Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Great Thoughts Don't Always Come to Me When Showering, in Fact They Rarely Do

The promise of a new year always excites me. It is like cracking open a brand new journal and deciding what to fill the first page with. Will it be an explanation of your purpose to fill the pages with quotes, poems, and sayings? Will it talk about the goals and expectations you want to document? Will you dive right in and start pouring out your heart? 

This blank page of a new calendar year always leaves me with a sense of profound responsibility and opportunity. The old year has passed, along with all of the good, the bad, and the truly ugly. Sure, some of the remnants of 2015 will transfer into 2016, but it won’t be the same. It is a fresh start. It is a new year. 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Hello, again!

“Are you still writing your blog?”

This question came up in conversation the other day.

“Yes! Of course,” I quickly responded, not thinking much of it. It was only when I got home and thought about it that I realized that it had been almost a whole month since writing a post! How in the world has time gone by this quickly?

And so, as I write this on December 1, I’ve realized that November was really a month of silence.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Your Calling Is Not Your Career's Competition

“I’m not a business man,” Hatashita said. “My heart is in missionary work.”

I read these words today as I learned of the closing of a 55 year-old jewelry business in my community. The full article can be found here. Although the feat of running a successful business for over five decades is enough to make the paper, I was surprised by the humility demonstrated in his words.

Through the money he acquired in running a successful business, he was able to help fund 35 church plants overseas. Truly incredible.

Friday, 23 October 2015

The News is Out!

Earlier this week Brandon and I had the great joy of finally sharing our baby news!

We had been waiting a long time to share the big news. Although there is the suggested timeline of waiting three months to share, the dream of us having a baby was planted much longer ago. Through long nights talking about timelines, debates about how to balance a growing family and school, thoughts about finances and several months of disappointment once we decided we wanted a baby, the journey to parenthood is one that has not been a straight path. And that is okay! I am well aware that having a baby will bring along many twists and turns, teaching me things that I never really imagined I could learn.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

A Simple Trick for a Big Problem

Although midterms have become a bit of a distant (and repressed) memory for me since graduating from my undergrad a couple years ago and moving into a graduate program where papers are the fad, I can certainly feel the October craziness around the campus.

The warm days of September seem far away as the cool nights settle in this first week of October. Pumpkin spiced everything can keep us going as the reality of busyness and never ending demands settle in.

Maybe you are not a student, but maybe you can feel the shift.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Marriage Lessons from a Coffee Grinder

In August Brandon and I celebrated three years of marriage (woohoo!). Although we are still fairly novice in the realm of marital bliss, there has certainly been a range of opportunities for us to learn and develop as a married couple. From trips across the world to trips around the block, from moving apartments to moving the dishes from the table to the sink, from broke students to still-broke pastors we have certainly had various chances to gain bits of wisdom regarding marriage.

But in all of the experiences, one certainly stands out... the coffee grinder argument.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Expand Yourself

A few months ago Brandon and I participated in a personality inventory. As a student of psychology, I was all for the never-ending questionnaire, excited for the results to tell me something new and exciting about myself. To no surprise, when the results came in, Brandon and I found that we had many similar qualities in our personalities. We both appreciate others being upfront, we both like to be validated and affirmed, and of course, we both like to lead.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Taking the Leap

Things have just gotten very real and very exciting!

Over the past several months I have had the desire to pursue different areas that I am passionate about in a more formal capacity but have been wayyy to nervous to actually put it into practice.

Do you ever find this yourself?

You have a passion but are too fearful/nervous/prideful/uncertain to actually go after what you are dreaming of doing? Do you find that you remain stagnant simply because you are too afraid of the ‘what-ifs’ that lie ahead?

Yeah, me too.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

You Have the Choice, but Do You Have the Will?

Earlier this week I talked about the ability we have to choose

Look at the situation, make a choice, and be a better person. Easy right?

No, sometimes it really isn’t.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Reclaiming Your Power to Choose

Okay, who invited Autumn back to Ontario so soon?

Before we left on vacation at the end of July it was all shorts and shades. The sun stayed out late, the heat swept through the screen on our door and I was in constant need of a pool.

Since getting back from the South it seems that this chill in the air is a bit premature! Bring back the heat!

With that being said, I am still happy (for the most part) to be home! I certainly miss the pools, great company, American restaurants and an ocean just a few steps away but with all of the excitement going in our lives back here, coming home wasn’t too bad.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Taking the Plunge

Although this time of year brings the longest days with the sun staying out late into the evening, I often find that summer days slip by faster than any other time of the year.

Between finishing up my summer courses, starting my practicum, and finding some time to relax it seems that my writing has been put on the back burner (this may also be because of the glare on my laptop screen when I sit outside – a book is much more forgiving!).

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A Fresh Start

I always love to look at the icons on my phone and see the number one on my calendar app. The little 1 that shows itself at the start of each month signifies for me a new beginning, a fresh start.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Homemade Burgers on a Budget

I have always loved the thick juicy taste of a misshaped homemade burger.

This year I was determined not to spend the whole summer paying $10-$15 for six perfectly shaped, frozen hamburgers out of a box.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Filled to Overflow

One of my favourite things to do is go out for coffee with people. I love everything about it. The meeting up, grabbing a table in the corner, hands wrapped around a warm drink (typically non-caffeinated, ironically) and the promise of a conversation ready to unfold. It truly never gets old for me.

Last week I was out for coffee with a new friend and as we chatted away, she asked me a few questions that really made me have to stop and think about the bigger picture, the larger ‘whys’ behind what I do and how I live.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Eating in a Post Office

On our final night in Quebec, Bethany led the way to a great little spot for dinner.

Le Bureau de Poste is a little restaurant sitting on the corner of a busy street. We approached and the line spanned out the door, evidence of good food! We joined the line and waited for our turn.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Parc de la Chute-Montmorency

With the sun bright and heat promised, we packed our lunches and headed out to Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, or Montmorency Falls. As we navigated our way down the highway, we could see the thundering falls from the road.

As we walked toward the falls, we opted for the cable car to get up the cliff. We got a view of not only the falls but also the gorgeous body of water that spanned out from it.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Old Quebec, QC

I have always wanted to explore Quebec. Last fall when I was itching to a mini-getaway I stumbled upon beautiful images of old architecture, cobble-stone roads, and gorgeous views. I thought it must be in Europe but quickly learned that this little escape was just a province over, in Quebec City.

So when friends of ours asked if we wanted to travel to this quant city, there was no way we could have said no.

Friday, 5 June 2015

It Has Been a Privilege

This week marks one year since Brandon and I started our journey into ministry, as pastors, as leaders of a very dynamic church.

It has been a privilege to walk through the various twists and turns that this year has brought. We have hiked up to some of the tallest peaks, breathing the fresh air, taking in the view. We have found ourselves all but lost in the densest forests, not sure which way to go next, all of the elements seemingly against us. We have had the opportunity to walk alongside others, seeing incredible breakthroughs, friendships, and leaps of faith take shape.

It has been a privilege.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Don'ts for Husbands

A few years ago this little blue book was discovered in my parents’ household. My dad had picked it up along the way and my brother had found it. Over the years this book has found its way from bookshelf to coffee table, from my parents’ house to ours. It now finds its home on my husband’s bedside table.

With Brandon having been away for a couple days this week, I took up residence on his side of the bed at night, naturally. In some senses this was because I missed him, in others, I’ve realized that somehow he got the much better side of the bed. As I was getting ready for bed I noticed the little book and began snooping through the century old advice given.

Friday, 29 May 2015

A Banana Bread Recipe You Have to Try

Banana bread. A delicious mixture of old banana, flour and sugar to make a moist loaf that kind of, sort of, sounds healthy. I mean, there is fruit in the name right? I think there should be a rule that if there is fruit in the name then calories don’t count. Apple pie, blueberry crumble, strawberry jam... you get the point!

This morning as I sat down to begin my day I could not get the smell of extra ripe bananas out of my nose. Having a bunch of ripe, inedible bananas has become a rare commodity around our place. We literally go through about twenty bananas a week.

But with being away for a few days, the bananas on our counter became a bit brown and today the smell was just too much. I pulled out my recipe cards and decided to make a staple: moist, delicious and easy banana bread.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Stealing Away the Moments: Niagara Glen

Just as Spring has hit us full force in Southern Ontario and Summer is following closely in its footsteps, I am finding myself in the midst of a season. With every turn I am looking for inspiration, new insights, and things that I am learning. It seems that just as each season brings with it certain telling characteristics that spring, summer, fall or winter has come upon us, the seasons of writing also have tell-tale signs. There are times where I simply cannot type fast enough to pull my thoughts together, flooding in like an overdue Spring thunder-storm. There are other times when I walk through a dry spell, putting down my notebook and picking up a glass of lemonade as though it was a hot August day. As life goes through seasons and changes, it seems I do too.

Life has certainly been busy of the past couple of weeks, another reason for my dry spell here at The Days to Come Blog. Between starting a few intensive courses, some changes for the summer direction of our church, a new gym membership, and baseball season in full swing it seems that my days are full and sleep comes fast. Both things that can leave me feeling satisfied and productive, if not pushed too far.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Portraits// Courtney

This weekend we packed the car and headed off to Ottawa to spend some down time with family. Although the trip was short, it was so worth it. 

While we were away I grabbed my sister-in-law and took some shots. We wandered off into the woods, finding some water as we went. It was such a great time taking pictures of one of my favourite people.

Friday, 8 May 2015

A Full Life on a Tight Budget

Brandon and I got married young, I mean 20 years young. In a time when people are delaying adulthood, driving after careers, and travelling the world, it is no surprise that a lot of jaws drop when I tell people how old young I was when I got married. And that is okay. Marriage as a young twenty-something is certainly not for everyone.

And of course, we never like to do things the easy way, so we decided to get married smack dab in the middle of university. We like to keep things fun and exciting.

So not only were we broke university students, we were married broke university students. We had to learn very fast what part money would play in our lives and how much importance we wanted to give it. Would money control our decisions about school and careers? Would money be put on a throne demanding our emotions, arguments, time, and effort?  

No, it wouldn’t. And it still doesn’t... although it tries to.

Now, money is certainly an important thing. We need money to be able to eat, have shelter, and do many of the things we enjoy. But it seems that too often our money controls us and we do not control our money.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Where Are You Rooted?

Today I am relishing my freedom. With the start of three new courses coming up in just over a week and work hours picking up, I am unabashedly taking full advantage of this short time at a slower pace.

With Brandon still going full tilt, I am taking this time to do some things that fill me up... going to the mall, digging into a few books, meeting up with a few friends. I’m trying to heed some of my own advice that I have shared to others. My favourite saying comes from a much-loved professor, “You need to be fed to feed others.” And so, I am taking some time to feed myself.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

I Think I Should Buy You Some Cowboy Boots

I am a sucker for a good love story. What can I say? I love love. I am the weepy, happy ending, feel good for days after type. And so, when my mom asked me to go see the newest Nicholas Sparks’ movie, The Longest Ride, I couldn’t say no! (Really, with it being out for a few weeks, I’m shocked I hadn’t seen it already!)

Saturday, 25 April 2015

You are More than the Number in Your Waistband

“Ugh,” she grunts, struggling to clip the pants back onto the hanger. The tiny dressing room with head to toe mirrors both in front and behind her seems to be closing in. She can hear the sales woman leading another shopper to the room beside her. Giving up, she grabs her well loved jeans, stepping back into the familiar fabric. Nothing new fits. Nothing looks right.
“Could I help you with a size?” The sales woman knocks on her door on the way by.
“No thanks!” She calls, desperately hoping the door doesn’t open as she is pulling on her pants.
She picks up the pile of pants that just moments ago she had so much hope for from the small stool in the corner. With a smile plastered on her face she pulls open the door, dodging the woman spinning to show the dress she has found to a friend.
       “Any luck?” The spirited sales woman asks as she approaches.
       “Not today, thanks,” she responds quickly, heading out the other side.

Have you been there? I have.

Caught up in a change room at the mall, a pile of clothes in hand, and nothing working out. And as I pull that next pair of pants up, the small little voice in my head begins to chat. You know the one, the voice that tells you that those are too tight, the one that points out that unflattering angle, the one that reminds you that these pants are for someone who is actually skinny. It is the voice that tells you that if that number in the waistband gets any larger then there is something wrong with you.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

24 Reasons to Love Him, Happy Birthday Babe

Today is a very special day in the Richardson household... it is my husband’s birthday. And of course, I am certainly going to use this as an opportunity to gush and brag in my little corner of the internet about this incredible man that I get to do life with...

To my husband of almost three years, my man of almost seven years, and a world-changer of twenty-four years, happy birthday. You are a man of great integrity, a tender heart, and a strong presence. You are my rock and show me each day how to be a better person. I love you.

Friday, 17 April 2015

With Open Hands

Do you ever find yourself waking up in the morning feeling restless?

With a list a mile long, I woke up, hoping the first thing I could get done would be a long overdue blog post. I pulled my computer into bed with me and started tapping away. I reached the halfway point, started skimming over what had emerged and held down the delete button. None of it sounded right, nothing was coming together.

I tweaked the topic and started over, finding myself frustrated with the emotion coming out in my words. A topical piece meant to be thought provoking was sounding sarcastic and on the offence  No, that wouldn’t do either. I pushed my computer away, climbed out of bed and glanced at my clock. Time wasted. Exactly what I did not want today.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Lemon Blueberry Baked Donuts

It has been a lovely weekend.

We have been able to take some time to ourselves relaxing, spending time with friends, and enjoying the beautiful spring weather that is finally making an appearance.

This time of year always makes me feel refreshed. With the new buds forming on the tree I am charged with a new sense of purpose. I love it.

And of course I had to direct some of this new energy to one of my favourite things – baking.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Silence Isn't Always Golden

I have often heard the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I think that these are wise words to live by. Sometimes I would like to repeat this short sentence to people when I receive complaints from customers at work or witness the gossip going around a group of people.

Although this idea of staying quiet if you are not going to be nice seems helpful, I have realized that sometimes when I do have something nice to say I don’t say anything at all!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Good Friday was a Good Friday

Good Friday has always been a mixture of remembrance, good food, and family. The morning started bright and early with flour flying and butter crumbling. With a pancake breakfast in store at noon, the first thing on the schedule was baking cinnamon buns.

After tempting myself with delicious smells we headed to church to take time to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice. Although there is a solemn atmosphere to Good Friday, I certainly cannot be too down, for I know the story does not end here.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Do-It-Yourself// Painted Vases

Most days, like most people, I spend a few minutes looking to be inspired by the various projects and trends posted to Pinterest. I scroll through, wide eyed, at all of the new possibilities that fill my screen. Kit Kat cake...why not? Street style that is comfortable all day long... yes please! Most of the time though I find myself itching to be crafty, clicking on the DIY tab and sifting through post after post of some of the most inspirational and adorable, cheap little DIY projects.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

So I Married an Outgoing Introvert

I love people.

I love being around people, chatting and laughing, both in individual and group settings. I get energy from the late night conversations, I love to book meetings where I will get to sit down and have a heart to heart, I look forward to events where I know I will be able to be around people I love.

If I am alone for too long I can go stir crazy and will venture to the outside world, a store or park, simply to be around people!

Perhaps you can relate... or perhaps you think I am crazy.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Find the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

If you ask a child what she hopes to be when she grows up she will likely tell you a variety of answers.

“A teacher, a vet, a McDonald’s employee”

The list would likely dive into dancing, animal taming, the professions of parents, and jobs that haven’t even been created yet.

This question usually causes an imagination to run away in a child.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Five Foundational Lessons from a Budding Psychotherapist

I have been in school for the past 18 years, straight. Kindergarten was lovely, grades one through six were filled with hand stand competitions, crushes and trading apples for gushers. High school was a blast, and my undergrad went by way too quickly...

And now here I am almost halfway through my Master’s degree in psychotherapy.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Portraits// Anna

After a morning of laughing and chatting over breakfast with this beautiful girl, we headed to a park to snap some photos. We trudged through knee deep snow, broke down branches, and shivered in the cold – all with a lot of laughs and great conversation. I am thankful to have this woman in my life. Enjoy!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

My Vow to Put Down the Fitness Magazine

For the past year I have been receiving Fitness Magazine each month. I get excited as I flip through the pages of inspiring stories, recipes, and workouts that promise 2 inches off the hips by next week. Over the past 12 issues I have been noticing a trend though... every issue seems to offer the exact same thing... it never really changes! And just like the content of the magazine, month by month nothing really changes fitness wise with me either...

I love to be inspired...but this might be the only thing I love about fitness.

And yet, I totally believe in it.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

How to Share Your Story and Why You Should Part II

If you missed Part I, you can check it out here

Every time I drive by a graveyard I am consumed with the thought that each person who has passed away had a story. Some with a story of tragedy, others comedy, romance, or action... most with a bit of each. Those stories live on in some capacity, in the memories of those who knew the person. And yet, most of the stories are lost.

We can often go through life without recognizing what we have been given. We rush through, from one thing to the next, without stopping to think, reflect, and learn more about ourselves. In an effort to remain connected, we often forget to say and do the things that really bring us together.

Monday, 2 March 2015

How to Share Your Story and Why You Should Part I

Our bookcase is full.

No, I mean really full. From side to side the shelves are lined, books are stacked on top of one another, nooks and crannies are filled. From stories that tell of the horrific capture of young children, to fleeting memory in a woman with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. From guidelines in leadership principles, to authors who call us to simplify our lives. From ideas on leading a church, to pages talking about who Jesus is. From textbooks discussing the intricacies of the human mind, to green eggs and ham...

Our bookcase is full.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Happily Ever Laughter: Laugh More in your Relationship

“Well, that’s it, I’m retiring,” says my husband as I lie on the couch with tears streaming down my face. He blows kisses to the imaginary audience as the band plays. I applaud as I try to catch my breath from laughter.

Monday, 16 February 2015

For the Love of Winter

When we first moved into our cozy little apartment back in August I dreamt of those cold winter nights curled up by the fire, a warm drink in hand and snow softly falling outside of our large windows.


Now that those cold days are upon us I do find myself with those moments, but many more moments of shouting, “Close the door!” and racing to the bathroom trying not to let my bare toes get too cold on the kitchen floor in the morning. The chill in these winter days makes it hard to remember the heat of August!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Be Mine, Valentine

As a child I always loved Valentines Day. Buying little packs of cards with my favourite cartoon character expressing how ‘cool’ or ‘great’ all of my various valentines' were on this day. I would go through my class list, writing each person’s name on the cards and distributing them on this day full of hearts, love, and best of all – candy.

Not much has changed as I’ve gotten older - candy, flowers, and cute little cards still bring a smile to my face on this over-commercialized holiday.

Still, Brandon feels strongly that he does not need a certain day to show his love to me. And I suppose this is a good thing as I get to feel the love every day of the year. Yet, he knows his gift loving, affection-seeking wife well, and always seems to pull out something special on February 14.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Why I Must Get Rid of the Clutter

Do you ever find yourself on a mission to clean a room that is so messy that you don’t even know where to start?

I do. It’s called our apartment – today.

I am realizing as I lie in bed with clothes strewn on the end of it from rushing to get ready for an event last night that I have believed a lie over the past 2 ½ years. I have really, truly, honestly believed that I am a ‘tidy’ person. A person who enjoyed order, picked up after herself, had a place for everything.

And yet, this has unraveled completely over the past five days. I have realized that I am not that person at all. Brandon is that person. And he loves me so much that he has let me believe that I am neat and tidy when really he is doing a lot of the work! You see, Brandon has been away for various reasons over the past week, and the messiness has increased significantly.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Simple Scones

As a child I have fond memories of slow-paced Sunday afternoons. We would go to lunch and then come home for pure relaxation. Naps, cartoons, and reading abounded on the couches and living rooms of our home.

A time to relax, a time to sit back before the start of a busy week.

Lately it seems that my Sunday afternoons have been fraught with meetings or long work shifts. Our time for relaxing is scheduled into Saturdays. Quiet Sunday afternoons have become a bit of a commodity around here.

And yet, this Sunday is one of those lovely occasions where I have been able to do something I really enjoy.

And that something is always, always, baking.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

5 Essential Ways to Finally Get Organized

We are three weeks into January (and almost at my birthday) and I feel that I have little to show for myself. Since just after New Years sickness has settled in over our home. Last week Brandon had strep throat leaving him out cold for several days and me taking care of him. This week a cold thought it timely to attack me and I have been fighting to keep up my usual pace.

It feels that since Christmas the busyness has picked up slowly and steadily, like an old train pulling away from the station. Life has become lively again, and after a couple weeks of couch hopping and Christmas cookie indulging it was welcomed.

Although I am enjoying getting back in the swing of things, my problem comes with a single solitary thought that hits every morning:

What shall I do today?

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Only Mist

Do you ever have those days?

You know, those days... the days when nothing seems to go right. It is not any one thing that can easily be pointed to with an ‘ah-ha that must be it’ thought. It is rather just a feeling. A touch of tiredness mixed with a dab of laziness all stirred into a feeling of just being down.

It’s not depression or sadness by any means. I really have nothing to be sad about. It is just a bit of gloom. A mood that reflects the sloshy streets and overcast skies that cloud the day.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Hello 2015!

10, 9, 8…

As the clock ticks down and Ryan Seacrest points toward the dropping of the ball in New York City with other celebrities scattered on the stage, I find myself anxious for the clock to strike midnight while almost wanting to hold onto the old year.

“It will never be 2014 again!” I say in the midst of the countdown.