A journey towards greater faith and creativity

Author Archive

A Handful of Clover

This morning, before I took her to school, my daughter brought me a handful of clover blossoms from our backyard, where she had been playing for the few minutes before we had to leave. As you can see from the picture above, I found a pretty little vase and put them in water. Hopefully they will last a few days. They smell so wonderfully sweet.


Feels Like Summer

I know it’s still early June, but when the weather hits 30 degrees Celsius or more and the sky is clear and blue and sunny, it feels very much like summer. Too hot. Especially for a place deemed to be far enough north to render AC ‘unnecessary’ by building code authorities and utilities companies.

I don’t like (and I know I’m not alone in this) temperature extremes. I don’t deal with too hot any better than too cold. I wish it could be either spring or autumn, when the temperatures are nicer and the trees pretty colours.

Being summer and rapidly approaching the Summer Solstice also means much longer days than nights. I think right now sunset is about the time my husband goes to work, around nine thirty or quarter to ten. Dawn is somewhere between five and six in the morning, if not earlier. I remember reading someone’s blog post or email about how they were planning to start going to bed at sunset and get up at sunrise. And I remember thinking about what utter insanity it would be to attempt that here. In the summer, it would mean far less than eight hours of sleep at nights. In the winter, it would mean only being up and active maybe eight hours of the day.

For the moment, it means my daughter, who is still in elementary school until nearly the end of the month, doesn’t want to come inside in time to get ready for bed. It’s still ‘daytime’, even though if she doesn’t come in and get to bed, she won’t wake up in time to get to school in the morning. Or, worse, will be too tired to get through her school day without the school having to call me to pick her up early. (It happens. Oh, the joys of having a child deemed ‘special needs’.)

I’m grateful for the pole fan given to us by neighbours moving out just down the row. It keeps the living room liveable. There’s a second fan in my bedroom which makes it sort of possible to sleep in there if I’ve had a bath or shower immediately before going to bed. I think my husband is lucky in a way… he gets to go to bed after the bedroom has cooled down as much as it’s likely to.

Now to figure out how to feed us all without cooking not just the food, but myself and the house as well.


October Sunrise

20151015_084914_HDRAfter I dropped my daughter off at school this morning, I went for a walk at a local park. During my walk I took several pictures, including this one of the sun just rising over the cutbanks and the morning fog. The river you see at the bottom of the picture is the Fraser just south of its conjunction with the Nechako.

It froze last night and this morning was chilly. Also very quiet since few people are out so early. The quiet, especially when I’m surrounding by trees and grass (even frost covered), helps me think and ground and get my head straight.

God’s Creation is Beautiful.


New Toy (Sort Of)

I got my very own cell phone today. For me, this is big news. It’s the first time I’ve had one which is specifically mine. I’m slowly figuring out things on it. Probably helps to have played around with my husband’s phone.

Speaking of whom, we’re working on piecing our marriage back together… seeing if we can resolve or move past the issues which caused our separation earlier this year. I think we’re making progress, but some days it’s hard to tell.

Feels like God doesn’t believe in straight paths. Well, I guess He promises to make our paths straight, but it sure doesn’t feel like it when actually living this stuff out. Or maybe there’s still more I can’t see yet. Wouldn’t surprise me.

And my one remaining grandmother turns 80 years young this weekend, so I’m making a flying trip down for her birthday celebration. One day of party and family and family friends sandwiched between two eight to nine hour drives.

I think I’m going to need a vacation to recover from the last six or eight weeks. I’m just not sure when I’ll get even a short break. There’s still a lot which needs to happen or be worked out before I feel like I’m settled into a real home again.

God will provide. Of this I’m certain.


Short Hair and Other Issues

I’ve been growing my hair out since grade seven and it hasn’t really been cut, just the ends trimmed, in more than a decade… until today.

It’s been a very long summer and a number of things seem to have escaped me. (Posting on this blog being one of them.) Among them was my hair. Well, today a whole lot of crap had to be cut out of it and my hair is now varying lengths, none of it longer than maybe to my chin. It feels strange, to say the least, and I can’t seem to keep my hands out of it right now. (Also, because it keeps falling in my face.)

Seems like my hair is only a reflection of far too many things in my life right now. Too many messes… too many things which now need cleaning up.

I don’t even know why I let things fall this far apart. Not sure how. Or what I was thinking. Maybe I just wasn’t thinking at all.

Supposedly hindsight is 20/20, but maybe it takes some space apart from it all to really get a perspective on what has or is happening. I’m not sure I’ve had that space. Not entirely sure I do now, but I guess I have to start somewhere.

One day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.


How In The World Did I End Up Here?

I’ve asked myself this any number of times, but the truth is, I know exactly how I ended up where I am now. What I can’t seem to figure out is how to get out of this mess and move on.

Let me start by defining Here.

I have until the end of the month to be out of the townhouse I’ve been living in for the last four and a half years. What’s left here has either been packed or sorted into the I don’t want to keep it piles. (Either garbage or donation depending on item and condition.) So somewhere between ninety and ninety-five percent of what I own is packed and I’m getting by on what little has been left out. In the meantime, my ex-husband has moved out, although he has a few more things to come get. Our daughter is currently living with her grandparents and not happy about it. She enjoyed her vacation trips with them, but I know she wants to be living with me and it can’t happen while I’m living with a bare minimum of stuff and there’s nothing for her to do here and I have no way to take her out anywhere on any consistent basis. The cat is, well, the cat. She’s still living with me and at least in all the packing and cleaning up we found her favourite mouse.

So how do I move on from here?

Well, I know where I would love to move to. And I know what I want in a new home.

I also know what God keeps telling me. (The two don’t appear to be mutually exclusive.)

Imagine walking along a path made of large stones and suddenly coming to a place where two or three stones are just missing, leaving a gaping chasm in their place. The gap feels too wide to jump and there doesn’t appear to be a way around.

This is my life right now.

I guess I could take all the advice from the ‘there is only one way to do anything’ people in my life. There sure are a lot of them. But this is the advice which got me stranded here in the first place. And I don’t see how following the advice which got me here is going to get me back out. (And I’m incredibly sick and tired of feeling stuck in a world where I never have fit in anyway.)

In a telephone conversation with my ‘Christian’ mother, I asked her at least four times whether I should take all the advice people keep shoving my way and try to fight my way out of this on my own (rather limited) strength or whether I should trust in what I know God is telling me. She hesitated and waffled every single time I asked, no matter how I simplified the question. My ‘Christian’ mother couldn’t tell me I should trust God over my own strength and abilities. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture?

I know what the Bible says about trusting God and God’s promises. I also know what the Bible says about trying to rely on myself and my own strength. And what it says about God’s ability to provide what I need, exactly when and how I need it. (Whether it’s what I was hoping for or not.)

So, I think, if my options are to take all this conventional, stuck in the box, there’s only one way out of this advice or to trust in God and God’s promises to me and God’s timing… well, I know the first doesn’t work, so I’m left with the second.

(And by trusting in God, I don’t mean simply praying and nothing else and hoping it will all work out in the end. I do mean taking the steps and actions I feel God telling me to take, as they come up. I know all too well just how meaningless words without Divinely inspired action really are.)


Closing Doors and Opening Others

It’s very hard not to worry and stress about life when suffering from any level of anxiety disorder. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus very clearly states we are not to worry and instead trust in God to provide our needs. However, anxiety disorder stems from any combination of unstable blood sugars, fried adrenal glands, and/or wonky brain chemistry. Anxiety doesn’t care what’s in the Bible or what we tell ourselves or anything we attempt to do which doesn’t address the specific physiological problem causing said anxiety. (Which is why it may or may not respond to prescription medications.)

All that said, I’ve had an extremely stressful week. Stressful to the point of nausea every time I ate anything and being unable to really settle to any kind of work without interrupting myself. Anxiety and good concentration do not go hand in hand.

Where I’m at in my life, God is closing all kinds of doors. Some get closed gently and don’t bother me too much. Others feel more like slammed in my face and all I can do for the first while is stand frozen in shock. Those second ones are super stressful until the shock passes and I feel able to move on again.

God is also opening doors, if not the ones I’m hoping for just yet. For example, I still don’t know where I’m going to be moving to, but I’m not in a blind panic trying to find a place for me and my belongings by tomorrow. God does keep His promise to provide, whether it looks like what I hope for or not.

I do have to move and I’ve known that for months now. But what God has provided me right now is a small window of time in which I can rest and work on those things He is directing me to. I have no lack of work to do where I am at the moment. My new home will come in His time.


Sorting and Packing and Realizing Things

I’ve never really considered myself an artist. I did okay in art classes in school, depending what we were working on. But I think of myself more in terms of being a crafter and a writer.

Just yesterday, when I was sorting through a box of old papers and stuff, deciding what was worth keeping and what wasn’t, I found a number of pieces of art I’ve created over the years. Most of them many, many years ago. These are in a variety of mediums and formats, but what really struck me is how beautiful these pieces are and how much I would love to have space to display them.

And how much I need space to continue to be able to create art, as well as craft and write. Also how much I need the freedom to be able to teach my daughter to do these things in a way which doesn’t stifle her creativity. She said, shortly after her grandparents brought her home from Summerfest with a gorgeous facepaint, how much she would love to be able to paint faces. Well, I think she needs to learn a few basic principals of art first, but I’m sure she can learn to do this if it’s what she really wants.

I’m hoping to have the space for this and more after this move, once I’m in my new home. And I’m sure, if God is reminding me that I am an artist, I can also be sure God will provide me with the space to continue to create beautiful things. And He will bring people into my life to support and help me.

In the meantime, I have a lot more sorting and packing to do. Still too many details of this move yet to find out. God promises to provide my needs and I have to trust in His promises. As He brings me to it, so I shall deal with it.


Business As Usual, Sort Of

I’ve mentioned Howling Wolf Books, my business, before on this blog. What it is and some of what I’m hoping to do with it. Maybe even how I intended to set up for six months light duty this year.

I’m unemployable by most traditional standards. My physical and mental health issues massively effect my day to day life. I have no formal work experience to put on a resume. Most of my training and certificates are more than ten years old. I cannot deal with the general public face to face in any capacity for more than an hour before needing a break. I live in a city where people with far more extensive resumes than mine can’t find employment and more jobs are being cut than generated.

Operating my own business is pretty much my only hope of generating adequate income to support myself. I’ve worked any number of casual, temporary, and/or informal jobs, none of which pay much or for very long. I know some people somehow manage to support themselves through such means. I’m not one of them.

Certainly Howling Wolf Books has the potential to support me and mine. There are already several short stories and novels available for sale in both ebook and print through a number of major online retailers. They’re even selling a little. Enough for the ebook distributor to pay out my account this month. Unfortunately not enough to really be worth mentioning.

My main problem seems to be marketing. I can’t pay for ads right now. People read the stories and claim to love them. Evidently not enough to review or recommend them to anyone else. New releases are listed for giveaway through Goodreads. The main author I’m working with at the moment posts on both her blog and Facebook. (She does have an issue where people either love or hate her work with very little middle ground. I do my best to present as professional looking a product as possible, but it only seems to go so far.)

Since I lost the baby I was expecting (see last week’s post), I’ve been drifting along on light duty because I just don’t have the energy to put into anything more. I have been considering opening up submissions for new authors a little early, but it won’t be before the end of August. I have too many other sources of stress right now.

I will get back to my business and my plans for it, but at the moment I have until the end of this month to find a new home. Unless something changes, I’m going to have very limited income. While my ex-husband is willing to pay child support, I’ll still be on my own with small child and cat. As of right now, I don’t know where I’m going or how I’m going to get there. All I have right now is my faith in God’s promise to provide my needs.

I’m hoping, by the end of August, I will be settled into my new home and the worst of the really life disruptive stuff will have settled out. Then hopefully, I’ll have more time and energy for my business and things will pick up.


Why Would Jesus Take Our Baby?

This has been my daughter’s question on and off since the day, about three weeks ago now, when I went to the hospital full of expectation of holding a new baby in my arms and ended up returning home without. What’s harder is I really don’t have an answer for her.

It’s been a long, difficult three weeks. While I’m very slowly recovering from what happened, there are still so many more questions than answers. And maybe there never will be a good answer.

The medical system here works slowly. (When it works at all.) I’m waiting to get some testing results, but I’m not holding out much hope of them revealing anything conclusive. Seems like every time doctors run tests on me, the results don’t really tell them much.

Why would Jesus take our baby and leave me feeling like I’m surrounding by mothers who are caring for newborns? It feels like everywhere I go lately, there’s a mother, sometimes more than one, lugging an infant carseat or pushing a stroller or with her baby wrapped to her chest. Friends of ours have a teeny, tiny premie and are constantly sharing pictures of her progress. And, while I almost never used to get to see other people’s babies, I’ve been blessed to hold two on different occasions recently.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for these people. At the same time, I’m sad for me. And I’m sad for my daughter who was so looking forward to having a sibling.


Long Time, No Post

Mostly because I’ve been uncertain what to write. So many things going on. None of them quite what I’ve been hoping for. And also a feeling like I’ve been living in some kind of holding pattern. I feel stuck and I have no idea how to break out of the rut I’ve found myself in.

And too, I’m finding I’ve wandered far away from my original intention for this blog. Since I really don’t remember what I was thinking at the time, I kinda have to go back to the tagline. So unless everything goes sideways yet again, the next few posts will be a combination of how I got to where I am now and what’s been going on recently.


The Waiting Room

Not a place I like living, but it feels like I’m stuck here right now.

By Faith and A Whole Lot of Grace

There’s this cycle I’ve been going through in recent months. And I think, just maybe, I’m not alone in this feeling.

There’s a lesson learned, a feeling of increased connection to God, to Jesus, to my purpose in life.

And then there’s a waiting room. A space of feeling disconnected once again. Of wondering what’s next. Of wondering if I’d only imagined what I felt, the lesson learned, the connection.

A space of having to trust and hold my faith even tighter because otherwise I feel like I’m falling again.

I’m waiting for the next reminder. The next lesson. The next… anything which deepens my connection to God and what it is He is calling me to do with my life.

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Like A Yo-yo

I find there’s a distinct and rather irritating correlation between my blood sugar levels and my mood. And especially my ability to find any positives in my current situation. Over the past few months I’ve been up and down like a yo-yo… or a roller coaster… take your pick. It doesn’t really matter. Overall, it just doesn’t feel good.

On the all too rare occasions when I am feeling good, it’s easy to believe God has this all in hand and it will all work out. I can relax and allow Him to work. I can find the motivation to deal with anything I need to.

More of the time I feel like crap. I’m tired. I’m irritable. I feel like nothing will ever change and I’ll be stuck in limbo for the rest of my life. I question whether God could possibly even care about me. I wonder why He would have any use for someone who is such a mess all the time.

Did I mention there’s a correlation to my blood sugar levels here?

Anyone, diabetic or not, with the sensitivity to feel when their blood sugar is too high or too low, likely knows what I’m talking about in terms of feeling good versus feeling like crap. It doesn’t take a glucose meter to tell when my blood sugar is off. All it takes is a pause to breathe and really feel what’s happening in my body. Of course the problem is taking that pause when I don’t feel good. Out of whack blood sugar isn’t conducive to slowing down and taking stock. It’s much more conducive to snapping people’s heads off and hoping a nap will make me feel better. (It never does.)

The other irritant here is I actually know what I need to do in order to maintain balanced blood sugar through the day. I even know strategies for bringing down high blood sugar. What I just can’t seem to manage is applying them. Two years later, I’m still fighting with this because it feels like no sooner do I get sort of on track, then something comes along and kills any and all progress I’ve made.

I sure hope God has things in hand here, because apparently I just can’t do this on my own. When I’m down, I wonder if I can even do it with His help. I don’t want to live like this anymore. I pray for healing, for the means to change my physical health. Feels like I’m still waiting for Him to come through.

I do believe He will yet.


Buzzing

All my nerves are standing on edge. I don’t want to be touched, my skin is so sensitive right now. There’s so much going on I feel like a juggler being tossed too many balls. I know I’m dropping things, but there are so many, I’m not even sure what I’m dropping. It’s hard to breathe through even as I’m being constantly reminded to.

Ending an eleven and a half year marriage.

Expecting a new baby.

Sorting and packing to move and being forced to trust God has the final arrangements in hand.

Being mom to an active and unsettled almost five year old.

Pulling together my own small business.

Struggling to make ends meet and keep enough groceries in the house.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something. So many things are ending or being cleared away to make space for new things. So much nervous energy and especially since I’m not the only one feeling it.


I Never Expected to Ever…

People warn that ‘never’ is a very long time. And with that is usually a warning to watch what is said never to. At the same time, in our convictions there are always things we think we would never do, never say, never want. I’m grateful for a God who doesn’t hold me to what I said “I would never…” in the past.

Because our circumstances change. Our lives change and with it our views and beliefs and values. It’s part of living and growing to learn and change. Our convictions can change and suddenly there can come a moment when “I would never…” becomes “maybe I would…” or even “I want…”

For example: I grew up in a home without pets of any kind. Most of my rather awkward interactions with other people’s pets didn’t go well. As a result, for many years, I said I would never want pets in my home. In the last couple years, partly due to a feeling of insecurity in a home in a neighbourhood where the police are frequently seen for any number of reasons, I’ve had a growing desire for a dog. It surprised and amused people when I said I’d changed my mind. Currently, I have a cat, but I’m hoping, when the vision I’m feeling God calling me to falls into place, to finally get my dog.

But the more recent reversal on a ‘never’ is going to surprise and not amuse, even upset, most of the people who know me.

Going into my marriage, I firmly believed in “Til death do us part.” I expected my marriage to last until one of us died. I was firmly convinced my marriage would never end for any other reason. (And to, there was a desire to prove wrong all the people who said it would never last. Some even said we wouldn’t make it through the first year.)

But, and for months I didn’t want to face this, in order to walk the path I feel God calling me to walk, my husband and I need to part ways. There are a multitude of reasons and it gets all kinds of complicated, especially since we are still and intend to remain close friends. It’s just something I never imagined I’d be facing. And worse to now have to deal with all the people who will either want to say “I told you so” or demand explanations of what happened or, worse yet, want to ‘fix’ this for us.

I feel God calling me to trust Him on this, no matter how hard. And I know He promises to see me through. That His Will will not lead me where His Grace can’t keep me. In that, His timing never fails to amaze. As I’m grappling with the reality of the separation, the link below was posted to a Facebook group I’m a member of.

http://www.clairemccarthy.me/limoncello-society/

I love her tag line “Because sometimes life hands you lemons.” Yes, even God sometimes hands out lemons. This is for those who are currently or have in the past gone through significant break up or divorce. The Break Up Boot camp begins next week, but I believe the Limonchello Society is ongoing.


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Confession 1


Feeling So Small

As true now as when I first posted it.

By Faith and A Whole Lot of Grace

In a universe which feels so immense. I just want to curl up inside myself. How can God use something so insignificant?

That’s the doubts creeping in. The comparing of all the broken pieces of me to the seemingly unbroken appearance of others.

But how to replace the doubts with faith? How do I stop making unfair comparisons? Not easily, that’s for certain.

Sometimes all the prayer in the world doesn’t seem to hold any answers. Sometimes God feels so completely out of reach. Sometimes I feel so broken and disconnected from anything and everything around me.

And yet God can reach me even there. Even when I’m feeling my smallest and most insignificant.

And for that I thank Him.

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Sometimes I Forget

That I communicate better in writing than in person speech.

That God’s grace is larger than any problem I could ever face in this world.

That God keeps His promises, whether or not they take the form I’d like to expect.

That God promises to provide all my needs, large and small.

That nothing in this world is forever, no matter how much I wish it could be.

That God’s truth is no less true for me wishing it weren’t.

That nothing is impossible for God.

That God knows I’m only human and will always meet me where I am.

That Jesus can forgive and heal any hurt, no matter how painful or large it seems at the time.

That no matter what I forget or how often, God will never turn his back on me.


End of My Rope

At least it sure feels like it.

Maybe it’s the annual funk which lasts the first three weeks of February. Until my birthday is over and I can cry for what did/didn’t happen and move on with the year.

Maybe it’s watching my family expand and our income stay the same. (Actually, if the current Canadian government does what’s rumoured to the Child Tax Credit, we’ll have less per month than we do now.)

Maybe it’s trying to get my business off the ground and having zero reach and no one buying.

Maybe it’s seeing the stats for this blog and my business website and knowing I’m barely even seen.

Maybe it’s wondering how we’re going to stay fed ’til payday when the rent and bills ate up what paycheque we got.

Maybe it’s all of the above.

And just maybe it’s only for now and things might finally get better. But it’s so hard to keep promises of better in mind when I’m looking at what I am right now.

On the upside, I’m able to write when I didn’t expect to be. That’s something.


Lonely

And only someone who’s been there can know just how lonely it is to:

Be surrounded by people who don’t share your values… and don’t care to.

Hear all kinds of supposedly supportive words and never see them put into action.

See other people having the kind of relationships you long for and know you don’t have the same with anyone.

Give and give and give some more and be there when those around you need you, but know you’ll never get more than superficial help from them.

See all kinds of inspiring quotes and ideas and encouragements in your email or online and realize you have no idea how to put them into practice… and no one willing to help beyond offering more words.

Be part of a supportive, caring community… only for as long as the course/workshop/retreat lasts… and have to return to the above.


Bone Dry

The well has run dry.

No water to be found here.

Need a refill of truly life giving sustenance.

But from where?

Sleep doesn’t heal the exhaustion.

Food doesn’t sate the hunger.

Words can’t fill an ache for action.

 


Light, Dark, Hard Questions & A Promo (For Someone Else)

It’s always darkest, at least for me, around Christmas time. And, this year, to go with the dark, have been a whole lot of hard to answer questions.

But now it’s January. The days are getting longer and I’m feeling like there’s just more light. I’m just not quite sure I’m ready to face it yet. Partly because I’m still wrestling with the questions.

One thing I am excited about. I made a contribution to an ebook published by a woman I know through a Facebook group. It came out beautifully and I’d love for you to go check it out. (Yes, I know it’s a freebie opt in for one of her programs. I knew that when I contributed.)

http://kendrakantor.com/selfworthebook/


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Confession 14

Fall in Love


A Progression

From a child forced into church and Sunday school attendance to a woman who realizes neither are necessary.

From the thou shalts and thou shalt nots to a tossing aside of the rules.

From the fear of being ‘bad’ and going to hell to knowing nothing can keep me from heaven.

From living in fear of everything and everyone to living in Love.

From needing everything to be perfect and in control in order to be acceptable to knowing all that matters is the effort to truly listen and obey regardless of the results.

From believing salvation to be buried somewhere in the rules and laws to knowing it’s solely in Jesus’s Love.

From feeling insignificant and unworthy to knowing I matter.

From feeling crammed into ill fitting moulds to knowing my unique gifts have purpose and will support me and mine.

All this has been a very long time coming, but it’s time to own what’s mine.