We Have a Pretend Podcast!

Ben and I celebrated our 20th anniversary this fall! We decided to try something fun and different, and we recorded a pretend podcast episode! I have dreamed of doing a podcast with Ben for years, so we thought it would be fun to put together this little interview. And it was just as much fun as I thought it would be! 🙂

We talk about our marriage and Strengthsfinder, and we share what we love most about each other’s strengths, as well as what can drive us a little bit crazy sometimes. Ben also shares a fantastic offer at the end, for anyone who would like to learn more about Strengthsfinder!

Just For Now

Emily P. Freeman recently shared on Instagram that she is “back to the habit of reading one chapter a day…for now.”

I stopped and thought about that for a bit. Two little words tacked on, but they make all the difference.

“For now.”

Big commitments feel harder than normal right now, because there is so much uncertainty. But we could commit to some things “for now”.

And hard things become more bearable if we tack on a “for now”. Life during a pandemic feels tough, because things are just heavy…for now.

It’s a simple little reminder that although we are going through something that’s hard, or stressful, or sad, it won’t be this way forever.

Or it’s a way of offering ourselves grace to change our minds if we realize that things need to change in order to be sustainable – we’re only doing it for now. Later on, things might look different, so we will leave room for course corrections.

I’m not saying our word shouldn’t stand for anything anymore, but I am saying that in these strange times, maybe we need a bit more grace than what we’ve offered ourselves in the past.

I tried it out a few different ways today, and it felt really good:

I’ve been dealing with adrenal fatigue for a few months, and I don’t have my usual amount of energy…for now.

I’ve had to give up strenuous exercise (Farewell, my beautiful 8 minute plank that took years and years of work to accomplish!!!😭), so I’m taking things slower…for now.

Because my health has to be a priority, our house can get messier than I’d like it to be….for now.

But there are new things coming in the future. I will have more energy again at some point, but for now, I don’t need to worry about all the things I can’t do.

The days are getting shorter, and things may feel a bit dark and dreary…for now.

Everyone is tired of masks, social distancing, and all the stress. We feel like everything is just hard and heavy and weird…for now. But it will change.

For anyone who is feeling bogged down, let’s remember – it’s just for now.

For anyone who feels unsure about how consistent we can be about anything this winter, maybe it’s easier to determine what we can manage just for now.

I like to play around with words – sometimes a new way of wording things can change it up just enough to give a fresh burst of insight, enthusiasm, energy, or creativity. For now.🙂

Is there anything in your life that needs a little shift in time frame perspective? What are you dealing with, for now?

What I Need is Not the Same as What You Need

Someone once told me his secret for growing close to God. He said he went for a walk everyday, and spent the whole time praying and blocking out the world around him.

He knew he’d connected with Jesus in the most powerful way if he reached his destination, and couldn’t remember how he got there. He liked to get so lost in prayer that he didn’t hear the birds, didn’t see the cars driving by on the street, and didn’t even notice any litter by the sidewalk. He knew he had reached a deep focus on God when everything else faded away.

And he said the people of his community would be wise to follow this same practice – go for a walk and tune everything out, talking to Jesus. He said we might have more litter, because no one would be noticing it and picking it up, but we would all be closer to God.

It was a strange moment for me to realize how incredibly opposite my experience was from this man’s. I have always measured the success of my daily walks by how present I can be. I actually feel closer to God when I am able to get out of my thoughts, and listen to the birds or pay attention to the shapes of the clouds or the colours of the sky. I know I’ve connected with Jesus when I notice the beauty of nature and feel the breeze on my face. I like to spend my walk thanking Him for the things I’m noticing around me, and feeling His peace settling into all the books and crannies of my overactive mind.

If I get home and I don’t remember how I got there, it means I have been so lost in my own thoughts, I have forgotten God on my walk.

What that man needed to refresh his spirit was exactly the opposite of what I need to refresh my spirit. But when I tried to explain this to him, he could hardly believe it. It had not occurred to him that there might be other ways for people to connect with Jesus. He really thought he had found The Best (and only?) Way.

I think this kind of thing happens often – we find the secret that works for us, the thing which unlocks focus or fervor, and it’s so successful or life-changing that we’re bursting with excitement and want to share it with the world! We have what they’re missing – we could help them! It worked for us! It will work for them!

Or sometimes it’s not quite that pure, and we can so easily see where someone else is obviously going wrong. If only they would do it our way, things would be right.

We make our choices because we think they are good choices. It can be hard to think of things using a different perspective. We like our own way of doing things, and we think others should like it, too.

But this way of thinking can be dangerous, because it suggests that what is right for me will always be right for you. And this is simply not true.

It’s tricky, because this can quickly morph into zero accountability, because “you do you”, and who can really say what is true or absolute anymore?

The extremes tend to be “Everyone should do it my way”, or “Everyone should be able to do their own thing”. It’s easiest to hang out on one end of an extreme. Balance is hard and fuzzy. It’s easier to be black or white instead of grey.

But I don’t think we were made for either of those extremes. We were made to live in community – to have our lives and feelings and opinions and habits constantly bumping into other people, overlapping and getting all mixed up and messy. It can be outrageously uncomfortable, but I think it’s a great way to learn, and to find balance.

I like hanging out with people who agree with me, but I have to reconsider, redirect, and refocus a lot more when I’m around people who don’t agree with me. I can’t stay stuck in my ways when I’m doing life with different kinds of people. I have to work harder to find balance. I have to admit that my way is not the only way. It might not even be the best way. It might be great for me, but not for everyone else.

If I’m being honest, I have to admit I got a bit frustrated with the man who thought we all should get lost in prayer on our walks in order to be close to Jesus. I felt like he was saying we all needed to be exactly the same. And because I didn’t like what he was saying, it made me think long and hard about why this bothered me, and what I thought was a better answer for me personally. I had to work at it. It took effort, but in the end, it was good for me, because I had to figure some things out.

Obviously, I’m not opposed to the idea of getting lost in prayer while walking. I just think there are different ways to go for a walk. And there are different ways to connect with Jesus.

There are many ways to do a lot of things. And when we start insisting on everyone doing things the way WE do them, we’re losing the chance to see a new perspective. We lose the chance to ask questions, be curious, and get a broader picture of all the beautiful, unique ways God chose to create people.

If You Have Conflict, You’re in Good Company

I was reading a Bible story to Everett the other night, about the disciples fighting over who was most important. His children’s Bible does a great job of making these seem like stories about real people, and somehow it stuck with me in a different way than before.

I kept thinking about how the disciples spent a couple of years living with Jesus, and yet they still messed up quite badly. They walked and talked and ate and did everything with Him, but even so, they were still silly enough to bicker with each other over something ridiculous.

It seems like they should have known better. You’d think that being discipled by JESUS would have better results, right?

But they were still humans making human choices and human mistakes.

So this was all on my mind, and then the next morning I got up to do my devotions, and I just happened to be reading the story in Acts about Paul and Barnabas having a “sharp disagreement”. It was like a parade of biblical conflict.

Again, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Paul was instrumental in spreading the Gospel, and he wrote a huge portion of the New Testament, and yet even he got in a fight with Barnabas. And such a bad fight that they parted ways after having spent all that time together! Good Christians still fight.

I don’t want this to be true. I wish everyone could get along all the time.

Especially my children.

Especially Christians in churches.

But wherever there are people together, there will be people in conflict.

I keep thinking about the old song that goes “…and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” What does love look like – absolutely no conflict or disagreement, ever? That’s what we want it to look like, but I think it looks more like people who still make mistakes, and choose to stick around to clean up the mess, and restore the relationship.

Ben says lots of wise things, but one of my favourite things he’s ever said was one time when I messed up very badly. I said something in a public setting to someone which I should not have said, and I felt horrible. But Ben said, “What matters most is not the mistake you made – it’s what you do next to make it right.”

I’ve carried that with me for 10 years, and it still feels just as powerful and true. It doesn’t mean we’re off the hook and have no responsibility to at least try to live in peace and harmony. That’s the goal we shoot for, but we can also know there is much grace when we fall short.

My darling children are actually yelling and screaming at each other this very moment as I write this, and I reminded to extend more grace to them, too. Sooo much grace. After a weekend at the lake with too many late bedtimes, and a jarring return to Monday routine, we will live on grace today!

10 Years of Blogging

This June is my blog’s tenth anniversary. I was looking back at my first post, and it’s amazing to think about how much can change in 10 years.

Those years have been filled with many ups and downs, tons of blessings and answered prayers, but also very hard stretches of uncertainty and pain. I’m thankful for all of it.

Here’s what 10 years looks like for our family:

Ben definitely improves with age!😉 And just look at the girls!!! Plus we added another human being, which is pretty significant.

A friend was commenting recently on how impressive it is that I’ve stuck with this blog for 10 years, but I don’t see it that way. My issue is not usually staying with something – it’s knowing when to stop. I can be very stubborn/determined/committed almost to a fault, so my concern is not so much keeping this blog going, as it is that I’ll know when it’s time to make room for something new.

But as I keep praying about this little spot of mine on the internet, it still feels like a good place to find my thoughts and share them with all of you, who have been my lovely, loyal readers for so long. I feel a bit spoiled – I’ve been spared cruel or critical comments that some people receive online, and I’ve only had good, encouraging experiences in these 10 years of blogging. Thanks so much for making this such a fun, life-giving way to express myself.

I’m so thankful for everyone who has taken the time to comment and participate in the conversation. My very favourite thing about blogging is when people say, “I feel the same way!” And suddenly we’re not alone with our feelings or our struggles, because we realize others can relate and share in it, too.

Here are the top 10 posts of the last 10 years, which are obviously heavily influenced by what people share most on Pinterest or what gets googled (all of which I can see results of, and things get weird!):

Tips for Purging

What I’m Learning as I Purge Our House

I Love My Esophagus

Why and How I’m Choosing to Own Less Clothes

Learning to Like Tea

Do Not Strive for Extraordinary Lives

And We Thought We Were Done….

Why I Read the Old Testament in a Week

Let the Dead Leaves Drop

He’s Here!

While those posts may have gotten the most views, my favourites (other than “He’s Here!”😊) will always be the ones that were hard to write, and scary to publish. It was uncomfortable to put my thoughts out into the world, wondering if this would be the time I shared too much. But then people would begin to comment, and it would become clear that there is still a need for people to be painfully honest, and we heal when we share our stories.

So thank you for showing up, and sharing, and being part of my life in this online way. ❤️ Let me know if you have any topic ideas for the next 10 years.😉

How Do You Process Things?

I am a slow processor. It took me about two and half months to write anything about the pandemic. It was like my ability to express myself in a public way was completely frozen. There were no words. Well, no online words. There were lots of words for Ben. He listened very patiently, and that felt easy and necessary, but for some reason, I couldn’t post a thing online until I was ready.

So I guess it will be another two months before I’ll have anything to say about racism and everything going on in the world right now, because once again, I’m lost in thought, and I won’t resurface for awhile.

I’m okay with it – my whole life, I’ve thought long and hard about most things. The only problem is that sometimes, silence can be interpreted as not caring or not having an opinion. This is far from the truth.

Sitting back and watching a pandemic go by has made it more clear to me than ever how different people have different speeds at which they process things. I admire the people who can jump into action immediately. The world needs people like that, who can take charge quickly and efficiently.

But you know what else the world needs? Slow processors. We need balance. Badly. If we only listen to the fast opinions getting blasted out in quick succession, it doesn’t give us the full picture, and it robs us of perspective.

Because the internet moves so quickly, and we’re a culture addicted to fast results and a quick pace, it feels as though we move on to the next thing before taking the time to process all sides of an issue. Many times over the last few weeks, I’ve finally felt the urge to write about something, and then thought, “Oh, forget it – I missed my opportunity. I took too long to process it, and now it’s not relevant anymore.”

But when I have those thoughts, it disturbs me. I’m not the only person in the world who needs a bit of time to figure out all the thoughts and feelings. How many perspectives are we missing because we as a culture move on too quickly?

I’ve also thought, “I should just get my thoughts out faster. Does it have to matter whether I feel ready or not?”

Yes. Yes, it does. I answered that question for myself fairly quickly. I once heard an interview with Andrew Peterson in which he talked about his songwriting process, and he said something brilliant. He shared a piece of advice he once received that he always sticks to. It went something like this: “Don’t write songs about hard times until you’re through them. If you write a song while you’re still in the middle of something hard, you make the audience your therapist. Wait until you’ve completely dealt with it, and then you’re ready to share it with the world.”

This feels wise and true to me. It’s my filter for knowing when I’m ready to publicly share the things I carry close to me. In person, my mouth says lots of things it probably shouldn’t, but online, I don’t feel ready to say stuff until I’m through it. Facebook is not my therapist. Neither is this blog. It is wonderful to have these platforms to share from publicly, but I always want to use caution and care.

I’m sure there are many other people out there who express themselves at a slower pace. But do we get to hear their voices? Are we moving too quickly to make time and space for those who are slower to process and speak up?

I want to hear all the voices in the room. I want a discussion that is varied and complicated, even if it makes me uncomfortable, because it means more perspectives are being brought to the table. If everyone is agreeing, it probably means a greater variety of voices need to be heard.

There are a few questions I’ve been asking myself recently:

  • Am I seeking opportunities to hear a variety of opinions?
  • Do I make space for those who are slower and quieter in the way they share? (Loudest and fastest to respond does not necessarily mean smartest and most correct!)
  • Am I doing the slow, hard inner work to process things thoroughly and gain a better understanding, instead of taking things at face value?
  • Am I willing to speak up, even when it might not come naturally or easily, so that others can benefit from a wider variety of opinions and perspectives?

These are hard things to do, but as I watch everything going on in the world around me, I keep thinking that I want a deeper, fuller understanding. I’m craving slower reactions, deeper thoughts, more controlled responses from those who have done the work of processing, at all different speeds. I’m thankful for all the people who are putting effort into bringing good words and thoughts into the world.

So if you are the fast type of processor, thank you for leading the way when I’m a few weeks away from having a clue. And if you’re a slow processor, don’t keep quiet because you think you’ve missed the opportunity to share your thoughts. We need all perspectives in order to find balance.

Things I Learn From Kaylia

We had a birthday to celebrate this last weekend. Our sweet, imaginative, creative girl turned 11, which my brain can’t really take in yet, but we had a fun day. Birthdays are a HUGE deal to Kaylia, so I always feel a bit of pressure, but fortunately, she’s able to find joy and pleasure in the smallest things, so it kind of balances out!

I’ve been thinking about how different each of my kids are, and how I learn things from parenting each of them. I’m fascinated by the idea that we have no control over what kind of people our kids will be, but life with them changes and shapes us in significant ways, as we parent them.

Kaylia has taught me a lot, and celebrating her birthday has made me think of what I’ve learned from being her mom:

She creates with reckless abandon.

Kaylia is always making something. Her life is filled with cutting, glueing, sewing, taping, painting, and designing creations with Lego. I live to see her creating things, and I’m inspired by the way she gets it out of her head and into the world. I tend to overthink my creative process, but Kaylia just goes for it.

Over the years, well-meaning friends and family have often given Kaylia craft kits as gifts. She will take all the contents of those kits, completely ignore the instructions, and make her own thing. She has never felt the need to be told how or what to create.

Before we left for our trip to the Bahamas in February, I asked Kaylia’s art teacher if there was anything Kaylia could work on so she wouldn’t fall behind. I thought her response summed things up accurately: “Well, we’re going to be doing some exercises to develop greater freedom in our art, but Kaylia is very free already, so she should be fine!”

She likes what she likes.

Back in the days when we still left the house on a regular basis, Kaylia wore the exact same outfit every time we attended our homeschool group. I asked her once why she always chose the same thing, and she said very matter of factly, “Because it’s my favourite.” She didn’t care about what anyone else thought about her wearing the same thing every time, because she knows what she likes, and she wanted to enjoy it.

When she needs to decide what she wants to buy, or what she wants to keep and what she wants to get rid of, she usually knows exactly what she wants. She’s quick to make decisions because she just knows what things are her favourite, and sees no need to second guess her instincts.

She is true to her own feelings.

Sometimes I’ve tried to nudge her to change her mind or be more open to things she doesn’t want to do, and I do feel there’s a place for that, but at the same time, I admire Kaylia’s ability to know what feels right and resonates deep within herself. She is not usually swayed by what others are doing, because she is very in touch with who she is and what she wants.

As a parent, I’m learning the fine balance between encouraging her to try new things, and being true to herself. I never want to dull her intuition or her ability to know her own mind.

She has great sensitivity.

Kaylia has never recovered from learning that Pluto used to be considered a planet, but is not anymore. The other day, she asked for the second time, “Does it hurt God’s feelings that people think Pluto isn’t a planet?” She’s concerned about this, and it troubles her soft heart.

She can read emotional situations quickly, and will immediately try to smooth things over or find a way to ease the tension.

She believes every event is a BIG event.

Kaylia reminds me to celebrate the little things. This last Valentine’s Day, it was half an hour before supper would be ready when Kaylia decided we COULD NOT let the day pass without a party. I was tired and not really in the mood, but I could see how much it meant to her. I dug through my stash of fancy napkins (courtesy of my mom, because I would never think to buy my own nice napkins) and pulled out some hidden chocolates, while she got to work on decorating the table.

By the time supper was ready, she’d made a beautiful garland, covered the table with confetti, and made Valentine’s to put on everyone’s plate. As we sat there enjoying our little party, I felt so thankful for our sweet girl, who knows the importance of the small things. 💕

Kaylia makes our home more colourful and interesting. I love the ways in which she reminds me to have more fun, more parties, more creativity, and not get too bogged down with the details.

Feeling Small During a Pandemic

A few years ago, my dad was in a serious car accident, and broke both his legs. There were frantic phone calls and lots of quick decisions to be made, and everyone jumped into emergency mode.

My sister is a nurse, and exactly the kind of person you want around during a crisis. She stays cool and calm, explains scary medical stuff in just the right way without freaking anyone out, and takes charge very naturally. She went to the hospital to be with my parents, and I sat around, trying to figure out how to be useful. We went to visit my dad, of course, but I felt pretty useless and helpless about the whole thing.

On the day my dad was transferred to a hospital closer to home, my mom called and asked if I could pick up some groceries for her. She sent me a list, and I was happy to have something useful to do. When I got to the store, I made my way through her list quickly, until I got to the oranges. She hadn’t written down what kind of oranges she wanted, and there were a few different choices. I thought about it for a bit, remembered which ones I’d seen at their house most often, and put those in the cart.

When I got to my parents’ house, my mom started unloading the groceries. When she got to the oranges, she was delighted to find I had bought her favourite kind, and I was relieved I had made the right choice. She made a big deal about those oranges, and when I went home later, I kept thinking about it.

I wondered if it showed me anything about my role in times of crisis. I’ve often wished I could be a little more useful (or even reasonable?) during emergencies, and yet all I did this time was pick the right oranges.

It seemed so unimportant, and yet I knew how much my mom likes having her favourite foods around. It was small, but I could do it. And when other people are busy being heroic nurses, we still need someone who has time to buy the oranges.

I haven’t posted on my blog since this quarantine started. I’ve written a bunch of posts, but never finished them, because nothing felt right. I didn’t know what I had to offer, during a time when so many people have been going through so much. My life feels pretty good right now. I’m not experiencing a lot of stress over the coronavirus, and I haven’t been able to figure out what wise, comforting words need to be said.

If you’re needing bold, confident leadership during this time of crisis, I am not your girl. And many other people are filling that role already, so it’s a bit crowded anyway.

But yesterday, I got a text from a lovely lady I haven’t seen in a long time, and she had a question. She wanted to know if there were any books or podcasts I could recommend for learning to love the simple routine of just staying at home.

I lit up inside, because this is one of my favourite topics, and I could send her a whole bunch of great recommendations. It made me think of buying the oranges.

And it made me realize that I have a strong desire to be helpful and useful, and if it’s in my wheelhouse, I am your girl.

But these things feel so small, and yet lots of little things add up over time. And often, isn’t it exactly the little things we really want?

I have this very clear memory of a beautiful spring evening when I was a kid. My younger sister and I were in the backyard playing two-person baseball, which is as complicated as it sounds, and my mom was washing windows. Sometimes she would watch us play for a bit, and one time she came to hit the ball, but most of the time, she was busy washing her windows.

After awhile, she told us she was going around to wash the windows at the front of the house, and even though we didn’t need her for anything, I remember feeling like things were somehow flat and empty without her there. I just liked having her around. It’s interesting how the simple comfort of her presence made such an impression that I can still clearly remember it. Nothing dramatic or exciting happened – I remember it because I felt safe and happy.

I think about that a lot right now, when I’m wanting to do big, significant things. Not everyone is called to that. Sometimes we’re just called to be around. To be available when someone has a question or needs some groceries.

I have not saved any lives during this pandemic, but I have been here. My kids have felt the security of my constant presence. My husband has needed my help sometimes. And as small as that feels, it’s the part that is before me. Doing the small things faithfully can be really important, too.

I like it that Jesus talks about giving someone a drink of water – whatever we do, we do for Him. I think He’d find oranges important, too.

And if ever there was a time for valuing the small things, it’s now. I mean, we live in a world that lost its mind over toilet paper.

So here’s what I’m trying to remember: Be present. Bring oranges. Do the little things as opportunity presents itself. Be thankful for those who are filling bigger roles, but know that every part is important, even the small ones.

Wherever You Go, There You Are

It’s been a little over a week since we got back from a family vacation to the Bahamas. It was a beautiful, amazing experience. I’ve never seen such incredible scenery, and we attended my sister’s wedding while we were down there, which was really special. We stayed at a house on the beach with my parents, and I’m so thankful for all the beautiful memories. Everett and my dad would go for early morning walks down the beach every day, many games were played that week, and we soaked in that view together.

While it was a really good vacation, it was also hard for me sometimes, because I was not feeling great a lot of the time. My health hasn’t been good this winter, and I’ve had a few old issues flare up, which has been very disappointing. When we decided to book this vacation months ago, I was really hoping I would feel better by this time, but things didn’t work out that way.

As I’ve learned in the past, I have this issue with wanting vacations to be as close to perfect as possible. But I keep forgetting that I go on vacation with an imperfect body, and perfection is a very unrealistic expectation.

I got discouraged sometimes on our vacation, because I just wanted to have a good time with my family, and it was disappointing to have to miss out on things I really wanted to do, or hold back because I wasn’t feeling good.

At one low point, I said to Ben, “I just want to feel like myself again!!”

I’ve said that to him a number of times over this past winter, but for some reason, this time was different. As soon as I said it, the question popped into my head: “What exactly do I mean by ‘myself’? How am I not myself in this moment?”

I spent a lot of time thinking about that for the rest our vacation. Why do I feel like “myself” when I’m feeling healthy, and “not myself” when I’m not doing as well?

I kept thinking about how I am the same person no matter where I am. I’m Kendra when I’m at home, and I’m still Kendra when I go to the Bahamas. I do different things in these places, and I feel differently, but I’m still me, just in different places.

And I thought about how it’s the same when I go through rough patches physically, internally as well as externally. This past winter has been very stressful on my body, and it’s become clear that I’m going through a period of burnout. But even so, I’m Kendra when I’m healthy, and I’m still Kendra when I feel burned out. When I’ve said things like “I just want to feel like myself again!” I didn’t realize how I was rejecting parts of myself. I was basically saying, “I accept my body when it’s strong and healthy, but when it’s weakened by stress or sickness, I reject it.”

When this came together in my mind, I realized how disconnected I had begun to feel over the last few months. I was very hard on myself for how I was feeling. I was frustrated because no matter how hard I was trying, I couldn’t turn things around fast enough to feel well by our trip. I was doing all the right things, but I was pushing myself too hard. I wasn’t accepting where my body was at.

I don’t remember when I first heard the quote “Wherever you go, there you are.” But I do remember thinking it was dumb. Of course you are wherever you go. Why would it be necessary to clarify that?

But somehow, as basic as it seems, I had actually forgotten it. I am me, wherever I go. I am me, no matter how I feel. And as hard as I try, it’s not always possible to make every moment, place, or experience perfect and wonderful. But it IS always possible to be there. To be me, to be fully present, fully accepting of whatever the moment holds, even if it’s not the way I would choose. To accept all parts of myself, and not reject that which is hard or painful, but to keep showing up, no matter what.

This was a lot for me to process – it changed how I felt about our trip, and how I approached things. I gave myself permission to enjoy each moment as best I could, but to accept the fact that right now, I don’t feel my strongest or healthiest. It’s okay to disappointed about that.

But when we got home, I listened to a message that added so much more to all of this. It was a message from The Meeting House about wholistic living, by Danielle Strickland. She started talking about how we as humans have a hard time approaching differences between ourselves and other people. When we approach these differences with fear, it causes pain and hardships. But when we approach these differences with faith and curiosity, it brings about healing and understanding.

Then she went on to explain how we need to do the same thing within ourselves. When we feel differences inside us, like new feelings, imbalances, or sickness, we can choose to approach it with fear, or with faith. When we use the filter of faith, we can trust that God has created our bodies in ways that are complex, beautiful, and amazing. When we detect differences within our own bodies, we can respond with curiosity, and ask, “What is my body trying to say? If I stop to listen, what can I learn?”

When I heard her explain this, it felt like the piece that’s been missing all winter. My body has been telling me to slow down for months, but I never stopped to listen to it. I didn’t want to accept that I was going through a hard patch. I just kept pushing, without even realizing it. I thought I was making good choices, and doing everything for the sake of feeling better. But I wasn’t doing what was needed most, because I was just waiting “to feel like myself again” instead of accepting where I was at.

What I needed most was to stop, rest, and accept that for now, this is the place I find myself in. Still Kendra, still myself, and that’s still a good thing.

Things are not perfect, but I’m here. And there is a lot of goodness right here.

I guess a lot of us are currently finding ourselves in some imperfect places or situations we would not choose. The whole world is going through a confusing and difficult time. But we’re here, and there’s a lot of goodness right here. We don’t always get to control where we end up or what it’s going to look like. But it’s always more productive and healing to approach a situation with curiosity and faith instead of fear, and not shut ourselves off from what’s happening, just because it’s uncomfortable.

What can we learn? What is this situation teaching us? How can we lean into it, and allow it to be what it is, for now? What is here for me in this situation that I might never have noticed in any other place, or any other way?

Wherever you go, there you are. May we stop to listen, accept this present moment, and learn to make it a place of faith, curiosity, and hope, instead of fear.

*If you’d like to listen to the message from The Meeting House, it can be found here.

Family Video

On the one hand, February is quite late to be posting our annual “Year in Review” video. But on the other hand, the calendar says it’s “Family Day”, so that seems like the perfect day for this video! Here in Manitoba, we’re supposed to be celebrating Louis Riel Day, but I really like the idea of Family Day, so this feels right to me. 🙂

It’s probably been eight years since we started this little video tradition, and it makes me so very happy every time! If you ever feel like life is kind of ordinary, and not much changes, make a video with your pictures of the last year, and stick some happy music with it. Your perspective might change completely!

Happy Family Day! Or Louis Riel Day!