Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thankful Thursday

You know those moments where you experience great joy? Do you sometimes go to the place of thinking about what could ruin it? There is vulnerability in experiencing joy and hoping that it won't end up with us being hurt. We're afraid to fully embrace it and that is called foreboding joy. As someone who has experienced loss, I can go there. According to Brene Brown in Braving the Wilderness.

"The only way to combat foreboding joy is gratitude."

Thankful Thursday

Another great reason to practice gratitude, am I right? Let's allow ourselves to feel true joy.

This week, I am grateful for:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

What Happened When I Joined a Hockey Team

Leaving university was a tricky transition for me. For seventeen years straight I had worked hard at my role as a student; I knew what to do each day and what the end goal was. I had the consistent support of my family and my friends – my village. Once I left the city I had been in and started teaching, it felt like everything changed and I floundered. My friends dispersed into their various roles, my evenings were spent planning and marking, and I had to engage with a new community.

Building new relationships isn't something you can rush. 

Over time, I became connected to the school community I was teaching at. I made new friends and ended up marrying another teacher – how's that for building strong relationships? I joined a flag football team with friends from my university days and within a few years felt that I had transitioned well into my new role as a working and married adult in the suburbs.

What happened when I joined a hockey team. How in person connections lifted my spirits and brought about greater joy.

Getting into the Christmas Spirit with Kid-Friendly Netflix Movie Nights

November can be quite dreary and throw in a busy season of basketball after school hours and we are in the need for some calm and cozy connecting after dinner. Our house may not be decorated for the season yet but it has been the perfect opportunity to start watching kid-friendly Christmas movies on Netflix! Looking forward to the magic of Christmas is always fun and a great change of pace. 

What have the kids been watching?

Advent calendar saying make Christmas cookies and watch a movie on Netflix

Friday, November 24, 2017

Glow Christmas in the Fraser Valley

Glow is a Christmas event geared towards people of all ages in Langley, BC. With four light gardens, a 210-foot musical tunnel, food trucks, and Christmas market, it will definitely get you into the Christmas spirit. It has the beauty of outdoor lights in the cozy comfort of an indoor environment–a greenhouse! 

Glow Christmas at Milner Gardens

Some of the things that we enjoyed were:

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thankful Thursday

A wild heart is awake to the pain in the world, but does not diminish its own pain. A wild heart can beat with gratitude and lean in to pure joy without denying the struggle in the world–Brene Brown in Braving the Wilderness.

We know what's going on in the world, we will do our part, we can still have joy in our life.

This speaks to me because at times I feel like "Louise, there are so many big issues in the world. How silly your gratitude is in the grand scheme." But it is good to live in this tension between acknowledging reality and embracing joy. As with each Thursday, this is what I am thankful for today:

Thankful Thursday

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thankful Thursday

Thankfull Thursday

Wow, this week has been so wet and stormy on the west coast. We had a long weekend full of family time (maybe too much?), Remembrance Day activities and just getting stuff done. Today we have our annual review for fostering. This is where they go through the safety checklist in your home (it's a big one) and we will talk over our contract and what our limits are regarding age and needs. We have this talk often as it's good to assess boundaries and reassess after each placement. Check out this graphic below that Brene Brown emailed out this week, so fitting for Thankful Thursdays, right? Let's practice it, team.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Information Overload: Enough is Enough

On this day five years ago I purchased my first iPhone and my life changed. As convenient as it is, it has become way too important to me. At first I had no data so that I would not be tempted to use it when I was out of my home but with the offer of so much for data for basically nothing (okay, not true, our bill is not nothing but it was a deal!), I upgraded. I'm on it a lot. I use it to google facts, recipes, podcasts, Netflix, take photos, text and email. I also use it to browse Facebook and Instagram. I'm not sure what your social media feed and favourite Internet sites are telling you but this is what I seem to hear each and every day...

Information overload in the age of social media and digital devices

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Our Hope for an Intentional Christmas

We recently had a family meeting to discuss the upcoming Christmas season and how we can approach it intentionally. First of all, the kids loved the official term "family meeting" and took it seriously by sitting nicely and raising their hands to contribute. We also finished it off with a cheer which I would recommend – don't need to be too serious! The topic at hand was the reason for Christmas, how much we should be spending on gifts and what sort of items would be considered appropriate for the list. And yes, they know that Santa isn't real although Nya believes that he fills the stockings.

How do you approach Christmas gifts with your kids?

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday

We have a huge decision hanging over our heads in regards to fostering. Taking a break has been so amazing for us again and it's so hard to know what is the best thing for our family and marriage. The pros and cons balance the scale. I would say yes in a second to a six month old with regular needs but that is extremely unlikely based on our experience. Our family has room for a certain amount of energy/needs and it's hard when you have no idea really who you are saying "yes" to. It's also tricky because very few people are in our position (same family make up with similar fostering experiences) so it's hard to find a mentor on this. All that said, it weighs heavily on me each and every day. There was a quote I read this week that says "We'll never see what could be if we allow fear to define where we go" (Logan Wolfrom) which has encouraged me. We have always trusted that God would bring the kids to our home that were meant to be there but lately I have struggled with this because it has been too hard in one particular case. Too much. I also lost trust with the Ministry. This has allowed us to put more boundaries in our fostering requirements (I learn best through experience) but I'm having a harder time with trust in general. So really, it comes down to my faith life too. That's what we are currently wrestling with which can sometimes feel consuming.

That aside, this week I am thankful for:

Monday, November 06, 2017

What Our Arguments Are Really About

This past weekend we took a course called Hold Me Tight. It is a program that focuses on Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). It is the idea that we are dependent on one another for attachment needs (comforting, protecting and nurturing) just as a child is on a parent. It includes working on our emotional connection through being open, attuned and responsive. Here I am touching on the arguments that we have and why we have them which is just one aspect of the course. I found it insightful and I hope you do too.

There I am rage-folding the laundry. Fold roughly. Sigh. Huff. Fold roughly. Sigh. Huff. What has just happened? Well, from the outside it looks like something like this:

Why do we argue so much? How can we work through our conflicts? Using the Hold Me Tight method.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday

Every Thursday I take time to reflect on 10 things that I am grateful for. I started years ago and didn't mean to go for so long but now I can't help it. There has been heaviness in my heart this week as an old student of mine passed away. He was such a kind and friendly boy (I say boy because I still picture him as a grade 9 student) who always had a huge smile on his face. Always. I think of his family and all that they are going through right now. Loss is just so, so hard. It's a messy process and it hurts for a long time (I'm 12 years in and still dealing with it). There is no easy way to switch gears except to say that even in the hard times I have gone through, I let myself feel all the feelings yet tried to remember to focus on the grateful piece too.

This week I am thankful for: