Something

photo (23)

On Sunday I had breakfast with our fam at the most glorious discovery of a restaurant/bookshop ever (more on that later) and picked up this lovely little gem of a book that is one of those delicious reads – you know, one in which almost every paragraph you can (and should) stop and suck on for awhile. And then I read this and both talked about how art is something we participate in as servants – that we can be obedient to the art that’s calling us or not, and I just need to start obeying. I feel the call, and my insecurity keeps convincing me that I can’t or shouldn’t, but I just need to, meager as it may be.

So here I am, again. I always hesitate because I feel like I don’t have a polished message. Or, the flipside, like I’m vainly broadcasting a false reality. And then I remind myself that I called this place “Journalling the Journey”  for a reason. Perhaps it’s the equivalent of crayons on the page of a kindergarten notebook, but it’s something. Something.

I just finished scrubbing the kitchen floor, after putting it off for, well, too long. Angry as anything at the crazies that we’d been wrestling (literally and metaphorically) to bed for far too long. I scrubbed (anger seems to help scrubbing), and pondered parenting and villages, after a week on holiday with extended family. Today, my first day back to reality, alone with the boys, and no run, and no shower, and just me to do the 3 meals and the 3 meals worth of dishes. There really is something to be said about community…

Aside from the blood-boiling bedtime, we had a pretty nice day, me and those crazies. Library, lunch with friends (ha! want crazy? 7 children for last minute lunch counts, I think), quiet time, outside time. I filled the kiddie pool and they immediately added mud and what do I care if they’re playing happily? I weeded alongside them, trying to tame our yard-turned-jungle while we were away.

It’s still an overgrown mess. But it’s something. Something.

 

 

Camping. Remember.

H Hammock

 

 

 

 

We slowed

and played.

IMAG0105

h fire

 

 

 

 

I watched them,

saw new things,

took delight in the them -

as they are

andE fire

as they are

becoming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

tent sleepers

 

 

I woke early, that last morning,

slipped from the tent

picked up my books

turned my chair

from the fire

to the sunrise.

 

 

 

sunrise through trees

Why don’t we always

turn

toward

the

Light?

 

    *photo source

 

My Baby Is Two!

 

 

Happy Birthday to my sweet, sweet Ez.

Right now Ezra loves trains. He loves to roar at people. He loves to throw sand in the air and watch it settle.

He’s obsessed with having  to identify noises – airplanes, vacuums, lawnmowers.

He loves to say hello to EVERYONE he sees.

He gives the most snuggly hugs and says the most heart-warming “I wuv oou!”

photo 5 (1)

 

photo 4 (2)

 

photo 3 (3)

 

 

photo 1 (6)

 

photo 2 (5)

 We love you Ezra!!!

10 Things About the Past 10 Years, Part 2 – Education

(Welcome to my series reflecting on my journey through my twenties, prompted by turning 30. Links to previous posts are at the bottom of this one).

*****

My undergrad seemed like an obvious significant part of the past 10 years, considering I spent half of them working on it. I have mixed feelings on this one.

I have an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English and Global Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Basically, this means that I am working the same job I worked at part-time throughout school, am still paying off some student loans, and have a certificate somewhere that says I have an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English and Global Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University.

I was 20 when I started my undergrad degree. This was a result of being born in January, being the last part of Ontario’s double cohort (meaning 5 years of high school), and taking a year off in between high school and university. The year off was because I had decided at the last minute in my last year of high school that I actually wanted to study music, but didn’t have enough time to prepare an audition. Part way through my year off that was dedicated to studying music and preparing an audition, I found that the intense focus killed my joy in studying music and decided I didn’t want to do that anymore. So I went on with my other interests.

I had been accepted to WLU for English and History. During orientation week I ran into an acquaintance from camp who was taking Global Studies. Intrigued by the subject matter and drawn to topics considering how we live as citizens in this increasingly globalized world, I switched my History major (I think I did a history minor? I still took lots of history). I really enjoyed the topics that I studied, but wish I had a better understanding of what options I had, and what I was trying to accomplish. I went to university because that’s what you did if you got good grades in high school. After middle school, high school. After high school, university, right? And a university education meant a great career, right? And even if it didn’t because you just had an arts degree, it was still a great experience and you matured so much and you understood the world so much better. Right?

As I mentioned in my post on marriage, James and I got engaged over Christmas break of my first year. Because I was already older than many of my classmates, obviously in a bit of a different life stage than many of them (a lot of people looked at me like I had two heads when I came back from Christmas vacation engaged), and someone who has always struggled to make friends in new, big social situations, the social aspect of university was a bit of a challenge. I took the first semester of my second year off to get married, and in my third year, James and I moved to Hamilton, so I basically just commuted back and forth for classes and that was it. There are certainly some twinges of regret that I never had that living in a house with a bunch of awesome girlfriends who you love so much and get together with every year for epic reunions. Other than some facebook interactions, I really have no connections to people from university phase. I’m a bit sad about that.

Also, because I was married (turns out having an effective relationship takes a reasonable investment of time, especially at the early stages), trying to work part-time and manage a home, I wasn’t really involved in any extra curriculars.  I went to class. I read. I did assignments. I got good grades (that was the point, right?), and I carried on. I really regret that I didn’t dig deeper into some of the opportunities that student life allows, and that I didn’t engage more in my subject matter. I was an excellent student. I knew how to take the assigned reading and regurgitate it in the desired format to get a decent mark. So that’s what I did, and at the end, I feel like that’s what I got – some decent marks. I don’t feel like I really digested a lot of the concepts and philosophies, and I certainly didn’t interact with and engage with ideas in the informal arena the way others did.

That said, one of my favourite things about the Global Studies program was that it required some sort of cultural exchange program. I applied for and was super excited for a semester at an international learning program in Prague. I was so, so, excited. And then they cancelled it for that semester, which was absolutely devastating to me. In lieu of a travel experience, the department required a year of study in a foreign language. I got special permission to study Hebrew (special because Hebrew is an ancient language that was taught through the archeology department, not the language department). I. loved. Hebrew. My year of Hebrew was probably the most exciting and engaging aspect of my degree. I am also so glad that I took it, because as I look to future study (I’m really hoping to go to seminary), my time studying Hebrew will be a good foundation for further language study.

So. I slogged through 5 years of school. My husband brought me tea and gave me back rubs and told me he knew I could do it while I stayed up late writing papers. And I did it. And I’m glad I did – although I think I would do it much differently if I were to repeat it.

dad and diploma

I graduated in 2009. I was really happy to have it all done. I was also pregnant.

 (If you ever want to feel like you reeeaaally don’t fit in somewhere? Be married and pregnant in a room full of undergrads. Few of my classmates counted morning sickness and pregnancy exhaustion among their lists of reasons it was so hard to get their work done).

I believe education is incredibly valuable, and am so thankful for the opportunity I had to study. On this side of the experience, I am for more aware what an investment it is – of both time and money. I would be for more careful in my decision-making and approach to how I were to invest that time and money if I were to do it all again.

*****

Other things about the past 10 years…

10 Things About the Past 10 Years, Part 1 – Marriage

 

 

10 Things About the Past 10 Years, Part 1 – Marriage

I turned 30 this month. We had a party, and invited a crazy amount of people into our little house, and a crazy amount of people came. It was joyful and happy and at one point my sister said “You have a lot of friends!” and she’s right. I felt loved and celebrated and was given some beautiful and generous gifts.

I’ve always thought it was silly when people (usually women) made a big deal about lamenting milestone birthdays, but as I approached 30, I started to get it a little bit. I didn’t freak out, but there was a certain something about approaching 30…it just sounded so very adult. Being a twenty-something is still connected in my mind to youthful things, a time of figuring it out, still some pliability. 30 just seemed to have a bit of weight to it. “This is your life, are you who you want to be.…?” You know?

All of my mulling about what it means to turn 30 got me thinking about what happened in my twenties. And you know what? A LOT HAPPENED. I think it’s important to reflect and consider our stories. So, I’m going to attempt to consolidate the past 10 years into 10 of the most significant things about the decade. In my master plan I was going to write and post this “10 Things About the Past 10 Years” on the last day of being 29…but that didn’t happen. And then I was going to try to do it the day after my birthday. But that didn’t happen either. And since I still think it’s valuable, and I still haven’t done any more writing since then, I’m going to break each thing up and post one at a time, ’cause then I can actually spend more time reflecting on and considering those things, rather than just rattling off a list.

And so. Here is the Part 1 of 10 in my “10 Things About the Past 10 Years”:

1. Marrying James

smiley weds

James and I got engaged December of 2004. I was 20, and had just finished my first semester of my undergrad degree (more on that later). We got were married October 15, 2005. I was 21. I don’t think it was until I watched friends get married at the other end of their 20s that I realized how young we were.

James’ presence in my life has been such a blessing – he is an incredibly kind and giving person, who serves me and our family with so much sacrificial love. Our marriage is one of incredible equality, balance, and communication that I believe is really unique and special. In our marriage I feel valued, appreciated and supported. In our marriage I am challenged and stretched.

Marriage has been such a stabilizing and balancing force. While there are certainly moments when I have twinges of longing for a life that is unfettered by things like marriage and home and kids, and wonder what it would have been like to be unattached through my 20s, I can’t really imagine surviving much of anything without James by my side.

happily ever after

This picture is my favourite picture from our wedding. My father-in-law had arranged, unbeknownst to us, to have the marching band from James’ cadet squadron come out at the end of our ceremony and lead us and our guests parade-style down the street to our reception. We had no idea. While the pictures of us gazing into each others’ eyes or walking hand-in-hand down a pretty path are lovely and heart-warming, marriage has looked a whole lot more like “We never expected THIS!” Standing with my best friend laughing through the unexpected has been one of the best things about the past 10 years.

 warrior dash

That’s us this past summer at the end of the Warrior Dash. If I was going to go on, I could make all kinds of comparisons about slogging through mud and climbing over things together, about sacrificing ambitions to go at another person’s pace, but, I’m sure you get the gist. We got muddy. We were tired. We finished together – still smiling.

Let’s dash through all our decades together, shall we?