My New Word

 

2017NewYearI always choose a new word for my life in the coming year.  I have thought about this as the year has approached and I am going to do something that I have never done since that first year that I started doing this.  I am not choosing a new word.  I am staying with the word that I had last year.

In times past,  at Christmastime,  my month has looked like this: 

We hosted a Church banquet with our church and then hosted a Christmas party at our house for our home group. 

I hosted Muppet Christmas Carol for family and friends and had tons of goodies and appetizers and had a GREAT time.

I hosted a pyjama party for the ladies (watching a chick flick and exchanging gift pyjamas.).

I hosted an elegant ladies tea serving specialty tea in real china cups and offering yummy goodies on my beautifully landscaped Christmas table. 

I hosted our family Christmas - every other year it’s on Christmas.  On the other year, we choose a different day to celebrate Christmas.

I co-host an Empty Arms group and in this group,  every year we went to the grave and lit candles and sang carols for our angel babies.  Often we went back to our place for hot chocolate.    Then during that season,  many of us would all go out and have a nice dinner together because we have formed a tight group of friendships bonded by hard times. 

On the 28th of December is my son’s birthday and because December is the hardest month to be born in,  I always wanted to make sure that his birthday got recognized and wasn’t just glossed over because of the busy month.  I have always had elaborate birthday parties with elaborate goody bags at my house for all of his friends.  Then as his friends trickle out and go home, I clean up so that I can have the family birthday party. 

On New Years Eve,  I would (with the help of Tiffany - she was a big help in this) clear out everything Christmas and decorate the entire house with the theme of the murder mystery we were doing that night.    This was a HUGE event and we invited tons of people and at that time,  our church was primarily a young adult church.  This would be a party not just for the midnight partiers but it would go way past midnight, into the wee hours of the morning. 

This was all in between Christmas shopping, an evening set aside to look at the lights  and Christmas bake exchanges and all of the other normal things one does for Christmas.  

Are you tired yet? 

This year,  my December looked quite different. 

You see, this is hard for me because I am a party girl at heart and I love to do everything.   But one year,  I had meningitis on the New Year’s Eve.  We didn’t know what I had but we knew that I was sick so I just kind of propped up on the couch and as people came for the party (because goodness,  we CAN’T cancel)  I stayed there on the couch the entire evening in quite a bit of pain.  I did manage to have fun though because I AM a social person.  

The next year, found us in the ER with Jeremy’s blood pressure through the roof.  At this time,  Jeremy and I looked at each other and said “We are putting too much on our plate at Christmastime.  Something has got to give.”

Over the last years,  I have intentionally learned the rhythm of a slower life.  I have listened to my body more - I have stopped pushing and pulling it into submission to my big plans and goals and listened to when it said I had had enough.

I have decided that if I felt stressed and my stomach was tied up in knots,  I am to sit and reassess as to whether I am doing too much or not.  I don’t want to live in stress anymore.  I don’t want to be driven by programs and obligations or even parties.  I don’t want to drill my body into the ground  thinking that I have to do it all to enjoy the season.

This year was perfect.  I chose only the things that were my priority this year.  I chose family.  I had Christmas.  I had muppet Christmas Carol.  

I had a beautiful tea with fabulous work friends and went to the sweet candle light service at Victory. 

I am learning about myself.  I am learning about what I really want - what really makes me tick; what really fulfills me and makes my heart full.   I loved doing all the things that I did in the past but there was a season for it and the season has definitely passed.  Sometimes we aren’t aware when our seasons have passed.  Sometimes it ceases to be a party and begins to be an obligation that you are stressed over.  Often we forget to listen to us.

Last year,  was a crazy year.   So much learning about myself; about what was really important; about what I really want to do and where I want to make a difference.

Last year,  we had to let our Church of 10 years go.  It was a painful time in our lives - one that still invokes questions and will for some time be a soft splintery spot in our heart.

Last year,  I had a cardio version to help stop the palpitations that were plaguing me almost every day.  I am much healthier for it.   I am very grateful for that.  

In August,  I got to watch my brand new baby grand daughter enter this world.  She is adorable!

Finally this last year,  I published,  not ONE but TWO beautiful colouring books with inspirational prose.  Wow,  something that I have wanted to do for years and something that has opened up a new way of thinking and living.

There were a myriad of other things that happened this last year - my almost 16 year old dog was laid to rest.   My son moved out on his own this year also.   Both of those things make for very very quiet evenings when my husband is out of the country.

When 2015 came to a close,  I wrote a blogpost about my word.  It was ME.  (Check it out here)  This year,  it’s the same.  There are still things that I need to concentrate on here.  There are still things that I need to discover about myself.  There are still things that I know the Lord is tugging on my heart to work on. 

So I camp here a little longer at this word. 

Me. 

Not because I am not creative or I am mildly selfish, but because I am still discovering who I am - even more now than ever.  I am discovering what I want, who I am.  I have come so far, but not fully ready to move on, in a good way.  NO need to move from this spot so quickly.  NO need to run away.  I am here. It’s important here.  It’s sacred here and I will stay here until it’s time to look to other goals, other words, other focus. 

I am here.  Just here.  And it’s beautiful.

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Hope

 

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"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure..." Hebrews 6:19

When I was pregnant with my daughter, 28 years ago, there was a moment in time when no one thought that she would survive.  Doctors shook their head sadly as they relayed the heartbreaking news that I would probably lose this baby.  One doctor tried unsuccessfully to make an appointment for an abortion.

As I sat there in the silent hospital room with only the breeze from a nearby vent blowing on my face I looked out of the window at the snow covered mountains in Vancouver.  Suddenly in the midst of this heart crushing news I got a picture.  It was as clear as if someone showed me a photograph,  I saw a picture of me standing in front of my church with my husband, my son and my little baby - the baby I carried  inside of me.  I shook my head.  I felt like I was going crazy that right then at that time when I needed all my wits about me,  my mind was failing.

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Home

 

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It was a horrible dream.  I had flown somewhere.  I was somewhere unknown and unfamiliar to me and we landed in a devastating storm.  I remember peering out the windows of the airplane and I gasped sharply as I saw the airplane was submerged under the water and we would have to swim to shore.  What's more,  I wasn’t a strong swimmer.

As I studied the murky, ugly waters, I gasped again - this time in sheer horror,  my breath caught in my throat almost cutting off the circulation from the rest of my body.  To my utter disbelief, I saw crocodiles and poisonous snakes meandering and surrounding our plane - some of them looked ominously agitated and hungry. 

I tried to scream - tell everyone to stay on the plane but no words would come out.  As the people calmly began exiting the plane and casually swimming to a building,  I had no choice but to fight the wildlife that was finding it’s way into the plane, struggling to swim to safety and hope that my prayers would be answered this time.

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I Wear Jewellery Every Day

 

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Her name was Lorna.  She was full of vitality and  lived life with abandonment.   She was beautiful,  grace-filled   and  loved her family relentlessly.   Bold, fierce,  passionate, soft and incredibly humble.  Lorna was teeny tiny in stature but a  grande giant in character.

 

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It's Okay If It's Not Okay

 

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I believe in living a life of gratitude.  I absolutely know that it’s important to look around you and to be thankful for the things that you have.


But this is what I am learning these days in my life.  I am learning that it’s important not to ignore the dark places,  in place of the words “I should be thankful for...” 

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What Does Colouring
Look Like In Your Life ?

 

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I have been intrigued by conversations that I have had as of late with friends who have bought my colouring book.  Many people are so excited and start colouring right away.  Some have bought one or more books from me and tucked them away for a later date or for gifts.  But still others, open my book, stare at the page and get instantly overwhelmed by all the decisions that they have to make in order to make this page beautiful.  I am sure that colouring says a lot about our personalities.  In the future,  I will definitely research this but for now I have included a few tips to help you enjoy the whole experience of colouring.

1.  Let go of perfectionism.

Imagine you have a box. Open the box slowly,  hold it carefully in your hands and stare at it for awhile.  Then reach deep inside of your soul and grab your perfectionism.  It's very slippery and quite devious so it might try to get away.  Once you have grasped it,  hang on tightly and then quickly place it in the box.  In ONE swoop of a motion,  slam the box shut.  Then very carefully,  place the box behind your back where you can't see it bouncing about trying to escape.

Now you can open your colouring book and begin colouring.

The best way to enjoy colouring,  is to let your perfectionism go.  I know that's easier said than done.  I realize that.  It's like telling me to let the clutter behind the stairs in our classroom  go (right co-workers?) and I just can't let that go; no matter how many times I try.

I know.  You don't want to make a mistake.  You don't want to mess up your colouring page.  You don't want to make a decision and then decide that you didn't like the decision that you made after you put marker/pencil on it.  I get it.

There are a couple of things to consider here.  I have 39 layouts to colour in my book.  If you do one you are not happy with,  you have 38 more.

Some of my biggest mistakes have actually become my biggest accomplishments because as I fixed it,  I liked it better than originally planned.   So if you make a "mistake"  decide what you could do to make it better.  Think outside of your perfectionist box.  Remember, you placed that box behind your back, right.?

To be honest,  I struggle with indecision and perfectionism as well.  Often,  I will hold up a page to my husband and say,  "Will those lines look better with blue or pink."  He looks up from his ipad with eyes glazed over and  a 'I simply don't care' look on his face.  Then he says with all the mustered up sweetness he can find,  "Do what feels right, Faith."  Hhhhmmm.  Not helpful.  Then I do just that.   I do what feels right.  That's it.

The point is, we all suffer from perfectionism at one level or another.  However with this, as in all of life,  we just have to move PAST it in order to colour our pages and enjoy the experience.   Perfectionism is the fastest way to kill your adventure, your creativity and your dreams.  Don't let this happen to you.

2.   Relax.

The idea of colouring is supposed to be relaxing. Do you remember when you were a little child and you were at a table, head bent down feverishly colouring your elephant?  When you looked up,  your head was spinny, you were concentrating so hard.  But as you stare at your rainbow coloured elephant with polka dotted ears,  you heart swells up with pride because you have created this masterpiece.  This is yours.  We need to grab that little child inside of us that loves what we do; that makes provision for art and relaxation.

Put some soft music on after the kids go to bed or after a hard day at work.  Put a candle on the table on the other side of the room, and some healthy dark chocolate on the table beside you and allow yourself to relax.

When my father in law was very sick a few years ago,  we didn't have a chance to go on vacation that summer.  So my son and I created mini vacations.  We got canvasses and splashed colour on them when we had a spare minute.  Many times, we would come home from a visit and Sean would exclaim, "Do we have time for a mini vacation?"  I carved time out of my very busy, very emotional days to make this a priority.  It was important to me that I didn't let the summer go by without any escapes and it ended up being a point of healing for both of us.   At the end of the summer,  we had three beautiful paintings that we will cherish forever.     Sometimes we need to create small pockets of time in order to have a mini vacation.

What can you do to create a relaxing space?  Often I like to either colour or create colouring pages in front of the TV.   Some people would hate that.  Sometimes,  I like to know that I am doing something other than watching TV - it feels more productive and then it's more fulfilling to me

The other thing that helps me to relax is to have a clean and tidy room in which to colour.  When my room is in disarray,  it's difficult for me to relax.  So often,  I will take 5 or 10 minutes just to tidy and then I can sit down and indulge.   For you, that might not be the case at all.  But figure out how to best create that relaxing atmosphere so that you can get the most out of this exercise.

3.  Have FUN!!!

In my little school, that I work at we have chapel every Tuesday. At the beginning of the time we have together,  they always go through all four rules carefully.  The last rule is "Have fun!"  The children know it and the teacher always says,  "Have.....?" and then the children scream,  "FUN!"  Then they repeat it,  Each time the children get louder and louder until the last time it's an earsplitting, head pounding scream that swallows you up in its moment.  I always think that I would like to have head phones just for that three minutes of time.

This is what you need to know.  There are a million ways to colour EACH page.  There are million ways to use this book.   No one is telling you to do it in the conventional way.  Maybe you need to add lace to the girl page, or ribbon to the angel page.  Or maybe you would like to tear around the edges and make a cool border.   Or add blush to the girls face or pen marks to any of my doodles.  Add birds to my branch or stick beautiful 3D butterfly stickers to one of the pages.  When I first started doodling,  I didn't add any colour at all.  I love the stark contrast between the black and white and it's lovely without colour.

Do you use markers or pencil crayons?  I use both on the same page!  Am I supposed to do that?  I really don't know as I have never googled the proper way to colour doodles.   Is that a wrong thing - sort of like wearing black and navy together (I do this too.  gasp.)    But it works for me.  Sometimes I love the look of a soft pencil crayon in the background and the bold marker in the little spots. 

I use Sharpie markers and Staedtler triplus fineliner markers and my pencil crayons are Laurentian or Artists Loft.   Really experiment with what makes you comfortable and what you like. 

I have also used a marker set that I got for $3 at the dollar store.  They worked just fine but I was happy that I practiced on another sheet because they bled a little so I couldn't do fine spaces with them.  I could however do a tiny bit bigger spaces and get exactly the desired colour.

I do have some friends that do this.  They have bought two from me.  One to not touch and the other to colour.  It helps them to relax and let loose and give themselves permission to make a mistake or wreck the page.    Am I trying to sell more of my books?  Absolutely.  You bet I am.  But it's true too.  Even I have two in my coffee table- one I am colouring and one I am not going to touch.

Now, pick up your delicious colours, and colour a page!

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