Monday, November 7, 2011


 I was having a rough day last week and was just crying and praying for Jesus to come back and I thought of the theory that He is giving everyone a chance to be saved first. The parable of the Lost Sheep makes it very clear, He will leave the 99 to hunt for the 1 lost soul.

I don't know how He can watch the pain and suffering we go through and not rush back here to stop it. Then I thought "What if it was MY son He was waiting for?" Would it change my passion, my desire for His return?

I guess it comes down to, maybe it's time I started hunting down that 1 with Him, helping Him seek and save that which is lost, not that I have the power to save any souls, only the Holy Spirit can do that.

Could you imagine if each of us just chose to pursue ONE soul, to passionately intercede with God on their behalf. To dance towards them, inviting them to join us?

I guess it's time to take that leap of faith, to DO what God has called me to do. To help Him show His love to others so He can call them to Himself and finally take us Home where we belong.

Will you dance with me?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Birthdays and Memories

I have made an agreement with myself that I will save my deepest grief for my siblings birthdays. That doesn't mean I don't miss them other days, it just means that I recognize my need to keep living life, to take care of myself and my children, my friends, my  mother, the living the other days of the year. I could easily be swallowed up by the grief of missing my brother and sister. Some of you know what I mean. To have your best friends violently torn away from you, to have those who best understand you and where you come from suddenly vanished from your life. It hurts.

Today is Angela's birthday. She would have been 42 today. She would have been enjoying her children, watching her eldest learn how to drive, teaching him how to drive, helping them through the pitfalls of high school & junior high. Instead, they are fighting their way through the darkness of their own grief and loss. We would have been sharing the pitfalls and joys of parenting, visiting each other once or twice a year, perchance even living close together again.

I miss talking with her. I miss our daily phone calls, her wisdom, her assertiveness, her humour, her no-nonsense take on life. We were so dissimilar, yet we were a match. I still have days when I want to pick up the phone and call her to tell her something. It's been almost 6 years... will this pain end?

That's why I save it for her birthday. She died too close to Christmas to save it for that day, Christmas is still hard, but I need to leave my grief for a time when it won't ruin the joy for others. It took me a long time to dance with my children after she died because that's what I was doing when the police showed up at my door, I was dancing with Charlie to "The Six White Boomers".

My beautiful sister. Her death has saved lives, and will continue to save lives. I see that. I have a mission that partly arises from her story. I am left to tell her story, to share with others of her beautiful life, too quickly gone. There are women who have left their abusive marriages and relationships before they too ended up dead, women who had already left who were thinking of going back but stayed out because my sister didn't get out, women who didn't think verbal & emotional abuse was dangerous until they realized that was all my sister suffered at the hands of her husband until the fateful night when he killed her.

God takes the horrific, terrible events of this world and He turns them into beauty. He cannot change that it was terrible, He cannot change that it causes untold grief and pain, but He will take it and turn it and twist it until something good comes out of it, until it works out for His glory. Nothing in this world is untouched by God's hand, and when God's hand touches something it is changed for the better.

My sister's life was touched by God's hand. At the very end, she confessed Him as her Saviour and because of that I look forward to catching up with her all the way to heaven. She'll get to enjoy her children again, marvel in how well they did, I'll get to introduce her to my boys and we'll never be separated again. That is a day worth looking forward to, worth rejoicing in.

Here on this earth, I will fulfill the mission that God has given me. I will tell her story and my own until God has weaved together a tapestry of saved lives so beautiful that no darkness can hide it or destroy it again.

I'm going to keep dancing. Sometimes tears flow down my cheeks, but I'm not going to stop moving my feet.

May God bless you. May His love sustain you in your moments of grief. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Being Loved

There are days when I doubt my love-ability. Do you understand what I mean when I say that? I wonder if I can be loved, if there is something innately wrong with me that prevents me from being loved. Have I done something in my past that I don't remember that brought me to deserve being unloved? Was there something I have done that has caused those who claimed to love me to hurt me, abuse me, reject me?

I struggle to understand and accept God's love. How He can continue to love me after all these years, after all the things I do that break His heart. How can His love be unconditional? What IS unconditional love? I hurt Him, yet He still loves me? How can that be?

Do I have a wrong definition of love? Parents discipline their children out of love. Spouses get angry, yet still love. I've left my marriage because I will not be abused and I will not allow my children to be abused, but here's a confession... I still love my ex. I still love who I thought I married. I still wish that things were different. They aren't. He had his good moments, but they cannot overpower the abuse.

I feel alone. I feel dreadfully alone. Sometimes that aloneness leaves me feeling vulnerable, where it brings temptation. I suppose on the days that it brings me temptation it is good that I am alone. Some days, the worst thing about getting divorced is the being alone. Did I bring the aloneness on myself? Do I deserve to be alone? Unloved?

Am I brave enough to allow myself to open up and be loved again? Will I have the courage to be vulnerable enough to be rejected and hurt? Am I enough?

I'm still dancing, am I destined to dance alone?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Staying Strong

All my life, it seems, I have yearned for a hero. I've wanted someone to step up and save me. Today I considered this desire and I realized that it is strongest when I feel weak. I have concluded that I am not yearning so much for a hero to swoop in and save me from my life, I am yearning for someone to step up and be someone I can rely on, someone I can trust.

There has never been anyone there for me. When I needed to be strong, I needed to be strong, there was no one to take the weight off my shoulders. When things went wrong in life, as they are wont to do, I have always felt like I had to shoulder it alone, like if I don't stand strong and firm things will fall apart. I feel like I will fall apart if I don't "stay strong" because there will be no one to catch me if I fall.

It's the same when I am physically unwell. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, never stopping because I fear that if I stop I might not start moving again.

Is it okay to take a break from the dance? Is my stamina enough or am I going to break down trying to keep the dance going? Do I have enough faith to believe that God will carry me through despite my weakness? I am 100% certain that He can and will sustain me, is it weakness, lack of faith or wrong to want more?

I'm going to keep at the dance, I'm going to let Him lead me to rest. Here's praying I don't collapse under the steps ahead.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Doing the Impossible

How sad is it that I want to take over God's job? I want to be in control of my own life. I want to be able to make decisions and know that they will stick, that there is nothing in the way of me following through with them.

On Facebook there is an application called "God wants you to know". Today's message to me was "On this day, God wants you to know that when an impossible must happen, put it on God's to-do list. Well, if you can't make it happen, and no one else can, there is only one thing left to do, - finally look up and trust in God to make it right."

I like that, yet I must admit that my gut reaction is I'm tired of living every day like this. I am facing an impossible thing, or what feels like an impossible thing next week. There is something about to happen over which I feel like I have very little control and I am scared. There are so many things that could happen, so many ways it could go wrong and "everyone" tells me how small the chances of things going "right" are. There is nothing left for me to do but prepare and pray. Nothing left for me to do but trust that God has it all under control. He knew this was going to happen, He has orchestrated everything, why is it so hard for me to trust Him?

I'm going to keep dancing. I'm going to let Him lead and see where it takes us. Pray with me, please.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Many days I just feel alone. The path I have chosen to walk is not an easy one. Not many will walk it with me. Oftentimes those who do choose to walk with me for a short while are only there to tell me how it should be done, to show me how I'm walking wrong. Those people leave me feeling even more alone.

I am blessed to have T in my life. With her, I know that no matter what happens, no matter what choices I make she will stand by me and support me. She doesn't always agree with me, but that's okay because she recognizes that this is my life and I have to make choices that are in front of me. She offers her wisdom and her support, withdrawing neither if I choose to make a different decision than she would have.

I go into crowds of people who used to surround me with love and support and now I just feel alone. I walk through life, same as I did before I left my husband and filed for divorce, yet now I feel more alone than ever. I never realized how isolated I had become until I left and there was no one else there. We all have our lives. We all stay busy. I pray that I can see when others are hurting and just need someone to reach out to them and have a conversation or offer a hug.

I'm hurting today. There are times I can't stop crying. I feel alone, adrift, trapped. Dancing alone is not always fun. I'm going to keep going, I'm never going to give up. I could really use a friend with skin on today though.

Invisible Abuse

I left my marriage because he was abusive to me and to my children. Ok... Honestly, I finally left because he was hitting one of the children. The abuse towards me I had lived with for years, thinking he didn't hit me so it couldn't be an abusive relationship. We started marriage counseling within 4 years of being married and all the therapist had to say was "you are both resentful towards each other". I was hurting, I was frustrated but I was not resentful. I felt unheard and invalidated. My ex felt vindicated and justified. We didn't continue with that therapist very long, yet for years I heard (and continue to hear) about how resentful I am towards him.

To me it seems that emotional abuse is invisible, ignorable. The public consensus seems to be everyone gets angry and says things they don't mean sometimes. The reality is that an abusive person doesn't wait until they are angry to say things about the other party. It isn't anger that triggers them to be jealous, insulting, critical. They don't use anger as an excuse to prevent you from seeing friends or demanding a detailed account of what you did that day. It isn't anger that inspires them to demand to know every single thought that passes through your head.

An abusive person leaves you no room to be yourself, no room to think through an issue before talking about it, to demand to know EVERY detail about your life and thought processes. A person like that doesn't want you to be you, they want you to be who they want you to be. I have gone against my ex's wishes and remained friends with people he didn't like, but I suffered for it. If he didn't like them I heard no end of litanies about why. We couldn't do things as couples, he demanded to know "why I wanted to go out" or if I encouraged him to go out "why I was so eager to have him out of the house". He would return early, he would call home constantly. After we had our first son, there were days he called home 12 times from work. He never had anything to say, he was just checking up on me. When he was unemployed he spent his days & nights playing games on the computer and looking at porn. When I invited him to join me in bed he would take over an hour to finish his game, tell me he was just shutting down the computer and  be mad at me for falling asleep while I waited. If I didn't tell him in very specific words what I wanted, he claimed to not understand. I would tell him 3 times something was coming up in our schedule, yet when it happened he would be angry that I never told him. I took to emailing him about them and he still would claim I never told him. He would blame me for every little thing that went wrong, whether or not I was there. If I made a suggestion, he took it as an order and got mad that I was ordering him around, to the point that I didn't make suggestions. If I asked him to do something and then asked him again the next day I was nagging, so I stopped asking him to do things. If there was a decision to be made and I presented it to him, he would leave off making the decision until it absolutely HAD to be made, then tell me to do whatever I wanted and be angry at the "wrong" choice I made. If he wanted something, then he went and got it, no matter the financial hardship it caused to the family, yet I was accused of getting everything I wanted.

Our marriage became a place where I raised the children, I cleaned the house (with a small amount of assistance from him), where I didn't ask him for help, where I didn't ask him for anything, where I stayed out of his life, but he demanded a regular accounting from me. He would complain constantly about how awful all women were. There was always a lady in his life somewhere (usually work) who hated him or was hitting on him. He would tell me how wonderful he was and how lucky I was that he remained true to me despite the temptation and opportunity to do otherwise. He was jealous of my friends, wondered who it was I was saying "I love you" to, no matter if it was my mom, my sister, cousin or a close friend. Always wanted to know who was on the phone. Got jealous of those I talked to on the phone, claiming that I never told him half the stuff I told them. Reality was that was the only time he listened to what I had to say because he was trying to catch me doing something wrong. He hated that I breastfed in public. He hated when I wore "sexy" clothes... unless I was wearing them at home where no one else could see me. He would make comments about my clothes until I was too uncomfortable to wear them anywhere. He would make comments if I gained weight, not insulting per se, but making it clear that it was obvious. Any shortfall or imperfect look was pointed out.

Did I wear bruises under my clothes? No. Did he force himself on me? No. Did he destroy me with his words and actions? Every day. Does he still find ways to insinuate his abuse and destructive words on me? Every opportunity he gets.

He has destroyed my self-confidence, he has taken away my assertiveness, he has worn away my trust in my instincts, he has caused me to wonder about my sanity, he has taken away my friends and so much more.

I can get those things back. I am working hard to restore my mental health, my healthy self-image. He has caused me to look deeper at those things that remained unhealed, allowing myself to be trapped in a farce of a relationship as ours turned out to be. Some things are easy to see. I am not a criminal, I am not a liar, I am not deceitful. Others are not so easy to see. I am not exaggerating, I am not making things up to suit my purposes, I am not being vindictive or resentful or acting out of hate. If you believe what he is saying, it will look like I am. The reality is always somewhere in between the two stories. But if you know me... you know who I am.

Marriage is supposed to be forever. It is supposed to be a place where two people can come away from the world and be renewed to face the battle head on again another day, together. When it becomes a battle ground that is worse than the world's, perchance it's time to walk away from it. When the battle becomes less about fighting a common enemy to fighting the enemy who is the one person who swore before God, family and friends to love and cherish you forever, it's time to revisit whether it is a marriage of God.

My role in life is not to be abused until death. My role is to serve God. How can I serve God when I am being destroyed? How can I protect my children when I choose to live with the one person who is hurting them the most? There is enough opportunities to learn of the real world when they are older, when they are out and about in activities and socializing. Home should be a place where we learn how we should act, how we should believe. It should be a place where we are given a safe haven to recover, regroup and leave again strengthened to fight the daily spiritual battles that rage. It should not be the most unsafe place in our world.

My home when I was growing up was the most unsafe place for me to be. I thrived on getting out and doing activities at church and at school because I didn't have to be home. I was the child who pretended to be healthy so I could go to school, I was the child who hated to go home because home was where I was being destroyed. I do not want that for my children. I want them to find home as a safe haven. A place of rejuvenation and rest. A place where they can be who they are without fearing that someone is going to stop loving them or start hurting them. Home is a place where accidents happen, disobedience happens, but love continues through it all. Where the purpose of discipline is not to hurt or destroy, but to teach and build up.

I'm not perfect. I've made mistakes. I continue to make mistakes. But I vow that my children will have a safe home to grow up in. I vow that I will do everything in my power to protect them from those that would hurt them, no matter who they might be.

We're going to dance together. We're going to make memories and learn new ways to do things. We're going to make mis-steps and probably step on each others toes in the process, but it's not going to stop us from dancing.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Being Mom

For a long time now, I have been accused of being like my Mom. In fact, if my ex wanted to really irritate me and get under my skin or make me change my mind, he would just accuse me of acting like my Mom.

I love my Mom. She's been there, she and I are the only ones left of our core family, I understand her and how she's acted in the past, but she's hurt me a lot in that past.

I am not my Mom, though I admit that I look like her so much that when either of us walks into a room where someone knows the other one, it is almost inevitable that we get the comment "you must be Sarah's mom" or vice versa. I share some of her mannerisms because they are good mannerisms and, let's face it, she did raise me!

What I take exception to is being "accused" of acting like my mom or being my mom. Honestly, I am never accused of acting like my Mom in a good way, so this is a study into how I am NOT like my Mom, not how I am. Do I sound like I'm back-pedaling? I don't want to offend my Mom and I don't want you to think I don't like my Mom, I do. And for those things where she's hurt me, I've offered and she's accepted forgiveness and we've moved one from there. So, here is how I am not like my Mom.

Mom was not emotionally available when I was a child. She was hurting too much. She was a great mom in many ways! She didn't protect us from abuse. When we were being hurt, assaulted, she denied it, ignored it, disbelieved it. I will protect my children from abuse. I will stand up to an abuser to protect my children where I would not necessarily do so if I were alone.

I offer forgiveness when wronged. I may not let you back in my life, especially if you've been abusive to me or someone I love, but I will forgive you and I will not hold a grudge. When I suffer pain, I reach out for help, I don't hide it, I don't neglect it until it forces me to deal with it. I was once like that and it almost destroyed me. I won't do it anymore.

I'll trust. I accept that not all people in a "class" are the same, I will seek to trust and accept people until proven wrong. I will keep my eyes open, but I won't shut a person out before they have a chance to show me where they are. Will I get hurt with this method? Sure, but it's better than the alternative.

I am my mother's daughter. I am not my mother. Accusing me of being my mother or becoming my mother will not sway me any longer, it will not cause me to re-examine my decisions or actions because there are very strong, excellent reasons that show I am not my mother. I am me. I'll make decisions, I'll make mistakes, but they are mine to make. I get to chose what mistakes I make.

And I get to chose to dance in the rain that falls after the mistakes are made. Today I am thriving in my uniqueness. I am choosing to love being me, unique and talented in the way God made me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I'm stressing at this very moment. I'm so frustrated!! You know how somethings in life are just out of your control? I can control my actions, my decisions, my behaviours, and ... to a large degree, my reactions to others. However, I have no control over others decisions, actions and behaviours. I have to live with it or just live without it and sometimes I have no control over WHO is in my life. Sure, I can (sometimes) restrict how often someone else is in my life, but I cannot fully eliminate some of those who I'd like to. That sounds awful.

I'm getting a handle on my life. I'm climbing out of the pit, but there are still moments when my feet slip in the dirt, when a new pit opens before me. How do I handle that? How can I keep my feet on solid ground? By keeping my eyes on Christ who WILL see me through, no matter how difficult the battle, no matter how slippery the ground.

I'm slipping right now. I feel stranded, I feel unable to provide what my children want/need and/or what I want/need. Sometimes it's a waste of my time. Other times it makes me feel inefficient, like I'm not enough for myself, or for my boys.

I am enough. This dance of life is not without its pitfalls, without its trials. I need to remember that behind every trial is a blessing, behind every storm is a rainbow. I need to remember that though I stumble and fall, the music will go on and I can just keep dancing when I get my feet back under me again.

In the meantime, it's okay to enjoy the music and envision the dance steps in my head.

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 11

I had trouble getting into my blog yesterday, so this is late but still appropriate.

I saw many posts on "where you were when the towers fell" yesterday, someone likened it to our parents generation of "where you were when Kennedy was assassinated". It is along the same lines. It is a day we all remember with shock and disbelief.

I had just arrived at work and they had the news on the computers... at first I thought it was some prank, that someone had photo-shopped a video of the towers on fire. It took some time (probably seconds but felt like minutes) before I realized it was actually happening. It was surreal. I didn't react to it right away, later it hit me. The office closed down as we worked in the securities building in Winnipeg and fear was running rampant, we didn't know if we were targeted as well.

How could someone decide that it was okay to murder over 3,000 people in one day? How could people think that was an appropriate thing to do? What makes a terrorist go on a suicidal mission, does he/she think of the people who they are targeting? All philosophical questions that will remain unanswered, possibly for eternity. It is hard to fathom being the tool that accomplishes such horror.

On the other hand, there are minute by minute decisions that we make every day that affect others, sometimes to their hurt and despair. Some of the people hurt by that are destroyed so completely they can never be whole again, outside the grace of God.

There was good news yesterday too. A little 3 year old, taken from his home and kept for 4 days was returned to his home in the same manner in which he was taken. Startling, strange and terrifying. I don't want to even try to imagine the pain and fear his parents experienced while he was missing, the desire to never let him out of their sights again now that he is home. Praise God it had a happy ending. What of the little boy though? How will this affect him as he is growing up? How has he been damaged? Even if all that happened is that he was taken for 4 days, well cared for and returned.... He has still been harmed, his security, his safety have been pierced.

I have hurt people too. Sometimes unintentionally, sometimes when lashing out in anger or fear, sometimes intentionally because it can't be avoided, sometimes intentionally because I make a wrong decision.

Does saying sorry help? I believe it does, because it offers to the other person the opportunity to give Grace and Forgiveness. It reminds them that such gifts are possible to give. It also helps me because I need to do all that I can to heal the relationship, wherever and so far as it is possible.

Some relationships aren't worth healing to the point of reconciliation, but all relationships are worth healing with forgiveness, even if the relationship must remain closed and buried.

God bless you as you dance to forgiveness and healing. It is your heart that is healed, whether you offer forgiveness or offer an apology.

Monday, August 29, 2011


I received an email directed at a specific community I am a part of yesterday that stunned me with a venomous attack on children. I chose to exercise my new assertiveness and replied to the email, expressing my agreement and concern about the initial cause for this person to be upset. I also expressed my concern that the attack which accompanied her concern was unnecessary and over the top. In reply, I was told that one of my children was one of the horrid children, but only in my presence, when I'm not around, he's a perfect model of civility.

I'm stunned. I am choosing to not engage in an argument with her. Her perception is her perception, however it hurts. I'm struggling to not let the opinions of others affect who I am and how I approach the world, but I also tend to take out the attack, the negative feedback and closely look at it to see if it is true. Sadly, I often just assume that they are right and I must be doing something wrong. This morning I feel as if my parenting skills are grossly lacking because of this woman's shared perception.

I am insulted. I am stunned. An email about her approach to our shared community has become an attack against me and my parenting skills, also bringing into the picture my ex-husband as "he is my parenting partner". I've struggled with this person for a while, but now has come a time to make a decision. I have asked her to no longer communicate with me. I had already decided to not return to that church, she has dried the cement on that post.

It is sad that one person can permeate a room and ruin the entire experience. I am not saying she is the reason I chose not to return to that church, there is more to it than that, but she is a large part of the reason.

There is a blessing in this too. I have power over this too, in Jesus name. He has not abandoned me and He is laughing and dancing with me over this beautiful opportunity to practice my new assertiveness. :)

It's a delightful dance this morning.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Invisible Injuries

This week I dropped a TV while trying to plug in the cable... The good news is that I broke its fall.  LOL Sadly, my foot did not appreciate this attempt and began to hurt so bad I could walk. Fortunately, I did not break any bones but rather "just" bruised the bone.

Why am I telling you this? All my life, most of my injuries have been invisible. It always seems that no one realizes I am injured or if they can see it, they don't believe it's as painful or as bad as I say. I have a high pain threshold, and don't complain easily, perhaps that is why my injuries seem to be invisible to others. The one time I broke a bone, they didn't put a cast on it. The one time I wore a cast people thought I was faking it. Can't win for losing.

I feel invisible. I feel like I have to be invincible, like if I am not strong enough the world will fall apart. My world will fall apart. Will it? Will I be loved if I am fallible? If I have a weakness, will I survive?

You won't catch me dancing until my foot heals, but you can't see my heart, I'll be dancing there. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Found my Theme Song!

I've found my theme song!!! It just makes you want to dance! You can listen here: Move by Mercy Me (Youtube); Lyrics are at: MOVE LYRICS - MERCYME

God is so amazing, you know. He just picks me up where I am and takes off with me. I got the privilege of going to Strathmore with a good friend of mine today and we enjoyed conversation all the way there, and then took separate vehicles back to Calgary. I turned on the radio and all these songs of moving ahead, stepping forward, NOT standing still just seemed to be playing.

This is the time of year that parents are looking to school starting, I'm looking at school starting! I'm registering the boys in all sorts of classes, A is even going into Kindergarten for the first time this year!!! Wow! It's hard to believe my littlest is ready to start Kindergarten, and even more daunting to realize I am sending him to school for it, when it has always been my dream to homeschool.

Reality is... I'm a single Mom. I love homeschooling! It's amazing for me and for the boys, opening all kinds of doors that would otherwise remain closed to them. But, I have to live in reality. I'm going to keep homeschooling C this year. He's not his brother, he's not ready for a school environment, at least not a school that I can afford and get him in this year... so I work towards getting him in the school I want to get him in for next year and make sure I get him help where needed and time to focus one on one with me. So... Tuesday and Thursday are school days for both boys. And then there's the extracurricular activities! LOL It's going to be a fun year. I'm excited about all we have planned and are going to accomplish.

God's got it all in His hands though and I'm okay if He throws some curve balls at me along the way. :) Mostly because His curve balls are ones that aren't going to take me out of the game.

Keep dancing, because even though I might bend in the dips, I'll stand back up. Because things are going to change - and with God in control - for the better... no matter how long it may take when seen through my perspective.

I'm gonna keep dancing through the game, letting Him lead and see where I end up. I'm taking chances, making plans, coming alive. Want to watch the show? I think it's going to be an amazing one!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I am Okay

I've been feeling so tired lately that I feel as if it is almost more than I can do to put one step in front of the other. It made me feel that life was too much to accomplish, that all the things I needed to do were just overwhelming. If I was near a bed, I laid down, my eyes desiring to close whenever I stopped moving or didn't have to pay attention to the next three steps. Feeling like I was constantly moving up hill, putting one dragging foot in front of the other, not wanting to look up to see how much farther I had to go, then suddenly realizing I had made it to the top. I can do this!

So, I made a decision recently and booked an appointment with the doctor. It makes me want to laugh because that simple step assured me that I was not going out of my mind or imagining what ails me. See, so many people assume that because you are going through a rough time in life, you must be depressed and all physical ailments come from that. The truth is, despite whether or not I am depressed or any other mental anguish, I can still get sick. It doesn't have to follow that one leads to the other if I am taking care of myself. Exhaustion is not solely a sign of depression, it's actually a sign of illness too.

So, I took my thoroughly exhausted self to the doctor and discovered already that my iron levels are low. No wonder I'm tired!! I border anemia generally, so to find out it is low does not surprise me greatly and I always get tired when it's low... Why didn't I figure it out? Doesn't matter, I'm not going to beat myself up over it!

The other thing I realized? I am okay. My mental health is not worsening, it's improving! I am not on the edge of a nervous breakdown, I'm just me. I am making good decisions, I think clearly and I am taking care of life as far as possible. Despite my exhaustion I am even keeping on top of most things. I do need to learn to ask for help, and to accept myself for who I am. I'm going to stop second guessing where God has called me. I'm going to stop doubting my ability to make wise decisions. I am going to start trusting myself.

I can dance. Some days it may just be a slow weave through the day and others it will be a full out jump around, spin and twist. Both are okay! :)


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dancing Again!

God reaches us in the most unusual places, in the most expected scenes, in the strangest occurrences.

We just passed a fabulous, delightful five days at Pine Lake Christian Camp with Rainbows Camp. Rainbows is a program I took the boys to this past spring to help our family heal from all the changes happening in our lives. It was a great program, I plan to go back and do some of the different courses offered to adults and put the boys through the Rainbow Program again (at Bow Valley Christian Church). Only families who go through the Rainbows course can attend Rainbows Camp, so we signed ourselves up, not knowing what we were getting in for, it sounded like a fun week, and the ability to reconnect with those in our groups.

Honestly, I didn't want to go. I wanted to hide myself. I felt anxiety rising in me as we drove out there on Friday, and getting lost didn't help matters!! But, we got there and got registered & fed, settled into the cabin and started in with activities. It's a peaceful setting, right on the lake, well-cared for grounds, beautiful cabin and room mates that I knew! That's a great start! With A's allergy list, we were in the cabin with a kitchen so I could make meals he could eat, but all I needed to do was supplement for him so I used the fridge and not much else there, and one meal on the stove. That was delightful!!! There was so little for me to focus on by way of care taking, daytime planning, it was really nice! Very relaxing and refreshing!!

Sabbath we began our classes. I met some very nice people and made new friends but by the time afternoon came along, I wanted to SLEEP!! A, however, wanted the beach and, since he's 4, I had to be with him. Another lady came and offered to watch him so I could have my alone time and that set the stage for the rest of the week. It also brought me to tears because I Needed that alone time! (and the nap!!) I slept for the full hour and a half, waking only when the bell rang to remind parents to get their kids. What a treat for me.

Every day we had group sessions, family time, free time, separate parent/child recreation & rest time. It was so well planned to give the parents a break, to incorporate play time and just to allow us to enjoy being who we are without the everyday stresses of life.

I learned archery with my boys, we went on a nature walk together, we played together, I got to talk with other single parents sharing ideas, joys and struggles, we did the slippery slide - yes even me!!! Although... the concussion wasn't too much fun... LOL I had a blast anyway and will do it again! (C told me I can't however!) The concussion gave me a forced day of rest that I would have otherwise played away. We played at the beach, we sang at the camp fire, we shared our talents at the talent show, watched a movie together, slept in past 8 most mornings (unheard of for my boys!)

I came away refreshed, rejuvenated, energized! Am I ready to tackle the world? Maybe. LOL I could have used another week there. Next year, I'll plan for two weeks!!

Oh, and we danced!!! :) boy did we dance!!! I even got candy for some of my moves. :D

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mountains & Baseball

Who knew that the mountains and baseball would have anything in common!? This weekend I experienced spiritual healing and soul refreshing from both.

See, I've been feeling very anxious, stressed, overwhelmed lately. I've been on edge, irritable, cranky and just not myself. After a day of God's powerful, miraculous nature in the mountains, I was finally beginning to feel more like myself. We ended up at Elbow Falls by taking a wrong turn, but such a beautiful place that shows God's power and majesty in action!! Then we finally made our way to Canmore where we drove up to Spray Lakes and were directed to a hiking trail that took us up a mountain to a beautiful waterfall. The boys hiked the whole 1.5 hours to the top, then we played in the snow and took photos of ourselves by the water. It felt like we were on top of the world. I felt almost normal coming back down the mountain, racing with Andrew and Charlie, singing at the top of our lungs. When down, I taught the boys how to fish, they're pretty good at it! LOL They were disappointed to not catch anything, but I promised them we'd go again.

Today, we took in a baseball game that we won tickets to from Shine 88.9 FM (Calgary). What a delightful, relaxing way to spend the day, especially with all of us being tired still from yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed it and just felt myself relaxing, my soul becoming refreshed and rejuvenated.

I'm finding myself returning to normal. It's not going to be simple or easy. But I will get there. I was dancing again today.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I feel like I'm drowning.

There is no other way to put it lately. I'm drowning in all the things I am failing at. I'm not failing at everything, and I'm not really failing at the things I feel like I'm failing in (does that make sense?) but I feel like I'm drowning, like everything I touch or grab a hold of to keep me above water just sinks with me. I feel overwhelmed, and the undercurrents are dragging me downstream towards a great big waterfall that I will never even reach the bottom of, let alone be able to survive it.

God is sustaining me. I know that. I'm not truly drowning, in fact, I'm probably even making progress upstream, or might even have my head on dry ground and only my body is lying in the water trying to float away with me.

God is teaching me about perspective.  I wish He'd just rescue me, pick me up, brush me off, kiss my boo boos and make everything ok. I guess even if that were possible, if my leg is broken, it has to heal. If my spirit is broken, same thing. Healing takes time and it's painful. He has the power to heal me, but what if there is a lesson I or someone else needs to learn? Miracles happen daily, but not to everyone. He knows what's best for me.

I'm just tired. I don't feel good. I'm worn out, stressed, anxious, depressed, worried, overwhelmed and lacking in resources to do what needs to be done let alone what I want to do.

Thank you God for my good friends. The ones who cry with me, dance with me, share with me and love me no matter what. Thank you for sustaining me. Give me patience today to run a good race, to be patient, loving and kind. Help me to dance again, no matter what!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I have realized that, even as I pray for God to reveal to me how He feels about me, I am afraid of what He will show me. I'm afraid that even God cannot love me, that somehow, deep at the core of me is someone too wounded, too filthy, too dark to be touchable by Light.

Where does this fear come from? How is it that I am wracked with anxiety about who I am at my core? Why is it so hard for me to believe that I am worthy, lovable, valuable? I daily struggle with an internal belief that no matter what I do, it will not be enough. I am not enough. I am not sufficient.

I should love my life. In my head, I do love my life. I am mom to two delightful boys whom I home school, I work from home for an AMAZING company, I am taking charge of my life and ending the cycle of abuse as much as possible in our home. It terrifies me.

I've never been terrorized by anxiety in the past. I've made my decisions, I've lived my life. Yet now, when it all depends on me making the right choices, I feel paralyzed by fear that I am making the wrong ones. I guess that is the difference.... In the past my choices affected only me. Before I left my ex, my choices weren't really mine to make, they were always made based on his desires and wishes. Now, if I make the wrong choice, it is not just me who suffers, it is also my children. I do not want to be the cause of their suffering, yet I know that it is inevitable that I will, ultimately, be the source of some of their suffering because I am not perfect.

There are big decisions to make. Do I homeschool or not? If I don't homeschool, where do they go to school? How can I afford to put them in school? If I put Andrew in Kindergarten, do I get a job outside the home or do I focus on my at-home business the days he is in school? Will I be able to focus on work at all? If he's only in 2 days a week, is it even possible to get a job? How do I take steps to take care of myself?

Everyone advises me to take care of myself, to spend time on me.... How do I do that? How do I set my children aside for a time every day to have "me time"?

What do I do about their father? He claims to want to be a part of their lives, yet he rarely calls them, he even more infrequently makes arrangements to see them. He seems content with a 1x / week visit, yet complains regularly that he doesn't see or talk to them enough. I've been making the occasional arrangement for him to see the boys, but that backfires at me as he seems to be intent on trying to woo me or court me or something. It's not so much about the boys as it is about having me be friendly and loving towards him. I don't have any desire to step back into that relationship. Fortunately, for me, his abusive words are never gone for long, but come to light quickly and persistently, even if in subtle ways, reminding me why we are no longer together.

It hurts still. It's scary to face life alone, and honestly, I don't want to face life alone. I never envisioned my life turning out this way, never envisioned myself being a single parent, raising my boys without the support and strength of their father. They need a good man in their lives. I need a good man in my life. What if that just isn't in my future? What if I am destined to be alone and unloved because I choose to not be abused any further? Alone is better than abused, of that I am certain, it's just hard to let go of my dreams.

Does God have only good plans for me? How do I walk into His plans without fear?

How much more O God? How much more is there to bear? I feel bowed under the weight of my life, of my children's lives.... There is a song "Strong Enough" by Matthew West that plays on the radio regularly and I feel it deep into my core. (Lyrics here)

I'm dancing into this song. I'm trusting Your strength because mine is not sufficient. Amen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Speaking to my heart

Today, as I left a work event, I must admit that I was feeling discouraged. Wondering if I was truly following God's plan or if I was just wasting my time doing something not of His leading.

The truth is that I felt His leading when I started my business. I felt His leading as I began building my business and I have seen His hand at work in all I do. I'm not seeing the results I want to see.... What if He has a different view of the results?

As I was driving and praying, I passed a church sign that read "A mighty oak was once a tiny nut that stood its ground" and as I read it, I tuned into the song on the radio which was "Someone Worth Dying For" by Mikeschair. As I started to really hear the song, they sang the words "Your life has purpose" and "Can't you see you are something beautiful". "You are someone worth dying for".

I love how God speaks to us in the every day things. In the things we do, in the music we listen to, in the places we drive. Why was I driving down that road? I could have picked a myriad of paths to my destination, but I choose the long way. God lead me down the long way. That has implications far reaching as well. My life path has taken the long way around. God's plan for my heart was not for it to be full of arrows, but that it be whole, that it be healthy and complete. The good news is that if I surrender it wholly to Him, He will repair it. He will make it like new again.

Today, I again gave Him my broken, crushed, shattered, filthy, trampled on heart. He wants it. He desires it so He can renew it and give it back to me whole, healthy. I can trust Him to protect it, I can be vulnerable with Him safely. He is an awesome God!!!

Will you dance into freedom with me?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I will never leave you nor forsake you

As I sat in church today, someone petitioned God to be with one of our youth who was baptized today. It got me wondering...

Why do we pray like we don't really believe the promise God has given us? Deuteronomy 31:6 promises that God will go before us, that He will never leave me or forsake me. Yet, the prayer is Please God, don't leave me. This promise was given to ALL. Not to a select few, but to everyone!

My prayer today is not that God will be with you. That is as sure as the sun rising tomorrow. Whether there are clouds in the way, or an eclipse or a storm so severe that it darkens the sky, I know that the sun will be there. It is the same with Christ! It doesn't matter the storms, clouds or moon that block our view of Christ, I know that He is there beside me. Leading the way, carrying me over the roughest patches. ALWAYS with me.

My prayer is that you will recognize God's light. That you will remember it is there despite the things that block it from our view. My prayer is that I will hold onto the knowledge that Christ is beside me always. My prayer is that we, you and I, will always follow God's voice and plan for our lives. That we will forever walk in the Word and Testimony of Jesus.

See, when we hear God calling us, we step out into faith. I did that when I left M. I KNOW that I obeyed God's will for me. He made it very clear, but then I allowed the comments, opinions and ideas of others to cause me to doubt whether I was truly following God's will. I allowed the words of others to supersede the Will and Words of God in my heart. Thus I became riddled with fear and anxiety.

I praise God that He has continued to walk with me. He has not left me, forsaken me or abandoned me during my moments of doubt and fear, instead He continued to remind me of His will, to encourage me to stand up and keep moving forward on His path. I praise God that during the recent Alberta Women's Retreat, He opened my eyes to what I had chosen to do. To what the enemy had deceived me into doing. No longer will I cower in fear. No longer will I allow the voices of others to cover up the Word of God in my life.

How about you? Do you recognize the presence of God in your life even when the clouds and eclipses block the light?

I am realizing and remembering that I have walked the right path, the path God has called me to. I will keep dancing down it, safe in the presence and arms of God! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Missing my friend....

It's so hard to believe. For 2 weeks, I've been playing telephone tag with Millie. Never able to catch her at the right time, wanting to catch up with her and see how things were going. Today, it's too late. This morning, Millie didn't wake up, she was gone. I won't find out why she didn't make it to the Women's Retreat, I won't hear her laugh about her grand-daughters antics, I'll never see the flower in her hair on Sabbath morning. And that's me. How can her husband be feeling? Her children? Her grandchild?

I grieve for her family today. Their loss is astounding. Today they can't imagine how life will go on, but it will. One day will follow another until they realize a whole month, then a season, then a year has gone by and they are still getting through it. They will get through it. I just wish they could escape the pain that is their's to come in the days and months ahead. I want to take them in my arms and shield them. I can't. God can and He will, yet they still have this pain to get through, to survive.

Millie is at peace. She's resting. She no longer knows pain or sorrow, no more sadness or tears, no more worries about money or health or family.... The rest of us do. We must continue to consider these things.

In a way I envy Millie. Tomorrow morning, when she wakes up, it will be to the beautiful, glorious sight of our returning Saviour. I get to meet her again there. We selfishly want her here. She's needed here. She's loved here. She will be greatly missed here.

I'm gonna dance with her in heaven though.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I've been sick lately with the vilest flu I can ever recall having. Finally, after 4 days, I went to the doctor who sent me for a prescription. Even though I was seriously lacking energy, I took the opportunity to wander the store in search of some much needed groceries for our family. I was grateful for the gravol keeping me on my feet without... well... you can imagine, but I was exceedingly drained and ready just to crawl into bed. The Safeway staff were wonderful and amazing with me, I felt noticed by and important to them as they went out of their way to try to make my day easier. As I waited for the checkout cashier to give me the number for my parcel pick up, I looked up at the lady in line behind me to apologize for delaying her. As I did so, I really looked at her and she just took my breath away. She was so gorgeous! I made a point of telling her so and the smile that spread across her face just made my day.

One of my favourite books is "Captivating" by John & Stasi Eldredge. One of the points that they make is that every woman longs to be seen as a beauty. This is a longing that begins in childhood and continues all through our lives, it never ends. It is a deep seated need in a woman to be desired, to be seen, to be seen as beautiful. When I told this lady how gorgeous I saw her, I saw in her that need sated for a moment. That smile transcend anything else that might have been happening in her day.

I want to challenge you as you go into your day to really look at people. To notice them. Compliment them where possible, make their day easier when you can. It made a difference to me, I'm sure it made a difference to the lady in line behind me and I know you can make a difference in someone else's day also!

Go out and dance with someone else today!

Monday, April 11, 2011

As I think about my story, my family's story... I am coming to realize that as powerful as the story of my sister's life is, it is not her story. I think that's why I've had difficulty writing it down. I've been trying to write it through her eyes, but I can't. For in reality, I do not own her story. The story I own is my own. I can only share her story as I see it through my eyes, as I have experienced it in my life. It changes the story.

As I watch TV and movies, I can see my story in so many ways. In fact, I can greatly see how my story could make a powerful story. Am I capable of writing it so that it captures attention? By the grace of God.... I can only try. If I hold back because I am afraid of not doing it justice, I accomplish nothing. So. I must step out.

Funny, that is the message God keeps giving me. Just step out and do it... Plan the concert program. Write the words to present. Work on the book. Work on the work. I can only be successful if I take action. One of my friends posted that if it's not written down, it's just a dream and then shared the SMART way of goal setting & success.

1. Specific - know exactly what your goal is
2. Measurable - know when you achieved the goal
3. Achievable - be just a little uncomfortable with it
4. Relevant - has to relate to your big picture
5. Time based - be specific about when you will reach the goal

1. My goal is to share my testimony through song and word. To educate and help free women.
2. I will have achieved the goal when I have venues booked
3. I'm definitely uncomfortable with it, but very excited!
4. The big picture is to share the message God gave me. It is wasted if not shared.
5. In 1 year I want to be travelling. By March 1, 2012 or sooner.

It's written down. I'm going to make it happen. There are many things to accomplish, but this is the most important. Praise God He will give me the words and the songs and open the doors. I just need to step out and be ready for His calling!

Let's dance... it's going to be a fun road to success in His eyes!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


A post on Facebook regarding the 17th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide (hence the referral to him later in this post) has triggered my thoughts, and I felt compelled to share them here as well. 

When it comes to suicide and suicidal thoughts, I am not always the most sympathetic person. It causes SO MUCH pain for those that are left behind, I can get quite angry with someone who is suicidal, especially if they already know my story and try to threaten me with their suicidal thoughts. Of course, that's a totally different topic. But if someone shares with me that they feel suicidal, I share with them my story. First of all, that my step-dad committed suicide to escape jail. He wasn't well liked by pretty much anyone at that point and still his death inflicted a great amount of pain. We may have been angry with him, hurt by him, yet we loved him and despite the circumstances, were devastated by his choice. He was a coward. His death was brought about by cowardice and fear. The realization that someone who could cause as much pain as he did in life could also cause so much anguish in death was an eye opener because I realized I had many more people who loved me than he did and I saw how much pain it would cause should I choose that path.

Secondly, my brothers suicide was different. He was truly at the bottom of the pit. He had tied the knot so many times and clung to it and it got frayed. To me, my brother is a casualty of the spiritual war that we all battle every day. There was no one at fault in his death except Satan who choose to attack him with everything he had that fateful day. He was sick, he was alone, he was losing his dreams.... Sadly, the next day he got the job of his dreams, his girlfriend had NOT dumped him as he believed... One more day would have made a world of difference to him. Satan knew that and attacked while he was weak. Further, his father's choice of death opened that door to him. There was fear that he would be like his father, there was fear he was unloved. He knew his sisters loved him. I'll never truly know (this side of heaven) why he made the choice he did, but I'm certainly glad that God knows and that God was with him when he died.

This is not to justify or to romanticize suicide by any means. It means that there are many reasons, many paths to that choice. I realize this is not an article about suicide in general, but rather an article about Kurt Cobain. I didn't know the man. I didn't know his music. What I do know is that anytime we discuss someone who has committed suicide we must be careful to be free of judgment, free of condemnation. Kurt Cobain's life does not appear to be lived in Godly standards. He chose poorly, he got trapped by Satan. Let us never forget who the true enemy is. Let us never forget that Satan uses confusion, angst, depression and any other trap he can get his hands on to entangle us up with him. Was Kurt Cobain an example of a Christian life? I doubt it. Was his death an example to us? Yes, because we can look at the pain and the angst that influenced him to make that decision, we can look at the pain and suffering that his decision caused others.

Don't let Satan win the battle for your life by taking it yourself. Make him fight for it with everything you have, recognize that is is he who wants you dead, and turn to God for your true life!! 

May you dance into freedom!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I'm anxious today. Why? what is going on in my thoughts to lead me to anxiety? I'm at home, the children are driving me absolutely nuts, the house is messy...

Ah there it is. The house is messy. I feel out of control of myself. I feel separated and distant from my reality. I want to bury my head in the sand, climb into bed and stay there, but I can't. What I need is out of my reach.

I realized yesterday that taking care of me is taking care of my boys. It is not wrong to take time out to spend on me, to meet my needs, to make arrangements for that to happen. The problem is that  I just don't know how to do it. How do I arrange for some time to do what I need to do? How do I take care of me without neglecting them? How do I do it all on my own?

I had to ask M to come watch the boys while I had a physical yesterday. It added to my stress... in fact, my blood pressure was up to 104/70. The doctor was happy, but I knew it was higher than usual. LOL I am scared of leaving him alone with the boys. I had exhausted every other resource, I had eliminated every other opportunity, every friend... no one was available yesterday. I could not take the boys into a physical and it was too late to reschedule... besides which I had waited 2 months already for the appointment. They did fine. They were safe, they were happy, they had fun. I slipped into high anxiety... which I ignored and just lived through... is that why today is hitting me hard?

Why is it hard for me to trust God? It is so hard to let go of control of my life to Him. I know that He is my Strength, my Guide, my Support, yet I also know that I need to take action, that I need to step out and DO for myself. Where do you draw the line between trusting and acting. I feel like anxiety is not acting. I feel like the anxiety is distrusting Him and His ability to protect me. Perhaps more accurately, I am afraid of the evil in the world that is allowed to slip through. I know the evil of the world. I know how much Satan can attack and injure. I don't know how much more I can handle, how much more I can bear of this world's suffering.

Is that selfish? Is that distrustful of God? Is that wrong? It is not suicidal. It is a desire, an ache to have Jesus return and end this world.... and in a small way, it is a desire to have it be tomorrow, one way or another.

How much longer God? How much more can your people withstand here? How much more can I withstand?  How much more can YOU stand?

I want to dance in Your presence. I want to praise you with my whole being. Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Do you know what I mean when I say that I feel like I am living in deep silence? There can be sounds surrounding me, the TV, Wii, computer games, radio, children talking, noises from the neighbours, mall sounds... it doesn't seem to matter where I am, I feel like I am cloaked in silence.

What does this mean? Why do I feel so isolated from reality, people, society, the world? Is it me? Am I uninteresting, unattractive, shut off from others? Or am I just feeling insensitive?

Or perhaps, is it just that I've forgotten how? For so many years, my conversations have been taken away from me. Have I lost the art of getting to know people? Is that it? There is no one telling me how to think anymore, and my thoughts have not yet awakened?

Perhaps it is. If so, the good news is that my thoughts are becoming my own again. The voices are changing, they have slowed so that the inside of my head is silence. Perhaps what I feel is not a bad thing, but a good thing.

Something to ponder. Maybe it is time to change the music, to fill my head with good things and just dance.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I am learning to rely fully on God. He truly is my strength... He is the one who is there, no matter what time, or what place I'm in. No matter what I'm feeling - whether I can put it into words or not. He is likely the only one who can handle my full weaknesses and sustain me through it.

My devotional today reminded me that I have no strength of my own. I am helpless before the trials and difficulties for the day. It was a good reminder. I delayed reading the devotional until this afternoon and I was feeling distinctly helpless by the time I remembered to read it. The thought I had immediately afterwards is that sometimes when I want to rely on His strength, I am tempted to do nothing, to rest and to just be. Then I realized... sometimes that is exactly what He wants me to do! Sometimes that is how He strengthens me. To take a break from the craziness and be still to know He is God and that He is in charge. Once I have done that, I am better able to take on the challenges of the day.

It's a hard walk. When you are feeling down, lonely, discouraged, frustrated and overwhelmed it is easy to feel helpless, but much more difficult to let someone else take the burden of those needs and turn them into strengths. Am I going to "doggedly go it alone"? Or am I ready to let Him take over?

It's going to be a work in progress, but I'm ready for Him to take over, day to day, minute by minute because, honestly, I'm failing at the going it alone part. I'm doggedly falling deeper into a pit, my digging is only causing the sides of the pit to crumble so all I'm doing is making the pit bigger. He has the strength to lift me out and set my feet on solid ground, so... I'm going to let him do that. And, while I'm waiting, I'm going to have a nice rest at the bottom of this pit, regaining my strength and being thankful for the time He's given me to do just that.

Maybe I'll do some dancing while I'm down here. :)

Hugs to you all!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Story

The story is not about how my sister died. The story is that she did and how we have moved on and survived after it. The story of her death is not the end of the story, it is the beginning, it is essential to the message but it is not the message.

My sister, my best friend, died sometime around midnight on December 22, 2005. She had been planning to leave her husband after the Christmas holidays were through, but he didn't know it. They had separated earlier that year in November for a short time but had decided to try reconciliation. Things hadn't changed though and she was tired of feeling trapped, she was ready to take the step out. What we didn't realize at the time was that he was abusive. He never hit her so it was easy to mistake it as a normal relationship. Heaven knew we didn't grow up witnessing one so we wouldn't have known otherwise. However, he was verbally and emotionally abusive for many years. He controlled her actions, felt extreme jealousy at her normal activities, put her down constantly and publicly, at times prevented her from putting her motherly instincts into action, isolated her from her friends and family, restricting who they saw and when.

We'll never know exactly what happened the night she died, but we heard afterwards that he had told a work friend that if he couldn't have her, no one would. He killed her. Beat her to death. The first time he hit her, he killed her. Then, he went out to the shed and killed himself, leaving their 2 boys sleeping in the house to find their mother in the morning. What a horrid legacy for the boys to wake up into. How do they get past that? How do they put aside the memories of having to step over their mothers body to open the door for the police? How do they reconcile what their father did? They are not their father. They are not their mother. But their parents death lives on inside of them, sometimes taking on a life of its own.

Their death is such a horrid story. I dislike telling it. I don't like the looks of pity I get when people hear about my sister. But it is a powerful story. It has a great message to be heard. My sister didn't know what could happen to her, most people don't realize that emotional and verbal abuse is as dangerous as physical abuse. I do now. I know how easy the step from one to the other is. We look the other way when a man insults his wife publicly, thinking they are having a disagreement or just thinking he's an idiot, but when he hits her, it's a huge problem and people get up in arms about it. We need to get up in arms before he hits her. We need to get up in arms when he starts insulting her, keeping her from her friends, accusing her of affairs following normal every day activities.

We need to spread the message. We must not be silent. Angela's death can save other women, it has saved other women. The story must be told in order to prevent the same thing happening again. I will dance on, my dance has changed since her death and I pray that in my dancing her story is heard.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


They say "time heals all wounds". It's true, however we often desire it to take less time that it actually does. I have subscribed to emails from "DivorceCare" and I get a daily email from them about the path that divorce takes us on. Day 29 is stuck in my head today.

It talks about expecting too much progress too quickly. I do this. I do this very often. In fact, now, 5 years after the death of my sister and brother-in-law, I am finally realizing that I have dealt with her death. I have healed from the pain of that time. Not completely, and I will always miss her, but the pain is beginning to dissipate. It is easier to think of her and talk of her without crying. It's taken a long time. 5+ years. I wanted it to be sooner, oh - forget that - I wanted it to never have happened. I still wish it had never happened, but it did and 5 years later I am beginning to feel as if I am healing.

It is a good realization. For so long I have felt and been told that I have not faced the agony of her death, I have not healed from the pain of it, that it is governing my emotions and decisions. The truth is that the story of my sisters death is a part of who I am. I cannot walk away from that anymore than I can walk away from being "Marie's daughter". It is a part of my identity, my history, my experiences and we are all partially defined by those and by how we chose to react and allow them to change us. It does not control me, it opens my eyes to the dangers of certain behaviors and provides me a unique opportunity to make decisions based on that experience. Not by creatively making up situations and circumstance, but by seeing them for what they truly are.

I am healing from Angela's death. I am beginning to heal from the decision to end my marriage and get a divorce. I need to remember that it will take time. I must remember that people may see my actions and decisions and misinterpret them. It is only God who truly sees my heart. It is His path that I am following and that is all I want. To follow His path, wherever it may lead. The pain of today is far less than the pain that could have been; it is far less than the pain of yesterday, and the pain of tomorrow will be less than the pain of today.

Thank God!

Keep dancing with me!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Today I discovered something about myself. I'm partaking in a course called "Prisms", my son is in the companion course and it has been beneficial to our whole family.

Our chapter today was about hurt and anger. Emotions that are common in life, and especially in the situation we find ourselves in now. In preparing for the evening, I discovered something about me that I never knew before. I never even considered was possible. It's funny, really.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have worried about how I handle anger. It has always scared me, whether it comes from me or someone else, it is not something that I am comfortable with. Let's face it, I grew up in a home where anger was dangerous. It brought injury when coming from others, it triggered injury when coming from myself. So, I always thought that I had a problem with anger.

What I realized today is that I don't. The reality is that I have learned very effective ways of dealing with anger, especially my anger. I don't explode, I don't cause injury to myself or others. I prefer to step aside, calm down and return in a more reasonable frame of mind. I've often felt bad for yelling at my children, yet today I realized that when I yell at them (when they deserve it), I teach them that it is okay, and safe, to express anger by yelling. I'd rather they learn to yell it out than hit it out. I have found safe and effective methods to teach them about expressing their own anger, and I am doing that, and they are learning it.

My realization today, my "wow" moment for February 15, is that the fear of anger that I have had for so many years has enabled me to learn healthy ways of expressing anger. I can move past it. I can move on. I can set that worry aside and focus on areas that actually do need my attention and work.

Wow. God is so good to have shown me this. Doesn't mean that I can fully relax, I need to continue healthy anger expression. I probably need to continue working on receiving anger from others, but my greatest fear of anger has been shown to be false tonight. It's delightful and freeing!

God bless you!

Ten Commandments

Exodus 20:2-17.... Paraphrased by me. :)

1. (2)"I am the Lord your God who rescued you from the place of your slavery"; from the people who abused you. (3)"You must not have any other god but Me". The others did not, could not save you. I DID.

2. (4)"Do not make an image of anything I created and worship it". This makes it all about you, not Me. Do not give a thing credit for what I have done for you. (5)"I am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods" (etc.). I am not willing to share your love with other things, I want all of you. There are consequences that come of splitting your loyalties - even your children and grandchildren will be hurt by this. (6) But the consequence of remaining true to Me in your worship is to have unfailing love lavished on you and on the generations that follow you.

3. (7) "You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God" Do not misuse My name. Don't treat It as something common, don't tarnish My reputation.

4. (8-12) "Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy". Remember the Sabbath day, keep it holy. Work for six days, but rest on the seventh. It is a blessed day, was blessed at the beginning of time. It is set apart as holy.

5. (12) "Honor your father and mother, then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you". It will save you grief, listen to their wisdom.

6. (13) "You must not murder". Encourage life. Speak life-giving words.

7. (14) "You must not commit adultery". Remain pure at heart. Don't even look with desire on anyone but your spouse. Do not be intimate with someone not your spouse, whether or not you are married. This will only damage you in the long run.

8. (15) "You must not steal". Respect others, respect their property. Act in an honourable manner, even when no one is looking.

9. (16) "You must not testify falsely against your neighbor". Always speak the truth. Testify in truth.  Be sure of truth when testifying. Don't judge, hypothesize, generalize, or assume. Don't gossip.

10. (17) "You must not covet your neighbor's house... wife... servant... ox or donkey or anything else that belongs to your neighbor".  Be thankful for the gifts I have given to you. Respect others. Rejoice with them in their successes and speak well of them.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Armoured Up

Ephesians 6:14-18 speaks of wearing the armour of God on a daily basis to protect us from the evil one who is out to destroy.  This may be a continuing thread, I haven't made it through all the verses today, but want to share my thoughts on the first 2 pieces of armour we are encouraged to put on every day.

"Tighten the belt of truth securely around yourself"
It's not easy to always speak the truth. When under attack or duress, sometimes it is easier to let the truth slip or go to "make peace", but that is the peace of the world, not the peace of Christ. This has been my battle, to cling to the truth despite advice to the contrary, despite attack and manipulation to consider truth to be of less importance than another's feelings and/or societal expectations. When I waver, God reminds me of the truth & I tighten that belt again... except then I feel guilty for standing firm, which is Satan's tool to keep me trapped and weakened. Hmmmm.....

Another thought is that often we are tempted to temper the truth with a lie to soften the consequence, soften the truth to avoid hurting people.... We are not called to avoid hurting others, we are called to live in the truth. Not to go out and use the truth to beat others up, but not to dismiss the truth in order to "protect" them either. Jesus never once refrained from speaking the truth to save a persons feelings, He spoke out of love, He spoke out of mercy, but He always spoke Truth. He made enemies because of it, He died because of it, but He NEVER compromised the truth.

"Cover your chest with the breastplate of Christ's Invincible Righteousness"
Invincible. Bullet proof. Unbeatable. Impenetrable... Nothing can get through Christ's Righteousness. No accusation, no injury, no flaming arrow, no Teflon bullets. Nothing. Nada. I can walk into battle without fear if I have put on this Breastplate. Christ has given this breastplate to me. To protect my heart, my lungs, my ability to breathe and beat blood through my body. I have been suffering anxiety attacks... if I am wearing His Breastplate, He protects this valuable area, freeing me! His Righteousness is His perfection, His Character... He covers my character with His Character - with Who He Is. I cannot be seen, my imperfections are invisible once I put on His Breastplate.

I need to make a point of wearing His armour every morning. We are in a battle. Everything that happens around us is part of a cosmic battle between good and evil, we see it in TV shows, movies, books.... Everything has a hero and a villain. So does our lives, our existence. The Hero is Jesus, the villain is Satan. We get to chose the side we fight on, but make no mistake, it IS a battle.

Will you join me in wearing this armour?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Princess Warrior

T and I were discussing the book "Captivating" (by John & Stasi Eldredge) today. The book calls even women to be warriors, it reminds us that we also have a battle to fight, one that is unique to our femininity and beauty. T commented that we are to be Princess Warriors and it reminded me of a long ago time when I was enthralled with the meaning of my name. Interesting enough, my name means Princess and Fights with Honor. So, my name means Princess Warrior. I am called to fight a battle. I have been born to fight a battle, everything in my life has brought me to the battle before me.

God has called me to this battle. Whether or not I want to fight it, it is before me. Whether or not others want to acknowledge or affirm it, it is before me. I cannot run from it. I cannot surrender - at least not if I hope to emerge a victor. God walks before me and with me into the fray. I am certain that I am on the path He has set before me, and if I am certain of that, why do allow doubts and fears to assail me? Why do I let the opinions of others sway me? Why do I not see my worth?

I told T today that I am coming to the place where I can see that I have beauty. I am beautiful. I have always compared myself to my sister, always falling short of her beauty and today I looked at a picture of us as children and realized that in many ways, I am more beautiful than my sister. What a hard thing to acknowledge, to admit. Others have said it, but I've never believed them. God is opening my eyes to my own physical beauty. That is amazing to me. It is a little surreal and it feels a little vain/conceited. Yet, it is necessary for me to see who I am. God sees me as beautiful and He is showing me how He sees me. It is a step toward healing. BUT. I also told T that I don't see how I am captivating. I have this fear that if people look too deep within me they will not find beauty inside. I don't feel like I captivate people. I have been ignored, neglected, pushed aside, overlooked and rejected for so many years that I find it hard to believe I can capture someone's attention and hold it.  What do I have to share? I feel hollow, empty. That's what I'm afraid people will find if they look too deeply, they will find nothing. A hollow space.

How do I find the truth? How do I get past my perception of how others see me? I'll work on it and get back to you when I find some answers. I need to get my heart and my head to agree. That is easier said than done though.

I am a free woman who loves and accepts others just for who they are.... Is that enough?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Continuing...Guilt and Fear

I've been thinking more on the lines of Sabbath's realizations today. I posted some of my thoughts on Facebook and a couple friends commented that they believed guilt was a tool of Satan, or rather that emotions should be classified negative or positive, rather healthy or unhealthy. Personally I think semantics are getting in the way of the point a little bit, but it kept me thinking about it, so that's a good thing!

I realized that God has never used guilt with me to draw me to repentance. He has gently pointed out error, He has convicted me of changes that needed to be made in my life, but guilt has never been a driving force of that change. When I feel guilt, when I succumb to guilt, the result is depression and the feeling of being forsaken. I have to say that I don't think anyone would consider those positive emotions.

When God calls us to change, He does it without the condemnation that guilt brings to our hearts. God's way is love. It His love that draws us to repentance. Otherwise, it is the same as a child who obeys because he/she is afraid of his parent, there is no depth in his/her obedience. When they grow older, they will rebel and hopefully learn to obey all over again in a different way.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Guilt... Anxiety... Fear... Perfect Love?

I came in late for Sabbath School this morning and to get an idea of the topic, I opened the study and jumping off the page at me was the point that guilt only came to Adam and Eve AFTER they sinned. It was not a God-created emotion, it was a consequence of sin. Interestingly enough, the speaker this morning also touched on how God draws us close with love, not with fear or guilt and then, when I got home T and I had a very good talk about forgiveness, anxiety and love.

I've been questioning myself. Am I trusting God enough? Am I failing? Am I enough? See, there is fear in my life, yet God is in my life also... If "perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18), then why is there still fear in my life if God is in my life? So, I suppose the answer is that I am not yet perfect. Which, is normal and ok. In fact T has been sharing her daily devotional with me and one of them just this past week read "we cannot expect perfection this side of heaven" (and I'm paraphrasing there). So, it's okay if I'm not perfect? Are you sure? LOL

If perfect love casts out fear, what does damaged love do? So, I'm living in the fallout of damaged love and working through the fear.

I am amazed by my God. All conversations pointed to guilt, to love, to fear and back to God. T & I were talking about her anxiety attacks, when they diminished and why. We came to the conclusion/realization that it was not an event, but rather a shift in focus. If I shift my focus to God, if I truly immerse myself in His Love, His Word, His Being, will that reduce my anxiety? It has for other friends.... The stupid, inconceivable thing is that there is a part of me that is afraid to fully immerse myself in God. Why? I KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He has only good things planned for me.

Oh. I don't believe I deserve those good things. I don't feel like I'm enough, like I'm worthy. God isn't about worth, He is about giving. I don't have to earn my value in His eyes, it is His gift, freely given to me, bought with a desperate, incomparable price. He did that for me. For me! How can I throw that away?

I need God, I so desperately cling to Him, He has been my sanity, my strength, my life for so many years.... Why does He still scare me????

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I find it very difficult to face myself, to face my fears.

Recently D was sharing with me how she is doing a 12-step program and how liberating steps 4-6 were for her. I half-jokingly said they need a Life Anonymous group so anyone could feel they belong and were able to participate in the 12 step program. I could see the value in it, I can see the changes in D already.

It's a brave process, to look at yourself and take a fearless moral inventory. Wow. How many of us face our past pain, decisions and actions in a fearless manner? I'm lucky if I can remember 1/2 of them! What is it that makes it easier for one person to look back and face it, to look into themselves and say "this is how I feel, this is what is going on inside of me". Why am I having such trouble doing that?

Oh, right. I'm afraid that the worst things people have said about me are true. Honestly, I'm afraid that if I look too deep within myself I will find this horrid, disgusting person that no one, including myself, can stand to be around. Someone so putrefied and decayed that there is no way to make it better, no way to save me.

That's a pretty big lie. I can intellectually recognize it for the lie that it is, yet I am having difficulty accepting it as a lie emotionally. Choices says to "act your way into a feeling", but the truth is, I've been acting my way into that feeling and the fear is just growing. Of course, it doesn't help to be told how evil and vile I am on a fairly consistent and almost weekly basis, but...

Will taking a fearless moral inventory of myself help? Or will it just prove my naysayers right? Does it come down to intelligence vs. emotion? Fear vs. courage?

How is living in my fear helping me? I think I can say with all definitiveness that it is not helping me, especially considering I spent the better part of the afternoon in ER (on the advice of Health Links and the urging of good friends) over a panic attack. I feel like I could crawl right out of my skin some days, like I just need to run away and escape life for a while.

How can I make a change? I think I need to follow D's example and fearlessly face the demons of my past. Fearlessly make that moral inventory and see where God leads me. If I let Him lead, the dance will go far smoother than when I try to take over the lead. I keep tripping and falling. He can make the dance beautiful. Will He make me beautiful?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Heroes and Idols

I have always wanted a hero. The heroes of my dreams have changed through the years, but a constant remains in that I want a hero. I want someone to come into my life, really see me and come to my rescue, saving me from the pains, failures and enemies that surround me. Someone to take care of me.

Recently God called me to account on my desire for a hero, for that person who will sweep into my life and take care of all my problems and hurts. He showed me that I have made an idol of seeking someone to, well essentially, to heal me. The reality is that I have such a hero.

Jesus came into my life many years ago and there have been so many times when I look back that He has rescued me, protected me, healed me, saved me. All those things I desire, those things I look for. I guess I keep looking for Jesus with skin on, but I keep forgetting that those times I need someone with skin on, He sends them to me. It may not be exactly what I think I need, but it is most definitely what I actually need.

It has come home even more clearly in the past few months that Jesus is my hero. There are days when I still want someone else to step in and take care of me, to be the buffer between me and the nasty parts of life, but I'm remembering to turn them over to God because He truly is the only one who can handle it properly. He has never failed me, never forsaken me, He has shown His hand to me and guided me, He has clearly shown His protection of me on a minimum of two occasions.

Why do I keep doubting Him? Why do I desire for more than He gives me? Why is my faith lacking?

When I trust that I am walking in the path He has set before me, I am confident, secure and alive. When I begin to doubt I become fearful, feeling trapped and alone. I need to trust and obey. I need to keep walking even when I stumble, even when others try to dissuade me or question whether I am truly listening to God's Words. There will be people who mean well and may even be God's servants who will think I cannot be listening to the Holy Spirit because of the choices I am making.

The reality is that I have to follow God's leading, not man's. The reality is that I know I am listening and obeying. That should be enough. I need to stop listening to people, stop caring so much of what they think of me. When I look only to God, I see the path clearly before me and I am not alone. Many have affirmed that I am following God, many have affirmed the message He sent and the path He is leading me on.

That is enough for me. I choose life (Deuteronomy 30:11-20). I choose to continue following where God leads me. The path may be rocky and uphill, but my hand is in His. He has the strength to get me up the mountain, He has the strength to carry me if that is what I need. God is my hero. There is no other, there can be no other. Should He decide to send a helper with skin on, well... as long as God is sending him, I'll be grateful for the gift.

Keep dancing!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Sister

I'm avoiding writing. Yesterday and today. It's not even because I have nothing to talk about, well, yesterday I was drawing a blank. Unfortunately as soon as I climb into bed, my mind starts racing and I find all kinds of thoughts I can process out, but by then the computer was off and I was quite exhausted. The thought remains though and tonight, I'm avoiding it. I want/need to talk about my sister.

I miss my sister. Angela was one of those people in your life that is a constant. I always knew where I stood with Angela, she was never shy about asking me questions or giving me her opinion. I suppose in many ways, she was just your typical older sister, always looking out for me.

We weren't always together growing up. Our parents split when I was 11 and she was 14 - she left with Dad and I stayed with Mom. They moved halfway across the country and I missed her immensely even then. We stayed in touch. Weekly (at minimum) phone calls and bi-annual visits, it wasn't enough and we gradually grew farther apart. After Dad died, Angela didn't come back home very often. She came for my grade 9 graduation, for Mom's wedding and for my wedding. That was about it, but as an adult, I made it a point to get out to see her at least once a year. It still wasn't enough and we really didn't know or understand each other very well.

Angela was the favoured of our Dad, obviously. I could never measure up to her. She was athletic, fit, beautiful, confident, strong... She was, to my mind, the perfect woman. Her nickname was Angel, well, I knew better (little sisters do not always see the best in their older sister!), but most seemed to treat her as if she was an angel. I loved her, I admired her, I looked up to her, and I envied her. In fact, it wasn't until I graduated high school that I looked at our pictures that Mom had hung on the wall side by side and realized that I looked like Angela and therefore, I must be beautiful too. I always felt like the ugly duckling in her shadow.

In 1998 our brother, Cory, died and it set into motion a plan, on my end, to change the distance between us, literally and figuratively. I couldn't bear the thought that my last remaining sibling was such a stranger to me. Cory was one of my best friends, we enjoyed spending time together and talking on the phone. Angela remained an enigma. We had different personalities, different upbringings, different life perspectives.

I was dating M by then and things were pretty serious so we discussed it and decided that after we were married, we would move to live near Angela. It was a great plan, and a lousy one. In retrospect, I should have just moved immediately and let the relationship with M fall where it may, it might have saved me much pain but it would have lost me my boys, so.... I try my best not to play the "what if" game, some days that is more difficult than others. I stray off topic though.

We moved in 1999. We had no place to live so we stayed with Angela and her family for the first few months until we found an apartment. It was strange. Angela and I both wanted a friendship. We'd been working on building it since Cory died via telephone and my annual/semi-annual visits but it was strained and taxing. Imagine throwing two very different strangers into a room and expecting them to be instant best friends. Sometimes that can happen, but it's pretty rare and special when it does! It didn't happen for us. I was a newly-wed, we were both struggling but not really sharing with each other what was going on. We lived totally different lives but we didn't give up. We eventually found that common ground, we became best of friends.

We were able to grieve Cory together, to talk about him and share stories, to keep his memory alive. We were able to talk about our childhood and all the pains and angst, all the misunderstandings and false beliefs we had grown up believing about the other. We were able to laugh at the things we did together and remember the good times, as well as the bad. We were able to share with each other memories that the other had forgotten. We made new memories together.

Instead of annual visits, we had weekly or monthly visits. We talked regularly on the phone and were able to share family experiences. I went to her children's school & sports events, I cheered them on when she coached her youngest sons baseball team and sat beside her when her oldest son learned to play soccer and had a part in the school Christmas program. She came to the hospital to visit me when I was in labour with my first son and was one of the first to hold him after he was born. She was in church the day we dedicated his life to God and came to church events that I was singing in. We shared Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, birthdays, camping, boating, shopping, life. I am Godmother to her youngest son.

I miss sharing my life with her. Even now, 5 years after her death, there are days when I just want to pick up the phone and talk with her, to get her advice, to commiserate or vent, to have her just be there to share everything with! She's never met my youngest son. She was the first person I called after we found out we were pregnant with our first, and she never even knew I was pregnant a second time. I threw up four times a day during my first pregnancy, she told me she thought I had the flu the first 8 months. She only threw up 1x with each child, she would have been glad to know my second pregnancy was more like hers.

She loved playing with my baby. Angela loved babies, she had a knack of getting them to go to sleep in her arms. I found pictures the other day while unpacking of her and my eldest just laughing at each other. I love that I have pictures of her with him. She could pick up almost any baby and have it smiling at her in no time. She was a beautiful person, inside and out.

Her death seems senseless. God has used it for good, but I still can't wrap my mind around the reality that she is gone. She is though. Through no choice of her own, through no fault of her own, she is no longer here to share life with us, to love her children, to raise them or care for them, to battle for them. They are left with battle scars that no child should ever have to bear, I am left to struggle with why of the three of us I am the only one left standing.

I am the only one left standing though and I have promised to myself that they will not be forgotten. I tell my children about their Auntie Angela and their Uncle Cory. I have promised that I will tell their stories because if anything good can come out of their untimely and inane deaths it can only come if someone gives voice to their stories, to their lives. If the story of Angela's death saves one more person, then it, and she, continue to have value. If the story of Cory's death encourages one person to hold on for one more day, then it, and he, too continue to have value.

I am not my siblings. I cannot tell their story from a firsthand perspective, but I can tell it from my perspective. I can tell you the facts, and I can tell you how it affected me. I can only pray that is enough.

Their stories will come. The music will change and the song does not end in happily ever after... yet; but there is hope and where there is hope there is life. Where there is life there must be dancing.

God bless you!