YOU MADE ME MOM

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To you who made me mom,

Motherhood wasn’t really something I had an urgent desire to be while I was growing up. I had friends that talked often about how they couldn’t wait to start a family and have children, but I remember telling your dad while we were dating that I wasn’t fully convinced I even wanted children. I thought maybe at some point the season would come in my life where I would want too, but I figured that would be way later down the road after I had accomplished all I wanted to do. Before even planning to have children I knew I wanted to make sure I would be fully ready and have all my ducks in a row. I knew I wanted to be the best mom I could possibly be, and so I didn’t want to rush it. As life goes, things happen when they happen, and the day came on February 22, 2018 when I had you. I was 25 years old and married for shortly over two years when I had you. You see, I spent a very long time praying and going through some tough battles to find the husband that I would build a life with, and when I found him, it wasn’t long before you came along.

When I first found out about you, I  had a rush of feelings go through my mind and heart. I placed a lot of expectations on myself and what our family would be like. I shed a lot of tears when I was pregnant with you. I felt like my whole entire world was about to change and I didn’t know if I was ready for that kind of shift in my world. Even my body went through so many changes, like gaining so much weight that it even made it difficult to put shoes on. I also cried because I wanted to meet you so badly. Every day I would read different snippets of information on an app I downloaded on my phone that would tell me roughly how big you were, which organs were developing that day, even how little your tiny hands and feet were. I spent a lot of time thinking about what you would look like and your dad and I talked a lot about whose personality you might have. We had your room ready to go and our bags packed for the hospital months before you were due to arrive. The day you came into the world was the day that my life changed forever. You made me a mom.

It definitely wasn’t a walk in the park at first (oh baby did I ever shed some tears then!) It took me a little while to fully grasp what had taken place, and realize that you were actually mine. It was the biggest, most life altering event I have ever experienced. I never knew I could experience that kind of love. It was something so great and I never even knew how much I wanted it. From the moment you came into the world, you started teaching me things I never knew I needed to learn. God knew I needed you before even I did. That’s the wonderful thing about God, He always gives us exactly what we need and His timing is perfect! After you and your head full of hair made its way into the world, they placed you on my chest for the first time. I remember trying to catch my breath, and I starred at you for a long long time trying to soak everything in. After a while they took you and cleaned you up and wrapped you into a blanket and placed you in your dads arms. I was so overwhelmed by everything that had just happened, I laid there and watched your dad hold you and rock you in the rocking chair and I knew then that God just blessed me with the greatest gift and what a gracious gift giver He is that He chose me to be your mama.

My little love, I have loved every single moment with you. You are already such a joyful little nugget and you are quickly growing into the beautiful little person you’re meant to be. I want to inhale every second I have with you, memorize your voice, hold your tiny fingers, and rub your tiny toes. I want to remember your coos, mock your funny faces, and stare at your smile and into your big blue eyes. Sometimes I can’t help but cry when I hold you because I know the moments of you crying out for me, and just wanting to be in my arms won’t last forever. This time is so so precious. It’s also a very exciting time because soon you will be able to roll over, sit up, and crawl. I look forward to hearing you say your first words and teaching you new things. I pray you grow into a kind and loving person and put God first. We named you Wyatt meaning Strength in battle; so I pray you delight in the strength from God in every situation and circumstance you walk through in life. I also pray that God will give me the strength I need to let you learn the tough lessons of life and that He will give us both patience when we make mistakes. You have a bright personality and are sure of the things you want already I pray you continue to develop those traits and use them only for good.

Becoming a mom has been the greatest joy of my life, more then any career I have tried to pursue or title I have tried to earn. Being your mom has totally shifted and changed my world for the absolute best. Know that I will love you forever, be there for you always, and hold onto you with all my might. I have prayed more than I ever even knew how to pray. You did that. There might be times when I can’t physically hold you but know that Jesus can. No matter how our world changes, you will always be my first. I’m excited to love together, to grow together, and I’m excited to see what the future holds. I’ll never forget that you were the one who made me a mom.

I love you my sweet boy,

Mama

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W Y A T T

Like most things in my life, I approached the subject of childbirth with nonchalance. I think this is mostly because if I allowed myself to  think about it…I was quickly petrified. I mean lets face it, the idea of pushing something the size of a cantaloupe out of an area that is much smaller, is slightly terrifying.  I could have taken childbirth classes or watched youtube videos to prepare myself, but I preferred to lie on the couch and eat a large bowl of ice-cream, a cup of ice, or frozen lemonade.  Sure, I glanced through the “Labor and Delivery” chapter of What to Expect When You’re Expecting during that final month, but I lived in slight denial that a baby was going to emerge from down there. I just assumed that I had watched enough episodes of “Call the Midwife” to figure out what to do when the time came.

February 21st, I spent the evening chasing around middle school teens and doing squats. When my husband and I were getting ready to leave to come home that night, a close friend of ours looked at us and said, “that baby is coming tomorrow!” Not wanting to be induced, I quickly responded with an, “I HOPE SO!” When we arrived home, I went to the bathroom, only to find that I had lost my mucous plug. This was exciting news because at my last prenatal appointment which was February 20th, the doctor looked at me and said, “I will see you next week, you’re looking too comfortable. We will discuss dates for potential induction at your next appointment.” I walked out of the office determined I was going to do everything to NOT see him that following week.

We arrived at the hospital at 2 a.m, February 22nd…

Preparing for Birth

12:50 a.m.: I was laying in bed when all of a sudden I felt like I was peeing myself. I checked, sure enough there was a trickle of fluid streaming from my pants. I woke up Alex and told him I thought my water was breaking. His response, “Are you serious? Are you sure? I feel like Im going to be sick.” After standing over the toilet for roughly five minutes, I realized this definitely wasn’t pee… this was indeed my water breaking. I called our hospital line and they told me to make our way in within the next hour or so.

2:15ish a.m: We arrived to the hospital, and got settled into the assessment room. I was hooked up to a monitor to check to see how far apart my contractions were and the babes heart rate. This took about twenty minutes. I was still very much in denial that anything was happening. After the monitoring was done, I sat on my exercise ball, did squats and Alex and I tried to rest as much as we could while we waited for things to progress.

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7:30 a.m: The doctor made his first appearance and wanted to do an examine to determine for 100% if my water broke and to check my cervix. To my surprise, it was the same doctor from my prenatal appointment. As soon as he walked into the room, I couldn’t help but smile! “Surprise! I didn’t make it until next week.”

We went down to the labour and delivery room and he did an examination. It felt like a routine pap test, until he finished… then there was a gush, and I officially started to feel my contractions.

8:45 a.m: The hospital room started to  seem scary and since I wasn’t feeling much pain or discomfort, I had a lot of time to think about what lay ahead. I asked for a Gravol and Tylenol just to take the edge off and help me relax and hopefully sleep.

10:30 a.m.: My contractions started to get more intense but through grabbing onto the bed rails and slow breathing, I was able to cope through. Then, we heard a lady in the hallway walk by saying, “I’ve been having braxton hicks contractions all morn…AHHHHH!” And then the screams continued for the next two hours. I was PETRIFIED and started second guessing my birth plan and my ability to deal with what was coming next.

12:45 p.m.: We finally heard the baby cry and the screaming stop…but I was still so scared and decided I needed something stronger for the pain. My mom had finally arrived and it brought some comfort knowing she was here finally… but I told the nurse to bring on the pill for pain.

2 p.m.: Dozing off and on, I kept hoping I was going to wake up and feel better. Instead, I woke up after an hour to the feeling of intense contractions.  I sat up and grabbed my belly, unsure of what to do. I began to feel really scared, which caused me to tense up. Feeling like I had a bad stomachache, I decided that was it…I needed the forbidden epidural, and buzzed for the nurse. I rolled from side to side, hunched my back, laid flat, trying to find relief. No matter what I did, nothing seemed to work. Twenty minutes later, still buzzing the nurse every two minutes or so…there was no sign of her. Finally, I told Alex I needed the nurse and he went to go find someone. After what felt like an eternity, she arrived and we quickly discovered the buzzer to call for the nurse wasn’t working. I told her I changed my mind and I wanted the epidural. Since I was at a small hospital, they only have one anesthesiologist on and she said it was going to take some time, plus she needed to ensure I was at least 4 cm dilated. I was forced to wait a while, so in the meantime they took me back down to the labour and delivery room and tried getting me to use the gas (which I absolutely hated!) Since I had only prepared myself for the pain by thinking “epidural,” the wait for the drugs seemed like the longest hours of my life.

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Getting the Epidural

3:30 p.m.: The anesthesiologist arrived, a cart full of medicine in tow. She told me to sit on the bed, cross my legs and hunch over to round out my spine. I tried the best I could to stay still, as my nurse had instructed, but my contractions were strong and only one minute apart. My nerves were on edge, thanks to an intense fear of needles, so I concentrated on my husband instead of what went on behind me. The anesthesiologist numbed my back and administered the medicine. Relief soon followed. Shortly thereafter, thanks to the epidural, Demerol, and the gas, I felt the need to sleep creeping up on me. However, I was feeling very very very very happy, and talked everyones heads off. I was definitely feeling very loopy and sent some very interesting text messages to a few friends that were slightly incoherent.

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5:36 p.m.: I continued to get vaginal exams, but felt absolutely nothing. I was finally at 9-9.5 cm dilated and it was soon going to be time to start pushing.

5:41 p.m.: My doctor arrived at the hospital, due to the fact that the babes heartbeat kept dropping during my contractions. They informed me that it wasn’t super concerning as it wasn’t much, but they would try to get everything under control, and it would be a good idea if I turned on my side.

Ready to Push

6:30 p.m.: After yet another vaginal exam, my doctor announced me fit to push. As they set up the room, I spotted my mom and husband huddled in the corner. The doctor sat himself on the edge of the bed and said, “Look, I see hair!” Both my mom and husband looked and I could see on their face the amazement. Babes head was right there! I thought to myself…jeez, I am going to push like three times and he’s going to come flying out of there. This hasn’t been so bad… I could definitely do this again! 

7:00 p.m.: Since the epidural had left me with no feeling in my lower half, we had to use the monitor to spot contractions. I grabbed behind my knees and bore down at each contraction (just like a bowel movement!) in 10-second intervals. Even though I was in active labor, I felt a little out of it. I actually almost pulled out my IV. The pushing continued for about an hour and a half, and nothing seemed to be progressing. Eventually, I went from being quiet and trying to focus my pain inwardly, to being vocal about how much this sucked and having a lot of questions about why he wasn’t out yet. The doctor informed me that babe was flipped, and his head was starting to swell, and he wasn’t able to progress any further. He said he felt the need to call for the obstetrician to see if she could come intervene.

8:40 p.m: The OB arrived and assessed the situation. By this time I was so exhausted and in so much pain, I felt like I was living in a dream. I vaguely remember the series of events, I just remember someone saying something about a c-section. I was so tired and so done with pushing, I told them I wanted the c-section, I felt like I didn’t have it in me to push anymore. The OB said it would be about an hour before I would be able to get it, so I told her forget it, we need to get this baby out now… I felt like I was going to die.

She told me she could help me by using the vacuum on the babe. Being so out of it and having tried everything…including being on my hands and knees, I told her to go for it. She attached the vacuum and started to pump it or whatever it is that they do… I went into full blown panic, the pain was too much! I started hollering for her to take it off and out, she continued as we were running out of time, the babes heart rate had just dropped. I started to panic and scream, and tell everyone I couldn’t do it. The pain was so excruciating. I found out later that the OB actually had braced her feet onto the end of the bed, and pulled full force onto the cord that was attached to the suction cup on babes head to get him out.

When it didn’t work, she told me she needed to do an episiotomy, (which was actually a relief because I ended up tearing even more, thankfully due to her judgement call it made the stitching a little easier) and that this babe needed to come out and come out now. I laid back and cried… tears of fear and tears of pain. I looked at the ceiling and thought to myself, this is it… I am going to die.

9:35 p.m: The head started to emerge and, at that point, my mom and husbands voice were made known in the room. I had blocked everything out and tried focusing on my breathing and pushing, I hadn’t heard them the entire time. Babe started “crowning,” and I heard clapping, and my husband yell, “HE’S RIGHT THERE, I SEE HIM, YOU DID IT!”

A few more pushes and at 9:39 that night, a 7 pound, 14 ounce baby boy named Wyatt was born. He had a head full of dark hair, and was 52.5 cm long, and looked nothing like I expected, but was everything I could hope for.

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The Aftermath

Seconds after Wyatt was born, I was given a shot to stop the bleeding as I had lost a ton of blood. I was absolutely exhausted and in complete shock he was finally here, and I survived.

We stayed in the labour and delivery room for roughly an hour, and while I was given antibiotics to bring down my fever, Wyatt and Alex curled up next to my bed. I could hardly keep my eyes open, but between each slow blink, I couldn’t believe the sight of my husband holding our son. We were moved into our room around 10:30 that night, where we spent the next two days recovering and getting to know Wyatt. We quickly learned that he hates being cold, loves the warm water in the tub, and prefers to be snuggled 🙂

Looking back, it is such a surreal experience. It is unbelievable what a woman’s body is capable of and how instinct just takes over. It is also an amazing time where you bond as husband and wife. Even though I spent a lot of my time being quiet and wanting to just focus on breathing and coping through the pain by squeezing the bed rail, Alex was by my side the entire time. For hours on end he switched out face-cloth after face-cloth for my head and neck, he applied lip chap and was such a supportive birth coach. I found out after everything, there were a few times he had to step out into the hallway, to let the tears fall, wiped his face and pulled himself together to come back in the room and support me through the most intense hours of my life.

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It is also an incredible experience to have your mom in the room. My mom and I were in the room while my sister delivered her baby girl. It was so neat to see my mom become a grandma and support my sister through the entire process. It was very surreal to have her do the same for me. The comfort that it brought to have her face to look at when I legitimately thought I was going to die, and to hear her say, “its okay, you’ve got this!” Then to watch her hold her new grandchild, it was beautiful. She also did a great job at documenting the entire process, not to mention having her there during the aftermath to hold and snuggle Wyatt and help with my first bath.

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Child birth is both one of the most blissful, and utterly disgusting times. As I write this blog, with Wyatt laying on my chest, I wouldn’t change any of the pain or scariness, knowing he is here, healthy and doing well. There are no words, no videos, or classes that could have prepared me for the feeling I feel now. I am so overwhelmed with love for this little guy already. I am so ecstatic about this new journey!

Wyatt, means Strength in Battle. 

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D A D

dad

/dad/
noun informal
a male parental figure that is present and participating in a child’s life
“the child went to the zoo with her dad”
synonym: daddy

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This noun can ignite some of the best, most treasured memories for some people, and for others it can hang over their shoulders like a dark heavy shadow.

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father

/’ˈfäT͟Hər/
noun
a reproductive term referring to the male biological parent of a child
“after the birth of his child, the boy became a father”

verb
be the father of
“he fathered three children”

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The words ‘dad‘ and ‘father‘ are very similar on the surface and yet I think to many people they hold very different meanings. Far too many men have taken their role of fathering a child but leave the ‘dad’ part up to someone else – sometimes it is left to mom and sometimes it is left to another man. But that is a rant for another day…perhaps over coffee and not on social media 🙂 SO! Regardless, I believe both terms hold a high importance and role in life. Written below is why I believe that.

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Before I became pregnant, my husband and I had our fair share of conversations relating to babies and parenting, but we would do one of two things: 1. Joke around and talk about it very lightly and passively. 2. End up shutting the conversation down because we had a five year plan and the serious talk was getting a little too serious for us since we were only in year two of our plan… and we had no intentions of breaking that plan – SURPRISE! Plans don’t always go as planned 😉 (This is explained in my previous post – & just as an update, we/ I am more thrilled than ever! Still a little nervous, but it has only continued to be an awesome journey so far).

After our initial shock, our conversations have shifted. They have landed somewhere between excitedly nervous and feeling overwhelmingly blessed. There has been this unspeakable anticipation of parenthood that has overtaken our home, especially in the last month or so. As I have slid into my third and final trimester there have been raw moments of realization that the first reluctant, now anxiously anticipated arrival, is coming…and coming soon. Which leaves me feeling a little wide-eyed as I remember parenthood is coming…and coming soon.

This time it isn’t for the same reasons as I had prior. Again, I wrote about my first initial feelings a while ago in a previous post. This time I am feeling in awe. Feeling in awe of this phrase, dad, and what it is about to mean to my family.

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I have been in total awe of this man I call my husband, who my child is going to call daddy. The tears cannot withhold themselves from my cheeks and keyboard as I even try to write and express the love and appreciation I have for him. As I stated before, I believe the role of a father and dad is of huge importance; the weight on a dads shoulders….mind blowing. It is one thing to father a child, I believe it is another to parent and be a dad to a child, and I cannot wait to watch Alex flourish in his role as he teaches, guides and supports our son.

It’s no secret that we both come from amazing families – both with their support and love, along with their faults. Yet despite those faults, I think my favourite component of later pregnancy, ( second being the kicks, because those are AMAZING!) has been watching and hearing Alex talk about his son with this new sense of love that is still not fully grasped or known.

It is true what they say, moms start bonding with their child even while they are still in the womb. I carry baby Decker around with me everywhere – obviously. I get to feel him wiggle and move to the sound of my voice, or push on his little bum when he bulges it out to one side of my belly. Dads don’t fully get to experience this connection. Alex has felt him move and sings to him, but there is no denying it is still different for him. Yet this hasn’t stopped Alex from sliding into dad mode, and I don’t think he is even fully aware he has done it. This has been such a reassuring thing for me!

I have a long history from personal experience, to educational support that gives me statistics and evidence that prove the lack of a father taking their role as a dad has HUGE  lasting impacts on children’s lives. Did you know that right now in Canada we are known to be the “Fatherless Generation”? This breaks my heart, and makes me extra grateful for my husband – daddy to be. I am so grateful our son will know a life full of a daddy’s love.

So thank you Alex as you have been protector, provider, leader, and soon to be dad of the year!

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                            Dads – whether it is biological or not –  you are a real life Hero! 

 

 

 

SOMETHING IN THE WATER

Finding out I was pregnant was one of those lump-in-your-throat kind of moments. There was a surge of emotions that came flooding into my mind when I glanced down at that little stick sitting on the ledge of my tub. I was totally alone – Alex had already left to go to work, and when I woke up that morning, taking the test was totally spur of the moment. Actually if I am being honest, I took the test only to prove to myself that I was not pregnant but simply caught a bug or ate something funky which is why I hadn’t been feeling well for the last few days.

Nope! It wasn’t funky chicken…but I’m pregnant indeed. The answer to the test was screaming at me right in the face with two bright bold red lines. There was no mistaking it. Something is definitely in the water…because I caught the baby bug. How exciting right?! Of course. How terrifying right?! Heck yes.

Some of the feelings I felt (and still feel) I can say I am proud of, some I am not. Most feelings I am actually quite embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I feel because they all fall back on a selfish standard. The first couple weeks I felt trapped and a little bit resentful. Alex’s life hasn’t changed yet, trust me everyone has reminded him just how much his life is about to change, but right now… it still looks very much the same. Mine however, has already begun to change. From the nausea, and tiredness to the aches and cramps, my comfort place has been to curl in a ball and sleep ALL THE TIME.

Don’t get me wrong, I want this little love-bug that is growing inside me, and I am in love with him/her already but I have to admit that I am still petrified. Petrified of labour and delivery, terrified to be responsible of keeping another human alive, and frightened to raise a child up in a world that is so messy, broken and full of disaster. Actually I am so frightened that I have caught myself grasping onto my stomach having no words to say, but instead little whispered prayers of protection over him/her.

This brings me to this morning. Fast forward now to four months gone by since that morning of me sitting in my bathroom staring at myself in the mirror saying out-loud to myself (and Abby my dog who hadn’t left my side that entire morning) “its going to be okay…its going to be okay. But seriously…we are going to be okay.”

I am currently in my comfort position this morning, curled up in a ball with pillows surrounding every side of me. Ask my husband…the pillows have taken over and are drowning the bed, its glorious! As I lay here in the quietness, scrolling through Facebook on my phone…timehop memories and old videos popped up. As I watched them I couldn’t help but laugh out-loud to some of the pictures that filled my screen, and some brought tears to my eyes and as they rolled down my cheek I thought back to living in those moments with those people in the pictures and videos.

Life is so incredibly precious. You blink and five years goes by just like the drop of a hat. I am all about living in the now moments, the past is gone so there is no point in staying there. However, I do think we can learn a lot from our past and take note from it to help with right now. As I was watching one particular video this morning of my grandfather and I, I became so overwhelmed with the reminder of the love he had for his family and I. In the post I had written a quick note and part of it read, “…looking back I believe my mind realistically knew there was potential for it to be the last time (I would hear him play the birthday jug for me) even though my heart couldn’t bare to believe it. Cancer is horrible disease, it leaves no room for assumption or time management…” I have written many posts about grandfather. He was a kind, genuine man, who became a grampy to those who didn’t have one. He had a love for his family that I cannot even begin to express to you…it was wide and big, just like his hugs. He had a lap to sit on when you needed advice and a shoulder to cry on when the tears wouldn’t stop. Most importantly he had an open door policy…if you needed anything, literally anytime he was there, and if you wanted to leave, you better not think about walking out that door until a kiss on the cheek was given and a hug was received. He would say…”its going to be okay, its going to be okay because even if its not okay, God is on your side.” It didn’t matter what life tossed at him, he was not shaken. He was confident in two things, the love he and God shared, and because of mercy and grace…he would be with his heavenly Father again someday.

As I watched and listened to these videos play on my phone, this little love bug inside me was swimming around, back and forth back and forth. It felt like little butterflies floating around all over the place. The tears have yet to cease, knowing full well the power of love. It creates a bond, and a safe place to land and I cannot wait for this little human to experience that kind of love and protection from Alex and I and rest of our family. I am confident in the man my husband has become, he has a love so deep and rich towards the Lord that it overflows into all the people around him. I am also excited for this baby to experience the goodness and mercy of their heavenly Father, this is the greatest love that will never cease to exist. I am so thankful to have been raised in a family who taught me that they are there if I ever need them, but my life and trust belongs to the Lord. I cannot even begin to express to you the love I received from my family, and though I have made my fair share of mistakes and am far from perfect, I believe with all my heart that I turned out the way I did because of the love my family shared with me.

So despite all these overwhelming feelings throughout this pregnancy, I know full well it will be okay, it will be okay…everything is going to be okay because we are not alone and God is on our side. Who am I to question for something other than this gift I have been given? Or to long for a delay of the process of this precious life inside of me due to my own fear? This little bug doesn’t know it yet, but Psalm 139 is written all over them. “ For you created my inmost being;
      you knit me together in my mother’s womb
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

           your works are wonderful,
                     I know that full well.” 

Despite what comes our way, we will not be shaken. We know where our trust lies and who holds the future in the palm of His hands. So, he we go…this journey has just begun and I am already so enthralled with the beauty of life, and the life that is getting bigger and stronger every day inside of me. How exciting right?! Heck yes.

 

10152037_10152293706211061_311115812_n“Tonight’s a rough night being away from home knowing there is much taking place and I am miles away. Glancing through old pictures helps sometimes, especially when I stumble upon pictures like this gem. The comfort of his arms, and his tickly moustache are what puts a smile on my face. At first glance, I was in love. He was the first man to steal my heart and he has protected it like its his job ever since. He has shown me love and pointed me to where all love stems from…the Lord. When I was little, I asked him how much he loved me once and his response was this, with each arm stretched out as far as they could go, “I love you- whole world!” It was fitting as I grew and my arms stretched more and more, because my response has become, “I love you – whole world” – Written March 23, 2014

 

LIVING OFF THE COASTER

At age seven (ish) I waited in line for what felt like forever, “You go next time around.” Finally the gate opened and I was first to walk in. I climbed into the seat voluntarily and pulled the metal bar down that was resting above my head, then I sat and I waited. My whole body was jerked backwards as we started to move forward. “Enjoy the ride, folks!” Excitement overtook my entire mind I could hardly contain it. It was my first roller coaster ride. I looked down and realized we were progressing upward…so slowly. We were going so slow it hardly felt like we were even going up, then we came to a halt. 

There have been moments in my life that have felt like a roller coaster ride. Always anticipating the next ride, but then being thrown backwards, sideways, up and then down. I’m a true inconsistent journal writer and in so many of my past writings there are a sequence of events. Something amazing happens, life is good, there are smiling faces and hearts drawn all over the page and I’m living on cloud nine; and then a crash happens or a fight breaks out and suddenly the colour of my pen is darker and my words are harsher.

Down, up, down, sideways, down, up, down, up, down down, up, down, over. Once I was unhooked from the roller coaster seat, I jumped up and ran off as fast as I could. Tears had started streaming down my face after the first down came along. A few years later, at age sixteen, I waited back in line. The gate opened and again I voluntarily got into the seat and pulled the metal bar down that was resting above my head. The ride began and my tummy turned upside down and my legs and arms went numb. Ever so slowly we started to progress upward and I knew what was coming.

I have had a really blessed life. One that has been full of love, support and protected from a lot of pain and hurt. My life definitely isn’t naive to bullying and cruelty but my twenty plus years have experienced way more good than bad.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year of University that I really experienced first hand what its like to have your world really shaken; to wake up one morning and feel every ounce of your body hurt due to pure devastation. There is nothing like it, when you lose somebody you love. Shortly after my first encounter I endured my second. Just as heart wrenching, but something that has lingered hereafter. It caused a state of desolation. They say there are five stages to grief – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. They also say you can repeat stages. For example, you can become really depressed over your loss and then be in denial over your loss. It can be an extreme roller coaster ride emotionally and mentally.

Down, up, down, sideways, down, up, down, up, down down, up, down, over. When the ride stopped, I noticed there was nobody waiting in line to get on. I looked at a few friends and said, “Again?” Again it was, and again twenty-six more times. No joke.

During the time of losing my loved one, a being whom I loved like no other, I emotionally and mentally stepped onto a roller coaster ride of a lifetime. Learning to laugh at the mention of his funny stories, and embracing the sound of his voice on old videos. I’ve surfed the good days and collided with the bad.

Being a believer of Jesus and the eternal life He brings, I have always known life is not the end…but I recently experienced a “click” moment. One of my old University professors use to say, “a light bulb moment.”

I didn’t know Lindsay Ingersoll, but my husband and I decided to go to her funeral to support her family, our local Pastor’s daughter. (I speak for both my husband and myself when I say we have come to love our Church. We definitely would not be where we are today, both individually and as a married couple, without the fellowship and guidance of Sussex Wesleyan Church). I write this with all serenity, it was the most beautiful ceremony I have ever attended. Not that I have attended many, but that is only by the grace of God. From the moment we stepped into the doors, the presence of God was so thick. There is something so beautiful about being in a place where even in the midst of it being the most sorrowful moments of peoples’ lives, there was still a joy and a promise that invaded the space. It was a give you goosebumps and take your breath away kind of sensation.

Having the knowledge that this life here on planet earth is not a permanent life but it is only for a season is something that gives believers a peace and hope when we lose a loved one. I was taught this, I knew this, and I believe this. But one of my many “click” moments was when, Dr. HC Wilson (the Distract Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church) read a quote and in summary said, as Christians, when we lose somebody we love, we know that their life here on earth is not the end. We know that their home here on earth is not our eternal home, therefore we have not lost them, we know exactly where they are!

After those twenty-six times, the predication of what was going to happen overruled the excitement of the ride. We stayed on as a means of routine more than anything else I suppose – forgetting we voluntarily choose to remain in those seats time and time again. 

The worst time to start laughing is at a funeral, but it happened to me. Thankfully after hearing all the stories of Lindsay, I think its pretty safe to say she wasn’t the kind of person to take offence to this sort of thing if she knew what was going on in my mind. I just couldn’t help it; it struck me so funny it has taken me this long to realize, “faith is not a bandage but it is to be our foundation” (Pastor Brent Ingersoll) – another “click” moment. All this time faith has certainly not been the foundation on which I have stood, but merely a seat belt for my roller coaster life.

Roller coasters are exciting don’t get me wrong. But living your life on one would become monotonous. Mind numbing, tiresome and predicable.

After the fifth time around I stopped screaming, and after the seventh time I knew what was coming so I stopped closing my eyes in anticipation. After the tenth time around I was ready to be done but forgot I had the option to get off.

Living a life full of up and downs was leaving me feeling weak and I was desperate to change the monotonous way I was living, I just forgot I had been given a choice.

I have had pivotal turning points before, the kind where I have had to shed off, let go, move away from, dig deeper into, discover underlying rooted-issues, surrender, accept and so on. But I have discovered one main thing through all of this – we are good at surrendering but we don’t know how to live a life in freedom after. We jump off the roller coaster but then we turn around and jump right back on.

This is not to suggest I am expecting a life free from pain and free from moments of sadness. I know there will be many more ‘down’ times. However, this is me suggesting that even in those twisty and bumpy times we still have the ability to remain in an upward motion towards Christ. Not allowing your situations, circumstances and feelings sustain your relationship with Christ.

It’s funny it took a woman I never met to remind me of this. Lindsay evidently was the kind of girl who made a huge impact on everyone she met. This was proven through testimonies of her family and friends and simply by the number of cars in the parking lot/soccer field. Her family must be proud of the legacy and impact her life has had and is having even after she said goodbye to this temporary home.

So, what’s the point?

The point is I am an inconsistent journal writer, but I just had a major light bulb moment, and I don’t want to spend my entire life living on a coaster. I think I’m going to take up rock climbing 😉

James 1:3-4.
For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

SEASONS COME, SEASONS GO.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:1&11)

There truly is a season for everything. I am learning this in a deeply rooted way.

This winter here in NB was a tough one. It literally did not stop snowing even when the snow had far surpassed the door-frames on houses. I became a fully experienced driver in the midst of snowstorms rather quickly this year, with only a few minor hiccups, and tiny scratches along the way. I found myself along with many others, cursing at the ground often every time what seemed to be a secure step turn into a knee deep fall in fresh snow. I never begged a four-legged, bushy tail rodent to see his shadow more than I did this year in my entire life. I longed for spring! And to everyone’s utter dismay, it finally came.

Now that spring has sprung (which I am greatly thankful for) it has made me think about how seasons come and go. Some seasons are greatly anticipated, while others are not. Some are short, some seem way too long. Some seasons even come as a surprise, it’s as if you go to bed with 10ft snow banks, and wake up the very next day and find tiny flowers sprouting. You can expect and estimate when the season is going to change or arrive but do we ever really know?

These last couple days a lot of emotions and thoughts have been bombarding my mind. It is quickly becoming a reality that my time at University is coming to an end, at least in terms of my undergrad. Graduation is quickly approaching which entails lots of very exciting moments, but also a lot of goodbyes – and for the record, I am the world’s most horrible goodbye-er. And along with graduation this year, comes marriage too. Oh. my. word. Marriage.

Marriage, wedding, white dress, flowers, lights and laughter. I spent hours of dreaming about this day for decades. Just like any other ten year old girl, I pretended to be older, and prettier, and have everything perfect for this magical day. Standing on the rug in my bedroom (pretending it was the aisle) I walked down the aisle to the song, Beautiful Soul by Jesse Mccartney. My guinea pig Summer, was the flower girl, and though my husband changed depending on who was nice to me that day in class, one man in the wedding always remained the same – Papa, of course.

Many years later my thoughts and dreams changed about my someday wedding, except for having my grandfather walk me down the aisle, that remained consistent, always.

When I met Alex, we hadn’t been dating long when I found out my grandfather was sick with cancer. One evening, in an utter break down, I expressed my dream of always wanting my grandfather to not just be present at my wedding but to be strong enough to physically walk my down the aisle. As the season changed, I quickly became aware that was not a realistic dream any longer. Stuck in the mess of emotional sinking sand, I knew I needed to do something, so I did. Many talks, letters and tears later, being aware that he knew what my hearts desire was, I felt a little better.

This past week, 10 months after saying goodbye to my dear Papa, I find myself in a spring-like season. A season full of new and great potential but still slightly buried under this past seasons stuff.

I have never experienced what I am currently experiencing in my right-now moments and I am soaking up every second of it. Despite the excitement of wedding planning, and graduating, I have found the one who I will spend the rest of my days with – utter bliss.

But with all of this wedding planning and graduating, it brings flashbacks to prior seasons. Seasons where I twirled down my pink-rugged aisle singing, “you’re the one I wanna chase. you’re the one I wanna hold, I won’t let another minute go to waste, I want you and your beautiful soul.” next to the man I looked up to my entire life.

When I was in that season, I anticipated this season, but this season looks nothing like what I had thought, yet it somehow is more than I ever imagined. It’s quite funny how life works, isn’t it?

Though these last couple days have been emotional ones, I am so grateful for them. I never want my emotions to run dry when thinking or talking about past seasons I have gone through. I am so grateful for the season of being held in my grandfathers arms because it led into the season of being held in my future husbands arms. I will forever be grateful for the season that was spent by his bedside, and I am extremely joyful for this season I am now in.

With hiccups and scratches along the way, everything has still been made beautiful.

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KEEPING CALM – IN THE MIDST OF ENGAGEMENT

11138661_10153171843981061_7938711358851615890_n Within a mere ten minutes of becoming engaged, I quickly came to the realization there were many questions flowing my way that were seeking to be answered sooner rather than later. When we told everyone that we were choosing to have our wedding a little less than 6 months from now, we received all sorts of responses. Some included things like, “Nice. Why wait eh?” However the majority responded something like this, “Geez, that’s awfully fast. How will you ever get everything done?” To us, 6 months is plenty of time. We had been talking about this moment for a while and because we are ecstatic about spending a lifetime together, taking more time than 6 months to plan just one day seemed a bit crazy. I am in no way however bashing or meaning to disrespect people who choose to have a longer engagement – Some people want time to plan an extravagant wedding, get their savings account built up, finish school, or simply just have a long engagement. (which are all totally o.k!) It ultimately comes down to a personal choice as well as what is going to be best for each person. For us, a shorter engagement worked in our favour which has left no room for procrastination. So, how have I managed to keep my sanity while finishing my final year of my undergrad, working and planning a wedding? Here’s a tidbit of what I have learned so far. 1. Pick your date. ASAP – It’s the first question people will ask you. If you don’t have your date picked and people ask (which I promise they will!) a lot of the time many feel the need to tell you when you should set it and it is typically not in your favour. It’s a huge stress reliever to have the answer to the most common question that will be asked. 2. Set a budget. Or at least have an idea of what you are able to afford. My finance and I have chosen to not have an extravagant wedding but rather we are keeping it sweet and simple! 3. Pick your maids & men! The sooner you pick your people, the less stressed you will feel. Talk wedding with them and learn to delegate! (Especially you control freaks such as myself) But don’t forget to just hang out and girl/bro talk about anything else other than the wedding. 4. Picking the venue and getting the dress are the two biggest things you will worry about. So, the sooner you can pick a venue and find a dress, the better! Dress shopping is a lot of fun by the way, so soak in every minute! The most important thing I learned while dress shopping was to not judge the dress while on the hanger. The dress I ended up loving the most was one I disliked on the hanger. 5. Book a photographer as quickly as you can. I have been told countless times that the day is going to fly by and I will hardly remember it so take lots of pictures! Photographers are super busy and most good ones book-up quickly, so get your FB creep on and nail down your photographer. 6. Don’t stress the little stuff! There is always something you could be planning and figuring out like colours, centrepieces, music, flowers, accessories, food, and the list goes on and on. Notes are a good friend! Take lots and lots. I now have a notebook and pen sitting on my nightstand because when I lay my head down at night ideas and plans consume my mind. Jotting them down has helped to get them out of my head and onto to paper so rest is possible. Remembering that it is a lifetime you are preparing for, not just one day will help settle the chaos a bit. Don’t get too wrapped up in the details of one day that you forget what the purpose of it is all for. Don’t get me wrong, I have had my many moments of frantic. An hour prior to this post I was scurrying around placing notes on my desk of “to-do’s” before the day is out. It’s normal to get a little bridezilla-ish (at least thats what I keep telling myself) Just remember to enjoy this season of engagement life – no matter how short or long. Sit in the sunlight. Relax & Drink tea out of a silly mug.

A MEMORABLE MARK

Love. What a beautiful word.
I am so thankful I was taught what this word truly means, what it feels like, and how it should be shown to others.
My ever so precious Papa, taught me all about this wondrous word. He made it his life legacy to show every single person he came in contact with what it meant to love, and what it felt like to truly be loved.

I told him, a number of times, I wanted him to walk me down the aisle one day. Then one day I found out he was sick, so I made a decision I wasn’t going to let one day go by that I would regret. That’s when I decided to prepare myself and be somewhat ready to let go of his hand as he was preparing himself to say goodbye to this temporary home.

In memory of his love, which reflected the love of Christ, I decided to get the word love written on my side – in his handwriting.
I am so thankful I was able to show him this memory-mark that I have come to cherish, more so now than ever before. It truly is an expression of my gratefulness for teaching me what true love means before he said goodbye.

We had a little saying that went something like this:

“My little dutchess, do you know how much I love you?”
“How much, Papa?”
*with his arms stretched out from side-to-side*
“I love you whole-world”

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Simple Truths.

I was a privileged child.
No, I didn’t get everything I wanted at the snap of my finger but, I was privileged. I grew up in a home where I was read to almost every night, I had help with school projects, and any question I had, I knew it would be answered with more than just fluffy words, but rather solid, meaningful words. I was privileged by being given advice – daily.

I can remembering resenting some of the advice I was given when I was younger – but today, I cherish every word. This evening I was sitting on my bed, reminiscing some past and also current situations I have dealt and am also dealing with today. I began to think of some of this advice I have been given and light bulbs started going off in my head. I may not be a perfect person – No, I am not a perfect person, and I definitely don’t know everything. But (!) These pieces of advice help imperfect, clueless people such as myself.

Growth is painful, change is painful, but nothing is as painful as settling or staying stuck in a place where you don’t belong. See all you can, learn all you can, and love all you can. You’re worth more than being a back-up plan, and definitely worth more than being a second choice. Life isn’t fair, but neither is giving up because when you give up you are allowing yourself to miss out – and that isn’t fair. Mistakes happen, but that just means you are trying and learning from your mistakes is the best solution. A marriage is not about giving 50-50, its about giving 100-100 – each person giving their all, forever. Relationships are hard, wait until you’re an adult because its not a game. Judging people is cruel because you have no idea what their story is or what they are currently going through. Mom knows, always. Lying doesn’t solve anything, ever. You can’t change what has happened, and living in the past will only hurt you more. Always look forward to the future, but don’t miss out on the right-now-moments. Always respect yourself enough to know what you deserve, which is always better than what you think. Do.Not.Settle. You were made in the image of God & He loves you – never forget that. Letting go is hard, but there is a feeling of great release that comes shortly after. Saying goodbye is never easy, but they make hello’s so much fun. People are going to leave you out, hurt you and talk about you, but you will discover who is worth your tears and who isn’t. You won’t regret making time for your friends, but you also won’t regret making time for your education. Trust is easily broken and hard to earn back, so keep your promises. Life throws curves balls, which is why they teach dodgeball in gym class – except in real life when you get hit you can keep playing as long as you stand back up again.

Im thankful for family who spoke more than just fluffy words but spoke simple truths and gave an imperfect, sometimes clueless girl, something to share.

A Merry Little Christmas

Processed with VSCOcam It is a Merry Little Christmas.

Christmas – a blissful, heartwarming time of year. A time of celebration.

The first snow fall we had this year I remember walking outside cringing and dreading the thought of Christmas being right around the corner. I knew I was in no mood to spread good time cheer, have a holly jolly time or even be caught near the mistletoe. For twenty-two years I have never been grinch-like, in fact…I was a Christmas junkie! This year however I was not looking forward to Christmas what-so-ever. Why? The answer was quite simple. No papa…no Christmas. How? How could I enjoy Christmas without him here? How could I be happy with my family, with a member missing? The answer: The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Weird thought right? Let me explain a little better.

On December 24th at 4:55am I woke up to the sound of…Umm, my water broke! I opened my bedroom door and peeped my head out. I found my sister standing there with a pale white face, with saucers for eyeballs. She looked at me, looked down at the floor, looked up again and said Im either peeing myself constantly, or my water just broke! Instant excitement overtook my entire mind. My talking then turned into screaming and I could not control it – I was SO excited. A few drives back and forth to the hospital, a quick lunch, and a fast rest on the couch then turned into a call at 5:30pm from my mom, Tawn, you might want to come back up…She’s between 8-9 cm dilated! 

I never jumped up, drove and ran up steps so fast in my life. I busted into the doors breathing like a race horse. The nurse looked up at me and gave a little smile, and proceeded to explain it was still going to be a little while. I took a seat and began to listen and wait. Listen and wait. Listen….and patiently wait.

After an hour and a half, it was time to push…and push she did! She pushed and pushed for two solid hours. It was a long two hours for us watching…I can only imagine how long it must have been for my sister. Fully exposed, clearly in pain, exhausted and working as hard as she possibly could plus more to deliver new life.

At 9:04pm – new life entered the world. Let me just say, it was…gross! I took a few steps back…and leaned against the sink that was placed directly behind me. I gripped it with both of my hands and took a couple of really quick breaths. The noise faded out and the only thing I could hear as I was looking at this purple little baby were the thoughts in my mind: What did I just see? Did those screams really come out of my sister only a few seconds ago…it feels like it was hours ago? I wonder if I can fit into this sink…I really just need to sit down now. These are only a few of the questions and thoughts I had running through my mind. But then it all quickly came to a stop and I heard that purple little bundle cry. Immediately both of my hands covered my mouth, and tears rolled down both of my cheeks. I got it. I understood.

I am confident one of my eyes was crying tears of celebration. Brand new life entered the world, and I witnessed it. There is this new life to love and watch grow. What an honour. The other eye was crying tears of sorrow and grief. There has been an absence in my heart since my grandfather has passed away. It was hurting my heart so badly, I hated the thought of celebration in his absence but it all clicked…The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.

In his absence, I have only learned to receive new blessing. First Christmas without Papa has turned into first Christmas with Naomi. A little bundle only weighing 6.14 lbs has brought 6 times the amount of cheer and jolly. So today I am hoping for one more snow fall. This time I won’t cringe, but rather I will rejoice remembering that all things are new. We may have lost a member, but it just gained a small little bundle that came just in the nick of time.

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With a full and happy heart – Have a Merry little Christmas!