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

Monday, 27 August 2012

Handywoman

Today has been a day of home-making.  Perhaps it is a touch of nesting/panic because my parents will be staying with us for a couple of days next week, but I have finally been motivated to set up our guest room.  This morning, I vacuumed and put together some used side tables to use for bedside tables.  This afternoon, I hung up pictures.  In the meantime, I have been busy using backing soda to deodorize the carpet in our basement rec room, and disconnecting our not-so-functional washing machine in anticipation of a new one arriving this evening.

All of this makes me feel a little proud and powerful.  I've said before that I have never felt very qualified to be a home maker.  I don't have a lot of skills in that department, and to be honest, I never cared that much to learn them.  Obviously, I had sufficient cooking and laundry skills to keep me alive and dressed over the past decade, and that sufficed.  One thing I've learned, however, is that no matter what you learned growing up, running your own home will always be a learning curve; even if your parents taught you everything they knew, you will someday find there are gaps in your knowledge or skills you'd never considered mastering.  The nice thing is knowing that it's never too late to learn a new skill. Trust me, if I can learn to be reasonably handy, anyone can!

I've hesitated to put up pictures of the new house because I'm not much of a photographer and my decorating talents are decidedly limited, but over the coming months as the home comes together, I'll try to post a few to keep y'all in the loop.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Summer Fun

It feels like this time is really flying by these days:  We've been married 10 months already, been moved into our house for 3 months, and my "baby" brother is getting married in a mere 2 weeks!  Phew.  I remember when I thought we'd never find a house, and when I thought Gil would never get around to proposing, and it seems like not so long ago.

This weekend we are off to the cottage with some friends and I'm hoping to get a few last days of soaking in the summer before the whirlwind of September weddings begins.  Lately I'm feeling trapped in the busyness of life and have not been taking time to enjoy the moment.  So here's hoping this weekend will be full of the little joys in life:  Sleeping in, eating yummy food, holding a mug of hot coffee in the chill of the morning, experiencing the cold lake water as you step in for a refreshing swim, meeting God in a beautiful sunset, laughing with a good friend.  And I hope you, reader, are able to experience some of these joys in the last days of summer too!


Ahh, heaven on earth

Thursday, 16 August 2012

These Days

These days life has gotten pretty hectic, or at least more so than before.  Even though I am only working three or four days a week, fitting that into my schedule alongside my Chinese classes has meant some adjustments.  In addition to that, my brother's wedding is looming on the horizon so showers, bachelorette parties, and other family events have been thrown into the mix, so our life has been busy and will be getting busier:  Coming up in September we have weddings on three consecutive weekends.  Thank God for the invention of coffee!

The craziness lately has put blogging on the back burner, but I am aiming to keep things current on here.  Here are a few snippets of what has been going on 'round here:

1)  Work:  I have really enjoyed getting back into the working world.  My colleagues are very nice, and I am learning so much about the workings of our church.  We have some big things coming up (new staff, new ministries starting up) and I am beginning to feel like a part of the church rather than someone who just shows up on Sunday mornings.  The position has also been teaching me so much about listening.  While the bulk of my work is just forwarding messages and transferring calls, we do get people who call the church just to request prayer or just to talk to someone.  This has been very humbling, as I tend to be a "do-er"; sitting and listening is not my forte.  It's also been humbling as I learn that I really don't have answers to a lot of questions.  I am convinced that I know the One who has all answers, that is not always comforting to someone who is going through great trials.  I am learning day by day to lean on God more and to speak less.

2)  Travel:  Last weekend I went to Kingston for a girls' weekend with some friends.  We all lived and studied in Kingston together, so thought it would be fun to revisit some of our old haunts.  (White Mountain ice cream was pretty much first on our agenda.  If you've never been, you should go...)  It was lovely getting caught up with each other, but I was a bit exhausted by the end of the weekend and happy to get home to my hubby.  It was also a reminder of how much I have changed in the past ten years since becoming a Christian.  As much as I try to be sensitive and not preachy, there are definitely times when my old friends think I'm a bit odd.  Oh well!

3)  Cats:  My poor kitty has been through the ringer lately.  I had a few concerns about her health before her recent escape, but they seem to have gotten worse and the vet thinks she has colitis.  If you've never had to give pills to an angry tabby twice a day, thank the Good Lord/your lucky stars/anything else you can think of and pray you never have to!  There is a scratch on my leg that I swear is two inches long and I fear it won't be the last...

Monday, 6 August 2012

Learning to be Slow

Once upon a time, there was a lady who never slowed down. She felt the need to be busy all the time. Between work, church, friendships, and exercise, she fell exhausted into bed most nights, and slept just enough hours to give her the energy to do it all again. One day, she married her Prince Charming who moved her to a new place where her life slowed down... and now she is learning to love the slow.

Of course, this lady is me. When I think about my life over the last few years (okay, probably more like 15 years...), I feel tired. During my time in Ottawa, it was not unusual for me to be busy every evening of the week, and that is after waking up at 6:00am and working a full day. My life was full of Bible studies, youth group, ladies missionary fellowship, girls' nights, etc. Meeting Gil made things even crazier: Now I was up even later talking on the phone with my long distance boyfriend, and going to Toronto on weekends to see him. (We're not even going to talk about how my housework suffered....) And yet, I didn't hesitate to add new things to the mix, like running a half-marathon or taking night-school Mandarin. Many evenings, I prayed to God to “please multiply these few hours of sleep ahead so that they are enough to get me through tomorrow.”

Why did I do it? In truth, I've always liked to be busy. Even in high school, my parents warned me about over-extending myself. In university, I ended up with bronchitis after a particularly difficult semester in which I took an extra class and was involved in marching band, German theatre, and a dance show; when I came down with a bad cold, I refused to take time to rest and just got sicker and sicker. There are probably lots of reasons for the chronic busyness: I have always liked to make the most out of things, so if it comes down to German theatre group or more sleep, I'll choose the theatre, because who knows when I'll get the former opportunity again. (The answer would be never, unfortunately!) In Ottawa, I often kept busy because I hated being home alone in the evenings. I value deep relationships and I wasn't content to have my main personal interactions be in a work context. Of course, then the church dynamic comes into play: If you are a person who serves at church, you will almost certainly be asked to serve in other areas. If you are unmarried and childless, as I was, you often feel like you can't say no to these requests, because it's not like you need “family time”, right? Once in a while, I had glimpses of the insanity of my lifestyle when I would get sick and actually be thankful for the time to rest. After recuperating for a day or two, however, I was ready to jump back into the craziness with no intention to slow down.

Until I got married, I had no idea how exhausted I was from this busy cycle. For the first few weeks, I was sleeping for hours after Gil had left for work. My body needed to catch up on years of bad sleeping habits. At first, I didn't know how I would cope with the slower pace of not working, but it started to come naturally: I could do things that I'd always enjoyed doing, like working out mid-day and studying Mandarin, without feeling guilty. I could enjoy my coffee in the morning without feeling rushed. I could clean the house before it started looking like a disaster area.

Last weekend, I found myself choosing the slow, and not taking on the guilt of being idle. On Sunday, I was supposed to go to a barbecue organized by my Chinese school. My plan was to wake up earlier than usual, attend the first service at my church, and go straight to the park to meet my teacher and co. All the plans went to naught, however, because I woke up way too late to make it to church for 9:15. I was about to give way to guilt, to skip church and head to the barbecue because I had told my teacher I would be there but then it hit me: I have a choice. I can choose to act out of duty, or I can choose to prioritize church and time with my husband. Okay, so I felt a bit bad because I had RSVPed yes, but in the end, choosing the slow day of a late sushi lunch after church and watching Olympics with my husband was the best choice. I'm realizing that these first months/years together will fly by, and one day babies will come and add a new craziness to our lives, so we had best enjoy the slow while we can.