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! 

 

 

 

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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!

VALUE

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How much do you value yourself? – This is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately and have come to learn the importance of it. The answer to this question will spill out in the way you treat yourself and in the way you treat other people around you. It is also a true reflection of where you believe your worth comes from.

My mom always taught me that self-respect requires self-control, and my father taught me to demand the same from men. But in order to maintain self-control we must first know why its important to control ourselves.

I’m enough of a country bumpkin to realize that not everyone is going to agree with me on this, but thats alright. In order to maintain self-control, we must first know why its important to control ourselves…the answer to this question will give insight to some extent of how much you value yourself.

Do you throw yourself at every person who gives you the attention you are longing for? Or, do you have enough respect for yourself to keep your dignity despite what our culture says?

One main over-occuring delusion our culture teaches us today is that our value and worth comes from how many people we have been physically connected too. Yes, I am talking about having sex but at the same time no, I am not just referring to having sex. This sometimes can mean just seeking out the wrong kind of attention from other people. What I have learned about this is when we put our value and worth on the number of people who will pay attention to us, there is high potential we are quickly allowing ourselves to step into dangerous territory. We are potentially setting our self up for disaster, hurt and heartbreak. It plays tricks on our minds thinking that every person who gives us the attention we are longing for loves us. But it isn’t love at all.

It is heartbreaking to read statuses of young girls who think they are truly in love because some fifteen year old bozo says so. Girls are using lines like “true love doesn’t give up” which is true, but they don’t even know what true love is. So many girls fall for the “I love you” line because they get butterflies in their stomach or because their boyfriends make them “feel loved” when in fact, neither of those things are even love at all. Its not love when they say they can’t stop thinking about you all day and night or when they give you tons of attention. True love is when they’re pride-less enough to stop in the middle of an argument because they can see they’re hurting you, it’s when they geniually care about you more than themselves (which is followed by actions not just saying the words). It’s when they not only listen to what you are saying, but hear every word without interrupting or complaining you talk to much. Their love is patient even when you make mistakes. Their love respects you, values you and lifts you up.

I am naive and believe that this kind of love exists. I am even naive enough to believe in a love that is completely permanent and exclusive; a love so valuable that it motivates me to keep my legs tightly crossed in the most tempting of situations, and not seek out the wrong kind of attention. A love that encourages me to not settle but to maintain self-control, and honour my value.

I wish I had valued myself more like this when I was younger despite the controversial opinions that surrounded me then. However, there is so much restoration that comes when you finally realize how much you are worth, and demand to be respected the way you deserve. No, I do not think it is too much to ask, and yes I realize I may sound like a feminist. However, in thinking this way I realize that I will be missing out. Missing out in regards to hurt, betrayal, anxiety, self-deception, fear, suspicion, anger, confusion, and the horror of having been used.

How much do you value yourself? Is it enough to motivate you to have self-control and self-respect? I hope that it is. Protect yourself. Know your worth. You were created for a purpose, dont let anyone or anything distract you from that. We may get a little hazy eyed sometimes but wash off the dust and remember your value.

CHESTER ROBERT FEVENS

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Tattoo in my grandfathers handwriting. “Now how in the world did you get my handwriting on your side? I never wrote it there!” – Papa

 

A letter to Papa quickly turned into a Eulogy when I got home on Tuesday, June 17th. This was something I was not ready for nor did I expect it… but then again, when are you ever ready to let go of someone you really love? The answer is never. I guess the only thing that can bring sanity into a situation which is overwhelming is the key that there is no more suffering involved. Yes pain still occurs heavily when I remember he is no longer here to give hugs, and tell stories, but joy kicks in when I remember the promise of him being in a better place.

These words written are more than just thoughts written down, but they are words to try and express and show how great of a man he truly was. It is a way to look back and remember when time makes it feel like it was so long ago. I never want to forget. I don’t think I could ever forget… A heart doesn’t forget a love like this.

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I didnt make it home in time to say goodbye, but thats alright because neither one of us were any good at it anyway. We were much better at hellos and being noisy… and this is how I will forever remember it.

Papa was good at a lot of things, especially in my mind. From the cooking lessons to illegal driving lessons on bunkers, learning how to spell my last name correctly to learning the ins and outs of the Price is Right. Being taught the importance of accepting an apology I never received, to learning how to throw the last punch. From the long night chats to early morning blueberry eggos, being scolded on the sass I gave to my mother, to being praised for my small accomplishments. Being at every graduation and dedication, from the words I love you to the words, we can always get another car, but we can never get another Tawnya. He has been there. Literally – through it all.

He was my rescue from 2am pukes to horrible break ups. He lent me his shoulder countless times and made me laugh always. He gave me his handkerchief he kept in his pocket to dry tears, bloody noses and scraped knees. I will never forget the street fights he broke up, started and finished. I will hold tightly to the feeling of his tight hugs that embraced my entire body, the smell of stale peppermints on his coat and moustache cream on his face. In my mind he wasn’t scared of anything… except for spiders. He could conquer anything, even church vans stuck in sinking holes.

Though today my heart is breaking at every seam, I want to keep carrying on strongly. I know that would make him happy. I am sure if he could see us right now, he would have a huge smile on his face knowing he is the centre of attention completely, but he would want it to be in a joyful way. A way that celebrates the life he lived so happily himself.

If he could hear me I would say this to him now: Papa, you have loved me from the beginning. You held me in your arms when I was born, when I was sick, when I was hurt and when I just needed someone to be there. You taught me so many things, but most importantly to love and follow after the Fathers heart. So today despite a breaking heart I want you to know I will hold tightly to everything you have shared with me. Your stories, memories, and mound of boats are safe with me here. Thank you for loving me at my worst and sharing with me during the best. Thank you for being my protector and teacher. Thank you for giving me your shoulder to rest on during long sermons at church when I couldnt keep my eyes open any longer. Thank you for sharing your stories and jokes to make me laugh. Thank you for buying me chocolate eggos for the morning even though  blueberry were your favourite, and giving me peppermints when I had bad breath. Thank you for teaching me right from wrong and showing me the importance of standing up for what I believe. Thank you for teaching me what to look for in a man and not settling until I find him…. I promise I won’t let you down. Thank you for loving your family and all you have done for us. We love you, so very much.

I will keep you close to my heart forever Papa. Arms stretched out wide… I love you, whole world!

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Where do you start? How do you end? This is a problem he solved by just simply beginning wherever felt right. Never knowing where to begin or finish lead to long talks into the night and hours upon hours of listening to a bunch of conjoined stories. Always starting in the middle of a story seemed to be the best way to share every detail. This is just how he did things.

He was known as Chester, Papa, Grampy, Gramp, Chet and the mayor of kirk street; he was known and loved by so many. He was often referred to as Papa. Not just by me, and not even just by his grandchildren but by many others. He made sure to introduce himself to anyone who may not know him already and he made sure to let everyone know he had arrived when he stepped into the room. He didn’t mind having all eyes on him as long as it meant he got to make a few people smile. He was known for even doing the small things because he did them so proudly like being an usher, peppermint giver, story teller, jokester, the man who hands out tracks and bibles down at the wharf, the man who abroads boats to eat meals with foreigners and invite them to church, the man who drives to bunkers everyday to pray for his family, the man who wears a blue I love Jesus hat, the man who knows every bank tellers name at Scotia bank, and the man who would stand up in front of the entire church with tears in his eyes asking for prayer. He was the kind of man who followed after the Father’s heart and directed people to Him daily.

He spoke his opinion loudly and proudly, showed kindness simply and loved deeply. He was a friend to those on street corners, a bus driver for children at church and a hero for his family. He did a lot of tangible things throughout his lifetime such as working setting up bowling pins, lighthouse maintenance, hauled coal, worked in a bakery, on Government boats, was a U.N. peacekeeper and served for nearly 20 years. After his service he was a jail guard, taxi driver, a commissionaire and bus driver for Mackenzie bus line. He talked proudly of each job he had and shared many stories and memories of each place he had been. Germany was a place I recall hearing lots about.

He was determined and stubborn, both traits Im sure he got from his Mom. He had a particular way of doings things and it was nearly impossible to get him to step away from his set ways. This was one of the greatest things about him. You couldnt change his mind for the world. If he was set on doing something or believing something…game over. That was the end of the discussion. He was admired for that. He never gave up. He fought for what he believed even if it meant standing alone sometimes.

A small example to describe his set ways is when you recall times before he had to go out somewhere. Never leaving the house without: putting on his shoes, putting on his jacket, putting on his hat, checking the stove, checking the windows, checking the doors twice, grabbing a pen, grabbing some peppermints, grabbing some change, I think I even witnessed him checking to make sure the toilet wasn’t running once, and of course giving hugs, kisses and I love you’s to everyone in the room. He was set in his ways.. and nobody was going to change him.

He was who he was and you never had to guess what he was thinking or how he would respond because he would let you know. Guessing games were not apart of who he was…expect for when it came to the game he played with his grandchildren he called, which hand is the coin in? Emily was the champion of this game and it certainly gave him a run for his money…literally.

Sooner of later in life we all encounter grief, pain, and sorrow when we lose someone we love. But eventually we discover the hidden gift that brings comfort in time of utter mess. This gift is hope – it brings an abundance of strength in loss and an overload of joy in suffering. Today there are so many with tears in their eyes, hearts broken and stomaches in knots mourning the loss of truly a great man. He was one of a kind, and impacted so many lives in such tremendous ways no words will ever be able to do justice. But as we mourn, Chester rejoices today. This is the one thing that will help keep us going: knowing he is with Jesus. He lived his life to please him the most and now can look him directly in the face. Im sure he is dancing and doing the twist yelling “woo, get down” in his excited voice. He is probably in awe of his new toes that aren’t frost bitten and Im confident he is enjoying walking on the streets of gold rather than walking along the trails of bunkers. Sharing stories with everyone and living in a mansion Im sure will built like a ship. Perhaps he will even shake the hand of that skinny police man.

This is not our home forever. Sometimes I think we forget that. We put up curtains in our windows, and lock our doors tightly. Place so much stuff all around us that it makes it difficult when moving day occurs. Its easy to confuse the essentials from the materials and we just throw them in the same box. But we must remember where we are headed…this will make the world of difference in what we try to bring with us and what we will be okay with leaving behind. Despite his secret room full of things he saved from tree stumps, to stuffed fish, twisted toonies to empty medicine bottles, hand written notes to cat bandages… he was never confused about where he was headed. He may have treasured a lot of things, but it never confused him with what was important. He was ready and only brought with him what he needed. He left behind so much. He left behind his love and his legacy… love others and love God.

He wouldn’t want us wishing him back… though our hearts may break because he is not with us here on earth anymore, we can live with the hope of seeing him again… this time, no tears, no sorrow, no cancer, no weakness and no goodbyes…just eternity.