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Compromise in Marriage

My husband and I have now been married 12 years and compromise is one thing that we’re getting better at.  The two of us are very different people, yet we’ve somehow made a great life together that works.

The major thing that we are always disagreeing about and want the opposite in is our time off work – be it for a day, weekend, or a longer vacation.

Through the weekly mondane life we are awesome together and seem to have that part figured out.  We’re good at figuring out who will be home when and running the kids through everything day to day.

Then comes time off.  Jody has had a busy week at work outside in the heat/rain/snow/ice and his only thing in mind is spending a relaxing time indoors.  I, on the other hand have been at home or work and only want to spend time outside doing anything.

How do we both have a great weekend or vacation when our wants are so different?

Compromise.

When booking our yearly family camping trip this year I looked into possibly renting a cottage – but it was way too expensive at the place that we had chosen.  I then decided to book a campsite with electricity.

I got my week of camping in a tent in the woods and Jody got his relaxing time watching movies and playing video games – win/win.

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Summer Camping Trip

Last week was our annual family summer camping trip.  This is year 3 of the tradition and it keeps getting better.  Our first year of camping we found a camp ground that was in the middle of where everyone lived and it ended up being a trailer park that was mainly just a field with WAY too many people packed in there.  Last year we chose a place close to Muskoka in a Provincial park and found it way more enjoyable – with more trees and space between sites along with a beautiful beach.

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This year 18 of us all converged on a provincial park in Quebec, close to where my oldest brother and his family live.  We enjoyed all the sun, trees, beach, family, games, and food that we could fit into a week.

With 9 kids from the ages of 13 down to 7 months it was a time of cousin love – from kayaking, swimming, sandcastles, s’mores, to peek-a-boo, and campfires, cards, and running through the forest there was never a dull moment.

These are the times that I love – in nature, with family.

I hope that all of you reading this are able to spend some time this summer doing whatever it is that you love!

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A Summer in Muskoka

At the beginning of summer the girls and I sat down and came up with a list of things we wanted to do this summer.  I thought that maybe some of you might be interested in the list we came up with.

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Once we had compiled the list I put a picture with each item (so that my littles can tell which is which) and taped them to Popsicle sticks (that the girls coloured).  It was the perfect rainy day activity!20170716_152024

So far we have done 7 things on the list and are excited to see if we can finish them all before the summer is over.

How about you? Do you have your own list of things to do this summer? Is there something that should be on our list that is missing?

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Love the Season You’re in

This is a blog post that I did for a different blog that I help contribute to about a month ago – thought you might want to read…

I live in “The North” where winter seems to last 8 months of the year – we can have below zero (Celsius) temperatures in all those 8 months.

We had a long cold winter and are only now starting to get nice warm summer days.

Today it was a balmy 20 degrees Celsius (around 70 Fahrenheit) and I was enjoying sitting in the sun while at work.

While sitting there I found myself heating up and getting too hot.  I started to get nervous that I might get a burn…I have very white skin and I don’t tan well – I go from very white to very red.  I only have two colours marshmallow and fire-engine.

I spend 8 months of the year longing for the sun to heat up the day and then when it’s finally here I find myself having to hide out from it in the shade.  It’s very frustrating!

That’s so much like life though…if you spend your entire life just yearning for tomorrow, when the day comes it’s not as good as you thought it would be.

Because it’s cold so much of the year here I’ve grown to love the snow.  I love the crunch as I walk on it, I love the ice that forms on my windshield making intricate designs, I made myself start to do and love winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.  I love building snow forts, snowmen, and snow angels with my kids.

Then after we’ve had snow for 6 months and the ice finally melts off the lakes I love to hear the chirps of the first birds when they return and all the trees getting their leaves back.  I love when I can finally let my feet breath again and be done with the thick socks and boots.

When the much anticipated summer arrives and the weather heats up the water and we can swim in the lake again.  We enjoy canoeing, kayaking, camping, biking, anything to get us outside!

Then the cold nights return and the leaves change colour and fall to the ground.  I love walking through the rustling leaves, raking them up in order for my kids to jump into.

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Every season has it’s beauty and brings it’s own unique flavor.

I love living in a place that has four distinct seasons and new and exciting things to do in each of them.  A while ago I spent a year in Zambia where it’s always hot.  They have two seasons – dry and rainy.  During the rainy  season it rains every day  and the dry season doesn’t get any rain.  While it was nice to have warm weather all year round I did miss the variety of our season.

When I think of seasons I also think of seasons of life – childhood, adolescent, teenager, early adult, middle age, senior.

I encourage you that whatever season you are in of your life to embrace it and don’t be yearning for the next stage or the previous stage, consider where you are and just enjoy the moment you are in.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NLT)

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

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Friends Forever?

Lately there has been something huge on my mind, I have been lying awake at night pondering and through the day I have been playing over memories in my mind.  Even my dreams haunt me.

My best friend of almost 20 years dropped all contact with me.  Just suddenly, without warning or even a hint.  She stopped answering when I call, she won’t return texts, emails or messages or even snail-mail.  The friend that I have talked to at least once a week for the past 20 years I have not heard from in 6 months.  After a month I called her parents just to make sure she’s ok and they were surprised that I haven’t been able to reach her and said she’s good.

Did I do something wrong? What did I say? Is she going through something big and is depressed?  Has she just given up on our friendship?

Lately on social media I have been seeing posts on friends (I added the x to them)-


These are fully wrong and I hope that some stupid post like this isn’t why she has stopped our friendship.

Pursuing friendship is always worth your while, sometimes you will need to be the one who puts more effort in because your friend is hurting or in a bad place. Stand by them and show them you are there for them, even if you get nothing back.

Yes, sometimes you will be personally in a bad place and you’ll need your friends to come stand by you, and yes you may need to initiate the conversation and tell them you need help or you need them to be there for you.

This sudden loss of my best friend has left me questioning what is a “true friend” and what does the Bible say about being a friend.

I think that God calls us to be a friend who does not give up, a friend who fights for you, a friend who strengthens you and makes you stronger.  Here are some verses to back up what I’m saying:

Proverbs 17:17a “A friend loves at all times”  *ALL times, not just when things are good.

Proverbs 18:24 “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens another.” 

John 15:12-13 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” *So if we are to lay our lives down for our friends then even in our worst moment we should be ready to comfort our friends when they need it – even when we are hurting and tired and at the end of our rope we need to continue to give to our friends and build them up, even if it makes us worse off for it.*

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

Collossians 3:12-14 “Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

So after all this research on friends and what the Bible says about it I think I really need to continue to reach out to my friend and still show her love, grace and forgiveness.

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Thankful with Nothing

After a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend full of time spent with family, delicious food, exploring the outdoors, I had so much to be thankful for…but what if I had none of those things?

For many people it’s not hard to imagine living pay cheque to pay cheque but think of not having any spare money in order to make a Thanksgiving dinner and having to have hotdogs and Kraft Dinner for your Thanksgiving…would you still be thankful?

If you were recently diagnosed with end stage cancer and were only given a short time to live would it be possible for you to still be thankful?

What if your family had slowly passed away leaving only you left to fend for yourself; or maybe only one person in your family has died but it has left a hole that the rest of your family can’t fill…would you still be thankful?

Imagine living in a place like Syria that has been decimated by war, or in Haiti where your home has just been torn apart by Hurricane Matthew – would you still be thankful then?

How about if when you went to church for Thanksgiving Sunday there was a raid and you and your spouse with your three young kids had to go into hiding to avoid going to jail and maybe even death…could you still feel thankful in hiding? (this really did happen to a missionary family in China this weekend, please pray for them)

So when all is said and done, if you had nothing would you still be thankful?

Can you be thankful just for living? Can you be thankful just that you have breath in your lungs this very moment?

My thankfulness wells up inside me for my Saviour.  Even though I didn’t do anything to deserve it, I have someone who died to save me from dying.  Have you realized that you too need saving?

In spite of anything that’s going on in my life my prayer is that I can still be thankful for God and who He is, for His Son, and for being saved.  I hope that you can say the same.

 

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It’s that time again…

Printmy tires have been pumped up, my chain lubed, and my outfit ready.  I’ll be riding, for the 4th year in a row, 50 km in the Ride For Refuge.

Why am I riding?  I’m riding to raise money for Kids Alive (and because I love riding my bike – especially in Muskoka, and especially in the fall when the leaves on the trees are so beautiful).

I’m sure you hear of organizations raising money for this and that all the time.  I’m sure you’re getting sick of turning people down or giving money.  I hate asking people for money…so I’m not going to ask.  I’m going to tell you instead about Kids Alive and the great work they are doing around the world.

Kids Alive has children’s homes (they frown upon the word “orphanage”) around the world.  Instead of Canada sending missionaries to different countries to live and run these homes they find people who live in that country that can do the work.  Orphans and vulnerable children get taken off the streets and out of bad situations and put into these children’s homes where they have a mom and a dad and now have a house full of brothers and sisters.  They are virtually adopted into a family.

So why do they need our help?  Well because these countries are poor countries with hundreds of children that could use help every day they do need our help.  Our country is so rich and full of opportunity that we have such a hard time comprehending their life.

Kids Alive comes behind these new families and supplies the “mom and dad” with the funds needed to run this house full of their adopted kids.  Since most of the operation is run by people native to their own country the cost of running things here in Canada is very low…they strive to send most, if not all, the funds raised to needy countries where they can bring more children off the streets and bad situations and into a house of love and acceptance.

Some of these kids have never been in school before.  Some of these kids have never had three meals in one day.  Some of these kids have never owned a pair of shoes.  Some of these kids will not live to make it into a home like this before they die of hunger, abuse, dehydration, or the elements.

Has what I’ve written sunk in at all?  Has anyone heard and let their mind go to what it would be like to be in their shoes?

Here’s my ride page info if you would like to donate: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=3492508&langPref=en-CA

Here’s the Kids Alive website if you want to check them out:  http://www.kidsalive.ca/residential-childrens-homes.php

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Supernatural Occurances – Part 1

Have you ever had something happen to you that is completely not humanly possible but happened anyway?

I have had a few supernatural things happen in my life, and I’m sure there have been some that I haven’t noticed.

I think sometimes God intervenes sometimes when we ernestly pray and causes supernatural things to occur.

I have two stories…one i will share with you now and one tomorrow (since the stories are too long to tell in one post).

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Back many years ago when I was working at a summer camp near Haliburon, my best friend was about an hours drive away working at a lakeside resort in Muskoka.  She called me and said she really needed to talk.  I was able to get the afternoon off and drove to her in my beat up Geo Storm. I was so anxious about what could be happening with my friend I didn’t take the time to make the 15 minute detour to get fuel.  Being the backwoods of Haliburton and Muskoka there weren’t any stations on the way. I drove there quickly and got the awesome news that she was engaged! 

Getting in my car to drive back to camp I realized my tank was empty, there’s no way it could make it anywhere near a gas station. I started driving and started praying…I was needed at camp. There were people depending on me and I hate letting them down, especially the little kids. 

I prayed continually. I prayed that somehow I would make it back to camp on empty.  I prayed that somehow there would be a gas station to stop at.  I prayed if I was stranded on the side of the road that someone would help me.  I prayed and prayed.

As I was driving on Hwy 35 (about halfway between Carnarvan and Dwight) there was a one pump, old style gas station. I was so thankful that I had made it!  The pump was so old there wasn’t an option to pay at the pump, so old that there weren’t any
buttons to push to select the type of fuel.  Such an old fuel station that it was gravel underfoot.  I put the fuel nozel in my tank and lifted the on lever. I put $20 in and went into the old shop to pay.  In the store were many old items, they looked as if no one had bought anything there in decades.  There were camping supplies and grocery items but they were all old styles and labels. There was a very old man behind the counter that rang through my gas. I don’t even remember saying anything to him or if he said anything to me. I got back in my car and drove back to camp. Not thinking anything strange had occurred.

A few days later I went on a climbing trip with a group of kids up Hwy 35. On the way there I failed to see the gas station that I had stopped at, thinking I just missed it while I was talking with the kids. On the way back I was careful to watch for it…imagine my surprise when the very spot I had filled up gas at was just a boarded up building with weeds growing up in the gravel parking lot. No fuel pump, no store, no old man.

Whenever I pass this spot to this day it makes me remember how God provided fuel for me when I needed it.

Do you have a story of your own that you can’t explain?  Did God intervene for you sometime in your life? Over the coming weeks I want to tell your story – contact me and either you can tell me about it and I’ll write it or you can write about it yourself.

My mom has a number of stories that I’ll be sharing with you as well…so please come back and read some more supernatural stories where our great God has intervened in earthly matters for the good of those who live Him.

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Change of Power

It’s been unavoidable, all the talk about American politics that has been going on over the past months it would be impossible to have missed it.  Will Trump get elected or Hillary?  Though we are North of the border I’m sure there will be ramifications for us with whomever gets elected.

Next month the District of Muskoka is taking over running the ambulance service.  It will no longer be an outside contract running things, instead it’ll be run in house.  What does this mean for me?  It means that I’ll have a new boss, new supervisors, someone new making my schedule…change can be good but it can also be very stressful.

What can we do in the midst of all this?  We don’t have any control over what is going to happen South of the border or who’s going to run the ambulance service.

Let’s now go way back in history…back to the time of “Cyrus the Great” who is talked about both in the Bible (you’ll find him in 2 Choronicles, Isaiah, Ezra, and Daniel) and also many historical records.

Think of yourself as a Jew back in 539 B.C. Cyrus, a pagan king, had just taken over as king of Persia.  We have been in captivity and not allowed to return to our homeland for 70 years.  All our gold and treasures from our temple were seized and our temple was destroyed.  The new king, Cyrus, does not seem to be the kind of guy that is going to work in our favour.  He is quoted saying “I am Cyrus, king of the world, great king, mighty king, king of Babylon…” (this quote is written on a scroll that is housed in the British Museum – you can read about it here).  Hearing that quote it makes me think Cyrus was much like the-man-whose-name-rhymes-with-rump. He was not the king of the world but he did think of himself as that.  So when he came in to power, I’m sure the Jews were frightened that things weren’t going to be getting any better.  Yet, despite all this, God used him, the pagan king, to send the Jews back to their homeland – and even gave them all their treasures back and assisted the Jews in rebuilding their temple. (2 Choronicles 36:22-23)

God can use anyone to accomplish His goals, even if it’s the less than ideal candidate.  Instead of stressing and worrying about what will happen when power changes hand, lets instead go to our knees in prayer that God’s Kingdom would advance here on Earth and that He would use whomever is in power to get His work done.

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The Love is Back

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I didn’t realize that I had lost it. I don’t know when or how but all I know is that it’s back.

I had been going through the motions like a robot just doing what needed to be done…

Then WHAM I’m knocked out of my stupor and the love that I used to feel comes crashing back.
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I think I lost it when I stopped paying attention, when I stopped caring about and noticing the little things that I used to pick up on and love.

I lost it when I let myself be bothered and annoyed by things and people I have no control of, that should be unrelated to my love – but they ended up changing my view of things, changing my focus from what it should have been.

How about you?  Is there some area of your life that you’ve lost the love for?

Have you lost your love for God, your spouse, your job, or your life?

Are you stuck in a vicious cycle of just going through the motions for the sake of it?

When you lose a love that you used to have it can affect your entire life including your other loves.

How do you get that love back? How can you reignite that flame that you used to have?

For me I needed life threatening occurrences to spark that flame back to life.

For you,  I hope it’s not that dramatic – although sometimes it could be.

The last few weeks at work have been intense – a crazy motorcycle accident, a patient close to death and hallucinating, a child whose airway was almost fully closed…all three of those patients probably would’ve died without my quick interventions.

These three calls were able to draw me out of my stupor of just doing the job and have brought me back to loving what I do.

We do so many calls where there isn’t anything I can do for the patient except transport them quickly to the hospital. So much of our job is in our interaction with people and everyone we come in contact with. I had forgotten that part of the job that I love. I let different partners and stuff going on with scheduling and changing of bosses affect how I viewed and did my job. I stopped going above and beyond with every patient and just did what was required of me.

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Doing those three calls made me realize that this job, though I’m not always doing life saving interventions, matters. What I do and how I interact can really affect those around me.

These past months have been hard and I didn’t even realize why…when I didn’t love my job anymore it changed my outlook and robbed some of my joy.

I’m happy to say it’s back – I love my job once again.

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