Monday, October 16, 2017

It's Not Easy Being Green

Maybe you heard about the crazy wind/rain storm that hit southern Ontario yesterday (October 15th)? Over sixty thousand homes without power, tons of downed trees and power lines, lots of damage to property. Not too far from us, four under-construction homes were flattened. Somehow, we escaped with no harm done. But what a wild storm! It didn't last long, but wow! Fierce winds, torrential rain, trees swaying and bending...

And leaves everywhere! We live near the top of a hill, and we watched in awe as swarms of colourful leaves chased one another down our street through the pouring rain.

Now for a little back story. We've been in southern Ontario since the middle of summer. We had lived in Edmonton for several years before we moved, where Autumn comes pretty early, usually by mid-September (or earlier!). I think that by now, most years, the majority of leaves have at least changed colour, if not already fallen.

And so, subconsciously, that was my expectation for Fall here in Waterloo. We happen to live in an area surrounded by miles of gorgeous woodsy trails - such a kind gift from a loving Father to His nature-obsessed daughter ❤ On my very first walk through those leafy woods, I looked waaay up at that whispering maple canopy and thought to myself, "How amazing will this be in the Fall?!"

Every time I had the chance to escape to the woods, I would look anxiously for signs of my favourite season, but was always left wanting. All I ever saw was green, green and more green! Which was lovely - it really was - but not what I was so eagerly anticipating!

(I caught myself a few times, each time admonishing myself to try to enjoy the moment, to not wish the season away, etc... but I forgot pretty quickly.)

Finally, but ever so slooowwwly, the leaves began to change. But even still, my heart wasn't satisfied. I was still chomping at the bit - I wanted more! More colour, more change, more cooler days and nights...

Back to yesterday's storm. Before the wild winds hit, maybe thirty percent of the leaves had shown their true colours. As I stood in my window, watching the foliage fly by, I realized it was only the leaves that had already changed that were being carried away on the wings of the wind. The green leaves, though violently tossed about, still clung to their branches.

If I had gotten my way, every leaf in Waterloo would be on the ground right now. Autumn would be over.

Maybe it's a bit of a silly lesson, but it spoke volumes to me. What this tells me is that I can trust God's timing. He's always right on time. So I don't need to worry or whine or push or plead or bargain or beg. He knows, and even more astounding - He cares!

And if this truth applies to something as minor as a little whim of mine, surely I can trust Him with the big stuff, too. And that, my dear friends, equals peace.


So I'll wait for all that green to transform into the reds and oranges that my heart loves - at least a little more patiently 😊

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Right Stuff

I'm in the process of looking for a job here in our new city. On the one hand, I'm extremely thankful. It's been a very long time since I've felt able to work at all. The fearful, skeptical side of me keeps watching and waiting... for this motivation and desire to get out there and make a difference that has persisted for months now to fade away, but by the grace of God it's still here (hallelujah!).

On the other hand, it's a little stressful. The numbers don't lie, people. I really need to be working at least part-time - and soon - if our family is to thrive here long-term, which is the hope. And so the (self-inflicted) pressure's on to find that fantastic, elusive something... Something that will at the same time be fulfilling, valuable and lucrative. (And something I can actually do.)

And on the other hand (wait, that's three hands - oops), it's a little like torture for this recovering people-pleaser. Every time I submit a resume, an opportunity for rejection is created. Eek! (The only thing as bad as rejection is confrontation - which is the inevitable result of a positive response to said resume...) The fear of rejection is stirring up all kinds of muck from my past - that little voice that whispers coldly and cruelly, "Why in the world would anyone want to hire you?"

I'm applying for all kinds of jobs; from a cookie factory to a bookstore, from photography to farm produce sales, and more! As I read the many and varied job descriptions, I am continually self-evaluating: could I do that, be that, perform to that level, meet that employer's expectations? In light of all this soul-searching appraisal and my own checkered history of see-sawing self-esteem, it's a testament to God's gracious work in my life that I've had the courage and confidence to answer any of these ads!

So on the other hand (okay, this is really getting out of hand 😉), it's a really great opportunity to revisit the foundations of my true identity. My value lies not in what I do or do not do. Who I am is not defined by my work - or lack thereof. My job title does not determine my worth. Because, in short - I'm a daughter of the King of the Universe!

Today, that truth confirms two things for me: 1) My Dad - the King - has a great plan for me and my family, as well as the power and authority to carry it out and 2) He has given me/will give me the right stuff to get the job done - whatever it turns out to be.

And that takes me from fear and self-doubt to peace. I like it here, I think I'll stay awhile. ❤❤

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The First Day

It's so quiet. All I hear is the click of the keys as I type, the whir of my computer's fan, the hum of the refrigerator and the tick-tock of the clock.

I think it's safe to say it's never been this quiet here. Never in this case means in the last several weeks - we moved into our new place here in Ontario exactly one month ago. And in that month, my not-so-little ones have been with me more or less constantly.

But not today. It's the first day of school. The most wonderful time of the year, right? All four of us went to school this morning, to be a part of the new school's first flag pole assembly.

It was a zoo - several hundred hyped-up, lost-looking kids and corresponding parents searching the crowd for elusive sign-holding teachers; joyful reunions of friends, buses arriving late, little ones crying, in the cool, foggy, fall-ish morning air.

May I take this opportunity to brag on my kids for a minute? Their courage to walk into the unknown and willingness to embrace the unfamiliar continually astonish me. I'm not saying they weren't scared - there were some tears shed by the eight-year-old last night as we contemplated the uncharted territory before us, and both expressed some apprehension about the days to come. But by the end of our chat, they were rejoicing in their ability to make new friends and bubbling over with excitement about future possibilities.

And they just walked into that maze of students, found their places, said good-bye to us (well, the nearly-thirteen-year-old just gave us a nod) and that was that. My husband and I made our way out of the insanity to watch from the sidelines as speeches were made and songs were sung and classes entered the building.

And now I'm at home. Alone.

Normally, I'd be celebrating! Solitude has been my fortress and my strength for so long now. But things have changed for me in the past six months (yes, it's been six months since I last posted here!). Maybe I'll tell the whole story sometime, but suffice it to say that I'm feeling more ready than I ever have to get out into the great big world and do... something. Do some good, make a difference, get involved, find my place...

I'm kind of feeling like it's the first day for me, too. The first day of what? I'm not sure yet. But I'm determined not to panic and rush ahead. Nor do I want to lag behind. I firmly believe that God has a plan for me - a really good plan. I want to keep in step with it, with Him.

So stay tuned, dear Friends - the best is yet to come! I'm delighted to be sharing this journey with you again! Many blessings as you seek to keep in step with the plans laid out for you!