28 November 2008

[digiscrap: Everything's Orange]

OOOOOooo ... I got some pages done. AND I've changed my blog header ... a little more "wintery", don't you think? I've been to some really cool blogs who set up fancy-shmancy graphics and such ... but I haven't found anything that I like for my own blog. So, I think I'll just stick with what I've got, and just change my header with the seasons.

What's been going on around here? Well - tonight, we're having company and I'm making a cozy dinner. My hubby's playing hockey tonight too (ooo - that reminds me, gotta make the chocolate chip cookies for that ...), so once the company's gone home, the kids are in bed, the house is tidy and the candles are burning, I think I'll watch "PS I Love You" and digiscrap. *GRIN*. I'm SUCH a sap, I know ... and the movie, as I've been reminded from guy friends, is completely unrealistic ... in fact, one guy friend said something to the effect of him "leaving his manhood behind in the theatre" after watching that. Something like that *grin*. But what can I say ... I love this movie.

I have a FEW pages that I've done ... I want to get onto my 500 pics of the cruise - or 1500 - whatever. And our Phoenix trip, because I want to get these pics OFF of my computer. They're already saved, but I need to scrap them before I take them off. They're taking up too much memory.

And I'm excited to lead worship this Sunday. I haven't lead since AUGUST *what the??*. Well, it was the last Sunday of August, and I was away for most of Sept and Oct ... and now it's the end of November. SO - I'm feeling a little "dusty" but am so excited to be apart of Sunday's service. I'm prayed up and ready to go *grin*!

So ... how 'bout you? I hope you have something fantastic planned - or simple. Whatever makes you happiest *smile*.





26 November 2008

[make: A Gift for You, A Gift for Me]

Ok. So, it's not REALLY a gift from me *grin* - BUT, for those of you who didn't hear, Oprah is giving away a BUNCH of free Christmas music on her site for the next 48 hours! I love Christmas music, but it's always so expensive ... here's a way for you to get "Christmas 2008" for your home. LOVE that.

Also - I've had a few emails about some of the recipes for the meal plan I did. I had to smile - people I didn't even know were reading, are. *grin*. Makes me have to be on my best behaviour, eh *BIG GRIN*.

SO - here are the 2 that were requested ...

CHICKEN IN SOUR CREAM
350F for 1 hour

This is my mom's recipe, a favourite of mine growing up. It was a "for company" recipe but I use it all the time. SO good.

4 chicken breasts
2 cans mushroom soup

1/2 pt sour cream
1 pkg onion soup mix
1/2 tbsp dill weed

Directions:

Brown chicken in oil (I actually don't do this ... too many calories *GRIN*)
Combine all ingredients (um, not the chicken)
Pour over chicken in 9x9 pan and bake COVERED for 1 hour.

BACON FRITATA
350F for 30 minutes

This recipe is my own adaptation of one of Sophie Gray's - her cookbooks are amazing.

4 strips of bacon, cut with scissors into 1/4" pieces
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 large red pepper, chopped

3 eggs
1cup milk
1/2 tbsp seasoning (whatever you like, I use Mrs. Dash)
1/2 cup self raising flour (OR 1/2 cup flour + 3/4 tsp baking powder)
1 cup grated cheese

Directions:

Cook bacon & onions until browned. Add peppers, cook until soft. Set aside.
In another bowl mix eggs and milk.
In another bowl mix seasoning with flour (or flour mixture with baking soda..)
Pour egg mixture into flour mixture.
Add bacon saute to flour mixture.
Add cheese to flour mixture.
Pour into a WELL GREASED 9x9 glass baking dish.
Cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

And what was MY gift? Well ... check out these videos. I am so proud of this little guy - as only a few weeks ago he was an absolute sobbing mess, afraid to get his head wet. His teacher is amazing. She deserves a medal ...


video video video video

24 November 2008

[organize: Meal Planning]

I'm living proof that meal planning works.

If I don't know what I'm making for dinner by the time breakfast is over, I'm usually scrambling at 4pm DESPERATE to figure out what's going on the table. For me, meal planning isn't about coming up with ideas, but rather having the INGREDIENTS in the house. SO many times I have thought "oh, I'll make 'that'" only to discover I'm missing 3 key ingredients and then PANIC comes.

I have a little wipe-able calendar on the side of our fridge. On Saturday *works best for me, as I usually shop Sunday afternoons if I can* I take it off the fridge, scan the past couple of weeks for ideas, talk to the hubby about nights out or whatever, and then plan for the week ahead.

Since I've come back from the cruise, this has NOT happened and I've felt like a chicken with my head cut of ... wandering aimlessly around the kitchen. So, today *although it's Monday*, I have planned for the week and am feeling SO good about knowing what the plan is. Usually Monday nights are with the in-laws, but they're away so we're at home. And we usually plan to be with my parents as well sometime during the week ... maybe

This week?

Monday: Bacon Fritata with chopped veggie salad
Tuesday: Baked Sour Cream Chicken with steamed brown rice & peas.
Wednesday: Roasted Red Pepper Soup and chedder biscuits
Thursday: Homemade Chicken Fingers with egg noodles in Cheese sauce (not canned), veggies & dip.
Friday: **company coming over** Pork Tenderloin, roasted potatoes, onions, carrots & yams, salad
Saturday: Pizza

Now ... off to put away all of the baking supplies I bought today. I have a few "standards" that I like to make. And then tonight, another Digi Scrap class while the hubby plays hockey. HOPEFULLY it won't be too late of a night ... I'm hoping to get some of my OWN digiscrapping done. It's been waaaaaaaay too long.

*sigh*.

20 November 2008

[talk: Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary]

WOW. Ten years.

It is almost unfathomable to think that on this day, ten years ago, I would be making a vow that would change the rest of my life. And it's been good *grin* ... a lot of ups, some downs. But as I look back on the past 10 years, I can say that we've made some great choices that have lead us to a life that is truly blessed.

Our story began with me playing for a Manitoba Floods fundraiser, after being asked by LL if I could play for him. There, I met the most cocky guy (or so I thought), rambling on the phone with his crazy spiral curls. His name was Luigi. And I was not interested. I had a boyfriend of two-and-a-half years - who about 4 weeks after that meeting, broke up with me and shattered my heart.

He broke up with me on a Friday.

Deciding that I needed to get out of the "ooo - what happened with you and ****", I accepted an invitation by LL to come to his church and help out with the music there. So, I went on Wednesday. And re-met Lu. He and LL asked my friend and I (I sure as heck didn't show up on my own) out for coffee.

After a couple of weeks of "group dating" (I was 23, but STILL ...) Lu asked if I would consider making this a permanent thing, he and I. I told him he needed to ask my father, as I had just come out of a long relationship, and wasn't sure if that was such a hot idea yet.. So - before we had even gone out on our own, he and I - along with my parents - sat down and Lu began to ask my father for permission to date me. And he finished his speech with, "Mr. S******, I want you to know that I will not be wasting your time. I intend on spending the rest of my life with your daughter." Um. PARDON? Shouldn't we go OUT first?? Um - do I get a say in all of this?? But no, *grin*, he pursued and conquered. That's the way he was and still is. And 9 months later we were engaged ... and 9 months after that, we were married.

Our wedding was a beast that had a life of its own *grin*. We had 347 guests - everything was "over-the-top". I planned every detail - and it came off without a hitch. The reception was so fun and one of the highlights was a sketch put on about our dads. It was SO hilarious, that we didn't want it to end. My nieces also performed, we had a quartet of man-friends do Southern Gospel music, and our MC's were just the best. And the ABSOLUTE funniest?? When my uncle prayed for me and "Luke" before the dinner was served. Um. His name is LU. SOOOO FUNNY!! The video is priceless ...

But now, we're very different people ... and we would probably get married somewhere hot in bare feet with close family and friends there. My dress would be simple. The money would be spent on photography not on rental of the biggest church in town. But our wedding was what it was *grin*. Everything becomes outdated eventually. I just never thought our wedding would be!!

Our ten years together ... we've accomplished so much, experienced so much ...

We've traveled to: Washington State, Oregon, California, Arizona, Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Vallerta, Cabo San Lucas, Loreto (Mexico), Mazatlan, Cozumel, Haiti, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Frankfurt, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia), Sochi (Russia), Rome, Venice, Ischia (Italy), Salzburg (Austria), Fiji, New Zealand.

We bought our first home in 2001, and moved to our current home in 2004. Our first son was born at the "5 year" mark and our 2nd son was born 2.5 years after that.

We've had our tough times - in our second year of marriage Lu was in extreme pain and told to have spinal surgery. That was a very difficult time ... but he was healed *yay God!*. And we learned about trust and faith. The hardest, though, was definitely our experience with
Shalom. But as I look back on it, it was probably the closest my husband and I have ever been with each other. Tragedy does that, I think ... either pulls you together or drifts your farther apart.


... I love this photo ... see the bump? I had JUST found out I was pregnant with our firstborn a few days before, while we were in New Zealand. This photo was taken in Fiji.

Some of my favourite memories - aside from the birth of our two boys - were the dinner parties we hosted in our first home. We would choose 4 couples, usually mentors, on a monthly basis and serve 4 course meals by candlelight ... those conversations and times together were really special. In our first 5 years of marriage we had SO many dinner parties, SO many people in our home. It was exactly how we wanted to live.

Another highlight for me was when my husband and I went to Italy after our Russian Missions trip. We traveled by train through Germany, Austria and Italy. Those hours and hours together, playing Canasta, laughing, learning ... truly a highlight. Seeing Venice and walking the streets of Salzburg, looking for a place to eat where we could read the menu (German's a hard language!!) ... these were very special times for me.

Our family, friends, church - they have all played a dynamic role in who we are today. To be married for ten years, is something that couldn't be done without being accountable to wonderful people. I joke that 10 years here is like being married 50 in Hollywood *GRIN*. So thank you - to everyone.
For our anniversary, while we were on our cruise a few weeks back, we both purchased each other Anniversary Bands ... such a luxury and the memory of that day will always be so special. The conversations we had, the reminiscing ...

So, I'm proud of what Lu and I have created, with the grace of God. Our lives are good and we are truly blessed. My husband is a good man - not without his faults *laughing* as am I, but we're a good team. We have the same goals, the same love of family, friends, hosting, the same "we're in this for the long haul" and there is a a safety in that. I often joke that he'd better not leave me, because it would be too hard to convince someone else that I'm worthy of sticking with *grin*.

So what are we doing to celebrate? We're going to put up our Christmas decorations, have some family time, and maybe watch flick in the glow of the Christmas tree once the kids are in bed.

But first, this afternoon, I'm off to honour a legend - our Pastor's father passed away and his funeral is today. This man was our own pastor for many years before his son, our current pastor, was voted in. Strange to think that 10 years ago we were starting our lives together, and exactly ten years later, we would be saying to a man who lived a good life as a man of integrity and wisdom. That's the way life goes, I guess.

Who knows what God has in store for us - maybe more blessing, maybe more tragedy - but for everything, I give Him thanks.


[talk: Pet Peeves]

Why, hello there *grin*.

Things have been going well 'round these here parts ... our calendar is starting to fill up, which I actually like. I mean, not EVERY day, but it's nice to have places to go, and people to see. The Christmas Season seems like a good time for that.

Last night I went out with a couple girlfriends after a Women's Event at our church. What a HOOT *although my head was stuffed up and I kept yawning - so lame!* and it was great to catch up. One of my friends, DG, she's a blast from the past. She was actually the first person to befriend me at my church, back when I was 11 years old. She was a year older, so beautiful and friendly - and it's been really lovely reconnecting with her. How FUN to stand outside our church, in the cold at 10o'clock at night and LAUGH about being teenager ... where we drove around the parking lot, who we kissed in the back *laughing* ... so innocent, so free from responsibility, so fantastic. And our other friend, TP, she actually married a guy who DG and I grew up with during those years. So she laughs when she hears the tales of her man - and all that our memories hold. Thanks girls for a GREAT night - next time I'll be a bit more with-it and my head will be clear!!

SO - why my Pet Peeves as a topic? Oh, I don't know ... to vent, to laugh *grin*. Maybe you'll be able to agree with me on some of these *laughing*...

1. People Who Drive Slowly in the Fast Lane: Ok - this one REALLY irks me. Simply put, it's the PASSING lane. If you're not passing the car in front, stay in the right lane. The Europeans have got this concept down, why can't WE???

2. Telemarketers: Sorry. But this drives me crazy. It's so intrusive, and I understand that they're just doing their job. BUT COME ON PEOPLE. How many people actually change phone companies because you called?

3. New Medical Information: Ok. One week you can't do "this" or "this" is bad. Then next, you're supposed to take 10x the dosage to cure something "else". Drives me crazy.

4. People Who Forget What It's Like To Be A Young Mom: Now - I honestly don't know any of these personally, but I'm talking about the lady who looks at you in the supermarket as your one son tries to climb out of the cart while the other one is screaming that they have to go potty NOW - all while you're trying to put the food on the conveyor belt. These "ladies" who roll their eyes or mutter something to their other "lady" friends ... I want to ask "Would you please show some grace here? A smile? I'll gladly pay for it *GRIN*." I have to say this is a RARE thing ... most people in the line up smile and say "Two boys ... keeps you busy, huh." To which I smile and in that, saying "Thank you for being kind."


5. Children's Medicine: I am sad that Tylenol Cold is off the market for young children. I know, I know - it's for the best. And OBVIOUSLY I don't want my 2 year old to have a heart attack *duh*. But when my youngest has had a runny nose for 2 weeks - I'd love to be a bit pro-active. Going to the Doctor is a waste of time for colds ...

... I'm still working on my "big" post - but I'm a little afraid that I'm making it sound bigger than it is ... it's just a bit of work ... maybe tomorrow :-).


SO - what bugs you?

18 November 2008

[make: Ginger Snap Cookies - With ALL the Ingredients *GRIN*]

Ginger Snaps

375 for 12-15 minutes
makes a few dozen, depending on cookie size.

** my other recipe omitted the molasses and egg ... OOPS! Thanks NC for letting me know!**

3/4 cup margarine
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
2tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
**you'll also need a small dish of granulated sugar to roll the cookies in

Directions:
- cream sugar and margarine; add egg and molasses and cream well.
- sift dry ingredients together and add to the creamed mixture.
- roll into small balls
- dip the cookie balls into the bowl of sugar
- place on a cookie sheet and flatten with a fork

[talk: My Favourite Things]


If Oprah can have hers, I can have mine *grin*. AND - for all of my foreign friends - in Canada, we spell favourite with a "u". Just in case you were wondering *grin* ...

My first favourite thing? Family. Being with those I love - and I'm starting to get in the Christmas feel around here - baking, decorating (well, this weekend I will be), planning. Everything done with those who are most important. My second favourite thing? FRIENDS. Without question. My life has taken me to different places, and just today I got a phone call from Michigan from a friend I toured the southern States with in '94. I love friendships. I love new friends, old friends ... awe - I feel a cozy hug moment *GRIN*. People are just the greatest.

The SUN is SHINING here - finally - and my spirits are just SO much brighter when the sun shines. Which leads me to my list - some things I have, some things I'd like:

1. LIGHT THERAPY LIGHT BOXES: My husband agrees with me that the sun really seems to dictate how I feel. So - this is something on my "oh, I wish I could get one of these".

2. YOUR FONTS: I found this site - and it turns YOUR HANDWRITING / PRINTING into a computer font!! Is that not fantastic?? Especially for digiscrapping ... and the best part? It's FREE!!
3. SPIT PARTY: Ok - so I saw this on Oprah ... but I thought it was super cool. Essentially, you spit and send it away for DNA testing. But it tests to see if you are carrying specific genes - say, one that is susceptible to Parkinson's. Or breast cancer. You may not want to know, but I think it would be really amazing to know those kinds of things. After all - ignorance isn't really bliss, and you could be proactive in preventing the onset of some of these diseases. VERY pricey ($400US) - not realistic - but pretty cool for the "person who has everything".

4. COMFORTABLE CLOTHES: Lulu Lemon is the greatest thing invented, and is my daily uniform. I could always use more of these ... end of story *grin*.

5. JEWELRY BOX: I have a lot of jewelry. Actually, I didn't even realize that until lately. And I think a place to put it would be good thing. This box I found, is a tad pricey *grin*. But I liked it because you can hang your necklaces instead of them getting all tangled up.

6. CHRISTMAS VILLAGES: I've been collecting these since I got married. I love setting them up and at night, when the house is silent, I love to just stand and watch them. I thnk of them as heirlooms.

7. LAMPEBERGER: I've written about this before. And these are simply the greatest things ever ... you can purchase high-end lamps or simple, inexpensive ones. SO great. I own one myself and have given them away as gifts as well.

8. PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 7.0: Oooooo - an upgrade, as I have 6.0 How great would that be?? I'd sure use it, that's for sure!

9. AMAZING GRACE CLEANING CO: Ok - when I was thinking of what my favourite things were, the idea of having someone ELSE coming in and cleaning up after Christmas and New Years - well, that just made me smile! ... maybe this should be #1. *GRIN*

10. PORTABLE MUSIC: Would you believe that I don't have an Ipod? I am a music buff, live on the stuff - and don't have one of these. Definitely on my favourites list.

11. FUZZY BOOTS: I've seen Uggs around forever - and think they should go on my list. I'd love a pair of chocolate brown ones.

12. WHEN MY HEART FINDS CHRISTMAS: Christmas officially begins when this CD comes on ... "Oh, the weather outside is frightful **TRUMPET BLOWS**". It is undoubtedly my favourite Christmas album. Oh. And Michael W. Smith's. Oh. And Celene Dions. And Kenny Gs. Ok. So I have a few.

13. SPA UTOPIA: In our town, there is a place. A special place where one can go and just enjoy silence and a massage. Hallelujah. I love this place.

14. WORLD VISION: I've written about this before and truly believe that we need to be generous. All in all, these things I've talked about are all luxury's - nothing is needed. But for millions of people, the ache for the simplest of things is a dire need. We got a World Vision catalog in the mail. Find out how you can get yours and GIVE. Or, if you feel strongly about your community - find out what YOU can do above and beyond your normal giving. There are people who surround us daily who are in need. What we have can be taken away in an instant - so be diligent in what you have TODAY. There is nothing greater. And we all know it's what Christmas is really all about.

OH - and I'm working on quite the blog entry for you ... it's taking me a while. But it won't disappoint. Seriously. I'm going to make quite the fool of myself *grin*.
Stay tuned and be blessed.

15 November 2008

[worship: Let My Words Be Few]

Communication has never been difficult for me. Ever since I can remember, I spoke my mind - sometimes ending with a foot in my mouth *grin*. And as soon as I could print, I used the written word to tell stories and document what I saw, what I felt. I would practice printing for hours, as my gr1 teacher had told me that I would never have nice penmanship because I'm left-handed. So I practiced and practiced, and I quite like my penmanship thank you very much *grin*.

Now, with the computer, my handwriting is kept for grocery lists, birthday cards ... and writing songs. I've written a few, a few are even published, but I cannot write without being inspired. And after the last few weeks of awakenings and emotions you'd think that I would have much to pull from ... the music has come - but not the lyrics. So, I will wait - maybe a day, a week or a month - but until then, this song says it all. I sang it at the wedding today, and thought I'd share it with you.


video

12 November 2008

[make & digiscrap: Ginger Snaps and Christmas Card Design]

I've been walking by the computer all day - with a cloud over my head (like the dreariness I see outside). I have nothing inspirational for you today *weak smile* because my boys ran me ragged after I helped at the preschool today and took Tias to swimming lessons. My eldest continued to tread on my last nerves as I was desperately trying to be patient and use the "teaching opportunities" laid before me. It seems that he was trying to be "cool" all day, talking back and rolling his eyes ... behaviour that makes my skin crawl.

The good news is that they are both in bed, with the opportunity to try again tomorrow. Hey wait a minute. I get that too *smile*. And maybe tomorrow we'll all be better at rising up to what's required of us. Here's to hopin' *grin*.
On a lighter note, I DID want to show you a little Christmas card I designed for a friend. It's also a "save the date" card and I came up with this. Gotta say, I was pretty proud of myself - but I'm sure it's been done before *grin*. She was happy and that's really what matters - and I got her permission to post it *wink*. As for OUR Christmas card - I won't be posting that one up until they're in the mail *grin*.

It's been a VERY long time since I shared a recipe with you and as the Christmas season is around the corner - I wanted to share with you the ABSOLUTE BEST cookie recipe I have. At least I think so *wink*. They are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside ... perfect with a hot drink and freeze perfectly.

Let me know if you love them as much as I do ...

Ginger Snaps
375 for 12-15 minutes
makes a few dozen, depending on cookie size.

3/4 cup margarine
1 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
**you'll also need a small dish of granulated sugar to roll the cookies in

Directions:

- cream sugar and margarine; add egg and molasses and cream well.
- sift dry ingredients together and add to the creamed mixture.
- roll into small balls
- dip the cookie balls into the bowl of sugar
- place on a cookie sheet and flatten with a fork

So go on, go make some. And me? I'm going down to the piano right now to take a few minutes of "me" time before I start digiscrapping while watching the hockey game *grin*. GOTTA love hockey.

Hope you have a fantabulous evening.

10 November 2008

[talk: Scary Times, Thankful Times, Memorable Times]

Before I get onto other things, I wanted so let YOU know about something that hit far too close to home. A young family from our church was moving this past weekend, and upon the truck being filled, GS noticed a pink package on his doorstep. Assuming it was for one of his two young daughters, he went to get it - and decided to take a look inside. Upon doing that, he detonated a bomb *yes, a bomb* and is currently in serious condition after shrapnel made it's way to his liver, along with other wounds and burns. GS works at a local university campus with Campus Crusade for Christ. Motives are unknown, as is whether this was an intentional act on GS and his family - specifically, his little girls since the package was pink. You can read more about what happened here . Not a conceivable thing to happen around here. And it has hit our church and community pretty hard. So if you have a moment, say a prayer for this family. Their journey is far from over.

On a COMPLETELY different note, I was nominated for a BLOG AWARD. Now, I have no clue what this means (Ed McMann didn't show up at my house with a cheque or anything *wink*) but I was pretty honoured. Especially from whom it came from ... Simplyyin is a Digi-guru and actually thinks that my work is worth noting. Superb!! Check out her link here to see my layouts on her site. Blows my mind, it does. I failed art-class *grin* ...

Now - apparently, I'm supposed to list 7 things that I love or am thankful for - kinda an acceptance speech, I guess *laughing*. Here 'goes:

1. GOD. He saves me daily and for that I am so thankful.

2. FAMILY. My parents who raised me, my husband who chose me, my boys who remind me of what's important.

3. OLD FRIENDS. The ones who have seen me at my ugliest and still choose to walk the journey of life with me. They are some of the greatest people who walk the planet.

4. NEW FRIENDS. People who teach me new things about myself and about life in general. New friends are like the different spices that make the same boring dish different every time.

5. CANADA. I love this land that allows me the freedom to worship. It frustrates me, and I don't always feel like my thoughts are the majority - but I love the different cultures, the VAST beauty (come ON, is there anywhere more incredible *grin*) and it's simply "home".

6. MY CHURCH: These people are my family without the genetics *grin*. I trust these people, give my best to them, and support all the different adventures the church goes on.

7. MUSIC: Without music there would be a hole in my soul. Music is what connects me to so many people, and is my red-telephone to God Himself. Losing music would be losing myself.

OK - obviously there is SO MUCH MORE to be thankful for, but I was told to do seven things. I could easily add health, financial stability, my hobbies (digiscrapping, photography, cooking, hostessing) ... did I do alright?? And are you wanting to see some CRUISE pics. Well, here are a few ... you can feel free to weep openly with me at the obvious loss now that it's over.

Naw. I'm not dramatic at ALL ...

08 November 2008

[talk: Dreaming Makes My Brain Hurt]


Seems to me that this has been happening often *grin*. The whole brain thing ... it tends to be working overtime as of late. But that's a good thing, I think. That is, until I start losing sleep over my thoughts and dreams ... yes, I have dreams. I'm pretty sure that I'm "living the dream" already ... I have a good life. And I LOVE life ... and all that is in it. Even the crud, which has been filtering its way into my head recently. But over this last week (that has been high with emotions) I'm starting to remember the dreams that I've had - and deciding whether they are important anymore.

And they are.

I am so thankful *big shout out again here* for Carmen's words in my comments a couple of days back. When she said that " just Tawn" wouldn't BE me anymore if I wasn't a wife. Or a mom. Or a teacher. Or all the other hats that I wear. She is SO right **lightbulb moment**. And that brings me to me - and I think I like "me". I'm 34 now (um. who said that??) and I'm realizing that I am a woman of many opportunities. My life has not been hindered by the right choices I've made, but rather made me IN to this woman that is just "Tawn".

See? My brain hurts.

And my dreams? My OWN dreams - not the ones I have for my family and loved ones? Well - I dream of being involved in worship. And I already am - but I dream of more. I don't know WHAT that means, I just know that I have an ache in my soul for greater things. Not fame or fortune ... but I would love to lead and write songs that touch people. To know that in some small town in Nova Scotia, with the congregation of 50 people are meeting with Him through songs that He's given me to share.

Ever since I can remember, I've dreamt of running my own Bed & Breakfast - but only for those in the ministry who need rest and restoration. I know what the cabin should look like, the layout, the decorating ... And I know what would kinds of food would be on the menu ... Pan seared chicken breast simmered in Marsala and served with oven roasted rosemary potatoes and maple carrots. Lemon pavlova for dessert (how many of YOU have I served that to? *LOL*). I dream of that.

I dream of going to Africa - of seeing the Village of Hope and giving a piece of my heart to yet another group of children. To sing "Father Abraham" and revert to complete silliness. To hear their stories and be changed. And I want to rummage through the markets of Istanbul, buying spices of intense colour and artwork of vivid shapes and hues ...

Oh dear. I've done it again ... ramble ramble ramble. So - those are some of my dreams - and yes, I WILL post my cruise pics on here. They do exist *grin*.

Oh - and before I go, would you mind if I took a moment to thank a couple of people? Yesterday I was informed of a couple of webpages that were created to encourage to me. Seriously. Don't laugh *smile*. They made my day. So thank you DS and ANA ... as I told you both before - you made my heart sing.
And you can write my eulogy anytime *wink*.

06 November 2008

[worship: It Was Inevidible,Wasn't It?]

SO ... how am I doing? I'm going mental trying to put SPACES between the paragraphs - but it's not working *ugh*. And aside from this ridiculously dreary weather - I'm doing alright. Seriously, I'm so thankful that I overdosed on vitamin D in the sun last week because I think I just might have scurvy by now if I hadn't ...
And regarding my last post? *smile* I sure got a lot of kind words and wisdom from some remarkable people. Don't you find that when your head's hanging low, there are people around to remind you of all the good stuff? Or are just there to validate? Mighty wonderful, I'd have to say ... and a special shoutout to Carmen, whom I don't believe I know personally, but such wise words were spoken from a lovely heart. Thank you *smile*. You're right.
Does that mean that I'm not still in mourning the smack of reality? Nope. I still am ... and as I said to my mom today (poor lady, she reads my blog and after seeing her today I could tell that she was a little *cough* perplexed about my last post), "It's not that I'm unhappy. If anything it just shows how WONDERFUL the vacation was." And I have this to add as well: when our insecurities rear their ugly heads and we find ourselves wishing we were someone else or whatever the case may be - be thankful that you CAN see those insecurities. I told my cousin (who was on the vacation with us - and feeling quite the same as I), "It's like realizing you're living in the Matrix ... Last week I felt like my eyes were opened to some things about my life - and it was hard and wonderful all at the same time. Just because it was a lonely place doesn't mean I'd want to live in ignorance instead. I'd rather know I was living in the Matrix than be unaware." Ok. If you haven't seen the movie, you'll have no clue what that was all about.
And as for the Cruise of a Lifetime - do I have pictures? Sure do ... I posted about 2.7 billion of them on my FB. Trying to chose 10 of them to show you has given me a headache. Maybe tomorrow *grin*.
So, instead, I've decided to continue down the path of transparency and show who I am. Who I am, at the core, is a worshipper. If you've come to this site looking for Digiscrapping or something else, I invite you to take a moment and see what really is the most important thing for me.
I hope that's ok.

video

03 November 2008

[talk: Hello Me ... It's Time To Say Goodbye Again]


I've been debating how transparent I should be on this blog. A-HA .. I've got your attention now *smile* ... Some of you who come and visit, I've never met. Most, though, are friends or are church family - and I feel a responsibility to be accurate in my words. I would hate for my ramblings to be misinterpreted or diluted ... or slandered. But after my brain aching over the same thoughts, I've come to think that maybe - just maybe - I'm not alone in this one. Something has really caught me by surprise.

Seriously - every time a friend has looked me in the eyes, with a big grin and said, "SOO???? How was your trip??" I can't even talk. My eyes well up and I quietly say, "I can't talk about it just yet." How crazy is that?? And I'm certain they think I'm a loon, or that our vacation was just the worst thing ever.

But it wasn't. Our vacation was incredible. We had SO much fun with our cousins and with each other. And I will be sharing about the crazy things we did, and I have a few million photos to share too *grin*. Fantastic ports, a beautiful ship, hot, glorious weather. A really perfect holiday.

But as the week went on, I found myself spending more time on my own - and being satisfied with that. I haven't really been on my "own" (aside from those 30 hours in Phoenix) and being able to dive into selfishness on a daily basis. When I say that, I mean that I didn't have to make sure that Josiah was being watched while I went to the bathroom. Or I could read entire chapters of my novel without interruption and get lost in the story. I could stay out until 2am, watching a movie or having a brewed tea. I could meet people, whom I did - such wonderful people - and laugh, learn, just be with.

And I was just ... Tawn.

Even as I write this, tears stream down my face. Not because I don't love my life - I do. It's not about that. If I wasn't married for 10 years with two glorious kids - having every moment for myself - I would be doing everything in my power to BE that married person with two glorious kids. I am satisfied in that. But I feel like I'm already losing that person that I got reacquainted with on the ship. I'm already waist deep in titles of what I think I'm supposed to be or what others want from me. And I'm certain that most of those titles are accurate, and yet being just Tawn was the most glorious part of my week away. I've never been on a vacation where I feel like I physically took of my Coat of Titles and got to have just me shine through.

As the Lord would have it, I became attached to a family on the ship. How this happened, I'm really not sure. But it did. They were all on board for their parent's 50th Anniversary - and they represented Christ so evidently. We hit it off and to them, I was just me. Not a wife or mom. Not a hostess or a worship leader. I wasn't a piano player or a music teacher. I was just Tawn ... do you get the reoccurring theme here *smile*?

And maybe this is what the whole experience has been about for me - remembering to have moments where I can be just "me" and reinforcing the desire to be known and to know others ... Maybe even YOU don't see me as all of those titles either. Maybe you DO know who I am, and it's just my own insecurities living the unspoken expectations I feel. Maybe it's all in my head - trust me - there have been a LOT of things going on in this head of mine *grin*. So many things.

And I know that this is all mighty strange - but for me, this moment is so real. And tomorrow it will feel less strong, and the day after that and after that. And eventually I'll read this and not even be able to relate to any of it ... I just hope someone who reads this can.

Which leads me to this final thought - if coming home has been such an emotional experience, do I wish I'd never gone? HECK no. I wouldn't trade a moment, a conversation, a new friend, a photograph ...

I just wish I could relive every moment all over again.

[talk: I'm BAAAAAACK ... and My Brain Hurts]

... and is spinning with all that has happened in the last week. I have so many thoughts that I need to organize before I throw it all "out there".

Come back later ... there'll be something to entertain you, I promise *wink*.