Trick or Treat or skip the sweets.

Its the morning of Halloween and my children have no idea. They are 1.5 and 3 years old (well he will be 3 in 5 days) and they are treating today like any other day. Why wouldn’t they? They have no idea what Halloween is. We carved pumpkins the other night and my son kept asking why we were making them. Valid question. We went to a dollar store to pick up party supplies for his up coming birthday party and we were bombarded with Halloween decorations every corner we turned. My son asked me this morning while he was sitting on the toilet and watching one of the many spiders in our house crawl across the bathroom floor why people call spiders spooky.

My children are at the age where they are so mold-able. The are like little sponges and I have a huge influence in what they absorb. How I describe to them what Halloween is and what customs my husband and I involve them in is totally up to us.

When I was growing up we never, not even once, went trick or treating. We would participate at the churches Harvest Party or we would go swimming at the local pool. I remember a year where we turned off all our lights and just played hide and seek in the dark.

I never felt as if I was missing out on too much because my parents always bought the candy on november 1st when it was on sale. That is the most important part in the eyes of a child. When I got older my dad would tell us the History of Halloween  and the roots of what it is people are celebrating. Then we made our own decisions.

My husband always went trick or treating every year with his family. When we got married we just handed out candy until the day my son arrived (well almost a year after his birthday) we had to decide what we were going to do. we had just moved into our new house and new neighborhood so we decided to dress up our “little bear” and go and meet our neighbors. We trick or treated around our neighborhood and introduced our selves. Some neighbors still refer to my son as the little bear.

The next year we had our daughter and my sister came with her little family to join us. We went door to door and came home and ate all our kids candy and played board games while the little babies slept.

This year. They are aware. We are getting to the point where we need to start making decisions based on how we are going to educate them on this “Holiday”. There is a lot of darkness in this Holiday and as a Christian I am called to be the Light in the Dark. But what does that look like? We are still dressing up our little panda and lion and heading over to Nana and Opa’s house to take all their candy while they gush over their cute little grand babies. But what are going to do the following years? Do we hide and protest an evil holiday by not participating in it? Do we participate in it and just ignore the evil?

We have some praying and thinking to do this coming year.

What do you do? Where is God in Halloween? is there a way to participate that lets Gods light shine?

-Lion

My Life's Work

 

I have been for the past 10 years wanting to work in a Church Youth Ministry setting. Here I am, in my office, filled with duct tape cats, and free couches from an event called “bigger or better”. coffee, water, thank you cards, old computer speakers, leftover paint from my house and even a bike. THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY DREAM. today it hit me, i am sitting at my desk, on my computer, in MY office. I am so thankful God has given me the patience for his plan to unfold in his timing. I don’t think i would of thanked God for this if i have never had my own office (i have always shared in all work settings), if i was young and got it as soon as i wanted it. And i am also thankful i have started my home life before receiving this interim (yes not permanent) position. Because I don’t have this job permanently (yes i will apply when the position is available), i have been able to look at work with passion, intentionally creating good community right from the beginning. focusing on starting on the right foot because i potentially don’t have the time to foster a long term goal. I am also holding my Job loosely, so that God can make divine appointments, strategies that i have no part.

THANK YOU GOD!

here is a beautiful picture of my office 🙂 I know to some it doesn’t look beautiful, but to me this is one of the most proudest moments i have had. 5 years of school, 7 years of ministry, i worked and paid for this moment. and obviously God was the center of each decision towards it.

 

– Owl

 

 

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Goal Setting Girls

I am amazing, and I mean amazing, at making plans, setting goals, or even just writing to do lists. I thrive at the first stage of getting organized and making changes. What I need improvement at is actually following through.

I recently read this blog post on a group of women who decided to do an exercise and food challenge. They made a point system that each one of them followed and at the end of the month they tallied how many points they each got and the one with the most points was the winner. The prize was the Jackpot of money they all contributed equally to at the beginning of the challenge.

I loved this idea. I immediately started telling everyone I know about it and how excited I was to try/ start something like this with my friends. Typical Lion. Make huge plans, get super pumped and then slowly let the “romance” fade.

A friend I have had thankfully read the same blog post and was inspired to make some changes as well, but with a twist. She invited a few of us to a group she created and told us her ideas of what the rules should be.

Everyone needs to make changes in their lives and everyone also needs some motivation so what better way to put these two together than a healthy competition.

Here are our rules:

1. Everyone makes their own point system out of 50. Pick the areas in your life that you want to see change and assign it a point value.

2.At the end of each day tally up your points and keep track of each days total

3. Honour system. You are only cheating yourself.

4. Put 10 dollars into the pot

5. Be realistic in your goals but make sure it is not easy to reach 50 points each day

Here is what My goals are:

Food (20 points)

(5) No Dairy

(5) Only Good Carbs

(5) Drink 2Ls of water a day

(5) No food after 8:30pm

Exercise (15 points)

(5) for every 15 minutes of exercise (weights, running, sports, fast paced walk, bike ride)

Personal Life (15 points)

(5) at least 20 minutes spent with God.

(3) work on one of my mini projects (blog, story boards, photo albums, ect)

(2) organize/clean something in the house. (besides kitchen and vacuuming and laundry)

(3) Going to bed with a clean kitchen and playroom

(2) No Facebook while children are awake.

On the first day I got 45 points. Second day I got 40.

Each day is hard. especially the fact that a lot of it means I need to find time to do stuff while the children are not awake.  I am finding I am eating WAY better and I am using my Nap time a lot more productively.

I am almost done day 3 and so far It looks like I will be getting 50 points!!! just need to complete a run and finish off my water bottle. oh and avoid cheese at all cost!

The best part of this whole thing is that it is a group of women (now up to 21 of us) all supporting each other to take care of ourselves better and reach goals that are too overwhelming to be motivated to do alone.

I am loving the healthy competition and support I get from the group. I love the fact that I am changing all aspects of my life slowly and gradually. This makes me confident that these changes me because a permanent fixture to my days.

Plus who doesn’t want to win $210 and create better life habits? Call me crazy but I believe each one of us is going to come out a winner. The only difference is, I will have some extra cash in my pocket! 😉

Lion

Here is the Blog that inspired this group : http://valleyparentmagazine.com/2013/07/03/this-mom-got-fit/

It's not just a teenager problem

Just picture this; You have been up with your baby, they are playing while you make coffee, you are counting when he woke up to when he should go for his nap (for me it is usually 1-1.5 hrs), you take moments to pee, make coffee, check your instagram feed, facebook, blog,email, whatever else you can find. The time is for him to get a diaper change and go for his nap, you put your phone down, after taking a video of your son doing something cute and you want your husband to see it or your instagram feed. Put your babe down, head to the couch to turn on netflix, grab a new coffee or reheat yours in the microwave. While you are watching whatever show you cherish for your morning naps (that you swear your only going to watch 1 episode), you are also surfing on your phone, pinterest, etsy app, or just looking at instagram and facecreeping. than you hear the babbling of your child. you thought it was only 30 min has now turned into the FULL nap time, you don’t feel rested, you feel frustrated that the laundry has piled, or your book you have wanted to read has dust on it (thats my bible and a book for work).

You have just spent all our moments you thought you deserved in front of a screen, sometimes more than one screen! and we thought teenagers were obsessed with there phones.We have told ourselves, that relaxing means looking at our phones, or watching a show that means nothing to us.

I have been noticing this problem with myself, when i have some youth over, and owlet is napping, I usually am one of the first people on there phones (i have a candy crush problem) and my teenage friends usually don’t wait too long before they are connected to the wifi or charging there devices. husband comes home, tired (usually naps) but before anything happens he is also on his phone looking at sport stats, or checking things he didn’t have a chance to look at while at work (he drives a lot so not a lot of phone time ). I feel like as soon as we have moments by ourself or what we deem unimportant times WE ARE ALL ON OUR PHONES! Sure you can justify i am being hip with the kids, or i DESERVE  to be on my phone. We have all been fed LIES. I feel like we have camera’s on our phones so we can take the millionth photo of our child doing something goofy. but really, it is just adding to the storage issues on our phone. For example, i can’t even update my IOS because I have too much of everything.

Why do we do this? why don’t we spend time with people instead of fake people we think we care about? I have heard so many people start sentences like this ” on facebook i saw so and so doing this” or “they posted on instagram a meme”…

I have called out myself and my husband about our phones, we are not perfect, and have started making sure we spend time together talking and hanging out with our son on the floor, playing (we usually have always been on the floor semi playing, but our phones have always been at arms reach). now we put our phones away, in our bedrooms, if someone needs to get a hold of us we could hear the phone ring. How often do we look back at past photo’s of ourselves? or of our family? why do we care so much about getting ALL those photo’s. People have spent years taking pictures and not instantly seeing them after. I have decided (hardest decision) to take less photo’s and to be apart of the NOW and not the past or what is happening in other peoples current now.

What do you do? are you in love with your phone? can you handle an hour a day without it at arms reach?

– Owl

The New Normal

When I was growing up, it was literally all rainbows and butterflies. We lived on a bit of property, I was homeschooled, I have 3 siblings whom majority of the time got along and played for days. It was beautiful, I would sing to the trees on our property, see a deer every now and than, we would go canoeing on our tiny pond and play make believe games in which we could be whoever we wanted to be (or who our eldest brother dictated us to be). I LOVED ALL OF IT! Dad would come home, give us all hugs, play with us and be goofy while mom made a delicious non-preservative meal in which she used the eggs from our neighbours hobby farm.

I am sure I am not remembering all of it properly, but this is some of my earliest memories of my life. This was my normal.

With moving to a cul-de-sac, dad changing Jobs and our family switching churches and denominations my normal changed to this “new” normal. we had a daycare in the house, was learning by correspondence and my two eldest siblings went to a private school. It was different. I actually remember not really liking the new change, the only thing i liked is that i had friends who lived in my cul-de-sac, but some of them were rude, and i was very naive so i didn’t understand a lot of what they were saying. I just learned to adjust to what i thought was normal. My siblings and I were no longer that close, just my younger brother and I kind of clung on to the hope that things would go back to the way it was.

When my mom was diagnosed with Clinical Depression, my life made another adjustment. I didn’t understand what had happened or what to do for a long time after, probably not till after i graduated high school. My life went from family oriented, to friends, church, my faith in Jesus. My main goal was to reach out to as many friends as i had and share with them the Faith I had learned to appreciate and lean on. I loved my family, we were all growing up, and going different ways. I think no matter what had happened with my mom, I know my siblings and I would of done the exact same thing we did, we all went towards the path we felt was right for us. We grew up. this was my new normal.

moving out of my parents house, closer to school, and with friends, this was an exciting adjustment. becoming an adult. i was so good with my finances, i had money to save and use, I got to buy my own groceries, hang out as late as i wanted, and be who i wanted to be. this normal was a new and exciting one.

I met my husband, a whirlwind of dating for 3 months than getting engaged, this new normal of being “off the market” was an adjustment, I had lots of guy friends who i found out were in pursuit of me (which i found a little odd). I had heartaches and breaks but I LOVED MY FIANCE, he was a light of hope and future. my new normal was exciting, scary but so hopeful.

My normal has changed every year since being married. from paying off debt and hating our jobs, to spending 8 months in thailand, having roommate,both going to school, husband finishing school while i worked, to having our first baby. we have moved probably once a year. Now, we have a rental house, a 1 year old beautiful boy, a high school international student (whom we love!), I have a job as a youth pastor, my husband working for Lays Chips (who would of thought that!), this new normal was one we were waiting for, It has been a difficult adjustment (double income, daycare, two cars), i am so used to living paycheck to paycheck, or not having possessions, that this has been difficult. I have heard the harder you work for something, the more glorious it is when it happens. We have worked so hard to get where we are today, and it has been glorious. We are trying to hold everything loosely and thankfully.

Everyone has what they call normal, it is different than mine, but doesn’t mean it is better or worse, it is your normal. We need to stop comparing normals to others. Just see what God has given us and be thankful.  it would be so easy to spin my life story into a sob fest, I think anyone can do it to there pasts. But who I am today isn’t my past, I am me through Christ that strengthens me.

Just a little thought I have been thinking

-Owl

Abortion, Pornography, Divorce… Feeling uncomfortable yet?

you whisper to your friend about someone you know going through something. “how tragic! how could they do that? I knew this would happen? I’m not surprised…”

Why must these hot topics always be in whispers and said only between the parties that are going through it? why can’t we talk about Mental Illness, Divorce, Homosexuality, Pornography, Abortion, Media Content in the open. I want to air out the lies from the truths. the hurt with healing, and the shame and guilt with freedom.

In youth we have just started a “hot topic” series. This is meant for our youth to get a professional or someone who has gone through it to come in and create a space for questions and to melt away the uncomfortable feeling of a hot topic to a knowledgable one. So far we have discussed Abortion. We created a space where students were able to ask questions (and boy did they ask questions) get stats, scenarios and hot issues involving this topic all in one sitting. The best part is it is in a safe, love filled environment. With these events i have asked parents to partner with me in praying for, talking with, and sharing their experiences with the specific topic. I give all the details I know to parents in advance and they either are supportive and send their child knowing what they will learn, or they don’t ( i am not offended if parents choose not to send).

The facts. Did you know that in Canada it is Legal to have an abortion at ANY stage of pregnancy! So until you conceive, you are allowed to choose what you want to do. You also don’t need parental consent to have an abortion, and no one needs to know. We need parental consent to watch a Rated R movie, get our belly button or nose pierced, but to have an abortion, Nah, why would there parents need to know about it.

I know that me writing this post will cause controversy, but the stats and facts are real. Whether you are Christian or not, this is happening. according to stats, 1/3 of babies born since 1988 have been aborted in Canada. I am missing 33 percent of my age category.

I am sticking to stats, but in my opinion I don’t know how i can neglect the facts of abortion. I see it hurt women, there families and I have seen how much regret is faced on the other side. I know there will always be exceptions to everything, but i am not sure how many exceptions there are to this specific topic.

I am very proud of the parents in my youth group. they have decided to equip their children in knowledge of this hot topic to help support there friends dealing with this issue. The main point is to allow the youth to be aware of what the actual facts are and to help them know what to do when something like this happens to a close friend or themselves.

Do you know what you would do if someone told you they were having an abortion?

-Owl