Saturday, October 17, 2009

Top Three

Just a warning, no pictures in this post:) WHAT? I know. Two reasons. I'm at my sisters house babysitting AND I post some of the cutest pictures EVER without any comments. BOO. Yes, to all you, you non commenters! My kids are cute. I get some good pictures. Ya. Kay, done venting:)

During my nights, when I lay there for hours, I come up with `top 3' lists. I often ask Gary what his answers are but he is asleep.
So, the top three life changing things for me, IN INCREASING ORDER, are:

#3: Quitting my job and moving to a remote village in Kenya. I volunteered, teaching and living at a primary boarding school. I also spent some time in the orphanages in Nairobi, feeding and holding the beautiful babies. I was only there for 6 months (came back early because mom got sick) but it was something that I think about every single day. It was so challenging as Gary and I were almost engaged and we had no Internet access, we just depended on our once a week cell phone calls. I would sit in the middle of the cow pasture, where there was actually reception. I ate the same food, ugali and sukuma wiki, every single day. But it was amazing. Beautiful. Sad. Eye opening. Touching. I really hope that one day, Gary and I take the kids to Kenya to do some volunteering.

#2: My mom getting cancer and passing away. This was the first time that something really bad happened to me. I feel like since that point, I can never achieve the level of happiness that I once had. Gary thinks that is sad but I just think it's realistic. My life will never be as full, there is a piece missing. My mom was the greatest support of my entire life (even though she didn't want me to quit my job and go to Kenya, she supported me:) and let us know that we were loved and that she was proud of us. Another thing that this has done, is made me realize that death is now a reality. I don't think there is one time that I leave the house by myself where I don't think `What if this is the time I don't come back?'. Or, if Gary takes one of the boys, I think, `Good thing he didn't take both in case something happens'. Isn't that terrible? HOWEVER, with this sadness, I do have the peace of knowing that my mother is in heaven. And I guess in that comes a huge part of my relationship with God and how that has helped me during this difficult time. I don't think I was angry with God. I was confused. I thought I knew what was better for me. BUT, I truly believe that He grieved with me and that he didn't want her to get sick or to die. She is with Him now. I am certain.

#1: Having kids. Wow. Nothing has changed my day to day and my view of life, as my babies. My life has changed forever in the sense that I think about these 2 little people more than myself. I have to try to make sure that their every needs are met; nutrition, physical health, emotional being, spiritual growth, etc. Together, with Gary, we have been given these gifts. They are such precious gifts and I don't want to mess them up! I want them to be happy and nice and loving. I find them hilarious and adorable. Gary and I have to work as a team, more than ever before, to raise these beautiful boys. I think more than anything else, this has stretched Gary and I, but has made us, as a team, stronger. The biggest thing is that for the most part, I have had to learn to truly put others ahead of myself, whether I like it or not:)

AND you might be saying `Well, what about getting married?! What about Gary?'. I guess marrying Gary was easy. It was just so right. To anyone who knows us before we started dating, it sure didn't feel right when I met him:) I don't know that he has changed my life as much as he has been there for the changes and supported me and loved me and helped me. He has made my life more full and as I know him longer, our love runs wider and deeper. He knows me so well. When I think back to when we first started dating, and his limited knowledge of women, it makes me giggle. I remember when he broke up with me after dating for 4 months and I started crying. He was like, `Why are you crying?' and then, he wanted to still go to the BC Lions game that I had just gotten tickets for. So we went. Yes, 5 minutes after breaking up. AWKWARD. Oh man. We've come a long way!!

What are your top life changers, you non commenters???


  1. Anonymous9:27 PM

    I feel pressure to leave a comment just to get some adorable pictures posted next win! ;)
    Do you remember when our Gr.12 class always bugged you about how we could tell that Gary had a huge crush on you? haha so funny! When i was reading the last part of your post I was picturing Gary peeking through your classroom window while you were teaching us and occasionally coming in the class to 'get something'...smooth.
    I haven't ever purposely thought of my 'top 3'... now you've got me thinkin' :)
    Heidi (Klassen) Rietkerk

  2. I appreciate your vulnerability in talking about your mom, journaling (blogging) your feelings is so important and I know for me, can be apart of healing and just staying emotionally level. It's hard tto also share your feelings and then get no response, so thank you!thank you for keeping life real, for challenging your readers and encouraging them, for making us laugh and sharing...

  3. That is probably one of the best break-up stories that I've ever heard. I can't believe you still went to the game!
    hmmm... my top three in increasing order?
    3)Dropping out of high school led me to stop partying and set me on a much healthier path in life.
    2)This insane extreme year I've been through. I don't think one experience is more impacting than another... Last year was life changing.
    1)Becoming a mom.

    There I commented! I'm bad a commenting but love it when others comment on my posts too :)

  4. I always read your blog and love it and of course, all of your wonderful pictures. You have two beautiful boys!!
    3. Hard to think of... but probably having Matthew as my brother... hes pretty amazing and has been such a great friend to me. Not really an experience but close enough
    2. Moving to Australia and falling in love
    1. Africa. You understand :)

  5. Anonymous2:03 AM

    well, i've commented before, but you got me thinking, so here goes the top 3:
    3)studying theology and all the spiritual and religious changes and challenges i've been through because of it;my relationship to gos will never ever be the same; and i met my husband on campus
    2)my missionary year in south africa.simply life changing.i still think of the kids i took care of every single day and i miss some of them more than i could ever tell!
    1)my daughters. it's not so much the raising them, but more the birth experience and the changes i made for them, because i simply wanted to. i never loved that much in my whole life.

    thanks for sharing and i look forward to the pictures:)

    p.s.: if you want to read my blog, just drop me a line so that i can invite you:)

  6. i was going to comment about the same thing heidi did! everyone teasing you every bio class about gary...and both of you in denial about it, at least to your students. the last part of your post brought back the same funny memory!

    kristin heinen

  7. not sure about my top life changers, now i'll be thinking about it :) i hope that in 5 months i will also be able to say africa is one of them. sorry for not commenting very often! i read what you write, and love the pics of your kids :)

  8. great blog post. i don't think i'm a non-commenter, but all the same, i'll comment here too :)

    i haven't really thought about my top 3, but i'll give it a first-draft attempt :)

    3. my one year in college. went through a big breakup and many other relationship challenges that year, but God used those things (and SO many other things in that year) to really change me. i changed my attitude, i grew spiritually, became more confident and sure of who i was.

    2. kids. i think it's pretty self-explanatory. we have really great kids, but that's not to say we don't have challenges with them (obviously), and i am constantly challenged in how i live my life as an example to them. trying to be a good model in personality, faith, activity, etc. and trying to teach them about God.

    3. Marrying Alf. Well, having him in my life overall. we have not had a difficult relationship by any means, but we work hard at it, he challenges me to be a better person, and really encourages me to keep my focus on God, recognizing that all things fall into place behind Him.

  9. the reason you don't get comments about your awesome photos of your adorable kids is because we're all jealous. Of your camera. (and your kids, they are cuuuuute).
    No, I'm kidding. It's not jealousy, it's volume. I can comment every day on how great your pics are, but it gets harder to say it in a new, creative way, you know? :) I don't want to sound insincere!

    I appreciate your honesty wrt your mom, too. It is really heartwrenching to hear about all the ways your mom's death has affected you, and how you can't leave the house without wondering. I really do feel for you. I mean, I have had some shit happen to me, but my mom's still around to help me with that shit, you know?? It really sucks that your mom is gone.

    Good luck with Dr Hormone!

  10. oh yes, and the top 3 life changing things;
    3) trip to thailand and cambodia in high school to do relief work with an organization. opened my eyes to a world beyond teenage shortsighted self absorption, and taught me humility and compassion
    2) having children. first, with Ayden, I learned how to love and be selfless. then, with Matthew, I learned (a) that I can be a monster of a human being, and (b) some pretty hefty humility when it comes to parenting. then, with Riley, I learned that redemption is possible and forgiveness is universal. And the 2 births made me feel powerful and tuned in to myself and God, and grown up and experienced in a way I never felt before I had babies.
    3) working in emergency medicine has changed the way I look at life. I take very little for granted. I am calm under pressure. I have confidence. I have good priorities because I know how brief life is. I work hard. I think ten steps ahead. I make choices decisively. I have no delusions as to my ability to change fate or cheat death in any way, shape, or form. I live with gratitude. And I love to help people. That never gets old.

    I feel bad that becoming a Christian isn't in there, but it happened RIGHT before I went to Thailand in high school, so it is inherent in that experience. The trip consolidated my relationship with and experience of God.

  11. Mona hit the nail on the head about photo comments... you post so many cute/beautiful/great photos of your family that I would feel insincere commenting the same thing over and over. But rest assured I enjoy appreciate and am inspired by them!

  12. I know I'm a few days late but I still want to contribute my top 3:

    3. Becoming a midwife unexpectedly.
    2. Moving to Asia and working with the poor.
    1. Having and beating cancer - Definitely the most life-changing thing I've gone through so far. Before my diagnosis at age 19 I was headed for disaster as I was getting deeper and deeper into drugs and partying. Having cancer led to my life being turned around in every area. I became reconciled to my parents, I gave my life to God and started genuinely following him, I started taking care of myself physically and I was led to study nutrition on the opposite corner of the US where I met my husband, which led to #2 on this list.

    I'm sure once we become parents at least one of these things will get kicked off the list.

    Thanks for spurring the top 3 topic. I enjoyed reading everyone's responses.