Category Archives: Vacation

It’s summertime!

The time when we get to hang out together, bBQ, go to the beach and travel many miles to see family. Kids are in various camps this week leaving us alone to catch up on some extras around here.  Like episodes on Netflix.We are getting our house reno’d by a friend who lives down the street. He’s done a fabulous job. Our rooms all have new laminate in them, out bathroom is handicapped friendly. Or, as we like to call I Marcy -friendly.

The next few weeks will involve getting my teeth fixed some more, packing to leave for Manitoba and getting my house in order.

we haven’t bbq’d yet this year so I cant wait to do that!

I’m looking forward to meeting some cousins, scourin the prairies for interesting stops and hangin out with my peeps. soulrest_fb2We hope to find some rest too. That would be fantastic!

Challenges

There are some challenges I had not had to deal with being away from home. Thankfully my amazing man has been in the job. Now that I’m home, we’re all adjusting to me being mommy again. Some rules have changed and some behaviors haven’t.

Right now my two oldest are giving me cold stares because we had to lay down the law. I love and hate the teen years already. Puberty is a wonderful time full of chaos and confusion for the poor critters. They think they are adults and don’t want to be treated as children. They have memories like an 80-yr-ol Alzheimer’s patient and yet want all the priveledges.Teaching responsibility is fraught with speed bumps.

Then we have a beauty who’s ADHD makes her do all sorts of wrong. She is just a busy little thing who can’t control her impulses and is super” helpful”at times. It’s hard to know whether to have grace or come down hard for certain things. We are trying diet restrictions, vitamins and calming techniques but we are now resorting to meds. We pray for the best for our fantastic four and step forward with some tremidation. I know it’s all terribly normal and I am thankful for my friends and family who have gone before us and reassure me it will only get more difficult. Thanks. LOL

We are excited about upcoming holidays when we will see lots of friends and family. It should be good. You know, with 6 people in a car and all. Ha!

Lay down and LOOK UP!

English: Autumn trees at Yekaterinburg city park

English: Autumn trees at Yekaterinburg city park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I lay down on the edge of a property with trees where the leaves are hanging on in their brilliance and shaking about in the wild autumn wind . The whisper of a thousand tiny cymbals and the whistling of the wind through the surrounding buildings was a balm to my heart that was seeking beauty in the mundane.  The rustling of the leaves was music to my ears. I lay there, watching and listening.

Seeing the blue sky beyond the canopy of trees and the sun breaking through every now and again when the wind whipped especially enthusiastically reminded me of a time not so long ago. I lay, there with no thought to those who may come by my place of solitude, off of a back alley in our small town.  As I lay there, I noticed that the air was much more still where I rested than just a few feet above me. This suited me just fine, as the arthritis flare I had fought for a few days, was more suited to the warmer air. I lay my soul still as the peace of the surroundings started healing my soul.

As I looked at the fiery leaves above me, and the blue sky as steady as its ever been, I began thinking of the most profound place of rest I have experienced, maybe ever.

It was a 25C day in Jamaica. Hubby and I had been in the tropical paradise for only a few days. Every day, for at least a half hour at a time (I have attention issues) I would lay back and let the warm breeze off of the ocean penetrate my soul.  I found myself, instead of reading books as a way to help myself relax, just looking out on the turquoise waters and feeling the sun on my face, soaking it in.

There was a profound moment of peace, when I realized I’d just experienced peace, by it’s definition, when I thought to myself that I didn’t have to worry about what was for supper, about how to calm my aspie child down (again), be the peacemaker after school when skirmishes happen, getting homework done, catching up on the never-ending laundry, how to organize my life…I was far away from it and didn’t have to worry about it for a week. I had NO responsibilities. NONE. All I had to do was make sure I didn’t overstay our welcome and show up for the return trip home.

I have never felt that type of release from every day life and I knew at that moment that I needed it. I needed that type of moment about 5 years ago.

God met me where I was and said “This is a rest of the soul that you need to take . Don’t neglect this again.” He refreshed me in ways that I had not anticipated.

I was given a gift. The memory of our tropical trip. A moment when I was on a hammock and looking at the ocean with two overhanging trees with rustling leaves overtop. That moment.

I wanted to carry that experience home with me. And I did.

While I was running this summer (for the 5km) there was a moment when I needed to lay down all of the sudden. I collapsed in someone’s yard. I looked up and saw two overhanging trees and the blue sky above and I was reminded that I don’t have to keep my life at a frantic pace. I needed to savor the moment. Jamaica’s influence in Northern Canada. Take it in as a gift from God.

I am  certain I will not be laying down in someone’s pile of snow to enjoy the brown branches and the blue sky above…but then, you never know? I may just buy myself some warm winter wear (finally) and lay down on the snow with my kids, looking at the sky with descending snowflakes.

The gift of our time in Jamaica and enjoying God’s creation, was a gift that will keep on giving.

Jamaica

You knew that I wouldn’t leave you hanging without pictures and stories, right? It’s just that it was such an insane re-entry to our life on Mars, I mean Earth, when we came back that I wasn’t able to effectively put my thoughts back in Jamaica to tell you about it until now. Now, seeing the weather forecast for the next 24 hours, and it’s not looking good… I am making myself remember our beachy holiday, or else I might go crazy along with the rest of the Prairie people. Goodness!  It’s been a nasty winter.

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This was what we left, when we took off for Jamaica. Unfortunately, we came back to more snow, and then more…and then even more. Spring is not even close to being sprung.

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If I were a drinking kind of person and I had known the future (more snow and craziness upon our return to Canada)  and it wasn’t our first night there, I would have possibly guzzled this drink in one swift gulp. A cheery man named Henry, shouted out upon our arrival that he ” would bring us a special drink, Mon!” It was ironically called “The Night Off”. We both took sips and knew why it had that particular name.

We got to our resort on the wings of a bus, which carried us through the mountain passes on narrow roads, in the dark AND driving on the other side of the road. The bus driver told us right off that “We play ‘chicken’ here, Mon!” Had I not be forewarned I may have also have had a few beers that were passed around the bus. But since I was looking forward to the drive and I don’t drink, I said “No Thank-you”. I didn’t want to add a stop in the jungle on the side of a narrow, dark road to pee. It’s unlike me not to be anxious, so I revelled in the excitement of possibly playing ‘Chicken’ with other vehicles. Not really, but I wasn’t worried even one bit!

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Our first supper was in a restaurant that was just feet from the ocean and had breezy white curtains swaying in the wind. It was completely open and the atmosphere seemed so fancy that our casual dress felt awkward. This was a lobster and shrimp dish with a carrot/beet salad on top of creamy mashed potatoes. I can almost taste it now.

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Arriving after dark, we had no idea what anything looked like, including the ocean but we dipped our toes in the warm water and breathed in the tropical ocean air. It was dreamy! I think everything seemed more unreal and exotic that first evening because it felt so different than our lives. The pampering, the drinks being served at every turn, the happy faces of servers and fellow vacationers alike…it was surreal.

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I pretty much put my feet up the entire time. I know, so boring. Who needs excitement when you have four kids and a cat at home? Really!  I didn’t know until I got there and started relaxing how much I truly needed this break. We should really have done this a very long time ago. Then again, I think we scared off our childcare, so we probably won’t be going again for a while.

We didn’t go off the resort at all. With the scuba diving, snorkelling, catamarans, kayaks, pools, beach….who needed to go anywhere? We had all we needed for those 6 gloriously refreshing days. I would do it again in a heartbeat. The only thing we lost was a camera cord…and maybe some skin because we burned it so bad.

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Our last full day was our 20th Anniversary, which was a perfect end to our Favorite Vacation. The staff sent us cake (definitely their worst food we tasted there, but since it was all gourmet…who cares!) and champagne. Even if the cake wasn’t super tasty and we only drank one glass of champagne, it was delightful! We then spent our last evening having a romantic dinner by the beach. What we didn’t know beforehand was that the sand mites and mosquitos come out with a fury. Thankfully, my darling man, thought to bring insect repellant so we sprayed ourselves and our waitress down and enjoyed the rest of the meal…even the octopus floating in my soup! Now there was an experience!

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This is just a quick summary of our relaxed adventures we had in Jamaica. What a wonderful way to spend a week with my One True Love. We had an even better time than we had imagined. Of course, we didn’t have time to imagine it before we left, but we didn’t even fight once!  That’s new for us. We usually have at least one misunderstanding per vacation.

In just two months…

Today marks the biggest, meanest snowstorm in the history of…this spring. Seeing as it’s only the first day of spring, I guess it’s a safe thing to say. It could be the meanest storm I’ve seen in a long time. Today, everyone seems to be posting pictures of the roads right around our area and so I am relieved to know I made the smart decision to stay home despite a Dr. appointment for myself and my girl. There is crazy driving conditions and then there is today.

I was just marvelling, as I stared out the window, how different things are today than they were two months ago. No, the scenery hasn’t changed. It’s still white and more white out there. That definitely hasn’t changed.

What has changed? Let me put it this way.

Before two months ago:

-I was in so much pain I couldn’t function in any normal capacity as a homemaker. Walking down the hallway was about as much exercise as I was getting. I couldn’t bend, cook, or go up and down the stairs without strenuous effort

-all my energy was directed at maintaining whatever appearance of being a mom as I could. I struggled – day with energy and trying to keep my thoughts together. Keeping all the details of their lives and being there in body was all there was. I tried to make sure they got a lot of snuggles, but that was also difficult.

-I hardly baked, only when I had to

-making meals was sporadic and my hubby would often finish what I started

-I had migraines almost every week and “spells” where half of my body would go numb even more often

-I had to limit everything I did except lay in bed. I would get up, get the kids ready, lay in bed, do homeschooling with J, lay in bed, prep supper (maybe), lay in bed, say goodnight to the kids, lay in bed.

-avoided the telephone, it tired me out too much to talk

-I cried at least once a week, if not more, which is a lot for me.

Now, here are the changes I have noticed in the last two months (since Breakforth, a Christian conference):

-I have increasing stamina. In fact, what would take me a week to do, as far as housework, I can now get done in a day

-I am baking!!

-I am making meals!

-I am exercising 2-3 times more than I was

-my headaches are not migraines and I haven’t had a spell since Breakforth!!!

-I am having devotions in my Bible way more often, though not daily yet, but it’s getting there

-I can keep track of events, homework, everything else better (though I will always forget something)

-my head is clearer

-I am stronger both in my body and in drawing boundaries with people.

Ok, I will stop there. I was encouraged to think about this as my  Peanut Butter  Chocolate Chip Cookies baked. The winter weather is not depressing to me, though it’s doing it’s best to discourage me. I know that spring is coming and the snow can’t last forever. In the same way, I know that my “winter of the soul” and body did not last forever either. When I was wracked with physical pain and crying out to the Lord for healing, I wondered if this was the way that the rest of my life may look. The end was not in sight.

I believe I was healed at Breakforth, as a woman in the prayer room prayed for me. She prayed a prophetic prayer over me. Ironically, I cannot remember the prayer but I know that when she said it that it was a word from the Lord.

I still have pain. I still have hard days. I still have discouraging moments. Stress doesn’t instantly disappear. BUT, the healing is coming.

I have asked Jesus to show sin in my life that I need to confess and turn from and he has definitely done this in interesting ways. It is both encouraging and saddening. It’s encouraging that he is answering my prayers and making me more like him and it is saddening that I’ve gone much of my life without being open to see the things I am seeing now.

I believe that as I heal spiritually, I will heal physically to some degree. I may always have some pain, but I believe that through taking care of my spirit and treating my body better the frequency will hopefully be less. Not being able to function pretty much at all has increased my thankfulness for being able to function more than I was. I do not necessarily have the energy that an average person has, but I see improvement and I am blessed by it.

I also believe that the trip to Jamaica was a part of boosting my energy. My friend Lani had a great post today about her trip and what she discovered and I had an “aha!” moment.

My naturopath said something to the effect that the stress hormone, cortisol, can wreak havoc on a body and if you have lived in the stress a long time it can affect your entire body, your organs etc. The body just can’t deal with that kind of cortisol levels and NOT bottom out. Made sense to me. So, reverse that, and you relax completely on a beach and do NOTHING and have no stress at all, and it is HEALING. I knew my doing nothing was doing something!

I am feeling overwhelmed in a good way this blustery afternoon. I am overwhelmed by thankfulness that God allowed me to bottom out so that I could see His hand in it all. I am blessed like crazy that we could go to such a beautiful place and chill out (not literally, it was HOT) and come back stronger and able to see things we need to change within our family dynamic. Insight is a beautiful thing.

Thanks be to God from Whom all blessings flow!!

Making fear disappear

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I have talked about how anxiety was a major issue in my life until this last month or two…well, I’ve been on the recovery road for about 4 months now. As in all things that become a pattern in our lives, once we break that pattern it takes a while for the habit part of it to lessen and go away.

Anxiety has a pattern. For me, I would see something that looks like too big of a challenge, or be an impossible task, or something that I don’t want to do, eventhough it’s probably just fine, and there you have it, anxiety.

I was always finding things that made me anxious, things I couldn’t control. I would be nervous about the possiblility of having an accident, so I didn’t want to drive (but I did) then I would be anxious while driving. I would think about not wanting to drive back home because I was terrified of the weather conditions, or what have you.

There are so many instances where I was living in fear. Fear begets anxiety/worry. Fear of the unknown, not being able to control other people.. what will people think?….There were many areas that I was letting fear and anxiety CONTROL ME.

As I was letting those things go and as I was recognizing the physical feeling of becoming anxious, I would pray about it and send fear “into the pit” (let it go)and instead embrace the gifts from God that he gives us, such as peace, confidence and joy and release them into my life. The transformation I have seen has been encouraging. I have seen myself calm down in ways I had no idea that I had been anxious in.

Then, there was getting ready for a trip to Jamaica, where I found myself all wound up about the trip. Would we get it all done? Was everything ready for me to be gone from the kids for over a week? Would we crash? What would my family do if that happened? Would we get through customs? Would we make it around those crazy Jamaican highways? So many ways to be anxious. I started practicing a prayer I’ve recited recently that has healed me in my nervous ways and then peace started overtaking me. I was calm. I also told myself, in each situation we found ourselves in, that would normally make me obsess about it, that worrying about it wouldn’t stop it from happening anyways. So there, calm down, silly!

Suddenly, we were in Jamaica, and they (the Jamaicans) told me there were no more worries, Mon! I believed them and felt peace. I believed God had us in his hands and the trip went so incredibly smooth.

I had another opportunity to panic while snorkelling in the Caribbean Sea. Since my brother died of drowning when I was five, I’ve had a terrible fear of suffocating in water. I have dreamed fearful dreams of my kids drowning in water. It’s nasty stuff. So when I actually had to put my face in the big ol’ sea and start breathing (with a snorkel), it felt completely unnatural and the fear threatened to invade. I said to myself, people do this ALL the time…look at them, they are. I must be able to do this without panicking. After a few false starts I started trusting myself, that my breathing would continue and that I could DO IT!  Down I went again. And I did it!!!  I did it!!

It may not seem brave to you or anything of significance, but getting through that sensation of not being able to do it and then doing it became a source of strength. God gave me the healing I needed to bring more healing.  but snorkeling in a big ol’ sea and around barracuda, coral, sea urchins and other “terrifying” things… it was COOL! So cool! I got to swim for an hour eventually around a coral reef and hold a puffer fish, a sea cucumber (nasty) and hold a creepy crawly starfish (so incredible). I got to touch a hermit crab (large one) who lived in a conch shell. I was able to see a giant crab and saw barracuda swimming beside me. I think I held a puffer fish too or another puffy spiky thing (I can’t remember). I did these things because I decided fear wasn’t going to rule my life, Jesus is. Woo hoo!

Then on the way back to Canada, we had some turbulence, where I may have previously obsessed about how terrible it would be if we crashed, but then kept on reading my book.

I have many areas of potential fear, worry or obsessing about what COULD happen and what WILL happen. I pray I can face them head on and look at what GOD CAN DO instead. HE is making me a new creature. He knows my days, he knows what I will face, and I don’t need to worry because even if hard times come, I know the guy who is in REAL control. That would be the One who made the Universe.

Seriously, this vacation was all about some transformation in my life. It wasn’t all about getting a break from the intensity of our lives, no it was to become more ready in ways I hadn’t really considered being areas of needed change.

It was a fun way to do it though. Thank you Jesus!