Once Upon A Time.

I was cleaning out my email this morning when I came across a saved draft of a poem I wrote for my husband many years ago. With much laughter at how ridiculous we were, I read through it reminiscing in our younger years and all our inside jokes. Man, time sure does fly… I wanted to post it mostly because I don’t want to lose it. And if you knew us  when we were younger.. you will probably get a kick out of it too!

Once upon a time at a Thanksgiving camp (2007),

In the middle of October, it was quite dark and damp,

A little blonde girl was introduced to a boy a little chubby,

No one would have guessed it to be the beginning of their story,

As I look back now and it feels like forever,

Since I first stole your hat or hid chocolate rappers in a friends sweater,

Since ice cream fights and concerts and failed attempts at planning,

Since rumors about a request for a sweater that I’ll never stop fighting,

Five years later it’s all starting to make sense,

And the more I think about it the more I thank GOD for His guidance,

For every step He had planned in the building of best friends,

And for those who need a label, you’re the very best boyfriend,

You’re more then my heart ever thought it deserved,

And I’m continually blessed by your patience, strength and words,

Sometimes we’re “white puffy clouds” and sometimes we fight,

I have a little secret, I’m not always right,

You taught me that strength can be found in my tears,

You were the safety I needed to overcome all my fears,

Being who you are makes me want to do better,

And I hope that for you I’ll always have an “answer”,

We have many stories of success but there are times we fail too,

I’m finding learning how to do life is the best when it’s with you,

You surprise me everyday with your growing confidence,

Aren’t you glad you only have to meet the family for the first time once?

You make it safe for me to step outside of myself and try something new,

Who knew that I could hit a ball with a bat and actually catch it too?

We’ve learned many things being locked in a pool,

Remember, if you attack me I will kick you,

Know that you are so wonderful and everyday I pray,

That God will let me marry you one day,

And though life at the moment seems to be all about patience and waiting,

And boundaries and rules and chaperones and venting,

Through all of these things we see God’s love and protection,

He has even more amazing things for you then you can dream of hun’,

I’m excited to see what happens in our story next,

I think I’ll survive as long as you don’t flex

It’s so encouraging to me to see who those little eleven year old kids have become! If you told me what my life was going to look like then, I would have laughed. I guess its a good thing God leaves most things as a surprise!

** Kurty you are the best gift I have every had the blessing of receiving. I am so excited that I get to love you for the rest of my days!**  

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The nurse life.

As my first semester of nursing is finally coming to a close, I have been enticed by the little rays of sunshine coming through the window to slowly emerge myself from the confinement of my home, back into the real world. I must admit, the reality of the last four months of my life has put me into a slight state of shock. I think I am now more nervous for it to be over, than I was for it to begin. I can’t help but wonder what I am supposed to do with “free time”? I suppose there used to be things that I enjoyed to do “just for fun”. I guess people do “hang out” for fun and not to study. I will endeavour to find those things out again.

Nursing has essentially been all I’ve ever wanted to do; help people in such vulnerable states. I feel as though this semester I learned everything I thought I would. How to bathe patients, dress them, safely administer medications, ambulate with patients; all in an attempt to promote health and healing. I learned that forgetting your stethoscope to clinical really sucks. I learned that you could pretty much throw any bodily fluid at me except for snot. I learned that I just might faint a few times before I can do a wound dressing change by myself.  I learned that with great effort I could possibly, maybe, might be able to be a morning person. I learned that the elders in my community have some amazing stories to share and to value the lessons passed down through generations. However, what I didn’t anticipate was just how much I would learn about myself. These past four months have pushed my boundaries and expanded my horizon’s in such a big way. My thoughts about equality, family, friendship and self- sacrifice have been developed so extensively; and that is something worth so much more then tuition money.

Everything you hear about being a nursing student is true. It’s hard. It’s time consuming. It’s a lot of early mornings and late nights. It’s no days off. But what I don’t think you hear about enough is the incredible self- fulfillment that comes from saving a life; from making a difference during the first few hours of your baby’s life to the last few hours of your grandfathers life. And for that I head the council of so many of my friends and family throughout this semester, it really will all be worth it.

Semester two I am coming for you! But not until after a nice long summer break.

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Strong Town.

After much thought, my husband and I went yesterday to get our first tattoos! The first thing people tend to ask is “What does ‘Strong Town’ mean?”- A valid question which we have been enjoying answering.

Our last name means ‘Strong Town’. After a discussion with my father- in- law several months ago about the meaning of our last name, my husband and I found that it related closely to our core values and beliefs we strive to live by every day.

A Strong Town can also be explained by saying “strong hold” or “city of refuge”. Practically, it is a place people come to seek refuge- to feel safe. We immediately realized that was the perfect way to explain what my husband and I try to be for each other. I want to be a wife who represents safety and security for my spouse- to be one who is slow to anger, patient, accepting and encouraging of dreams and ideas. Further, I want to be a wife who creates a safe and comfortable home that we can share and grow in.

In this way, together, we want to create a safe home to share with our friends and family. We strive to have a space people know they are welcome no matter what the situation or the time of day. Together, we want to embody friends, siblings and children who are trustworthy and accepting.

Most significantly, we are reminded that in Jesus we can find the ultimate place of safety. Just as in Psalm 46 it says “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its water roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”

Having the reminder on my wrist has already helped influence my decisions in times where I could respond in anger or understanding, pass judgements or acceptance. It reminds me that no matter the situation I have already made the commitment to be someone who embodies a place of safety- like a city of refuge- a Strong Town.tattoo2

**I’d like to say thank you to the lovely Sara Kim Terrero from Chilliwack, BC for making our tattoo experience so enjoyable! To check out her stuff visit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sara-Kim-Terrero/192096544154967?fref=ts&ref=br_tf **

5,367 km later…

At the beginning of September my husband and I embarked on an adventure that I will never forget. We packed up our little car for a 16 day road trip down the west coast. Starting in Vancouver BC we stopped in; Cannon Beach OR, Florence OR, San Francisco CA, Santa Monica CA, Anaheim CA, Las Vegas NV and the odd small town in between. Reflecting back now, I feel as though this trip was such a surreal experience; from 200 million year old caves to hundreds of acres of sand dunes and some of the most famous cities in the world. I couldn’t even really capture some of the things we saw with my camera, you will definitely have to go see for yourself!

Having never quite done a trip like this before I didn’t really know what to expect. It wasn’t without moments of disharmony that we learned to navigate the crazy streets of California, stayed in 24- bed dorm hostel rooms, thought we were going to end up homeless on more than one night and were almost stranded in the middle of NOWHERE. However, it is through these situations that we experienced a deeper trust in each other and a new sense of what is really important. The farther South we got, the more our luggage squished into four rolling wheels didn’t seem to matter much anymore. If our clothes got stolen I could always buy new ones, if our car blew up we could always fly home, even if we lost our passports I’m sure we would have figured it out! It was the adventure we were experiencing with each other, the life lessons we were learning and the people we were meeting that really mattered. I am quite sure that the new best form of marriage counseling is 5,367 km in a Toyota Yaris.

Marriage Unplugged.

My husband and I spent last week at my most favorite place in the whole world; summer camp. Camp is a particularly special place for me for a few different reasons; It’s where my relationship with Jesus was rooted, It’s where I’ve met some of my most treasured friends from all over the world and, It’s where I met my husband when I was 11 years old.

When you arrive at camp everything about the world seems to fade away… quite literally. This place is in the middle of nowhere! There is no cell phone service, no wifi, no data connection and no radio. Once you turn into the camp driveway it’s like the mountain of stress that lingers over you just disappears and an overwhelming peace takes its place. Everything my brain seems to be attached to all the time suddenly doesn’t matter; no texting, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Email or Radio.

Instead of trying to keep up with the 452 acquaintances I have popping up in my newsfeed all day, I had the opportunity to genuinely love and get to know the friends around me. Instead of stressing through hours of waiting for someone to text me back, I got to sit down and have meaningful conversation with friends in the moment. Instead of talking over the music constantly playing at our house and in the car I got to give %100 of my attention to the person with whom I was speaking. And most significantly, instead of being distracted with electronics and making my husband ask for my attention in instances, it was simply there for him, all the time, for an entire week (and vice versa!)

I never considered myself or my husband to be excessive electronic users. However, I did notice an incredible difference when the electronics weren’t an option at all. My husband has always been good at creating situations for me where I have the gift of his complete attention, no distractions. It feels so wonderful knowing that out of the 463 people he could be interested in “creeping”, that he would choose me. Realizing this now, I want to make an extra effort to give these types of moments back to him, where he knows without a doubt that he is the only thing that holds my attention in that moment, no distractions, completely unplugged.  DSC01079

Here’s to my 7,129th day.

Last weekend I was encouraged by my mother-in-law to reflect on my life thus far on our earth and ask myself if I’m truly living out my days to their maximum potential. I realized that I have been living on this earth for a mere 7, 129 days. During this time I have learned to walk and talk, know right from wrong, treasure relationship with friends and family and become fairly educated. I’d like to think of myself as an engaged and important member of our world but in comparing my mere 7,129 days to human existence… it feels pretty insignificant and I am remarkably humbled.

I was enlightened to the idea that I have no idea how many days I have left here on earth. Even if I am blessed enough to live until I am 88, that is still only a mere 32, 120 days!! In light of humanity, that just does not seem like a whole lot of time to make a world changing, earth altering, universe shaking difference! I have a relentless goal to live out every ‘today’ in a way that makes a difference. To be a difference that changes the connotation of ‘YOLO’ from meaningless pleasure to vital importance. To be a difference that battles upstream in a society flowing downward and that holds humanity up to higher standards. To make a difference in anybody’s life would be an overwhelming success.

This morning I am only certain of today; my 7, 129th day of being alive. In this context it seems of the upmost importance that I make today count towards something that is bigger than me- to make a difference.

It’s the little things.

Over the past few days I have been trying to think of something significant to write and post… Although, I don’t feel like anything that significant has been happening to me lately.

The only real lessons I’ve learned in the last little while have been small;

  • Always put parchment paper under chicken when it’s cooking or the marinade will never come off (a new cooking pan is now on my list)
  • A coat rack hung beside the front door makes a world of difference.
  • Colorful flowers really bring life into a kitchen
  • Sometimes when life gets out of control and your house looks like the remains of World War III… It’s okay to ask for help. (This blessing award goes out to my little sister who helped me clean and reorganize my whole house after my midterm exams were over)
  • My oven gets hotter on the left side then the right… useful information when making cookies

As I’m considering all the little lessons I’ve been learning every day, I’m realizing that it’s the little things I’ve been so appreciating lately; the little moments of sun, the budding flowers just starting to bloom, the few minutes of quiet time with my husband at night, hugging my dad when he comes to visit, calling my mom on her way home from work, taking . (I am fairly family orientated as you can tell).

When I’m concentrating on the little moments all of a sudden my world slows down and I am left in complete awe of the beauty of this life. It overwhelms my heart to really think about all the opportunities I’m given to love, learn, grow and teach; and I don’t want to miss a thing… not even the little things.