"There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage."
--Martin Luther

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Resolutions, or a lack thereof

I'm not big on making new year's resolutions, mostly because I think that if you want to change something, you ought to do it now rather than waiting for a special day to do so. 

A long time ago, though, I did make resolution to start reading the Bible regularly, and that led to a life's resolution to read the Bible every day; however, the way that I do so keeps changing.  As a new Christian, I did a three-year reading plan that involved reading through the whole Bible.  Since then, I have generally read through one book at a time, but to jump around between the Old and New Testaments, trying to make sure that I get a good mix.  This past year, I tried a Bible-in-one-year plan, and although I have mostly stayed on schedule (I'm about a week off), I have found that this isn't the plan for me, as I tend to skim through the Old Testament passages and find it difficult to be following several books of the Bible at once.

This year, I decided to start something new.  I found a plan online that covers the STORY of the Bible in one year.  You read about a chapter a day, and get a good overview of the Bible without reading the whole thing.  From glancing over the first few months, it seems like it will involve pretty much all of Genesis and Exodus, but (thankfully) only selected parts of Leviticus.  I was thinking today that I may actually do this in The Message Bible as a change, to really try to read the Bible with "new eyes", and ideally I will journal along as I go. 

Anyway, I'm posting this on the blog to give me a bit of accountability, and also to say that if anyone is interested in more information on the plan, let me know and we could even read through it together!

Lastly, let me wish you, as the Germans say, a "guten Rutsch" into the new year and a fantastic 2012!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Post-Christmas Update

Well, we survived our first married Christmas.  Santa was pretty good to us.  In addition to way too much chocolate, I received lots of books (woohoo!) including a biography of Catherine the Great and P.D. James's new "Death Comes to Pemberley" to add fuel to the fire of my love for Pride and Prejudice.  Possibly the best gift of the year, however, was a Newfoundland flag which we got from Gil's friends from The Rock.  Whenever we get a house, this is going up in the man-cave.  :-)

It has been wonderful to have Gil off work for four whole days (well, he did have to run in for a few hours yesterday), so we have had some time to veg at home; however, the holidays have reminded me that we are still setting our own traditions and will need to adjust in the coming years to meet our own and our families' expectations.  My mom has been used to having me around for the past few years to help co-host the family gathering.  This caused some stress this year as almost a full day with my extended family is a bit much for my husband... and sometimes for me as well.   Thankfully we were able to de-brief afterwards and to do something he wanted for Boxing Day:  Watching three back-to-back World Juniors hockey games on my mom's huge TV!  Plus there were leftovers so we didn't have to cook, so it was basically a win for all parties!

Hope you are all still able to hold onto the magic of the season and be thankful each and every day that Jesus came!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday!

It's easy this year to get lost in the commercialism of the holiday and overlook the spiritual side.  One of my favourite modern Christmas songs is Downhere's "How Many Kings", which reminds me of the Israelite's and my own need and longing for a messiah to come.  Here is the first verse and chorus:

Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe after all we’ve projected
A child in a manger
Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliness hero, wrapped in his mothers shawl
Just a child
Is this who we’ve waited for?

Cause how many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Merry Christmas ~ Frohe Weihnachten ~ Joyeux Noël ~ Feliz Navidad ~ 圣诞节快乐!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Retrospective Post: Last Night

I've actually been writing posts for a couple of months now, but only got around to actually setting up the blog and posting this past week.  This is something short that I wrote on October 21, the evening before I got married.  Since today is our two-month anniversary (yay!), it seemed an apt time to share it:

This is my last night as a single lady. I'm not really sure how I should feel now. Excited? Nervous? Relieved that the hubbub of wedding planning is actually over? I guess I feel all of these things, and none of them, not to mention overwhelmingly tired.

The truth is, I think we never know just how to feel on the eve of a big change. Thinking back, I barely remember the “last nights” to some of my momentous occasions. Last night before university – no memory. Last night before moving oversees – coffee with a friend. There is the sense that I ought to do something commemorative, but I am just thinking of the things that I won't do again: I won't live with a female friend and stay up way too late meandering through conversation topics. I won't take off for a weekend away on a moment's notice. I won't daydream about the man I will marry.

But for every “I won't” is an “I will” that I don't know yet, and it's exciting to think that in the morning, we get to start learning what they are.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Coming Home

When I first moved to Ottawa, I thought it would be temporary.  I anticipated staying maybe two years for school, and then moving on to... someplace else, like Europe or New York City.  The reason I stayed in Ottawa after graduating had less to do with the city than with my inability to decide what to do next.  Over time, however, Ottawa began to capture my heart.  I grew to love my church and to make close friends, and in time to love the uniqueness of living in the National Capital Region: Skating on the Rideau Canal, the beauty of the Parliament buildings in the heart of the city, great museums.  In time, the list of positives included such grown-up advantages as lower housing prices than in some bigger cities, and lower car insurance.  Ah, adulthood!

Even though I loved my hometown of Toronto, I didn't see myself going back.   In high school, I couldn't wait to break free and move far away.   Throughout my university years, Toronto came to signify stress and discomfort due to the on-again, off-again relationship between my mom and my former step-father.  There were some times when I just did not want to go back, because even though my house was still there, it felt like my childhood home didn't exist any more.

In the past few years, God has done remarkable healing in my life.  In preparing me for marriage, God helped me confront a lot of pain and brokenness and to come through stronger.   My mom is also in a much better place.  As my brothers started settling down in their own Toronto lives, I felt the geographic distance between us more than I had in the past.  Of course, when Gil got his job in the area shortly after we met, Toronto sure increased its pull on my heart!

All that to say, I can see now that God was preparing me to go back for a long time, but I didn't realize it.   My biggest fear in getting married was leaving my Ottawa life.  I was so comfortable with my friends, my church, my job, and my condo, but felt very strongly that Toronto was the right place for Gil and me to settle down.  I expected to feel lonely, but apart from a few bouts of “home-sickness”, I am so far loving Toronto!  (Not to say I don't miss y'all, of course.)  It has been so wonderful to see my family more regularly and to do things like attend a concert with my mom without it being hard to schedule.  The best of part was when my nephew was born a couple of weeks ago.  Within three hours of his birth, I was at the hospital holding him in my arms, and was able to visit a few days later as well as attend his bris (circumcision ceremony).   It is amazing to realize how God is so good and knew exactly when it was the right time for me to make this move, and went ahead of me to prepare the way!

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
James 4:13-15

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Small Celebrations

So, this past weekend we reached a new milestone in our marriage:  We have officially been married for over 8 weeks (will be two months on Thursday), which means we can send in our application for a marriage certificate!  I'm pretty excited, as this will be the next step towards assuming my husband's name.  It was a bit strange traveling on our honeymoon, as I was eager to fill out customs forms as man as wife, but mindful that according to our ID, we have different last names and live in different cities, so we had to go through customs one by one. 

Anyway, here's to the next step towards being Mrs. T!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Why Blog?

Welcome to the blog! I really struggled with starting a blog. It seemed like so many friends had them, but as I perused the offerings of many (and I do mean many) by people I knew, and some that I didn't, I struggled with the decision to start my own. I love writing, and my friends will probably attest that I also enjoy sharing my opinions.... sometimes too much so. On the other hand, I have made several attempts at regular journaling, and have seen that the activity can exacerbate my own tendency towards self-centredness and the mundane. There is nothing wrong with sharing snippets of every day life; indeed, God works through ordinary as well as through the extraordinary events; however, I am convinced that there are few people aside from my mother who would want to read a blog detailing minutiae of what I eat, watch, buy (or want to buy), etc.

So the question remains, why now? As I was preparing to leave the city that I love and embark on the great adventure called marriage, I was blown away by how many people I would miss. These are friends who have journeyed with me through the single years, who were there to ask me how I was holding up in the hardest moments. I started to realize that they will not be with me through this first year of marriage to ask what I am learning or how I am growing, or to advise me when I have done something stupid. I do hope this will help at least a little in connecting my dear friends with the life that I am living in Toronto. I also see a need to share how God inevitably changes me through these first months and years, and I hope that a (semi-)regular blog will spur me on to actually contemplate and put into words how I am feeling and how God is working through my life.

Some of you may wonder about the title. I am confident that there are a couple of you who right away noticed the reference, while others are scratching their heads. The reference is from the last few books of the Anne of Green Gables series. In the fifth book, Anne finally marries Gilbert and the couple moves to the village of Glen St. Mary, where Gilbert works as the local doctor. A local woman named Susan Baker moves in after their first baby has arrived, and continues to assist with cooking, cleaning, and childcare as Anne and Gilbert raise their growing family through the sixth through eighth books. Susan always addresses Anne as “Mrs. Dr. Dear”.

Last fall and winter, I re-read the last four books of the series and was surprised to see how much I identified with Anne as she falls into her role as a doctor's wife. I really felt for her while reading about Gilbert being pulled away from home time and time again to deal with medical emergencies. In a sense, I saw a picture of how my life would be (although I anticipate having electricity and, sadly, a much less vivid imagination). In addition, the title of “Mrs. Dr. Dear” seemed to encapsulate the profound change marriage has made for Anne. Who has more personality than Anne Shirley? In many ways, she was ahead of her time. As a girl, and then a woman, she stood up for herself in a society when women could not vote and married women could not work. She excelled at school, served as a community leader, went to college, worked as a teacher, wrote stories that were published in magazines, and dreamed of doing so much with her life. In Glen St. Mary, however, she will always in a sense be defined by her role as the doctor's wife. Yet this is not something she seems to resent, but rather relishes in this next stage of life. Would that I can do the same.

A note on names:

As my husband would prefer to remain anonymous, I determined that I would give him a false name for this blog. His initials didn't really work, so in the attempt to keep the Anne theme going, I will hereafter refer to him as “Gilbert”, or just “Gil.”