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Thursday, 12 December 2013

3 ways to beat the "Christmas Wants"

This week we celebrated our 2nd anniversary! Wow! Time flies!  Again I'm reminded to make "the best use of the time" (Eph.5) as I look ahead to another year.

It's so easy to get caught up and, almost literally, wrapped up in the Christmas bedlam.  But most sneaky to creep up is the "I wants" and lack of contentment, as the focus seems to become the wish list and what I "need" this year.  The truth is, I am in need of nothing.  

In the "get, get, get" of this season, how can we shift the focus and the attention onto what really matters and what really has value?  How can we make "the best use of the time"?  Here's a few of my ideas...

1. It's all about relationships
I love that over Christmas there's more time to get together with friends and family as the routine of day to day life goes out the window. In it's place appear hours on end of good natured competing over a monopoly board, long meals and chats around the fire, get-togethers with friends and family.  How much more valuable & enjoyable to give time and energy to these things?  

2. Remembering thankfulness
This year I've learned and am learning what it means to have thankfulness at the forefront of each day.  Oh, it often gets forgotten, but when I'm thankful I know I'm more content.  Instead of wishing for what I don't have, I'd like to take time to remember all that I already have and have an attitude of gratitude.  There's far less stress in counting blessings than counting what seems to be missing.

3. Clearing the way
Ever heard the expression "I can't see wood for trees"?  Maybe in the forest of presents and chocolate the real message of Christmas gets more easily lost than it would in a simpler, more pared back Christmas.  Whatever that might look like - less presents, less time shopping, less time cooking, less events ... more time to think, read, pray, celebrate and be thankful. 

I just read a blog post by one of my favourite bloggers and want to leave you with a great quote from it, one I hope will stick with me:

"May we be reminded today there is more joy found in owning less than can be found in pursuing more." - Joshua Becker


vk

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Back to Blogging - with a Bang!

It's been a while since I seem to have had enough spare "bandwidth" and energy to write a blog post!  What with moving from Canada back to England, learning a new role in the office here at Tottergill and wrapping our heads around the idea that we're becoming parents in April!!  

We're very excited to report that baby Karg will be with us in the Spring and so far all is well.  It was exciting to see him/her moving around on the screen last night as we had our 20 week scan.  Although baby seemed to be a little uncooperative while the nurse tried to take various measurements...we're hoping that's not a sign of things to come!

The news of this baby came just shortly after our first one would have been born, and so we see God's timing in giving this gift and we're so thankful.  So many things in life don't make sense, and yet sometimes we get to catch a glimpse of a bigger picture. I love that!

So, it's one adventure after another.  We're settling in well here and are enjoying making some changes to our new little place.  Maybe I'll post pictures at some point.  But for now, here's some of the highlights from the last few months...

A trip to Edinburgh with some familiar faces from Canada :)

Hanging out with family and girlie times with my mum and sister

Going for walks in what has been a beautiful Autumn

vk




Friday, 4 October 2013

Our Cross the World Journey in Pictures!

In moving across the world we saw some amazing scenery on our travels, from float planing over our home Gulf Islands on the West Coast of Canada, to traveling by train through the Rockies and the Prairies, discovering the Canadian Shield in Manitoba and some of the beautiful lakes bordering Ontario and now back in England... I thought I share some favourites:

 Saying Goodbye

From our train carriage window!

A quick stop in Jasper

Through the Rockies

 Love those Prairie Barns...

 ...And BIG skies



 And back in the homeland! - Derwent Water

A walk at Gelt Woods, showing Ken what's on our doorstep!

It all seems like so long ago now that we're here!  It's good to be back :)

vk





Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The End of 33

Maybe you're wondering how my Project 333 has ended?  It's the end of my 3 month experiment to sift through my wardrobe and skinny it down to 33 items of clothing, shoes and accessories to live with for 3 months.  

It was a bit of a challenge.  Firstly, because I'm so clumsy that I seem to attract dirt to my clothes very easily, meaning that laundry had to happen a bit more often than usual!  Secondly, because I didn't plan things that well so that I could have a wardrobe where everything matched with everything.  I felt the restriction but that was a good thing.  

After a while, I got used to the simplicity and found it far easier to decide what to wear each day.  I didn't feel a pull of temptation when I went anywhere near a clothes shop and the best thing?...

... I REALISE I HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH.

That's what I want to take away the most from this whole thing.  I am not lacking in anything - wardrobe or otherwise.  So often I  know I am less than content, especially when it comes to "stuff".

So, yes, I did stick with it all the way until I arrived in England, so in the end it was a 2 and a half month experiment.  The reason I stopped 2 weeks early was because my t-shirts and shorts that were perfect for the Canadian Summer just weren't going to cut it here on this blustery hillside in Northern England!  So, I do admit to re-introducing some warmer clothes, pretty fast!

Did any of you try it?  Were you inspired to go through your own things with a critical eye of what you really need and use?  

My next challenge is to continue living with what I need only and to not accumulate stuff.  I think you'll agree that that's easier said than done.  My biggest struggle is definitely in the wardrobe department and so I will be setting myself some permanent boundaries I think.  How about you?

Can I still say:
With love from "across the water"??  
I'm still across the water to a lot of you!!  Just on the other side now!

vk 

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Friday, 20 September 2013

We're Here!

Safe and sound!  We're here in (not-so) sunny England!  It's so good to be back with the fam and we're slowly unpacking and settling in.  Shame our bodies still think we're in Canada and that makes trying to sleep at normal hours quite interesting!

There's lots to learn and so many little details to take care of as we've moved across the globe... there's a lot of lists happening around here!

Our train ride was fantastic - more on that coming soon...

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Thursday, 12 September 2013

Savour September

Wow.  Last week I read a blog post that pretty much shouted a few home truths at me that I think God has been trying to get into my head and heart for a while.  

What hit me was the reminder to Savour the moment.  

"Savour: To enjoy something completely"

Do you find yourself, like me, letting fears ruin the enjoyment of today?  Do you worry or wrestle in discontentment until there's no joy left?  Are you just passing time, waiting for the next thing?.... not really savouring anything?


I don't know about you, but I am a big sweet tooth!  I make sure that when a desert of any kind is in front of me that I enjoy every moment.  I take tiny bites and taste each piece right down to the last crumb.  Isn't that what it means to savour something?  To enjoy something completely.

I want to learn to really savour life.  For me that means to not get ahead of myself.  To enjoy what's in front of me instead of always looking ahead.  It means not being afraid of the unknown but finding joy in today.  And it certainly means slowing down, looking around and noticing the small things that might otherwise get missed.  The little things that we can always choose to be thankful for, to enjoy completely and to savour, no matter what.

vk

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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Gratitude Devotional = Food for my Soul!

 Have you read Ann Voskamp's book 1000 gifts yet?  If you haven't I'd recommend it if you're looking for an encouragement and especially if you're working through some hard stuff and need a reminder to give thanks in the midst.

As a going away gift from the staff here I was given the One Thousand Gifts devotional.  I was so excited to receive it as I'm still journaling my own way to One Thousand Gifts.  You also might remember that my theme for this year seems to be thanksgiving.

The devotional is food for my soul.  I wanted to share a little section with you and hope that it encourages you in whatever today holds, and perhaps you'll just go out and buy the book so you can start the day off the same way I do these days: Bible. Devo. Gratitude Journal.  It puts my heart in the right place ready for whatever God brings.


" The year I was four, my sister was crushed under the wheels of a truck in our driveway.  That is my first memory, the day Aimee was killed.  Fears have formed me....The answer to anxiety is always to exalt Christ.  Calvin said that.  "If we compare a hawk with the residue of the whole world, it is nothing.  And yet if so small a portion of God's work ought to ravish us and amaze us, what ought all His works do when we come to the full numbering of them?"  Ravish and amaze?  Did Calvin number too?  Come to the full numbering, the one thousand, the endless numbering of the infinate grace of God?  My pen is on the counter... Doesn't my world also stablilize when I rejoice in Your works?  Cause me to remember it today, Lord: adore Christ to combat anxiety." - Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts Devotional 
Do you notice that when you choose to be thankful you're less anxious?  What do you do to practice gratitude in your life?  I'd love to hear your ideas.


Love from Across the Water
vk



Thursday, 22 August 2013

August Update!

We're counting down the days here until our big move.  We're packing and cleaning and tidying and finding new homes for lots of our things that we weren't able to move with us to England.  It's busy, sometimes overwhelming, but definitely very exciting. The goodbyes are sad, but these last days here are fun and we're squeezing out every drop of sunshine that we can!  





For those we're leaving behind I'm thankful to so many who have become like family to me.  A hug, a chat, a cup of tea, even gifts of homemade soup and baked goodies for Ken when I wasn't up to slaving over a hot stove! ;)  


To those we're returning to I'm excited for the new adventures.  For sitting face-to-face and catching up, cuddling new babies, re-living old memories and making new ones... let the adventures continue! :)


vk

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Living with Purpose?


 Warning!: Going deep again here today ;) I think you can handle it...

Growing up and going for lots of family walks I remember my Mum would often say, "Come on, let's walk with a purpose"... meaning, lets not dawdle around here!  

This last week I've been thinking about walking with purpose in life.  I'm trying to learn to be intentional about the choices and decisions I make daily, knowing that they affect the big picture.  But what's the difference between living intentionally and living purposefully?




in.ten.tion  
1. A course of action that one intends to follow 
2. An aim that guides action; an objective
pur.pose 
1. The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or a goal 
2. A result or effect that is intended or desired; an intention3. Determination; resolution

As I look up these two words, their definitions are similar but purpose seems somehow more weighty and deep: "The object toward which one strives or for which something exists"  

Living intentionally is all well and good, setting goals (which I love) and being driven by what you want your life to look like 10 years, 20 years, 50 years from now.  But what is your purpose?  What or Who are you striving toward?  The reason for your existing?  That is the real aim or goal.  That's the why behind all that we do, say or think.  

So, if like me you enjoy setting goals for yourself or planning for the future.  Have you thought about the why? For what or for Who are you living?  




vk



Friday, 16 August 2013

TED Talk: Why 30 is not the new 20 // Claim your 20s!

I really enjoy TED talks and recently watched this one about the importance of being intentional with how you use your 20s.  There's some good stuff in here so I wanted to share it... enjoy!




Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Social Media Time Out!

I love pinterest!  Looking at beautiful photos, creative ideas and delicious food is really inspiring to me.  I'm inspired by pictures far more than words.  Instagram has to be a close second but pinterest is my favourite.  

Social Media is good and I think it's useful and helpful for lots of things.  I plan meals with it, choose birthday gifts, keep in contact with friends Continents away, and see family and friends get married, move house and have children.  But is it all good?

Do you sometimes come away from the screen feeling dissatisfied with the clothes you own? Or with your plans for a small camping holiday instead of touring Europe like you were just vicariously living through your favourite blogger?  Maybe there's a lack of contentment in your heart as you scroll through photographs of a friend's wedding, because you are yet to meet "Mr. Right", or because your wedding was no where near as elaborate.  Sometimes these good things can also breed in us a lack of contentment, jealousy and comparing ourselves with others, thinking that the life we have isn't quite good enough. 

Now and then I fall into this trap.  I was recently inspired by another blogger to take breaks from Social Media as part of my weekly routine.  So for this month I'm having Social Media free weekends, and I'm going to see how it feels.  So far on the days I've actually remembered to do it, I find myself going against what has become instinct to click through photos, scroll down status updates, check messages, and browse pinterest.  

I think this is going to be a good habit to break and to choose to remind myself to be fully present in the things that are before me every day.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Update: 33 items of clothing. 2 more months to go!

Well, this blog definitely keeps me accountable to the little challenges I've been setting myself recently.  Mainly my Project 333 challenge.  People keep asking me how it's going and so, I'm one month in and thought I'd post an update here too...

Firstly, if you missed my original post about Project 333, you can read it here.  But, basically, I challenged myself to live for 3 months with 33 items of clothing, including shoes and accessories.  I'm doing it because I want to learn to live simply and to take the focus off what's not important, and keep my eyes fixed on what is.  I believe our identity isn't in what's on the outside but what's on the inside.  (I just listened to a sermon on the life of David that talks more about finding our identity and security in Christ, not in looks, talents, career, health etc.  If you're interested you can listen to it here



I am not my clothing.  It's been a good challenge to take and to put less time and effort into thinking about what to wear.  I remind myself that people don't love me because of the clothes I wear... pretty sure my husband wouldn't even be able to tell you what I wore yesterday, and yet I know he loves me!

So, overall I'd say the challenge is going well.  I love having more space and less clutter, it's somehow stress-relieveing.  I also think that my radar has been finely tuned to notice more and more of God's desire for our lives in this area.  Taking clothes out of my wardrobe isn't a loss, it's a gain.  



On a practical note, I do struggle a little bit with 33 items only, (baring in mind that that also includes shoes, 2 coats, some jewellery and a handbag) because of the fact that I am like a child and can't seem to keep myself clean!!  Ah yes, my Dad always did tell me I needed a Pelican Bib to eat! (one of those with the tray to catch everything you drop!)  I'm afraid to say times haven't changed.  I also think that I should have planned out my items a bit more carefully, but I'm working with what I've got.

All that to say, I am enjoying learning to live more simply, in this area and in others.  It's a freeing feeling.  Have any of you set yourselves challenges in this area recently?  If you haven't I'd encourage you to join me.  It's not too late.  Maybe you just want to get rid of what you don't wear or doesn't fit anymore and see what a difference even that makes.  Maybe you want to go the whole hog and do Project 333.  Or, simplify in another area of life - hobbies, DVDs, make-up, computer games... Why not give away what you're not using and see what you think?

"For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God..." 2 Corinthians 1:12

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Wasting Time?





Another week has come and gone, and this week I'm reminded to make the most of my time.  It's only a matter of weeks now before we make our move to England and I'm getting EXCITED!!  At the same time, I don't want to just wish away the days that are left here, but I do find myself struggling to make the most of what's left.

In a transition time it's easy to see the struggle, but I think it's always there.  I read a great blogger this week that talks about "the pillow test" being her mark of whether she spent her time wisely that day.  She's self-employed and so has the full control of her schedule.  When her head hits the pillow she does a quick check of the day, holding herself accountable to how she spent her time.  She recently took a contentment challenge (take a look here) which I loved reading about as it's similar to my Project 333.  Another of my new favourite bloggers, Katie O'Keefe, just took the challenge too - you can read her story here.  

In the midst of reading these other ladies' experiences of learning to be content, I'm spurred on in my own journey to be content, live in the moment and be intentional with every day, remembering that it is a GIFT. 

So, I'm back to it.  Setting goals for the next few weeks and months to remind myself that if I'm intentional, dream big and seek God for His wisdom in my days, through Him, I can accomplish great things.  The days will not be wasted!

vk

Updated August 1:  Just found this video and it's so applicable to my blog post that I'm adding it here for you to enjoy too... think I'll add this book to my reading list!!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Riding the waves of Joy, Sadness and Amazing Grace...

Photo: Moses Yu Photography

Sit tight, things might get a little deep here, but go there with me, I hope you'll be encouraged...

This is the time our baby was due, and it's been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me.  The joy of celebrating with my two friends whose babies were due at the same time, the sadness at the treasure we lost, and the overwhelming recognition of grace as we look back and also see the starting point to the healing of my body from sickness.

Over the last few days I've been doing a lot of thinking, praying and I admit to some wallowing too, and have been comforted by a few nuggets of Truth that I'd like to share...

I love this quote from Ann Voskamp, who also happens to be the author of an amazing book called "One Thousand Gifts".  She says:

"What messes our life up most -- is the expectation of what our life is supposed to look like"

For me, that's true, and in recognizing the weight of the expectations I have for what life is "supposed to look like" I'm learning to let go and live, thankful for what life does look like, in the here and now.

I'm also realizing the truth that God doesn't promise us a happy marriage, 2.4 children and a dream career to boot.  He doesn't even promise us health, comfort or financial security.  All those things are gifts. They should not be my expectations.  We do receive amazing gifts that are given by His grace.  They certainly aren't somehow deserved or earned and I need to remember that and choose to be thankful for what I do have, rather than focussing on what I don't have.

All this is things I know in my head, but it's in these days that I'm reminded to let them sink into my heart.  I pray you'd let them sink into your too.

Love from Across the Water x



Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Fear of Uncertainty and the Unknown.



Stepping into the unknown is a scary thing.  I recognize my own fear and anxiety in that area comes from an insecurity as I come to realize again my lack of control over life's circumstances.  One of my deepest needs in life is to feel like I'm in control and that there is certainty.  As a child I wanted to know what we would be doing that day and when.  I needed to know what we would eat at meal times and when we were on holiday, what activities we would be doing that day.  In knowing the plan, I found security.  I liked to know what was ahead of me.  In my late high school and early twenties years I had a plan of what my life was going to look like, what job I would have, the car I would like to drive, what age I would get married and when I would have kids and how many.  It was all mapped out!!

Over the last few years my life has taken twists and turns that I never planned or would have imagined possible.  I know now that I was never in control anyway.  Any illusion of being in the driving seat of my life was just that, an illusion.  Now as I step out, knowing full well that life is uncertain, it's a scary thing. Life hasn't changed, but my perspective has.  I recognize my need for certainty and control, and yet at the same time I see that I am not able to manipulate the circumstances of life to be what I want them to be - no matter how hard I try.  So if life is uncertain, why do we have this need for certainty and security?   I believe that we've been created by a God who never changes, He's the same yesterday, today and forever and in Him we can be 100% certain.  No matter what the circumstance, He will remain steadfast.  It's in this truth that I'm clinging to as I nervously tiptoe once again into the unknown, knowing that He won't leave me, and that even if my plans and dreams don't work out the way I might want, ultimately His plan is the one that will prevail, and His plan is the one that is always best (not always most comfortable or most easy, but best).  In this I am certain.
source: unkown


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Taking Care - 2 of My Favourite TED Talks

Our bodies are a gift.  Health is a gift.  I am learning to recognize and appreciate that more and more.  I believe we're called to take care of what's been entrusted to us, and that includes our body.  I've been guilty of using and abusing mine, pushing it to the limits thinking I'm invincible!  Anyone with me?!

Recently we've been really into watching TED talks and I'm fascinated by so many of them!  Here's two of my favourite that talk about taking care of ourselves so that we can be the best we were made to be.

Jamie Oliver's TED talk - Teach every child about food



David Amen's TED talk - Change your Brain, Change your Life.



Wednesday, 3 July 2013

3 months. 33 items of clothing. Join me - I dare you!

Over the last few months we've been made aware of the benefits of living a more simple life and are challenging ourselves to learn and grow in this area.  If you've been reading my blog for a while you may have read my post: 7 reasons why less is more  and my last post on ways to stress less.  In both these posts I've been sharing with you some of the benefits I'm learning of the freedom of living simply and owning with less stuff. 

Today, I've finally taken the plunge to apply some of this knowledge in the area of... my wardrobe!  I don't know about you, but this is an area in my life that could do with some minimizing!  As we packed up our crate to ship to England ready for our arrival there in September, we had the chance to sort through our stuff, so conveniently, I'd already made a start. 

For me, I'm pretty task oriented and goal driven, and so when I stumbled upon something called "Project 333" I loved it.  The Project 333 challenge is to live with only 33 items of clothing for 3 months.  Everything else gets stored away, donated or thrown out.  You can read more in detail at www.theproject333.com

The aim is to recognize the "excess" in our lives and free ourselves up to focus on what really matters most to us.


For where your treasure is there your heart will be also -Matthew 6:21

As I sorted through my collection, it was actually a more sobering experience than I expected.  The latest hash tag trend: #firstworldproblems came to mind, while I realized and let go of my too-strong-attachments to much of my stuff.  After all, that's all it is, right? Stuff.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? - Matthew 6:25


So, for roughly the next 3 months, my wardrobe will look like this:




I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Will you take the challenge to experience for a short time, in just one area of life, the freedom of living with less stuff?  The reduced stress of simplifying things? Join me - I dare you!

- - - - - - - - - - 

If you'd like to know more you can read Joshua Becker's tips at:
www.becomingminimalist.com 
and Kate from The Small Things Blog's similar challenge at: www.thesmallthingsblog.com


Friday, 28 June 2013

5 Tips for Stressing Less!

When I was first in the midst of discovering my health was spiralling down hill, a friend of mine who'd been through a similar journey said to me "you'll never be the same again".  He wasn't talking only about the physical, although that may be true, he was speaking of the lessons and growth that take place through trials.  I believe he was right.

One of the biggest things I'm learning and growing in is how to handle stress.  It's been something I think I thrived on for a while - the stress induced adrenal rush that can make us highly productive... for a short period of time.  The trouble is, long-term stress is also a  suppressor of our immune system, amongst other things, leaving us vulnerable to less than optimum health.

Here's a few things that I'm learning and challenging myself on, in learning how to minimize stress and deal with it in a healthy way when it comes.  I hope you might find something here that's helpful to you too:

1. Get organized.  Being un-organized is stressful.  If everything has a time and a place and an order of priority then stress can be reduced. For me one area where I'd hit the "adrenaline button" to get things done, would be in cleaning and taking care of our house.  I'm learning that if I have a routine and a system in place, I no longer have to pressure myself to deep-clean my house from top to bottom in one morning! (And spend the next 2 days recovering!)



2. Minimize. Living in clutter and trying to keep track of too much "stuff" is stressful.  I'm enjoying the stress-relieveing process of learning to live with less.  I'd highly recommend it! Here's a great blog for more on this issue: becomingminimalist.com



3. Know your limits. We're all human and we all have limits.  For an introvert there may be limits on how long they can spend with people before they need to decompress and spend some alone time. We all have physical limits - our bodies need sleep, food and water in order to function properly.  Some of us have more restrictive physical or health limitations too.  Know yours so that you can function at your best and not push yourself to stress and strain trying to achieve more than is humanly possible! (I'm definitely preaching to myself on this one!)



4. Prioritize rest.  If you don't plan for it, it doesn't happen.  Maybe you already know that being out 7 evenings a week isn't sustainable long-term for you.  Maybe you know that you're pretty cranky if you don't get 8.5 hours sleep every night.  Take time to decide what your work/play/rest balance should be and then plan for it.  You'll be way more productive when you're rested. There will be times and seasons where prioritizing rest might be difficult and it will always have to be flexible, but if you have a "best case scenario" goal to aim for, you're more likely to hit it at least most of the time.



5. Remember what's important. Gain some perspective. If you're anything like me, the things that stress you out the most are often the things that are no where near the most important things in life.  Take time to gain some perspective, to remember what's really important and what's not worth getting stressed about.  For me that's quietening my heart before God and remembering that He's in control, and choosing to be thankful.  

How do you deal with stress in your life?  Tweet me @vacrossthewater or comment below

Saturday, 22 June 2013

June Update

It's now less than 3 months until we leave this little island and start making our way back to England!  Wow!  Time is flying!  Our train tickets are booked for the big cross-canada adventure in September (see video at the end of this post if you're interested) and our shipping crate has now docked in London.  It's getting exciting!  I'm gonna be pretty sad to say goodbye to this little guy though... but we've found him a good home :)




A couple of weeks ago I had another appointment with our "super-doctor" in Vancouver!  He's really happy with my progress (so are we!) and I am no longer on medications which feels amazing.  My remaining symptoms at this point can mostly be put down to my body being so de-conditioned from 18 months of doing close to nothing.  He told me I have to remember I'm not working with a body that can run half marathons anymore... hmm no kidding!  His suggestion was that I make myself an exercise programme to start out gently and gradually increase.  "Make it fun" he said...  :)



Yes that's right, we now have a mini trampoline in our house, or a "rebounder" as it's technically called (but what fun is that?!)  My friend leant it to me and I'm loving it!  There's apparently some amazing health benefits to rebounding and it's often used in physical rehabilitation even for bed-ridden arthritic patients.  I'd love to hear from you if you've had any experience with it or if you've heard good things. 

So, safe to say I'm actually enjoying this Summer way more than last year - visiting with friends, boat rides, camp fires and ocean-side suppers.  Fab.

Love from across the water!
V


Friday, 14 June 2013

Turn that frown upside down!



It's been a fun week for me and my blog!  Not only was I guest blogger at On The Way on Monday, but I also got to contribute to a post on a great blog I've just started reading.  You can take a look: here.  Lindsay had put out a tweet earlier in the week asking for ideas on how to turn a bad day into a good day.  Well, I had to jump on that one, because as you might guess, there's been a few bad days in my last year and a half! And I've been learning to turn them into "good days." Days waking up feeling like lead balloons are strapped to my limbs, and days of spontaneous balling after loosing our baby to name a few of the more typical ones.  Those were some "bad" days.  As I've said before though, through all the ups and downs, it's a little ironic that I've learned to be more thankful.  And so that's what I tweeted back at Lindsay.  For me, the key to turning a bad day into a good day is choosing to be thankful.  It really is a choice.  Sometimes there's only one small thing.  Sometimes there's a long list.  I'm writing them down "One Thousand Gifts" style... are you?!







Etsy vol25

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Everything Matters

This week I have the honour of being a guest blogger over at "On the Way", please have a read and take a look at some other posts while you're there - well worth your time :) 

Also... I'm always happy to be able to share pictures from one of our adventures because it means I'm healthy enough to be up and out... just because I can!  Here's some from a little Sunny Sunday afternoon trip to Genoa Bay last weekend:









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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Generosity is Life-Giving. Here's why.

We all love to receive a gift.  I've been blessed to receive many gifts over the last few months: the gift of a home-cooked meal, a financial gift, the gift of a clean home, a swept deck or a hug and a prayer.  I believe that community is also a gift in itself.

Generosity though is also a gift all of it's own.  And here's why I think that as much as it's a blessing to receive, the bigger blessing is in the giving:

1. We regard someone else as being more important than ourselves.  The money could have been used by ourself, or we could hold onto that item we don't use, but instead, choosing to give shows a preference for their needs above our own.

2. We learn to let go.  Our money, our time, our stuff doesn't really belong to us anyway.  What a freeing thing it is to acknowledge that by giving it away. 

3. We show that we care.  Actions can speak a thousand words.  

4. We become satisfied with what we have.  As we choose to live a little more open-handedly, we learn that more often than not, our holding on to things wasn't doing us any favours.

5. We recognize that people are more important than possessions. New friendships can blossom and old ones be strengthened all in a simple act of giving.

So, what is it that you could give to someone today?  A date night as a couple while you watch their kids?  A clean house?  A cup of coffee?  A kind word?  

Acts 20:35b "...the Lord Jesus Himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive"

Have you found this to be true in your life? 

Friday, 31 May 2013

Rebuilding from the ground up

Do you remember the children's story about the three little pigs?  I was reminded of it last weekend.  You know the one when the wolf "huffed and he puffed and he blew the house down" that belonged to pig number one, because he had build with straw.  Pig number 2 had built with sticks so his house didn't survive either.  But Pig number 3 had built his house with bricks so all 3 pigs ended up safe and sound within it's walls.... happily ever after I'm sure!  Just like all good children's stories!



Between that story, and a conversation with a friend this week I'm realizing that I'm being given an opportunity to re-build life from the ground up.  A bit like re-building a house.  Life sometimes gets flipped upside down on us and at first it might seem like a disaster.  But maybe it's not.  

When things seem to have fallen apart, be it health, or family, or career or finances it can feel like the rug got whipped out from underneath us!  Maybe you know the feeling?!  Perhaps though, once the dust has settled; the heartache, the struggle, the shock at finding ourselves in that situation... perhaps there's a silver lining.  I'm not saying that it's an easy process, I'm saying maybe we have a choice in how we'll handle "the aftermath."  

Hopefully Little Piggy number 1 and Little Piggy number 2 learned their lesson and went back and re-built their house with bricks.  For us it might not be that simple.  The lessons to learn might be a little less obvious.  We might have to dig a bit to find them.  I'd say it's worth it.  Worth the time to take stock.  To re-evaluate.  To learn from any mistakes we may have made and choose to do things differently next time.  

Maybe this chance to start afresh is actually a blessing in disguise