Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's almost here!

A new year is about to begin. Facebook status's are buzzing with well wishes for a happy new year to family and friends, there's even a few "I can't wait to see what the new year holds", the coming of a new year is almost like opening a gift. We just can't wait to see the blessings it holds, I think that anticipation is universal.

We like fresh starts. Clean slates. Second chances. We like the prospect of starting new, or getting another shot at a past failure, hoping to get right. A new year is like a "reset" button. Suddenly everything is "coming up" rather then "gone by." New years are refreshing and energizing!

Its no secret I've got big hopes for my new year. I'm hoping to completely overhaul my life with God's help. Inside and out, I want to strip it down to the bones and build it back up again, fortified and energized and built to last. I'm hoping my new year will bring me...

A stronger marriage

More quality time with my kids

Better organizational skills

Better managed finances

Better health

A closer relationship with God

A close knit community and chances to be hospitable

More time connecting with extended family

These are just the things that I want, what about what God wants for my life? That's where the true surprise lies!

I've got big plans indeed. And I think that I can do them, so long as my motives are right and I know who to turn to for support and encouragement. So, I'm one of those people eagerly awaiting the clock to chime midnight and wipe my slate clean, to press my "reset" button.

This blog so far has just been the warm up to the real challenge of changing my life. I've scrapped the surface, but tomorrow the real digging can begin!

Bring on 2010! 2009 was a mixed bag, and I'm not foolish enough to think that 2010 won't bring its share of challenges, but I'd like to think I've learned enough from 2007, 2008 and 2009 to better manage myself during those challenges. Maybe because I've been down some pretty rocky roads in the past, I won't completely go off the road the next time things get rough.

Happy new year everyone. I hope you're excited for it, and have hope for it. I hope that you'll be blessed beyond your expectations, and that your life will be a blessing to others!


Working in my library....

I'm doing some work on my new "house" today, and reviewing my library! Its a pretty important room after all, its filled with the information and resources I am using to build my understanding and knowledge for my new and exciting life! Since I've been raised with a healthy love of books (thanks Mom!), I'm already off to a pretty nice start, I love buying a nice new book, its better then clothes, or make up, or jewelry (well, maybe not jewelry), buying a new book makes me really, really happy though.

In the past year my personal library has grown significantly and I;m excited to share some of my favorite finds with you all. If you live close enough that you'd like to drop in and borrow one, let me know!

So, here's what's in my library (aka: bookshelf in bedroom, haha)

Come Thirsty, Traveling Light, and Next Door Savior by Max Lucado (A three in one deal)
For the Tough Times by Max Lucado
The Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado
Little House on the Freeway by Tim Kimmell
A Life That Says Welcome by Karen Ehman
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
What Husbands Need by Judy Carden
Simple Country Wisdom by Country Living
100 Ways to Simplify Your Life by Joyce Meyer
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
Farm Chicks in the Kitchen by Country Living
The Most Important Place on Earth: What a Christian Home Looks Like and How to Build One by Robert Wolgemuth
Mrs. Dunwoody's Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping: Timeless Wisdom and Practical Advice by Miriam Lukken

These are my informative books, instructional for either Christian life or home life, they're wholesome, good, fun, and insightful. I have many more books that don't quite fit into this category, but its good to have a nice balance in all things in life, libraries included! Recently I've acquired an anatomy and physiology coloring book (thanks Mom), and I'm building a nice cook book collection, some old and some brand new. I've got some good fiction, some very varied fiction, and am always looking to add to that collection. So, for this exciting new year, I will need to make sure that I designate a time each day for reading and enjoying my books and all they have to offer.

Quiet time.


Personal growth.

Food for thought.

Quiet time.



A laugh.

An escape from the every day grind.

Quiet time. Haha.

The library is shaping up nicely! Feel free to share your book suggestions with me, I'm always looking to add to mine, and I'll let you know if I get a good book that you need to know about too!


A new look!

I decided I needed to change the layout of this blog, because as beautiful as the original one was, it was really frustrating me! I couldn't share my favorite blogs with you, or a have a little section where you could click to follow me, and it just wasn't quite right.

This one is nice don't you think? And it has all the features I've always wanted in a blog, juuuuuuuuust right!

Hope you like it too!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Love is....

Sometimes I need reminding.....

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

4 Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,

5 Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

6 Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

7 Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies.

Loves a pretty big deal. It asks a lot of us. Its hard, determined, never ending work. Its more the initials scribbled on a binder, or a dream wedding, it's way bigger then that initial "in love" feeling, that wears off over time. Love's a choice, a challenge, a calling.

Its a really big deal.

Too many people never really know the true definition of love. They know the human definition, flawed and selfish and all about gratification, personal gratification usually, but a lot of us never really know what God describes love as, and how we're called to do it. Selflessly, and many times, without pay off, because we choose to do it, not because we're getting something in return.

"Love puts up with anything"

That's a pretty controversial statement right there isn't it? (To anyone but God I expect).

Anything? A statement like that leaves no loop holes, no exceptions, no room to rationalize bailing out on your calling to love. ANYTHING. When you choose to love, you choose to love no matter what, nothing should interrupt your job to give love. Tricky, I know.

"Love doesn't keep score of the sins of others"

We do though. We store every wrong doing in the back of our minds and bring them back when it suits us and use them as weapons to throw back at the other.

We keep score. We keep track of what we put out and what we get back, and we feel resentment if it's uneven. We're always sure to make sure we get what we feel is owed to us, everything has to be "fair", and when its not, there's usually a penalty to pay.

But, God calls us to love, no matter what. With nothing in return. Even when it isn't fair, even when it isn't our turn to love, we're supposed to love.

"Love never gives up"

Love's pretty amazing. Those who can get it right all the time are pretty amazing too. Though I suspect that there are very few of us who can love like God does all of the time (or half the time for that matter). Love is a pretty big job, and it has a pretty complicated job description.

Thankfully, what matters most, is we continually try to do it better, we know what's asked of us in regards to love, and we strive to do it, and if we fall short, we try again. We all fall short.

I'm trying hard to follow these guidelines in the love I give. Some of it comes easily, some of it I have to work at, some of it seems pretty insurmountable. But I'm trying, and because I'm human and I fail, I'm trying again, and again.

Love is a very big deal.

Love is a tough job, but rewarding one.

Love is a gift.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Cleaning house!

Nothing profound to talk about today. It was a nice and quiet day at home, and to our surprise and enjoyment, the kids actually slept in today! We were however, productive. Laundry got done, well, it got started, its not actually done yet, and we invited my mom and dad over to visit and have dinner with us. This is me working on one of my goals for the new year, hospitality and opening our home to others, who better to start with then your parents right?

Before they came over we started working on our goal to organize our home, and we started with our bedroom. Big, big job. We've lived in our home since October of 2006, and other then nudging the bed a few feet to one side, we haven't ever rearranged our bedroom. We've also got a "space management" problem. We have a lot of stuff, namely clothing, and not a lot of space to store it. It never occurred to us that it was unusual for a couple to share a dresser, we always have, but three small drawers each are apparently not enough. The drawers have been filling over the years, and now they're full of clothes that we don't, or can't wear anymore. Today we emptied those drawers, and the closet, and we *gasp* packed stuff up to give away, and then threw some stuff away as well. And now, our drawers are filled with clothes that we can and do wear, and the dresser top is clear and the closet has space, its lovely! For kicks we rearranged the furniture, and brought up a big book shelf from the basement, and hung a new shelf and some pictures, it looks good, really good.

Our bedroom now has a new vibe. Maybe, like a metaphor for our marriage, we've given it new life. Before it was dark and cluttered and made us feel anxious and annoyed, and now, its bright and clean and fresh, it flows nicely, it feels good to be in it, its functional and what matters to us is on display. It was a good thing to do today.

We both liked how this project turned out, and how it felt to get our space under control enough to want to do it again in the near future. So I have my book on getting organized all ready to go. 52 weeks in a brand new year, and 52 assignments to help get our lives, finances and home organized. I'm excited.

And now, back to my little trial at hospitality. My parents came to visit this afternoon and stayed for dinner. Before they arrived we tidied our mess we made by cleaning, haha, and lit some scented candles. Elvis and I planned our menu earlier and got all our ingredients laid out to go. Bacon wrapped meatloaf (A la Pioneer Woman) and mashed potatoes. We made it together while my parents played with the kids and it turned out very nice.

This domestic stuff agrees with me! I like the sense of satisfaction that I get from doing stuff around the house, and making good homemade food, and being proud of my home and inviting people into it. It feels good, and that sort of positive pay out is what makes us repeat behaviors again.

My sister and I have talked before, about how the biblical description of marriage and a wife's duties seems antiquated, and perhaps that's true, but I think that my personality may also be antiquated, and therefore, it suits me quite fine.

Here's the Proverbs 31 description of a good wife:

10 A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.

11 Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.

12 Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.

13 She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.

14 She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.

15 She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.

16 She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.

17 First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.

18 She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.

19 She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.

20 She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.

21 She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.

22 She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.

23 Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.

24 She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.

25 Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.

26 When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.

27 She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.

28 Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:

29 “Many women have done wonderful things,
but you’ve outclassed them all!”

30 Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.

31 Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!

Doesn't sound too bad eh? Now, I'm not sure I'm going to start making my own clothes, but the work ethic, the productivity, it sounds nice to me. It brings images into my head of old historical movies, where the women worked hard and took pride in their homes and the work they did. I like those sorts of movies, I like the idea of a life like that, and I wonder if this is a life style I can embrace in the new year? Definitely something to work toward for sure, no one says I need to get it perfect right away.

So, today was a nice and quiet day. Cleaned house. Made dinner. Had company. Now I'm going to watch a movie with Elvis, and go to bed in my nice clean bedroom and hopefully I'll enjoy a good restful sleep.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

A new code of conduct...........

Before I was a believer, I didn't understand believers. I didn't know exactly what about them was different, but I definitely thought they were different. I also thought they were a little "eccentric" and that being a Christian was hard, I thought it was going to be really different from what I was doing, I thought I'd have to give up things and change radically, and it seemed daunting.

Now that I believe in Christ, and now that I can comfortably call myself a Christian, I don't really understand what all the confusion was about. I can look back now and laugh at myself and wonder what I thought the big deal was. There are changes, certainly, and sacrifices too, but nothing radical, nothing daunting, and no need to get it right on the first try. I'm still allowed to stumble, and fail, and my continued sin is expected, because I'm human and essentially, that's what we do. The changes that are made are in the heart, and in the intentions, how we view life changes, how we view each other changes, but otherwise, believing is not hard.

Thinking again of the coming year and my goals to change every area of my life for the better, I started looking for scripture that really guided me on what better Christian behavior looked like. The bible is of course filled with rules and guidelines for Christians to follow, so its hard to pick just one. But, I found a piece of scripture that I really like, and its long, so bear with me, but its smart and it's simple and well, I just like it! This is from The Message interpretation.

1 Peter 3:1-17

1 The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated2 by your life of holy beauty.3 What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—

4 but your inner disposition.
Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.
5 The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands.6 Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as “my dear husband.” You’ll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.

7 The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground.
Suffering for Doing Good
8 Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble.9 That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.

10 Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful;

11 Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth.

12 God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he’s asked; But he turns his back on those who do evil things.13 If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped?14 Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought.15 Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.16 Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath.17 It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad.

The little pieces I highlighted in red are the parts I like the best. I feel like they're really good guide posts for living according to what God wants.

Wives, be good to your husbands, responsive to their needs.

Husbands, be good to your wives, honor them and delight in them.

Be agreeable.

Be sympathetic.

Be loving.

Be compassionate.

Be humble.

All of us, no exceptions.

No retaliation.

No sarcasm.

Instead, bless, that's our job, to bless, to be a blessing and receive blessings in return.

Say nothing evil or hurtful.

Snub evil and cultivate good.

Chase after peace.

And last but not least, be ready to explain to people why you're living the way you are, and always with courtesy.

That's the real key piece here.

Be prepared to live your Christian beliefs in front of others, and be prepared to say that's exactly what you're doing, and explain why, that we're called to live like Christ, and He does all these things, He is everything good and doesn't have to try, but every day we have to make a conscious effort to be more like Him.

This "little" piece of scripture is actually part of a much bigger chunk of really good advice, but I couldn't copy and paste all of 1 Peter into this entry, but if you're interested, check it out and see if you can't find more little helpful hints of your own! YouVersion is a great place to read it, especially if your bible is written in a complicated or difficult to read language, you can find many interpretations here.

Before I go, I just wanted to add, that there are only 4 days left of 2009! Its been a challenging year and I'm excited to get started with a new one, a fresh one! My new life rebuild has already begun, but I'm excited to tackle the big jobs in the coming year and can't wait to see what joys and blessings, and challenges 2010 will bring our way!


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Making friends with frugality

One of the biggest changes I hope to make in the coming year, is to change my attitude towards, and my relationship with money. I have to honestly admit, I'm bad with money, I don't manage it well at all. I get excited to have a little "extra" and just as quickly as it comes, it goes.

Spending money makes us feel good. It gives us a little instant gratification and it makes us feel like we "have", like we're doing okay, like we're keeping up with our anonymous competitors in life.

But when its gone, or when its low, money can make us feel horrible. It can make your stomach turn, it can give you headaches, it can make you feel uncertain and genuinely afraid. Being careless with money can really make your life harder then it needs to be, and I would really like to see me become a better steward of our assets in the new year.

So, what does that look like? How do we stop caring about what we want to have, and start being really content with what we already have? I guess the most basic thing to do would be to stop and think about that, think about what we already have, and maybe frame it up next to some other people or populations who have so much less, and who would already think we're rich, just the way we are. I wonder where the drive to have more comes from? Is it a cue from society, or is it something built into the core of our human nature? Why do we need to acquire so much STUFF? It stresses us out anyway, when we look around us and there's stuff everywhere, we trip over it, and have no place to put the new stuff because the old stuff is in the way, stuff is annoying! I'd love to become a minimalist, I'd love to pare down and get back to basics, and start enjoying a more organized, simple life.

So, that's on the top of my new life renovation project! Stop being reckless with our funds!

And, because I'm trying to do this all on the "rock", this posting would be incomplete without considering the bible and what God has to say about how we manage our money, so here it is.

Ecclesiastes 5:10 says:

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.

As long as our focus is on money, and on the things money can buy, then we'll never have enough and we'll always feel dissatisfied, and that's not good. I want to live my life with a sense of quiet satisfaction. I want to sit back and look at my home around me and feel genuinely pleased with what I have and how I got it. I want to look around me and feel like all I have it all I need. I want to love what I have and dream about ways to enjoy it, rather then fantasize about what I don't have and what I can sacrifice to get it.

So, a plan for the new year would involve this. Stop spending! Stop making unnecessary purchases on credit. Stop any form of retail therapy, shopping just because it makes us feel better, and start being smart about our finances.

I will follow a budget, a carefully laid out budget.

I will grocery shop better and make better use of the food we already have.

I will make comfort foods from scratch rather then ordering in.

I will make better use of my creative gifts, using them to either make homemade gifts, or for income, like selling paintings again.

I will respect my limitations.

I will take regular inventory of what I already have, and count my blessings.

I will think of creative ways to spend time with my husband, and creative ways to spend time together as a family, that do not involve going out and spending money.

I will make a point of teaching my kids (and reminding myself) to take good care of our things, because misusing them and having to replace them means spending money we could be saving.

I will apply Dave Ramsey's money makeover principals and will start working on our debt snowball.

I will clean the house and start a big garage sale stash, for a big sale in the spring, and apply the proceeds to paying down debt.

I will help my husband financially, by trying to bring in extra money, but also by helping him spend the money we do have wisely. I will reign in my need to have little pick me ups here and will do my best to be content, so that he can be content as well.

I'll be thankful each and everyday for what I have and will trust that even when it feels scary, even when money is super tight and we've got knots in our stomachs, that God is taking care of us, because he always does. I will trust that God has a plan for us and that he will guide us through these tough times.

So, that's what's weighing on my mind today. Debt is weighing me down. Lack of money makes me feel sick. I hate feeling like we're just teetering on the edge, I want security and contentment, not more stuff!

I think if I got this checked off my to do list, a lot of other things would follow. If we got our finances in better order, I think I'd find that I have more time with my kids and my husband, and less strain in our marriage, and in fact, more money for when we really need it.

No time like the present to get started on this one. We've just got to keep it in our minds, we have to be conscious of how we use money to make us feel good and feel taken care of, but its misguided thinking that just leads to dissatisfaction in the future.

Money and things do NOT make us feel good, but family and friends and relationships, real and authentic relationships, make us feel very good, and cared for, and at the core of it all, are all that really matters.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I woke up this morning beside my husband, and we opened presents with our kids.

I am blessed.

Enough said.

We went to Christmas eve service at our wonderful church yesterday, and though I knew I would be, I was so glad to be there. I'm one of those people who is moved to tears by church, by the community, the music, and the words our pastor speaks. And standing there with friends and other believers, I felt my eyes well up, and I fought back the urge to cry. Tears of joy that is. Because I am so blessed, we're all so taken care of, whether we know it or not. I was most taken by the fact that I was standing there, in church, on Christmas eve, with my husband. It wasn't very along ago that I never imagined this could happen. I'd lay in bed and try and imagine how on earth I would celebrate Christmas without him. How we'd share our kids, and give separate gifts, and not be together. I prayed for a Heavenly intervention, and I got it, and my biggest gift this Christmas, was to have my husband at my side, and our marriage back on track and our hearts growing together once more.

I'm blessed.

And today I'm puttering around the house getting ready to go to the Christmas gathering with my husbands family, and I'm excited. I'm excited to have all of them back as well. This year we're bringing mashed potatoes (A la Pioneer Woman), sweet potato casserole (also a la Pioneer Woman), and apple crisp (my own special recipe), and I'm excited to share what we made and to talk and be together, and celebrate Christ, and the miracle that He is. I'm excited!

I have a new cross around my next, thanks to Elvis, who surprised me this morning with an assortment of really special and unexpected gifts, and I'm wearing it today with pride. Aside from being an outward demonstration of my faith, its also big, and bold and fits nicely with the personal makeover I've been undergoing for the past few months, its a beautiful piece of jewelry.

So, back to church for a moment, yesterday's service was really special. The story was the same, the telling of how Christ was born, but it was told in a different way then usual, and really helped us to grasp how incredible that birth was. God actually came to earth. God showed up. He came to us, so we could be saved. He didn't have to do it, but he did, because he loved us, and that's pretty special, because not many of us can say we're capable of love like that (are any of us?).

The music of course was unbelievable. I love the music our church plays, it may be my favorite part of church! I always leave with lyrics stuck in my head, and I head home and Google them, and then immediately find that song and listen to it over over. Yesterday we heard great renditions of traditional favorites, like Joy to the World, and these words really jumped out at me:

Let every heart, prepare him room

Not sure why, but those words really resonated with me. Prepare Him room. Make space for God in your life and ....

He comes to make His blessings flow..


I also heard a new song. And it was beautifully sang by my two favorite performers at church, and I quietly repeated the words all the way home so I would be able to search it and share it with you.

Its called "Go Outside" by the Robbie Seay Band, and its lovely!

Here is a link where you can give it a listen (so good, trust me):

Go Outside

I hope everyone is having a fantastic Christmas day, and I hope blessings are being counted. Of course, I know there are many people out there, who don't feel like they have much to celebrate. There are mothers and father's at besides of sick children, and children at their parents bedside in hospitals across the world. There are lonely people, missing family on days like today (and all the other days as well), there are hungry people, cold people, and people feeling hopeless. And you're all on my mind today. My heart and prayers go out to everyone in need of them. And this makes me even more painfully aware of how blessed I am, and how God has helped us weather so many storms in the past few years, and we're still in tact and lived to tell about it.

To my dear friend B, who's experiencing a major heartache and struggle right now, and not at all getting the Christmas she imagined, or deserves, much love and of course, my continued prayers that God will bring you through it.

To a wonderful "Sister" who's missing her family this Christmas, we love you. You're with us in spirit, and if we could be with you today, we would love to do so! We'll see you soon! I hope you'll spend the day loving up your kids, and I know you'll remember His love for you, and that will bring you some peace!

To my many friends, who are celebrating Christmas without your much loved children, some for the first time every, I cannot tell you just how much my heart is with you, and how I am wishing you peace and comfort today and the other 364 days of the year. Christmas seems to be harder then those days, and I know you're missing you baby (or babies) with a bit more intensity today. Much love to you all!

And a special Christmas thank you to my family, who have brought me through so much, with a special brand of love and support, I'm incredibly grateful for all of you and know that families like ours are the exception and not the rule, so of course, I am blessed :)

And to "the board", full of hundreds of great friends who have also stood by me through more then one heart ache, and many more joys. You all have enriched my life, with friendships and comradarie (is this a word?) not found very often, and not found by everyone, you're all blessings to me!

Merry Christmas Everyone! We're one day closer to big, brave and bold new year!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Counting my blessings........

Today is Christmas eve, and due to the busy schedule that accompanies the holiday, we're celebrating Christmas with my family today, and Elvis's family tomorrow. Our family doesn't relate to Christmas in a spiritual manner, we prefer to celebrate by just enjoying being together, opening presents, playing games and eating nice big meals. Its great. I'm 29 years old and I still look forward to it with the same sense of anticipation and joy I had as a kid, maybe even more so since I get to watch my kids bubble over with their eager excitement.

But, I'm aware now of how, as a Christian, it isn't really appropriate to do Christmas without acknowledging Christ, for us, we should not let this day, pass without bringing Him into it, and acknowledging that the birth of Christ was the biggest and most amazing gift we could ever receive. So, today I'm going to go to Christmas eve service at our church with Elvis, this will have a two fold benefit I believe. One, we're going to go to church and top up our spiritual tanks, and praise God for all he's done and for the love and blessings He pours out each minute of each day, and two, we're going to go to church together, for the first time since July, since before our separation, and show ourselves to our little community, as a unit once more. I'm excited!

Presents aside, it's impossible on a day like today, to not be incredibly aware of my blessings and their source. I have so many, I truly am a rich woman.

I have great parents, who are still taking care of my sisters and me, and our families.

I have great sisters, who are friends and family in one, they're the best.

I have a husband, and I can't help but think of how just a few weeks ago I was imagining spending this holiday without him, I'm grateful I never had to find out what that felt like. I have a husband, and a partner, who is working with me on a new and love filled life, and he is amazing.

I have a family, a big family, extended family and in laws, and we have so much between us, always a home to visit in, a place to celebrate, and I know that isn't the norm for everyone, we are so lucky.

I have a job, my husband has a job, we are able to care for ourselves and our children and our extended families if need be, we can do it, we want for nothing.

We have schools and stores, and Dr's and health care and cars and churches and friends and family and clothing and food and toys and extra's, we're rich beyond words, even when we have no money in our bank accounts, we're rich beyond words.

It's Christmas, and I'm spending it with my family, and there's a blissful and familiar warmth and rhythm to our togetherness, its ageless, I feel the exact same today in my parents house with my husband and children as I did back when my sisters and I were the children. Its good. Its warm and its safe and it's full of a special sort of Christmas happiness and energy that you don't feel just everyday.

So, I'm counting my blessings today, and they are so plentiful. Too many to list, and I am so thankful for all I've been given.

How blessed are we!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Just sharing........

Today's a lazy day, I don't have much weighing on my mind, other then the cooking I have to get done for a big family holiday meal on the 25th. Other then that, I'm sitting back feeling pretty contented. Its Christmas, my family is getting together tonight and tomorrow, I'm getting my hair done this afternoon and we're planning on spending a fun night in, playing with the Wii and having Chinese food. Life is good.

But, because I know enough to not become complacent when things are seemingly good (learned that the hard way), I've still got my mind on my goals, and what I need to do to reach them! This blog is going to be so vital, for me that is, who needs to write and express and get things out. Writing helps me break things down and process them, it helps me make sense of where I am, where I've been, and where I want to go. So, I don't want to blog neglect just because I'm having a good day with nothing in particular stressing me out, or inspiring me.

After all, there's always something to say!

So, here are the words to a fabulous song we heard in church probably a year or so ago. Our church band is fantastic and we have some great musicians who can really do lovely covers of mainstream songs. This song is called "The cure for pain" by Jon Foreman, and we heard it sang at a time when we REALLY need a cure for our pain, and we were so prepared to hear these words and soak them up, and this song has remained a part of my repertoire ever since. Just check out these words, and see if they don't speak to some area of your life right now, they might....

So I'm not sure why it always flows downhill
Why broken cisterns never could stay filled
I've spent ten years singing gravity away
But the water keeps on falling from the sky

And here tonight while the stars are blacking out
With every hope and dream I've ever had in doubt
I've spent ten years trying to sing these doubts away
But the water keeps on falling from my eyes

And heaven knows, heaven knows
I tried to find a cure for the pain
Oh my Lord! To suffer like you do
It would be a lie to run away

So blood is fire pulsing through our veins
We're either writers or fools behind the reigns
I've spent ten years trying to sing it all way
But the water keeps on falling from my tries

And heaven knows, heaven knows
I tried to find a cure for the pain
Oh my Lord! To suffer like you do
It would be a lie to run away
A lie to run
It would be a lie
It would be a lie to run away

It keeps on falling
It keeps on falling
It keeps on falling
It keeps on falling
Water keeps on falling from my eyes

And heaven knows, heaven knows
I tried to find a cure for the pain
Oh my Lord! To suffer like you do
It would be a lie to run away
It would be a lie to run away
It would be a lie to run away

I don't know why I find these words so powerful, but I really do, I love this song, its melancholy sound, its slow and easy and full of emotion, and it just really speaks to me.

If you want to give it a listen, go here:

Anyway, for now, I just wanted to share some good music with you. I love music, and think of it as very therapeutic, I love how I can find a song that seems to speak for me, in any occasion, so I am sure I'll share more in the not too distant future!

Enjoy your day, hopefully you're spending it with people you love and celebrating this wonderful holiday with joy!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I am a sparrow.........

When I started my grief blog, I had a piece of scripture in my head, just bouncing around in there, causing me to ponder God's love for us. The more I thought it over the more I liked the concept, and the more comfort it brought me in the midst of the hardest time of my life. Immediately after Everett's death, I turned my back on God, because I reasoned, he let my baby die. Either he could help but didn't, or couldn't help at all, and either way I figured, I could do just as well without Him. And I walked away. It didn't take too long for God to call me back though, I heard Him faintly, in the back of my mind, and stubbornly tried to ignore him (imagine me with my fingers in my ears here, chanting "lalalala", trying to drown out the voice of God!), I was mad after all, God had failed us. But the whispers persisted, and my need for comfort and solace grew stronger and stronger each day. Each day I stood with my back to God, my grief and my pain grew heavier and heavier, as I was carrying it alone. And one day, I gave in, I gave up my efforts to ignore God, and finally let him do what he was always trying to do, comfort me (imagine me turning to God and saying "Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine, what can YOU do for me now", so childish). But as soon as I stopped trying to shut Him out, He showed me exactly what he can do for me.

Quite suddenly I wasn't carrying my burdens alone. Finally I could breath, my wounds were soothed and my heart was calmed and I could grieve but with less despair, and less pain. And I didn't need to be told who I had to thank.

And this piece of scripture I was bouncing around in my mind was Matthew 10:29.

29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coins? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it

Not a single sparrow can fall from the sky, without God knowing it. He notices our falls even more so then the sparrow's. He notices and he cares. Nothing happens to us without Gods notice, or his will, we are forever in his care. So this little verse started my grief blog, and was a big boost to my small but growing faith. Its comforting to know that even when we're fallen, which is pretty much all the time it seems, we're not alone, God knows, he saw it happen, and he cares, and he's there to help with the aftermath, and to help carry the burden, and I can honestly say that the comfort was much needed and much welcomed when Everett died, and again during my miscarriage and my separation from Elvis, and its pretty great to know that it'll be there again during the next crisis (and that its also there during the day to day frustrations).

So here, on the dawning of a brand new year, a big blank slate, full of all sorts of unknowns, I'm thinking about myself as a sparrow. Fallen. Feathers ruffled, wings broken (but healing), eyes on the skies, and giving serious thought to trying to take flight again. After all, we all fall, and we all struggle with the healing and getting back up again, but there comes a time when you have to make the choice, to stay down and be defeated, or to try to fly again. Its not easy. Sometimes it hurts (our tiny wings are broken after all!), and sometimes, its absolutely impossible to get air born again from where we are, its just not possible, and that's because we NEED God. We need him to pick us up from the ground and place us back in the tree we fell from, so that we're actually in a position to take flight when we're healed enough to do so. Pardon all the bird metaphors (I really am quite taken with them these days), but what I'm trying to say, is I have realized after three big life upsets, that it is possible to recover and keep living, but I can honestly say it couldn't have been done without me first being willing to accept God's great comfort and help. Sure, I'd still be alive, but would I really be living? I doubt it.

But here I am now, poised to fly again, creating a brand new, exciting and love filled life, with the amazing help of a God who brings me infinite hope and comfort.

Here's to the happiest new year!


Monday, December 21, 2009

What I want my new "house" to look like......

Just like this.

Is it possible to rebuild something that has weathered several storms, and is worn and broken and crumbled, but still standing?

I think so.

Just look at them!

See that freedom? See that trust and that joy that's practically radiating from them?

I do. And I want that pack. So, in my blue prints for our big life renovation, gearing up to start in the new year, I am planning on building joy and trust and freedom back in to us.

Its going to be hard, we'll have to be careful, and no cutting corners. Some sacrifices will have to be made, in the short term for long term pay off. It will be so worth it to feel like those two in that picture again (and to look like them too! Haha!)


It isn't easy...........

Life that is.

It isn't easy.

Each and every day seems like a lottery. When you wake up and throw your feet out of bed, and make your way from the security of your warm little bedroom out into the day, you really never know what you're going to get. Some days we happily make it through without any event worth noting, good or bad, and some days we feel like we hit the jack pot because our day was filled with unanticipated joy and surprise. And, then there are days when everything goes wrong and you wonder how on earth you found yourself in such a predicament, and you wish you could just rewind life by 10 seconds, or five minutes, or just one day, so you could go back and undo what was done, or not do what you did, or not say what you said, that changed the course of your day and made you feel lost or hopeless or in despair.

I've had days like that. A lot of days like that. And so have you I am sure.

Bad, bad days you never saw coming.

Events that hit you out of nowhere like a Mack truck.

They can really send you reeling, and make life cease to make any sort of sense.

One day I had two perfectly healthy babies, and the next day one had a serious heart defect that modern medicine was powerless to cure.

One day my marriage was strong and the next it was broken.

One day the pregnancy test was fainter then the day before.

One miscalculation in the parking lot caused the insurance rates to rise.

One misspoken word caused a rift between friends.

One misunderstanding tore a family apart.

These things happen. They happen to us all. They are like rocks in the road and every now and then we don't see them there and we trip and we fall, and we cry, and sit there, afraid of what happens next. These stumbling moments disable us with fear, its the most dangerous part of falling, not wanting to get back up.

We're afraid to get back behind the wheel again, afraid we can't be trusted.

Afraid to love again, afraid they can't be trusted.

We're afraid to have more babies, afraid to lose them, or afraid not NOT have more babies, afraid to never know that joy again.

We're afraid to speak and cause falling outs.

Afraid to risk.

Afraid to lose.

Afraid to make mistakes.

Afraid to mess up.

Afraid to alter the course of our lives.

Afraid to alter the course of others lives.

Afraid to get out there.

Afraid to be still.

Afraid to live.

Afraid to hope.

Afraid to trust.

How fearful are we? Lets face it, humanity as a group is a pretty fretful bunch, it's one of those common threads that connects us all. We're all afraid because we want to be in control, some on smaller, or grander scales, but we know deep down we can't be.

We're not in control, and never have we ever been in control, of our lives, or of those of others.

Scary! Doesn't that mean that just about anything could happen to us and we're powerless to stop it? It absolutely does. My heart races just thinking about it. And before I really solidified my belief in Christ, and before I started going to church and got to hear God's plans for us, and his promises, and how he actually worked in our lives, I would have been panic stricken at the thought of giving up control over my life and surrendering it to a higher power. No way, no how.

But knowing know, what I didn't know then, I can do just that, with pleasure.

And bad things will still happen. Its the most inevitable side effect of living a human life, aside from death. People will die, and life will get hard, and you are not in control, so stop trying to be. And relax!

And I know that some of you are wondering, if God is in control, then why do bad things happen at all? I asked this myself after Everett died, and our church addressed this topic at a very timely moment for us, when we were perfectly ready it hear it and absorb it. Its hard to explain, and understand that I am very new to this walk and am still making sense of it all myself, as best I can. But from what I gather, this is true: God uses all things in our lives for good. All things. He takes our bad things and he uses them for good, if we trust Him.


Big bite to chew there right? I've blogged about this in my grief blog (where I talk about all things Everett and loss), and I've puzzled over this little verse myself. God used the death of my son for good? For real? I'm supposed to believe THAT? Yep. Believe it. What helps make this more digestible is to remember that God doesn't rejoice in your hardships or your tough times, they hurt Him because they hurt us, if we weep, He weeps, but he recovers from this much quicker then us, because He is in control and He has a plan to make something good from the wreckage. If you're comfortable enough to take my word for it, then I will be happy to assure you, that God did so many good things with Everett's existence, and from the hurt and despair we felt from losing him.

Everett's life has touched so many people, near and far.

His struggle touched hearts.

Our struggle touched hearts.

We showed a lot of people that you won't die from a broken heart.

We showed people you can find faith in the aftermath of your life falling to pieces.

We've raised money in Everett's honor.

We have aspirations to do it again.

We have softer hearts.

We love our other children stronger and deeper then ever before.

We value life more, and the time we share, we know how precious and limited it is.

We have deeper understanding of how resilient we are.

We know God's love.

We trust God's will.

We know we're not in control, and the blessing in that is that we can stop struggling and fighting and straining to hold control, and hand the reins over to Him, and just trust.

Life is hard! It is. But one of the most fantastic things I have experienced since deciding to live a Christian life and to be a true Christ follower, is that trusting in God and relinquishing control over all things, big and small, feels so good.

I love how The Message translates John 14:1

"1 “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me."

Don't let this throw you. Sums it up just about perfectly. Don't let the rocks and potholes of life throw you. Trust God, trust that He will do good with it, and keep on living.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Adding a new room to the house!

The library/study! I can't believe that I forgot this one on my original plans! Here I'll share books I've read and studies I've done, and helpful links to direct you to helpful readings (one's I've enjoyed and found helpful that is, these things are subjective though).

To start you off, two very informative and easy to use websites :) Its an online bible in a ton of different versions to suit whatever your style may be! I like the NIV version, as well as The Message, which is super easy to read! answers practically any question you could have about God, the Bible and Christianity, give it a look, its really informative!

Also, if you haven't already noticed, I have a lot to say, and will likely write often, so be prepared!


The first step is admitting.................

I'm not sure why its been hard for me, to admit in non Christian circles, that I am a Christian. It feels sort of strange, or taboo even, and though I know its absolutely not okay to do so, I've been hesitant to live my faith out loud, which is of course what Christ calls us to do. I feel guilty for being a quiet believer, and I know that in order to make the entire premise of this blog happen, which is to build a new life on Christs teachings, that the first step is to come out of the faith "closet" so to speak and let everyone see and hear how special my faith is to me.

I'm not sure why this feels like such a daunting task. Maybe its because I have so many people who are very important to me, that don't believe like me, or at least to the extend that I believe, and I'm afraid to offend them, or put them off. I don't think that my beliefs could really do that, in fact I would think that they'd be uplifting to them, and bring some hope, but a part of me thinks that they might cock and eye brow at me and think I'm a little strange, or eccentric, or a fanatic, know what I mean?

But, I'm not supposed to think like that, or concern myself with what other people think of me, I'm not supposed to worry about things like this, and as a part of my new life and new beginning, which was granted to me entirely by God, I'm going to try and stop this thought pattern.

I hope, that my beliefs will not only be well received, but that they'll be food for thought for those in my life who aren't where I am at in the beliefs department. After all, this faith is pretty new to me. Before Everett died, I was a luke warm believer, I was wishy washy, I thought I could pick and choose what parts of the Christian belief system I really believed in, and I created an idylic image of "the God I believe in", I was mislead. If it wasn't for some people who were bold enough, and excited enough in what they believed in, to share a book with Elvis and I and risk offending us, we'd never have gotten to where we're at and wouldn't be blessed with this new found faith and hope.

That book, the book that sparked the interest that set our faith seeking journey in motion, sat in our diaper bag for weeks before we even lifted the cover. We WERE offended at first. We rolled our eyes and thought "the nerve of them", and we tossed it in our diaper bag and didn't give it another though. Then one day while rooting through the bag for something, I spotted the book once more, and for a minute I thought, "pretty cover", because things like that appeal to me, and I opened it up. I read a page or two, and was interested, so I read a page or two more, and soon enough, I was reading it daily, and was actually getting excited about what I was reading. That's all it took. I was suddenly and quite happily, a new believer in God and his promises. Thank you to the one who was brave and bold enough to share with us a book that changed your life, and then mine. For those who are interested in what book it was, it was "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren, and its informative and inspiring, and frames things up in a very digestible way, great for new believers, or non believers with open minds.

So, how do I live my faith out loud, it a way that makes me feel comfortable and at ease with my friends and family members who don't believe like me. I don't want to be offensive, or off putting, or appear fanatical, or like some religious zealot, because I am not. I'm a very normal person, a very average woman, who's live was deeply touched by the love and comfort Christ gives, during three separate life shattering events. Three separate times my life was in crisis, and each and every time I was comforted and carried through my my faith in God and the promises he made us. I think that the easiest way for me to be open about my beliefs, is to share them here, to talk openly and freely and with excitement, what God is doing in my life and my marriage. I'll share some relevant scriptures and some books I am reading, in case anyone wants to do some further reading on their own, and I'll just put my life on display so those who love me and care for me, or are interested in my enough to read this blog can see what faith can look like and how it can change your life.

So, the piece of scripture that's bouncing around in my mind today, is this:

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

I like this a lot. I think all too often, when it comes to faith and big life decisions, we want to break things apart and try and make sense of it, we want to analyze everything, and rely on our intellect and what we know to be true to make our big life choices, and faith based decisions seem reckless or foolish, or just plain uneducated. But, God calls us to not rely upon our own understanding, which if we're honest, is limited at the best of times anyway, and to rely upon His will and His word to guide us. That's a tall order for many of us isn't it? To put aside what we think we know to be true and to do, in many instances, something that feels contrary to what we would normally do, it can be hard for sure. But, in my own life, I have recently applied this little nugget of advice and felt a huge pay off, so I feel like its golden advice and will be following it again in the very near future I am sure.

So there you have it, I'm out of the closet, openly and happily a Christ follower! I know that my nearest and dearest can understand why, and for the most part I know they'll be happy for me,whether or not they can fully understand it yet or not. Christ died for our sins to we could all have salvation, and an eternity with Him in HEAVEN! Believing in God and His word brings the ultimate reward of Heaven, and if there is a Heaven (which I fully believe there is), then Everett is there, and if believing is the only way to get there (which it is), then not believing simply is not an option for me. The drive to be reunited with Everett was what made me push to believe, and the immediate sense of love and peace and confidence that comes with faith like that has kept me believing!

I think we just took our first walk through "the garden" of this new building project, hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!


Saturday, December 19, 2009


I'm a planner. It's what I do. I day dream, make lists, and create elaborate and detailed fantasies in my head about a variety of desires for my future. I plan weddings, vacations, babies, budgets, shopping trips, weight loss, landscaping ideas, parties.... you name it, I've dreamed it and plotted it out to the last detail in my head. Its who I am!

So, when I started thinking about the second chance that Elvis and I got at our marriage, I started thinking to myself "what will our future look like". That's when I decided to create this blog, to catalog our mutual goals and individual desires for our future together, and then to document the process, as we pursue a Christian marriage and family life, and as we strive to make each other more contented spouses and make each others dreams into reality.

So, what does that look like? What do we want to work on this next year? What are some of the rooms we want to include in our "new house" built on the foundation of God and the security He brings? I think I'll structure this blog and the projects within it, like rooms in a house.

So, we'll have....

The Living Room: Here I'll talk about goals and projects related to hospitality and how we relate to friends and extended family and how we display our Christian lifestyle to visitors in our home.

The Family Room: This room will be about projects and goals for our family and how we care for and love one another.

The Bedroom: When we're working on this room in our house, we're talking about marital issues, and how Elvis and I relate to one another and how we're learning to love one another. The bedroom will have a good set of blinds on the windows of course, as somethings must be veiled for privacy sake!

The Bathroom/Dressing Room: Personal grooming happens here, so here I'll discuss goals related to self, and how I am transforming myself, inside and out, and how I relate and project to the world.

The Yard: Gardens and quiet places to reflect, here is where we'll talk about God and how we're working to grow our relationship with him, like pruning the weeds from a flower bed and harvesting a crop from a vegetable garden, we'll talk about God's lessons and his blessings here.

Everett's Corner: Even our metaphorical home will have a special place dedicated to Everett and his memory. When we're working on Everett's corner we'll discuss how we're working to remember Everett, keep him a part of our family, and how we're doing good things in his honor.

So there you have it. From the ground up we're going to be building a new "house", but rather then build it on gravel, weak, like our own understanding of the world, we're building it on the rock that is Jesus and filling it with His teachings about life and love.

Let the adventure begin!


A year of construction.....

A new year is fast approaching, only 12 days remain of 2009, and I am sure I'm not the only one with resolutions for a new year on their minds. We all seem to face the dawning of a new year with hope and excitement and wonder, what will this new year bring? Hopefully new starts, new opportunities, and new adventures.

2009 was admittedly, a rocky year for me and my family. 2008 was pretty hard on us as well. We've had what feels like years of destruction and are looking to 2010 to bring some rebuilding. We've underwent some serious life transformations in the past two years, and big changes seldom happen without some hurt, growing pains I suppose.

My husband and I lost a child. We had identical twin boys on November 17th 2007, six weeks premature but otherwise beautiful, healthy babies following a very good pregnancy. When the boys were just a week old, baby A, Everett, began to show signs of being unwell. His condition deteriorated rapidly and before we knew it he was whisked off to Sick Kids in Toronto to begin treatment for a collection of very serious heart defects. He underwent every procedure possible to save his life. Two open heart surgeries, a cardiac catheterization, peritoneal dialysis, and ECMO, all noble, but unsuccessful efforts to mend the broken heart he was born with. When he was 20 days old, Everett died, and Elvis and I left Sick Kids with empty arms and shattered hearts, and returned to Orillia to claim our baby B, Landon, who was precious and perfect and healthy, and salve to our wounds. Our daughter Avery, who was just two at the time, also served as a great source of comfort and love, but changes had happened, and were still happening, that would change the course of our lives.

When Everett died we were introduced to grief and loss and the agony the accompanies the death of a child. We lost some innocence, and some ignorance, and the confidence of feeling untouchable, like "these things can't happen to us", they can, and they did. And we started to feel like a statistic, a worse case scenario statistic.

We picked up and moved on and continued to live. Time lessened the intensity of our hurt but our hearts were never the same. We loved (and of course still do love) all our children and life began to feel like it was on a livable path again. Through the persistence of some good people, and by the giving of a simple book, Elvis and I were able to mend fences with God who we were angry with from the loss of Everett, and we found Christ all over again, in a new and more authentic relationship. We found a church, became involved, and found ourselves in a fantastic small group of Christ loving friends to learn and laugh with. And though on the surface things were looking good for us, parts of our foundation were still crumbling.

"We" were crumbling. Elvis and I were crumbling at our base, our marriage, and we didn't see it happen in time to stop our whole world from tumbling over once more.

In August 2009, our marriage flat-lined, the heart of us stopped beating, and we did something I never imagined could ever happen to us, we separated. This happened to take place at the same time I discovered I was pregnant again, for the third time, and a week later miscarried. Devastation. For the first time in over 7 years, the world around us viewed us separately, two individual units, not a couple. My life made absolutely no sense and I found myself not knowing how to live my life without my husband and best friend. Couples who had underwent separation before had explained to me either how they reconciled, or how they divorced, in attempts to be helpful, and my heart ached at the prospect of further separating from Elvis. So I dug my heals in and stalled the process. And while I bought myself some time, I prayed, and prayed, and read, and talk and prayed. And God granted me the courage to continue to hope and love and wait, and eventually God granted "Us" a second chance. We found a fantastic Christian counselor whom we're still talking with and Elvis moved back into our home and we're reading and talking and praying and working on picking up the pieces of our life together. Its hard, and sometimes it hurts, but its working and once more we're starting to feel like we're on a livable path again.

The death of a baby
A miscarriage
A near ending of our marriage

Lots of breaking down. Lots of falling a part. Lots of deconstruction. Lots of hurt.

But, lots of learning, and personal growth, spiritual growth, and a deeper understanding of what it means to love someone, and what God wants from marriage.

It looks like rubble, but its really a building site, for a new life and a new marriage. The perfect place to start anew, in the wreckage of our past failures and hurts and losses.

And on the dawn of 2010, we're drawing up blue prints for what our new life and new love will look like, and we're gearing up for our first big project together with this new outlook and Christ as our foreman. This will be a year of building up, a year of starting new and doing things right, a year of construction, building our new love and new life on the rock that is Jesus, so when life gets hard, which it inevitably will, our foundation won't be swept from under us again.