ... and the girls were sharing rooms, but i got one all to myself ... and when i walked in ... !!!!!  it's huge - a suite, really, with a living room and kitchen and bathroom and massive bedroom.  and it's beautiful.  and the solitude is the most precious part.

being alone is awesome because: tonight i'm chatting with patrick, blogging, listening to music.  i'm going to hop into the tub for a warm bath and read my book.  and them i'm going to pray and fall asleep.  and i love it. 

(oh.  i don't know if i mentioned it, but i got another promotion.  crazily.  i'm the office manager now. it feels so sudden and unexpected.  but i'm glad.  and that explains the king suite ... hooray for perks!)

surprising, sweet gifts from God.  He takes care of us.  and while i always feel tenderly cared for, and know His provision for me is constant, this week i feel especially lavished in a love language i can touch and see and feel.

thanks, God, for taking such good care of me!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

road trip: winnipeg

i'm going to winnipeg next week, for training with work.  i've never been there.  i was hoping someone from our store would be taking us, but they're not, and i'm the supervisor, so ... i'll be driving my girls!  our bosses have rented us a van, and we'll get the keys sunday morning. crazy. 

i plan to make food for patrick to eat while i'm gone.  the real problem, though, is to get him to remember to eat ... he doesn't get hungry (just cranky).  we're both really really bummed at being apart for seven days.  no cuddles.  no morning coffee & conversation.  no whiskery kisses.

however, while i'm not looking forward to being away from patrick for so ridiculously long, i am looking forward to seeing a live store in action, and getting some practice serving customers and managing records.  and, i've saved some money to buy some cute clothes before i go - since i'll be working in a real store, not a construction zone - so three cheers for shopping!

the weather network predicts that winnipeg's weather next week will be above 6 degrees and sunny.  hooray!  then snowy for our ride home.  icksville.

here's hoping we have fun times and a safe trip.  pray for us!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

three wheel kiss bloggies

to deep down things i award the prestigious spelunk award.  jen from deep down things takes us below the surface of everyday events and refocuses our attention on things that really matter.   thanks, jen, for sharing your treasures with us.

to patrick's blob, i award the nerdie.  patrick reviews books, musical artists, and occasionally shares stories from his life.  his academic style and choice of topics are geeky chic like your favorite suspenders.  cheers to you, patrick.

to polkadotsoup, i award the bearhug.  katie's cute posts - from her multitude mondays to frequent sweet peeks into her life - feel like a real-live hug, no matter how far away i am.  thanks for your daily updates and adorableness, k-dizzle!  i love you.

to my small tornado, i award the diaper genie.  danielle makes mommyhood seem like a run in the park.  her little macattack is already lighting up the blogosphere - thanks for sharing him (and yourself) with us, dan.

to the journey inside, i award the honest abe.  carrie is open and transparent in her writing, and is brave enough to tackle really personal, private topics.  she also shares absolutely adorable stories of her kids, whom i love, even though i have never met them.

to idlehide, i award the linklove.  heidi's posts are always like little peeks into her fun and busy life, and one of my favorite things about her blog is her link list to wonderful blogs.  she's one of my first stops before i start surfing.  thanks, heidi, for keeping me linked!    *honorable mention goes to heidi's hubby, kennyo, for posting weird and wonderful clips before they show up on msn.com.   

to rise before dawn, i award the vuvuzela.  gwen's descriptions of life & work in south africa are beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking.  i love getting my africa fix by popping on over to her blog.  thanks, cousin!

*      *      *

honorable mentions to those whose blogs have been somewhat sparse of late: i'm still a fan.  keep posting because i love to read your stuff.
joey at a day in the life has sweet stories and adorable kids. i love them so much it hurts.  i need more stories!
kelly at life [revealed] has some of the world's most hilarious stories and vulnerable writing, usually all in the same post.

thanks to all of you.  i love peeking in to your lives, and seeing your world through your eyes.  

comfort

when i'm upset, i usually turn to food.  or hugs.  the best comfort is some yummy food (maybe pork dumplings with spicy tangy sauce) and a cuddle.

but if i don't have patrick, and i'm not hungry, or don't have what i'm craving, the next best comfort is ink.

clearly, not for cuddling.  or eating.

but for writing.  when i'm stressing, i reach for my pen and notebook.  i used to write about whatever was upsetting ... but then i would blow it all out of proportion, and make a mountain out of a molehill.

so i like to resort to making lists.  i make lists of things to do.  things to buy.  nice things.  bad things.  things i love.  things i hate.  things i wish i'd said.  things i want to do.  and sometimes i draw - lame, inconsequential sketches, like flowers or stars or birds.

ink is no small comfort.

Monday, October 18, 2010

this day

psalm 118:24. 
this is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

this day.  with its cold, starry morning and its long training session and free pizza for lunch.  with its sweet husband and turkey soup and a freshly-cleaned apartment.  with its smoky smoke smoking neighbours and satisfying bubble bath.  with its full complement of texting and facebook messages, with its youtube videos and comfortable couch.  with its longing heart and red-rimmed eyes.  with its cares.

this day.  this is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

thank you, Lord, for one more day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

just another way to be like Jesus.

alrighty.  today i'm responding to a post my friend Carrie wrote about Christian marriages and sex.  you can check out her post here.
if that sort of thing isn't the type of topic you want to read, please stop now. :).  i'll still love you.
on the other hand, if you do want to read, agree, disagree, comment, or interrupt ... the comment box is below and i'd love to hear from you.

a long time ago, i wrote a post about a coworker, who found joy in washing dishes.  he said that making dirty things clean all day was just another way he could be like Jesus. 
and that phrase stuck in my head.
and i think that God is always working on making us more like Jesus.  and He uses all sorts of things to do that.
and i think that one of those things is sex.

God is a giver.
and being givers is one of the sweetest ways to be like Him.  Jesus gave everything for us.  and He gives us every good & perfect gift.
and virginity is one of the good & perfect gifts He gives us.
He gives it to us because He knows that giving is awesome.  and when we come to marriage as virgins, we come as givers - not seekers, not takers, but givers - we get to be like Him in the sweetest, most vulnerable way possible.

in my experience (getting personal here, beware), being in this kind of marriage is spectacularly awesome.  it's exciting, it's fun, it's always new, and it's beautiful.  it's not boring, stale, or selfish.  it's honest.  it's incredibly secure-ifying.  (i mean, it helps me be secure.  i struggle with this in every area of my life, except with patrick.)

i think i was blessed (?) to be raised in a church that didn't talk about sex at all.  what i mean is, i didn't hear "sex is bad" from the pulpit, at youth events, etc.  i didn't hear anything about that.  so instead of having a lot of creepy baggage to wade through, i feel like i absorbed most of my opinions, thoughts, ideas about sex from my parents indirectly, through my upbringing.  and i am grateful for that.
let me explain.

my parents lived out their faith.  as i grew up, i watched them make sacrifices to care for others.  i watched them trust God when things were really hard.  i felt loved and wanted ... even though we were a big family, i always felt like my parents were glad for every one of us kids.  sure they weren't perfect, but i always knew their motivation, in everything they did, was to honor God and care for their family.  and that permeated their relationship too.

so Christianity was never a separate category in their lives.  everything they did sprang from loving Jesus and wanting to obey and live out His word.  and when I became a Christian too, they were really good examples.  i wanted to be like them.  and they wanted to be like Jesus.  so i learned from them to let Him be my deepest motivation.  to let Him lead.  to put Him first.

in every area of my life, i feel blessed by this.  clearly, i'm no saint, and can be labeled honestly as a work in progress.  but like my parents, i really want to love Jesus in every area of my life.

and so why would sex be any different?  loving Jesus makes me better. (okay, right now every single person i know is probably snorting and remembering something awful i've done.  i don't mean perfect.  i just mean, better than i would be without Him.  and happier, more complete.  not that i love Him in order to be happy ... but He's awesome, and when i love Him, i'm transformed to be like Him in tiny ways.)  and if it makes me more generous, kind, free, selfless ... that translates into a really happy lover.  and that translates into good great (!) sex.

does this make sense at all?  am i totally rambling?  i just think the recipe for having great sex starts with the same recipe for anything great ... Jesus on the throne of your heart.

purity and love spring from Him.  it's not something you can manufacture.  i can't imagine trying to be a good lover apart from having Him in my heart.  when i'm feeling angry or selfish or sullen or just cranky ... He reminds me that patrick is my husband, and i love him.  i love him!  even cranky angry selfish me loves him. and Jesus rocks. because He even cares about that.

i can't imagine anyone having a sweeter, awesomer, crazier, more fun marriage than ours.  in every way, i am honored, loved, cherished, adored, and satisfied.  and sex is divine.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

tryptophan does me in

so i came home from work tonight all excited to go to Bible study. i even had it on my list of things to do (and i ADORE crossing things off my list).
then we had turkey for supper.
and it was great. delicious. amazing. (there was even leftover gravy, so you know it had to be good.)
and then after supper i couldn't seem to open my eyes.
patrick snuggled me up on the couch and told me to stay home. it was a long (happy! but busy) weekend, and after a day of work i guess i just need a night where i don't go much further than the bubble bath.
so sweet dreams, world ... i'm out.

Monday, October 4, 2010

potato skins

this week, patrick and i rediscovered the amazing delicious versatile potato!
here is our step-by-step recipe for making potato skins. enjoy.

first, peel the skins off the potato. (we like them pretty thin, so we only left a little bit of potato on the skin.)


then, melt some butter (1 1/2 tablespoons), stir in 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder, and paprika, and a dash of salt. (you can always add more salt later if it's not flavorful enough.)

stir the potatoes so they're all coated in the buttery spice mixture.


lay the potatoes in a single layer on a cookie sheet. (or more layers, you'll just need to cook them longer.) you will have lots of time to do this if you, like me, forgot to preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

cook at 400 for 10 mins.

remove from oven, taste-test. add more salt if you want to. (we did). broil for 5 minutes ... or until crispy. then remove from oven, add cheese, bacon bits, and green onion. (we were out of green onion for this photo shoot).

broil for four or five more minutes and enjoy! mmmm.
(we were planning to eat them with these condiments, but they were so delicious on their own that we didn't even bother. they're that good.)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

thankfullist



a lot of my friends have been blogging lists of things they're grateful for. (for which they're grateful. ugh. my inner english teacher is hard to shake.) so i'm hopping on the bandwagon and creating my own.

here are ten of the things that have brought me joy in september:

1. a handsome and kind husband who is glad to be married to me even though i have pcos and may never bear children. this is a pretty big deal for a guy who has always dreamed of having a big crazy family. he got the big & crazy part ... just all bundled up in me, not spread out among 5 kids :). i am so glad he loves me. and he shows it all the time.
(tired after a long hike. not cranky. promise.)

2. this week, i'm grateful for aunt diane, who took us out for dinner (our first dinner out for months) and drove us all over town to find the spider. God is so good to let us have some family close by! she treated us to such a nice meal and she was so kind to us (as always). it's nice to be spoiled.

3. mark driscoll and mars hill church, who make their awesome solid teaching available free online. they make me laugh, help me learn, and bring me close to the place where God can speak to me. they even make me face the ugliness within that i try to hide, and give me a kick in the pants when i need it.

4. ann ortlund's book 'the disciplines of the beautiful woman.' it's pretty old school, but God used it to show me the beauty and necessity of being disciplined in all areas of my life ... especially in the area of my faith. thanks to the wisdom she shares, i've learned to prioritize & protect my time with the Lord - a huge blessing to my soul.

5. my new phone and unlimited texting. i love love love being able to text with patrick when we're apart. he's my favorite person ever, so being able to stay in touch with him all the time completely rocks. also, i have the cutest new ring tones. my current texting tone is "froggy night" and i'm in love with it. imagine a frog, sitting on a front porch, plucking a guitar. that's my ringtone.

6. caitlin, victoria, and chrissy. sigh. such good friends. they've made us feel SO welcome here in thunder bay. caitlin has even gotten up early to drive us around on errands, and stayed up late to do the same. she's the kind of friend you'd call when you're stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere at 3 in the morning ... and you'd know she'd be glad you did.
victoria, caitlin, & moi.
and chrissy.

7. delightful, surprising snail mail! my loving far-away friends and family have kept in touch by sending me cards, letters, stickers, notepaper, and even a dvd! it means a lot when people stay in touch, so three hundred cheers for mailers!! (i'm really bad at this, but i'm trying to improve! if you've gotten anything from me in the mail, know that i'm working hard to tell you i love you.)

8. my kitchen. i love to cook. it makes me happy to feed people. and because i have a bar-window-pass-through thingy, i can hang out with my friends and make them food too. hurray!

9. my ... ugh, it's hard to say it, but i really am grateful for it ... job. okay okay, i don't like telemarketing. i think telemarketers are even more universally disliked than lawyers and politicians ... especially when they're doing surveys on behalf of lawyers and politicians. and i completely understand why. i'd hang up on me too. but i am grateful, because it's paying the bills and after 2 months without work, we've accumulated a lot of those. (also, i made up a superhero alter-ego, RockSolid, who can bear the brunt of telemeanness. RockSolid wears a teflon suit and everything just rolls off. :). my identity is in Jesus, and RockSolid is like my imaginary personification of that. because i'm crazy.)

10. psalm 4:8. God has kept us safe even though our neighbourhood is less than peaceful. you can check out patrick's blog for details of The Incident. basically, we were scared, there was violence, and none of it touched us. *grateful prayer.*

so there you have it. my thankfullist. make your own, send it to me, and we can all say hurray together.
xoxo.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the spider

for the past month, patrick and i have been taking apple cider vinegar: two teaspoons in water, three times a day. we (affectionately?) call it spider, much to the electrification of our company, who hear us nonchalantly asking one another if we would like a spider.

mama c & papa g recommended it to us, and passed along a book outlining all the good benefits that come from taking daily doses of spider. their friend, a nutritionist, recommended it to them. when i read the book, i kind of laughed. it seemed like snake oil - full of magical promises to cure everything from warts to acne to dandruff.

but i figured - why not give it a shot? the most it will cost is a few bucks and a few puckers.

so we hoofed it to bulk barn and bought some organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. apparently it's got all the goodness in it when it's kind of cloudy and murky looking. mmm, delicious. ( i didn't - and don't - really think it's delicious).

it's pretty puckery, but it gives the nicest little flare in the belly first thing in the morning that totally wakes me up. :) patrick takes his mixed with pure maple syrup in a glass of water; i take mine in a shot and chase it with water. we're both wimps in our own way: he tries to sweeten the bitter, and i try to get it over with as quickly as possible.

within a week or two, my skin had cleared up - completely. acne is one of the most annoying aspects of pcos, and i've been trying to manage it with medication which helped, but didn't totally eliminate it. not only was my skin acne-free, it was smooth and i didn't need lotion ... wahoo! i haven't changed anything else in my lifestyle, so i think it's safe to credit the spider with the improvement.

after a few weeks of enjoying luscious new skin, i started wondering if this has helped other people with pcos. so i googled, and found that there is a TON of research on the spider's effects on pcos ... all of them ranging from mildly to wildly positive.

so i'm pretty pumped about the spider. our bulk barn ran out, and patrick's aunt drove us to a health store on the far side of town. we bulked up and bought three bottles - which should hold us over for a while!! :) we had to go for a few days without it, and i really noticed the difference. boo to that. when we noticed our supply running thin, patrick stopped taking it and let me spin it out as long as possible. i am married to a very good man.

anyway, i'm totally not a remedy-of-the-month-er, but i thought i'd share. i know i've got a few pcosy readers, and i'd love to know how it goes, if you try it. as for me, i give it two thumbs up (i'd give it more, but that's all i have).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

slim

i was feeling sick tonight, and craving something salty. i really didn't want to walk through the dark and marshy shortcut to superstore, nor did i want to take the 4km trip on the sidewalk at 1030 at night. i was sick. i just wanted to stay home. but i really really wanted something salty to settle my stomach.

so i made some slim.

(slim: the luscious marriage of whipped potato and flour, fried in butter and topped with salt.)

one minute i was standing in my kitchen, woefully nauseous and homesick ... the next minute i was sitting in nana's kitchen, taking a piece of slim off her brown-rimmed stoneware plates. she was standing at the stove in a 1970s-print apron, flipping more delectable goodness on a cast-iron skillet. my sisters and brother and i were not arguing, reading archies, or breaking the spines of l.m. montgomeries ... we were eating. silently, saltily, butterily. and thanking God in our innermost hearts that we had an old-fashioned irish grandmother who was dishing up platefuls of piping hot potato magic, as fast as we could eat it.

i love you, nana. thanks for making me feel better, a thousand miles and twenty years away.

Friday, September 10, 2010

cringing in my soul

i have a confession to make. i am terrified of creepy plane noises.
not ordinary flying passenger planes, but horrible zoomy rumbly russian-spy-sounding planes.
(patrick pooh-poohs this fear and tells me that no russian spy planes are allowed in cdn air space. well of course they aren't ... but i bet the good ones get in anyway. that's their job, right?)

(these are russian planes. let me know if you see them coming.)
i often have spectacular nightmares that i go outside and look up at the sky and suddenly it bursts into action, filled with planes zooming and shooting at each other. and i know that canada is at war and i need to join the resistance.
(this usually ends up with me on a top secret mission and running from the bad guys who have invaded halifax.)

when i was little, my mom babysat a twisted kid who told me that a ghost lived in the pencil sharpener, and that airplanes would come and get me if i was outside playing when they flew overhead.

i'm no shrink, but i think this may have something to do with it. i'm not afraid of pencil sharpeners, but freaky non-passenger planes do make my heart beat fast.

when i watched pearl harbour, i completely knew what they were feeling when the planes attacked. i've felt it, dreamed it, feared it.

once, when we were living in toronto, a huge group (squadron?) of not-normal planes zoomed over the city, flying really low. they were so loud, and so low, and all of a sudden i imagined bombs plummeting to the ground. my heart didn't stop pounding for hours. i kept waiting to hear someone with a blackberry yell that we'd been attacked. (clearly, it didn't happen).


apparently, there was an airshow nearby, and these planes were on their way. ugh.

anyway, this morning a loud, abnormal plane circled by and i cringed. i thought writing about it might help.

it probably didn't, but now you know my secret fear.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

settling in

we've been in thunder bay for three weeks now. high time for a post.

my first day here, i found a job. i was elated!
my first day of the job, i realized it was not for me. it was icky. dirty. gross. and i was supposed to spend 40 hours a week there. couldn't.
so i quit. and when they asked why, i told them the truth. even though i didn't want to hurt their feelings.
and they didn't even pay me for the day i worked.

so i've been looking for a job ever since. i don't even remember all the places i applied. haven't gotten ONE call yet. yowza. patrick too.

in between job hunts, we've been having a lot of fun. in the past 3 weeks we've had awesome company:
julie & mrs frank, mr rodgers, patrick's aunt diane, aunt chris & cousin erica, the bechards & bouchers, the clarks, and the brundages and chrissy :). some visits were super-short, some were nice & long, but all were fun. our little apartment loves having people over.

we've also: climbed mt. mckay, walked at trowbridge falls, hiked in sleeping giant provincial park, and centennial park. we've listened to mark driscoll, watched a movie (prince of persia: only watch it if you can sit by someone who will warn you when the snakes show up. shudder.), played board games, and made postcards. we've gone to meetings, gone to the cottage, gone for long walks in the cold (this city is chilly!), tracked a missing parcel all over town ... we've been busy and happy.

today patrick is doing school stuff and i'm prowling for jobs online. and i'm blogging, because i've got a few seconds alone. (NOT that i'm complaining. being busy keeps me from missing you too much.)

i've got some postcards ready to mail, and i plan to take a walk this afternoon. maybe i'll walk through the mall and pass out resumes everywhere. applying online doesn't seem to be panning out for me. :). i guess i'm just more awesome in person.
kidding.

so now that you know thunder bay is awesome and fun, here are some things to make fun of:
motors & muscles. on our first day here, we saw a parking lot rally where people showed off their bikes and their lifting skills. there were lots of men with ponytails and women with bicep tattoos. i felt my neck turning red just watching.
the 80s. we saw 2 couples, separately, where the men were rocking puffy, feathery mullets, and the women had skyscraper bangs. one of the ladies had crimped hair. (crimped! is that the word?) it was great.
our neighbours. we have the strangest neighbours. the apartment building across from us houses people who love to yell out the windows at people on the street. and then, instead of using the door, just climb in and out of their living room window ... on the second storey. frequently.
scary nighttime yelling. during our first week, we woke up to the sound of a group of men yelling. it was indistinguishable at first, and then i heard "stop him! he's got a gun!" i didn't know if it was a fantasy league, larping, or real scary bad guys. i didn't want to look out the window, so i just cuddled closer to patrick.
last night we heard a breakup in stereo, just under our window. the guy called the girl a really horrible name, and stormed away. she yelled "shawn! come back! come back!" and patrick laughed, and said, "if he called me that, i wouldn't be yelling for him to come back!" good riddance for sure.

we miss our nephew and nieces so bad it hurts. wish we could be there for max-a-thousand's birthday today. hope he has a great one.
i miss my esl class. my awesome friends. my sweet sisters. my amazing parents. my paycheque.
pray for us. we need it.
we love you.

Friday, August 27, 2010

a quick hello!

today we finally got the internet hooked up in our apartment in thunder bay!
we've had a fun week offline (with daily visits to the university to keep in touch).
here are some highlights, about which i'll blog more later:
-bikes & muscles
-the 80s are back (or still here ...)
-shoppers rug mart
-pretzels, postcards, & patrick
-my icky job

i've got to run, because we're expecting friends any minute. but i wanted to say hi, thanks for still checking out my blog even though i haven't been on forever.

love you.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

where i am now

last summer, patrick and i lost our baby. it was really tough. we'd been so excited. we were about 11 weeks along.

we knew it was a high-risk pregnancy, due to my pcos (polycycstic ovarian syndrome). still, it felt like all the lights in the world went out when we lost our baby.
when we lost our jobs a few weeks later, it didn't make our sorrow easier to bear. in fact, it seemed pretty overwhelming. after a summer spent in bed rest and then losing our baby, to lose our jobs and apartment on top of that felt like a cruel punishment.

we moved to fairview, got jobs, and i struggled through my last year of school. and it was a struggle. i just wanted to curl up and ignore the world, to mourn my loss, to cry. i hated going to school, watching other people get pregnant and carry babies, watching other people find jobs and live in nice places.

i can see now that my eyes were on the very small picture. i know i needed to mourn – and i did – and i leaned heavily on God and patrick and was carried through. i was so relieved to be done – done! - and i took a part time job so i could rest. i'd worked 6 days a week since january, and patrick wanted me to have a break.

before i applied for jobs, i asked God for some specific things. i wanted a job with:
-part time hours, so i could rest.
-sundays and tuesdays off, so i could still teach sunday school and esl.
-graveyard shift, so i could be on the same type of schedule as patrick.
and i got them all when i was hired at superstore, working in joe fresh. i worked wednesday through friday, and got midnight dates with patrick on our shared day off (monday). God had answered, and it was perfect. on top of all that, instead of listening to the two-hour mix tape that superstore blares, i started listening to sermons while i worked.

in an 8 hour shift, i usually got to listen to 6 sermons. it probably sounds really boring, but in reality, it was wonderful. i mostly listened to mark driscoll, sometimes rob bell - both dynamic speakers who always talk about Jesus. my mind was engaged, and not with my usual topic (myself), but with Jesus. i opened boxes and arranged clothes with my hands, but with my thoughts, i was deep into the Bible.
and without my even realizing it, my sorrow started to change.

i think, at the beginning of the summer, if God had asked me, “what do you want Me to give to you?” i would have said, “a baby.”

but now, what i want most is God. all of Him, always. i want Jesus to live through me. i want to do the good works He has prepared for me to do. i want to be close to Him, to delight in Him, and to acknowledge Him in all my ways.

what i mean is, i don't want a baby more than i want God's plan for my life.
He truly has directed my path.

i'm content to trust Him. i find my joy in Him. i just want to know Him more. and that's where i am now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

twelve thousand steps

i'm still doing 12000 steps per day.
but i've been ignoring the scale because i'm afraid that it will discourage me. :)

i want to keep going. having my pedometer to keep track is such a fun little way to get my exercise in, and it makes me conscious of being active - and gives me motivation to keep at it.

sometimes it seems overwhelming - especially when i've been slogging through the day and haven't gotten a lot of steps and suddenly it's dark out and i've got to ramble all over the city ...

but i'm always glad when i do it. i can go different routes - and i can break it up in big or small chunks - i can listen to music or sermons or just listen to the sounds of the city - i can walk with friends or my sisters or mom or my amazing and handsome husband (my fave!) ...

it's pretty fun. three cheers for my pedometer!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

bathroom break

last thursday night i was at work, busily opening boxes and hanging/arranging clothes. i was listening to my ipod, waving at patrick every now and then (he'd been called in to cover another guy's shift, so we got to work together) ... just having an all round good night. (i love when i get to unpack an order - it's a lot of work, but it keeps my mind more engaged than when i'm just straightening and cleaning the department).

so it's a little while after break, and i realize i have to pee. i dash upstairs to the staff washroom, which really creeps me out. sometimes it seems like i can hear someone else in there, but i'm all alone. i blame it on the vents, but i have no idea.

i reach for the t.p. ... and there isn't any!! and i was totally alone - in spite of the freaky sounds - and i've never ever ever met anyone else in the bathroom. there are only 2 other girls on nightshift, and i had seen them both making bathroom trips before me.

thankfully, i had my phone (it's my ipod too - i don't randomly take my phone to the bathroom like a textaholic jr. high kid) and patrick's boss had called earlier in the day, so the store phone # was on my phone ...
eventually, i got patrick, and he came and rescued me.

my knight in shining toilet paper.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

boo to pcos

pcos is kicking my butt.

inspired by my brother in law, i got a pedometer and have walked 12000 steps/day for a week. it's been fun, and i've felt pretty pumped that i'm probably doing something good for my body.

knowing my pcos-iness, i didn't want to hope that my week of walking made me lose weight ... but i at least hoped that i'd be able to maintain.

i freaking gained five pounds. ugh.

anyway, i'm going to keep walking. i've loved it, and it feels like a little victory every day when i see 12000 on my screen :). if you have any words of encouragement, send them my way. i need 'em.

abiding,

my cousin gwen recently blogged about john 15, where Jesus tells His followers that He is the vine, and we are the branches. He says that when we abide in Him, we will bear fruit.
this makes sense. if the branches break away from the vine, they have no root, no depth, and can't produce anything ... they're dead.

so it's the middle of the night, and i'm reading her blog. i worked all night yesterday and got sunburned all day today. so i'm hot and sleepy and not very bright. but her post made me think: how do we "abide in Him"? if i am a branch, how do i make sure i'm abiding in the vine?

so i opened up john 15 and there it was ... the answer to my middle-of-the-night deep thoughts.

Jesus says "abide in my love. if you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love [...] this is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you." (john 15:9, 10, 12)

and, as a preacher i heard recently said, loving one another isn't having sweet feelings for one another. it's an active, doing-giving-caring sort of love. the old-school translators captured this feeling when they used the word charity to describe this kind of love. sacrificial doing. thinking about others.

so when we love each other ... charitably ... we're abiding in Him. so our relationships and actions with other people really really do count. kindness and consideration and service all help keep us thriving in spirit.

which is a pretty awesome way for things to be. to be productive sections of the vine, branches don't have to be deep thinkers (clearly ... zzz!), professionally religious, painfully good, intensely smart ...
it is simultaneously much bigger and much simpler than that: we need to love each other like Jesus loved us: actively, sacrificially, and obeying the Father.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

marriage review

patrick keeps writing book reviews, so i decided to write a marriage review. the opinions below are inevitably biased, mushy, honest, and all mine.

summary:

overall, patrick is the most amazing husband ever. i can't think of anything better to wish for a couple than that they have a marriage like ours.
we got married four years ago and things have been getting better ever since. when we first started off, we thought it was spectacular. and it was.

things i don't like:

we did have some rough spots, getting used to each other (and getting to know each other! 6 months of long distance doesn't really make a couple instantly, flawlessly compatible). i had to learn that every action isn't loaded with significance. life isn't a short story, so i can't expect every moment to be hugely revelatory. sometimes we both do things out of character, or do things that don't express what we really feel. (we - i - had a few drama moments.)

about me: i can be too needy and dramatic. i don't like this about myself. i'm trying to laugh more and pose less. i think it's helping.
about patrick: he can withdraw and be distant, and he can give horrible compliments. um - this one isn't really something i don't like. well - it's hard to categorize. sometimes patrick says things that sound like shocking insults but were meant well. (i'm practicing forgiveness, so i won't record them.) luckily, i didn't hear the first one until after the knot was firmly tied, so we set sail on blissful seas. :)

(things i like)
mostly, we had some really big bonuses going for us.

we both love God, worship Jesus, and believe the Bible. so in the deepest core of our hearts, we're building on the same stuff. the same things are really important and beautiful to us, and we have the same basic blueprint for living. we want, above all, to bring glory to God. and that works out in the little things, which means putting each other first, and trying to forgive quickly.

also, we speak similar love languages. words of affirmation build both of us up, and make us feel especially loved more than anything else. also, i tend to speak the love language of acts of service - which, awesomely, turns out to be patrick's other love language. (when i'm overflowing with love for patrick, i do laundry, or clean up. then he's all like 'oooh, you love me!' and we both feel mushy. weird, but it works for us.)

as well, we love to read. we've read a lot of books on marriage and sex and intimacy, which have helped us to be aware that love needs to be made. (HAHA BEST freudian slip ever. i'm leaving it in.)
what i mean is, love doesn't just happen when two people who dig each other get married. we have to deliberately nurture it and plan it. like, if we want to wear clean clothes, we have to deliberately do the laundry. they don't just happen. and if we want to eat, we have to cook, and do dishes.
same with love. if i want a snuggly marriage, i've got to be a warm person that someone would want to snuggle with. if i want openness, i've got to be willing to be open too - scary as it may be! if i want patrick to feel adored and amazing (because he is), it isn't enough to just assume he'll know that i feel that way about him. i've got to show him and tell him.

on top of all that, we've got a lot of the same interests. we like to read, write, and talk. we love to cook together and have company (although i like any number of people, and patrick prefers small groups). we like lame youtube videos and quirky cartoons. we like long drives up the coast and serious conversations. we're pretty dorky and incredibly happy. we're as comfortable with each other as we are alone, so we never need to pretend to be someone we're not. this is a deep and awesome goodness.

rating:
the main characters are stellar and conflicts are resolved. i give this marriage 5/5 sunset drives to peggy's cove.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

taboo

it's been so hot and sticky in kap this week that no one wants to do anything. in between naps and yummy meals, leanne & i raced through the deck of taboo cards, trying to see how many we could get right before the timer went off. (we would have just played the game properly, but no one wanted to play with us. after four years, our husbands no longer think the brownie points are worth it ...)

our average # of cards per timer = 5.
our maximum # of cards per timer = 8. we were shooting for 10, but just couldn't quite get it.

anyway, we still had a lot of fun. here are some of our favorite definitions - feel free to send me your guesses!

1. a snicker that is small and happy.
2. land bumps that sound like a cat (and i got this ... after a bit more coaching).
3. lots of naughty sexy women in the desert.
4. salad dressing - the place where the things that go moo and the things that go neigh live.
5. corn on the ___ and the things that critters with 8 legs build.

cutie on vacation

this week on vacation, papa gerry's back is bad so we've been staying around the house a lot. it's been pretty fun - so many relatives have come to visit (and mama c keeps making incredible meals), and on top of that, we've got the most hilarious little cutie to keep us entertained.

my sweet sister in law, sophie, gave our niece jelena (ye-lay-na -- not jaleena) a musical rockinghorse ornament. the horse had bells on her bridle, and jelena loved them. her papa, chad, asked "what are these, jelena?"
(excited) "jingle bells!"
"how many jingle bells are there?"
(excited) "two jingle bells!"
"how many?"
(exasperated) "two already!"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

i'm late for work! and other thoughts.

so why am i posting on my blog?
(i'm waiting for patrick.)

tonight i taught esl with joey. i can't even tell you how much i'm going to miss it. our students just rock. they're fun and kind and ask hilarious questions.
they're brave - they come from all over the world and somehow end up in little ol' halifax. then, they're brave enough to come to esl at a church they've never attended with people who are as crazy as joey & me ...

the awesomest part of esl is getting to introduce people to Jesus - and for those who already know Him, to talk with them about Him. because He's awesome.

ooh, patrick's ready - gotta go! xo

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

joy comes in the morning

i haven't been feeling well the past few weeks. i was hoping for an appointment this month with my pcos specialist, but received no notice.
yesterday, mom & i were chatting and she said there wouldn't be anything wrong with me calling just to check. there wasn't any answer, but i left them my number, just in case.

this morning, they called and told me ... my appointment was scheduled for today!! i do have one, and i didn't miss it!

what an awesome, amazing blessing. just another way that God takes care of me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

innocent sowvillians

the other night i woke up with this in my head. who'd'a guessed: my sleeping self has the same lame sense of humor as my waking self.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

cryin', lovin', or leavin'

it's been a weird few days, and i miss my patrick. lately our sleep schedule is all wacky. you'd think that since we both work nights, we'd sleep the same rhythms. we totally don't.
for example ...

cryin':
on sunday, i got a migraine (first in years! yuck!). i took two gravol and hit the hay, the only way i can get through 'em. patrick, although he had to work, was unable to sleep on sunday thanks to me waking him up. so he tossed and turned all day while i zonked out ... for 20 hours. seriously. he had already worked, come home, and slept by the time i woke up.

lovin':
so we planned to hang out on monday night, with bekah and justin (yay!), after the sunday school teacher's meeting. i got to hang out with patrick for an hour or so before i went off to that.

leavin' (and some more cryin'):
monday is our only night off together. after a disastrous date with bekah & justin (during which i had a horrific allergic reaction, we couldn't get the dvd player to work, and patrick fell asleep), i couldn't seem to sleep at all. bekah and justin headed home (likely with more than a few sighs of relief) and i laid around, read books, played msn games, planned my conference cookies ... finally, i got in bed and hoped for sleep.

didn't happen. eventually, i got up and started making my cookies for conference. as the sun started to rise, i made a cup of tea and took my book out onto the balcony. i had on snuggly pyjamas, and took a cozy blanket with me - which was good, because the morning was chilly and wizard-of-oz-windy. just when i'd decided i'd had enough of the beautiful - but too brisk - weather, i realized i couldn't get the door open. i was stuck on the balcony until someone woke up.

an hour later, mom woke up and let me in. hallelujah!
then patrick woke up, and we had breakfast together. after that ... I FELL ASLEEP! now that he was awake.
he spent the day chillaxing, and just when i was waking up, he came to bed to get some sleep before work.

AARGH!
anyway, we work the same shifts for a few nights, so here's hoping we'll get to see each other non-drugged, non-sleepy, and non-crazy.

the dads

our dads have been having a busy june.
my dad hit a big milestone ... he turned 65 last week!
happy birthday dad. the old people jokes will stop soon ... xoxo. you're awesome.

and patrick's dad was stricken with a slipped (or herniated?) disk. poor papa Gerry is spending one of God's loveliest months in bed, slugged with drugs. mean ol' disk.

(my representation of the mean ol' disk)
to both our dads: we love you & thank God for you. thanks for all the ways you (still!!) take care of us.

Friday, June 11, 2010

crazy/sleepy

apparently, i've been a chatty little sleeper today. check out my insanity on patrick's post here.

before i go back to sleep, here are some cool thoughts from the sermons i was listening to at work:

God is not a cosmic pinata. prayer isn't a stick you use to beat blessings out of him. he's your father. prayer is like talking with your dad.
and
there's no point criticizing the church. who is the church? you are. stop criticizing yourself and make some positive contributions.

mark driscoll makes me laugh.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

big catch-up post: life lately

it's almost 1am. i'm sitting in mom and dad's living room, trying hard not to giggle out loud. i'm reading engrishfunny, and it's killing me.

(part of me feels a little bit bad at making fun of people who are trying to speak english. the rest of me just finds the mistakes hilarious. if people were laughing their butts off at my lame-o lunda, i would laugh too.)

i haven't posted forEVER! i haven't seen my friends, haven't done anything non-family-social, for practically a month. i've been working nights - and i love it. i get lonely, but mostly my mars hill downloads keep my mind busy while my body does the work.

work
my favorite part of my job is unpacking pallets. i get to slice open boxes, unpack the clothes, check them off on a list, and hang them on racks. then i have to unplastic everything (i recycle!), and arrange it according to size. after that, i cinch everything with a waist. it's easy, i get to use a knife, and i see the cute clothes before they hit the salesfloor. :).

some nights i just clean & tidy the department all night long. surprisingly, there is enough work to keep me busy for 8 and a half hours, but my mind gets numb by 5 am. last friday i was so bored it was making me twitchy.

The Move
as well as working, i was busy with The Move. we packed up our cozy little place with the world's ugliest address the end of last month. we threw out so much stuff. (i don't understand: we've moved 5 times in 4 years of marriage, and still we manage to accumulate things.) we were kind of forced to take our time with packing this time around. we're moving to thunder bay in august, but don't plan to stay there for more than a year. so we had five different categories while we packed: garbage, value village, need for the summer, take to thunder bay, and store in halifax.
we printed off labels and everything. (this will definitely make things easier in august when we have to haul it all across the country. we'll just read the labels and pop it in - no sorting or deciding required!)
as usual, our family was amazing. they came and helped us pack, trucked our stuff across the city to mom and dad's, and helped us clean. even my 9 year old nephew was cleaning! three cheers to him :).
we were really glad to be done The Move.

grad
i did it. i'm finally, officially, done school. i am janelle labelle, b.a., b.ed. i am licensed to teach your children muahahaha ... ;).
unlike most of my friends, i'm not subbing this month. after working 6 days a week all year, i just wanted to slack a bit this summer. patrick, the love, was in favor, so i'm working part time nights and that's it.

jen's visit
the other fun thing that happened was my big sister coming to visit. we had lots of fun eating yummy food, playing with the kiddos, and staying up late. she made the best spicy sauce for summer rolls while she was here - yum! and korean barbecue that was to die for.

patrick's birthday
this is happening RIGHT NOW! and he's at work. we've kind of been celebrating all week - monday, we slept all day, then got up and had a date that lasted from 7pm until 6am. we had supper, saw a movie, talked over drinks, looked at apartment ads in tbay, watched another movie, watched the sun rise, then went out for breakfast. it was awesome. this is a weird backward starlit summer. tonight we went out for snacks with mom and dad and joey. yum! but patrick had to go to work afterward :(.
i'm excited for him to come home this morning. i've never had a 27-year-old husband before.

forward things
we bought tickets for our july trip to kap! we're super happy to be going, especially as it means we'll be able to have a fun drive up from toronto with the adorable newest labelle, jelena. we also plan to get bubble tea from our very own favorite chinese restaurant, and that's almost worth the flight in itself. of course, it goes without saying that we'll have loads of fun with our labelle family: i'm excited for some fierce rounds of bananagrams and catch phrase already!

we also called some landlords about apartments we found monday night. i'm feeling apprehensive about thunder bay. the people i've met from there are so warm, but the temperatures we'll have are so cold! all that snow ... ugh. when i lived in zambia, i was over the moon. not a flake to shovel, or a hint of frost to slip on! on the bright side - chrissy, caitlin, and stevie k will be there. i'm told the hoito is the best restaurant ever. and there seem to be about a million gorgeous hiking trails to try out. and i will still be able to surf your blogs.

happy sun-catching, summer friends! see you on the moon side.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

a good swift kick and some grace

this is what i need.
from you.
or somebody.

i need a good swift kick. i've hit a wall. i'm still exercising every day, and adding good choices to my meals - but i haven't lost anything for a few weeks. i feel stronger, and i even think i look better. but that stubborn scale just won't go any lower.

i know it's not about the scale, in my rational mind ...

but in my tired, sulky, give-uppy mind, i just want to flop down on the couch and ignore my promise to myself that i am going to stick this out. pcos is totally winning.

it's still fun to work out, once i get up and do it. but it was more fun when the scale was celebrating with me.

that's the down side.
on the bright side, i've been enjoying something kind of cool at work.

because no one's talking to me (nothing personal, they don't talk to anyone), i've got 8 hours to listen to my ipod without interruption. i've downloaded some sermons from mars hill church, and i listen to them while i work. it makes the time go by so fast, and gives me something productive to think about while i'm sizing and cinching.

last thursday, i was listening to a sermon on jonah. one of the points the speaker made was that the assyrians (the people in nineveh) received huge grace from God.

[their culture destroyed other civilizations in hundreds of different ways - because racial purity was important to the israelites, the assyrians forced intermarriage on them. the children of these marriages were outcasts: the israelites didn't embrace them into their culture because their parents chose to live with assyrians instead of being killed, and the assyrians didn't embrace them because they were inferior - they were bred as a shame to the israelites.
these children, incidentally, became known as samaritans ... anyway, back to the point]

so the speaker was saying that although we usually judge jonah for not wanting to obey God, jonah kind of had a point. when he said "i knew you'd be merciful, because you're like that, and repent of punishing them like you say you will," he's speaking in socio-cultural context. the israelites want the assyrians to be punished by God. this is only - humanly speaking - fair. the israelites are God's people - so he should punish their enemies.

but God offers a flood of grace to nineveh. and he gets jonah to be the one to cause their repentance, so He can pour grace on them.

same with us.
we're the assyrians.
we don't deserve pity, kindness, mercy.
we judge people, ignore people, ignore God, and forget kindness. we're selfish, unholy, and cruel.

still, God provides grace for us. it cost a lot. His Son had to bear the punishment in order for Him to do it. but it's there for us, because God isn't a god of karma. He doesn't make sure that bad people get bad things. He provides grace for both the evil and the good.

this kind of math doesn't make sense. He's a whole different dimension of love that i can't even understand.

and i get to learn this at work.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

workin' the night shift

last night was my first nightshift at superstore.

patrick warned me that the reason people work nights is because they don't like interacting with people. he was totally right.

i showed up, the manager let me in, and i said "hi, i'm new, working in joe fresh."
he jabs his thumb to the left and says, "joe fresh's over there."

yup.

so i went to my department, found a note that told me what to do, and got to work.

at break time, after 2 and a half hours of sorting, folding, and tidying clothes, i was ready to talk to someone! so i grabbed a smoothie, paid for it at the cash desk, and stood there smiling. i felt like a puppy at the pound, just waiting for someone to pick me, pick me!

the smokers went outside, and everyone else melted away. i was left smiling at thin air ...
i made my way unhappily back to my department, where i sat on the desk alone and drank my smoothie.
i called patrick, and he laughed at me.

the same thing happened at lunch.
by the third break, i didn't even bother. i just kept working.

next time, i'll bring a book.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

turbo jam

my sweet friend carol gave me her turbo jam dvds. i've been rocking out to them for the past ten days, and they are awesome. i have so much fun blasting out a quick workout in the morning (i started out doing them at night, then switched to the morning to try to reduce my caffeine addiction). i feel good about myself all day.

the music and dancing makes it feel like a party.

this morning, i did a quick workout then headed off to pick up patrick at work. i was driving down the road, and saw joggers and walkers out for their exercise. the first three i saw looked so miserable that i almost giggled. they definitely need some turbo jam fun.

i think the fun is why i keep doing it every day. yes, i'm starting to see results, and it's moving me toward my goal, but the truth is, it's really fun. i'm not good at consistently doing something difficult. i'm very externally motivated, and don't have a lot of oomph inside to get up and go. i've tried walking, watching what i eat, and going to the gym. if i don't get some daily, observable benefit, i tend to give up on things really easily. if you see me sticking to something, you know it's because i love it or really really really want it.

as far as turbo jam goes - i love it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

summer rolls

*note, this post is not about my weight loss goals: the title refers to these yummy little wraps we made!
we were inspired by patrick's awesome cousin danielle and aunt pauline, who tried these and posted beautiful pictures on facebook. i hunted down the ingredients that day, and had a blast trying to make them yummy and pretty.

they turned out to be so delicious that the next day we had company for lunch and made them
again! it was impossibly simple:
rice paper, filled with cilantro, celery, basil, carrots, chicken (the next day we also tried spicy sausage, and it was a hit), cold rice noodles, and chives for some prettiness.
the sauce was hoisin, soy, and vinegar. mmmmmm.

(now that i'm not in school, i've got a lot more time to play in the kitchen.)

we wanted to do something special when bekah and justin came for supper, so we decided to eat on the floor ;).
we made nachos using jensen's orchard veggie chips - yum! - and blended up two of our favorite crazy dips: dill hummus and mango-lime guacamole. we ate them african style on the floor with a chitange mat, and used robb & angele's present - gorgeous african napkin holders & napkins.

and i'm trying to use more veggies lately, so i made stuffed peppers for supper one night. mashed potatoes, turkey, celery, and green onion made up the insides, which i stuffed into parboiled peppers without burning my fingers (success!).
after i took this photo, i decided to top them with grated cheese and pop them into the oven until the cheese toasted. less healthy, but more yummy. mmm good!

Monday, May 3, 2010

romans 8:28

lately, i've been overwhelmed with how especially kind God is. this spring, life feels sweet.

last year was particularly tough - we lost our baby bean, and haven't really managed to get back to life as we knew it. everything reminds us - everything would have been different, and isn't. just by being the same, it hurts.

today i saw a little girl curled up in her parents' arms. she was born when the baby bean was due. it felt like a punch in the stomach, to see her. she's beautiful. and that would have been us.

another friend keeps posting pictures of her beautiful babies online. and that's great. i'm totally, completely glad for her. but every picture is a stab in the heart.
a mean little voice whispers in my head, you can't have this! you'll never have this!
and i want to set up a pity party - mull over each aspect of the life we're missing, stare at pictures and long to see myself in them, think about just why my sorrow is so much more piercing than anyone else's.

but God points out - relentlessly, ruthlessly - that this isn't what He has chosen for me this day.

what has He chosen?

patrick is a living, breathing example of God's love to me.
my graduation miracle was a huge gift (i thought i was going to have another semester of school, but i don't - i can graduate this month).
my family loves me like crazy, and takes care of me. every time i see them i feel God's arms around me. i have sisters and friends who love me. i have a crazy wonderful little brother i'd do anything for.

this - this! - is my life: the blessedness of being cherished in the palm of God's hand, the awesomeness of being in the deepest, closest marriage that has ever existed, the sunshine-joy of being an aunt to six adorables, and the definite awareness that He is working His plan for my life.

God is so patient with me. when my heart is torn and sore, He is especially kind to show me His love. when i want to curl up in a pity party, He doesn't let me. instead, He shows me that i am the last person to deserve one.

i'm blessed.

daily, i am more assured that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.