Thursday, 29 December 2016

Not What but Who

After months of asking Brandon (my husband) to write a guest post for The Days to Come, he finally delivered. And after months of having his post sit in my documents, it is finally going up! I hope you enjoy this quick read as you move into 2017. 

A guy named James coined a proverb once - ‘Life is but a vapour, here today and gone tomorrow.’ This concept haunts me. I want my life to matter, I want it to last beyond my last breathe here on planet earth. 

Now that I am a few months into being a ‘quarter of a century old’ I am learning that a century isn’t that long.

The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon featured 'GE Fallonventions' where a seventeen year old kid invented a standing wheelchair. Although incredible, he is not an anomaly. Twelve year olds curing diseases, twenty year olds closing out Major League Baseball games - these accomplishments are not completely uncommon. 

This leads me to ask the question, “What am I doing with my life?"

Certainly I can list off a few things that I’ve accomplished in these twenty-five years. From being an OFSAA cross country runner to being an All Ontario Hockey Champion. From marrying an incredible women to completing my bachelor’s degree. I am the pastor of a thriving church called The Embassy and the father to a beautiful daughter. I even know how to drive a stick shift.

One of the most meaningful things anyone has ever said to me occurred when I was 16. My Dad and I had just finished a run, most of our best conversations happened when it was just the two of us on open roads. Huffing and puffing my dad looked at me and said, “I’m proud of you, I know you’re not eighteen yet but I already consider you a man.”

My sixteen year old self was shocked, ecstatic, and beaming with pride. Did my Dad just call me a man?

Since that day, I’ve learned that it was silly for my Dad to have called me a man. What had I really accomplished at the tender age of sixteen? My drivers license. That’s it.

How can you call me a man when there are twelve year olds curing diseases!?

I have lived most of my life comparing myself to others. I have an undergrad degree but my wife has a master’s degree. I was one of the top athletes in central ontario but one of my competitors just became a national champion. Yes, I did this BUT they did that.

Essentially I have spent most of my life comparing accomplishment to accomplishment. 

My Dad understood something different. In his corporate/manufacturing world, accomplishments are a dime a dozen. It is character that is the distinguishing factor. 

It is that shift, the shift of focusing more on character than accomplishments that has rocked my world. My newly born daughter does not need a dad who pastors a church of thousands of people, she needs a dad who is willing to listen. My wife doesn’t need a real estate tycoon as a husband, she needs a man of integrity. My parents don’t need a son who travels the world speaking on leadership, they need a boy who is willing to call home and have a conversation.

Can you imagine a culture that encouraged people around their character instead of their accomplishments?

I’m not talking about a society that hands out participation ribbons - competition has its place in building character - I’m imagining a world that values WHO an individual is MORE than WHAT an individual does. 

Maybe that’s the world where we have two candidates for presidency that are not Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Maybe that’s the world where we don’t have people celebrating the deaths of 50 killed in a nightclub. Maybe that’s the world our kids can create.

Yes, I’m proud of my list of accomplishments that accompany my time here on earth so far but I am even more satisfied with who I am. Maybe this vapour will actually leave some residue on this planet after all but my hope is that it is less about WHAT I do and more about WHO I am. 

I am grateful for my parents who continue to blaze that trail for me - a dad who called out my true character at 16 - and now it is my turn to do it for my kids. 

Monday, 21 November 2016

If Only I Were You

Do you ever find yourself thinking that if you were someone else, you might be able to accomplish more with your life? That you might be able to make better friends, have greater patience with your kids or actually pass the course you are taking? 

I actually had the thought tonight that if I were a little bit taller, I might have greater influence. 

Yeah, seriously. How ridiculous is that? 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Grief of a Playpen

We were in the car navigating our way through the rainy night. The closing credits of the movie had appeared on the screen in my parents’ basement just moments earlier. The baby had slept longer than we thought she would, leaving us with a decision to make. We either fed her there and navigated putting a very awake baby down for the night or we carefully put her in her carseat, crossed our fingers and hoped she would stay asleep until we got home. We opted for the latter. Incredibly, she only woke briefly during the transition from her daddy’s warm embrace to her carseat and was back asleep before we backed out of the driveway. 

As a precaution, I had parked myself in the backseat, believing that if she woke up crying, a shush and rock from her mama might do the trick (it’s a 50/50 chance, usually). With her eyelids shut tight, I was actually able to lean forward to whisper with my husband. 

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Tonight I Got Mad at My Daughter

Tonight I got frustrated with my daughter. Yes, it is possible to get angry with a three month old baby. I had just gotten her to sleep, set her carefully in her swing and then sat down to actually watch a movie that I had been wanting to see for months. 

As usual, it was short lived. 

About half an hour into the movie, I looked over and saw big blue OPEN eyes staring back at me. I began to shush. I began to pray that she might just lull herself back to sleep. I even thought if I just avoided eye contact she might get bored and think that sleeping might be the best way to spend her time (I mean, if you were bored this is what you would do, right?). 

No. Just no. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Great Expectations

I spent most of the early part of 2016 very pregnant and very excited for the summer. I would spend time journaling about the long summer days that lay ahead. My little babe would be here, full of life and extremely cooperative to anything I wanted to accomplish, my body would be back in peak condition, and I would have no responsibility outside of taking care of our daughter. I pictured myself working out each day and dropping below pregnancy weight quickly - maybe even sporting a bikini before I hit vacation in August. I pictured long walks in the humid free air. I thought about the delicious meals I would make, getting healthy in all areas of life. I saw myself sitting in Starbucks, with sleeping baby in tow, enjoying coffee and investing in relationships that I just didn’t have enough time for before. 

HA! HA! HA! 

Sunday, 10 July 2016

I've Done Everything Wrong

With my baby turning two months old last week, I have found myself reflecting back on her little life so far. I’ve looked at the photos of her going from a straight-faced newborn to a smiling, kicking infant. I’ve remembered the labour experience and bringing her home from the hospital. I’ve even put away many of her outgrown clothes, tucking them in the closet and pulling out some new ones. But in the midst of all of my reflection, I’ve realized something that I haven’t always wanted to acknowledge. 

I’ve done almost everything wrong. 

Monday, 6 June 2016

A Picture of Motherhood

It has been four weeks, just shy of a full month, since Kenzington entered the world as a flailing, crying newborn baby. As I write this she squirms beside me, full of personality, stretching and yawning as she wakes to start the day (or at least eat again).

Last week I decided that we needed to take a few photos of Kenzie where I was actually in them. I quickly fed her, wrapped a curling iron through my hair and put on mascara for what seemed like the first time since she was born. We headed outside and I had Brandon snap a few. After we were finished (Kenzie’s choice) we came in and I began to scroll, loving her expressions and feeling pleased with how I looked in the shots. And then I came across it, a photo that for me perfectly captures my experience of motherhood.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Hello From the Other Side

Note: This is my labour story but I promise, it’s a good one. If you are pregnant, soon-to-be pregnant or someday-to-be pregnant this one will give you more hope than fear. It is well worth it!

“Today I’m going to walk.”

I woke up determined to get moving. I had spent the last two weeks on the couch after wrapping up school, my practicum and various things I was leading at the church. Needless to say, I was just about 40 weeks pregnant, very large and certain that I was going to have this baby in me for a couple more weeks.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

She's Almost Here!

It is hard to believe that in less than 3 weeks our due date will come up on the calendar. At more than 37 weeks pregnant, I am being faced with the great unknown and anticipation of when she will actually come. I have realized that the due date is really up in the air and I truly hope I am one of those lucky ones who go just a bit early (fingers crossed!).

With school being done, my counselling practicum wrapped up and my hospital bags packed I am almost ready for this little one to enter the world... almost.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Life as I Know It... Is Going to Change

Oh, it’s been a long time. I woke this morning with words on my heart and as I lay in bed with paragraphs running through my mind I knew it was a sure sign that I desperately needed to write again.

It seems that these days I’m trying to hold onto the moments of familiarity with a tight grip. I don’t always notice, or perhaps I cover it well, as I speak of the excitement of Spring and make plans or the Summer, but I know that there is something inside me that is clutching to the cold days of March.  

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Embrace Your Place

Every Monday night Brandon and I get to engage with almost 200 young adults. It is incredible. Our church meets on this first night of the week, housing a crowd of young people who are passionate about growing in faith.

One of my favourite parts of the night is definitely chatting with people after the service. I love to connect, meet people and well, talk. If you know me, this should come as no surprise. It is great to hear about all of the interesting things that people do in their lives... from funny stories to unique programs, I really get to touch base with a wide variety of people.