What Love Requires of Me

adoption character family Oct 08, 2018
We are finishing a full Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. Growing up in the US, I never knew that Canada celebrated Thanksgiving in October, we always did it in November, but I have come to love the earlier date. It ends up being a stand alone holiday instead of the beginning of the long holiday run to Christmas and New Year's Eve.
Is it too cliche to say we have so much to be thankful for? But maybe we could follow that thought up with a question: 
How does that gratitude change us? 
I want to tell you a story of how gratitude has changed my life, but I have to set it up a bit. Please bear with me while I give you a little framework. 
I am reading a book right now that should be required reading for everyone who says they are a Christian.
Bold statement right? Let me explain. 
Irresistible is Andy Stanley's new book and here is the synopsis: 
"Once upon a time there was a version of our...
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How to Help When Life is Complicated

Uncategorized Sep 25, 2018
Life is complicated. 
I know. 
It's complicted and frustrating and hard to sort out sometimes. 
Why do things that should be a speed bump seem like a 14,000 ft peak? 
Why do some issues go away and some follow us all the days of our life? 
It's complicated. 
When my husband, Shawn and I were first married, we took a mutual friend out for dinner and a show. While we were at dinner, she began talking about how frustrated she was that she couldn't get over a certain issue. I can't remember the exact scenario, but I think it went something like this: "Why is it so much harder for me to forgive, to let go, to release the other person?"  when she dug deeper, her real question was "What is wrong with me? Why does it seem like other people sail through these issues, or at the very least get through them faster than I seem to?" 
At that moment, Shawn said one of the most profound things I have ever...
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The Therapy of Homemaking

Uncategorized Sep 19, 2018
I just never pictured it. I never thought I would be the canning and homemade type of gal. 
Then we moved into a house with plum trees and my mother in law said "we should make jam with these". REALLY?? You can do that? I honestly never even knew you could. 
But we jumped in and she taught me the loving art of making jam. Wouldn't you know? I really love it. There is something so earthy and wholesome to take fruit off the tree in my front yard and turn it into something my family can enjoy all year long. 
Little trivia here - Shawn grew up with all this homemade fare, so he didn't even know you could buy jam in stores until we got married. I still feel a little sad that I was the one to break that to him. 
Anywhooo, here is the process: 

 From tree to jar in a few short hours. It is so, so yummy. 
So then I decided to branch out to pear jam, blueberry jam and salsa. 
The other jams...
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Finding A Way Through - where all of this began

Uncategorized Sep 10, 2018
This time last year, I wrote a post. This post explained the journey I was on to take the brave step of posting more blogs and building more of a presence online.
Do you ever just get it in your head to do something?  
Well, me too. I got it in my head that whether anyone read it or not, I was going to put out a blog every week and just see what came of it. 
I read this story: 

Mark 5:27-34  She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask,...

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Start and Finish. Lessons in Perseverance

Uncategorized Jul 30, 2018

Much of our success or failure in life depends on how well we start and finish.

“Start and finish. This is your race, no one else’s”

These were the words of a friend spoken to me last summer when I rode in my first bike race.

This race would not be a big deal to some people, but I am a 40 something, overweight, mother of 4 who has never done a race of any kind, ever. I didn't see myself as the kind of gal with a number on her shirt, lined up with top notch athletes at a starting line. 

It was pretty intimidating. 

I trained for this event, but when I lined up that day, I began to wonder if I had done enough. I rode in our valley that nestles right up against some majestic mountains. Our back roads wind around beautiful farms with cows grazing and corn swaying in the wind. Most importantly, you should know, that all of these roads are flat as pancakes.  

Race day was all so exciting. I was doing this! But once we rounded the...

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Mudslide Mom

Uncategorized Jun 11, 2018
MAYDAY! MAYDAY! All systems are malfunctioning...she is going down folks. 
I was doing allright. I was keeping up, as much as I keep up. We were still handing in assignments, remembering field trips, showing up to school and work on time. Until May. 
The mudslide started one day when Alina said casually "We went to the Blue Herron Reserve today". "You did??" said my guilt laden mom self,  "Like a field trip? Did I know about this? Were you supposed to wear play clothes? Were you the only one wearing your uniform???"
Yes, yes and yes. 
All of the above. Then I see pictures from other parents who accompanied their children on this field trip that had completely escaped all my planning mechanisms, and sure enough, there was my sweet second daughter adorned in her uniform, no jacket, no mom beside her looking lovely and filthy in her school uniform. 
Sooooo, I am not winning at this game. 
Today I sat and wrote in...
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There's a line there! (Why Forgiveness Matters)

Uncategorized May 19, 2018
We live in Canada about 40 minutes from the US border. Going to the border is a very common experience for all of us here. Everyone has a "border story" or two, like the time one of our friends was mistaken for a "really bad guy"  this was actual phrase the border officer used to explain to us why our friend was cuffed and taken inside. "Its probably a misunderstanding, he will be out soon", she explained while we tried to gather our intestines which had fallen out when 4 armed guards rushed toward our car with hands on their guns. "oh, ha ha, ok....we will just ......wait over here?" 
We cross the border all the time. Most of the time guns are not involved. 
There are certain dynamics at the border that you will find in any line up. There are people in a hurry, people who are calm, people who want to cut the line and the people who get really hostile at the people who cut the line. 
At the crossing where we go most...
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Mother's Day...It's Complicated

Uncategorized May 10, 2018
Its been 13 years since my mom passed away. 13 years...
My children ask about her and I scrape to try and find ways to describe her simply, in a way they would understand. 
She was funny, had a great laugh, could encourage like no one else. She had a way of making you feel like what you were saying was the most important thing in the world. If "life coach" was even a thing back then, that is what I would call her. No one could untangle the mess in my mind like she could. I still really miss those conversations. 
Before you think I would declare her a saint, I will also include that she was depressed at times and trapped inside some real anxiety and fear. As far as moms go though, she was a great one. 
If you know me at all, you know, her passing was one of the most significant moments in my life. It is one of those million dollar experiences that I would not pay a nickel to go through again. 
So, when Mother's Day rolls...
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Top 3 books for 2018

harveyreads leadership Apr 24, 2018
I guess it is time to admit I might have a problem. I may be taking bibliophile (person who reads a lot) to biblio’hollic (someone who reads a lot, a lot). Since the year has started I have found the time to read or listen to 19 books and one of those I have gone through twice already. In fact I have taken up so much time reading books that I have had no time to write their reviews. So, here is a quick review of the three books I keep recommending to people in the last three months. Each one of them is a life changer and will be included in my Vade Mecum (books I refer to often) 

Crucial Conversations by Patterson • Grenny • McMillan • Switzler - 

Everyone finds themselves in crucial conversations at some time in their life. Most of us are in them weekly. Critical Conversations happen when emotions are strong, the stakes are high or views are opposing and the tension rises. If handled improperly these discussions become potential...
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Hey Disneyland, I love you!

Uncategorized Apr 16, 2018
Ahh,,,vacation. There is just nothing like the bragging rights of coming home from a warm destination when you are in the dead of a prolonged, wet spring. Shawn and I just celebrated 14 years of marriage and we somehow managed to get away for 7 days (Thanks to Mom and Dad Harvey and a few other friends). We have not been away for a holiday for more than a night or two since the kids joined our family, so that means it has been around 9 years since Shawn and I spent that much time alone together. It was sublime. 
We spent 7 days in the sunshine of Palm Springs with three days at Disneyland tucked in there. The days in Palm Springs were lazy and hot, sitting pool side with a good book (big sigh). The days in Disneyland were long and busy, but oh so fun. 
This leads me to today's topic. 
I have decided that there are two kinds of people in this world: 
1) Those who love Disneyland
2) Those who don't (I love you, I just don't...
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