Thursday, October 8, 2015

Our Western Canada Vacation - Part 1

In May, my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary by taking a road trip in Western Canada!  I'm going to split my posts about our trip into six parts, because it would be way too long of a post if I put it all in one!  We were gone for 17 days, from May 9-25.

This first part includes May 9-11.

We left on May 9 from our home province of Manitoba and headed to Saskatchewan.  These are certainly not the most thrilling provinces of Canada.  No offense to anyone who lives in them or loves them.  But, apart from some specific areas (where we did not go), traveling through is mostly just a view of highway surrounded by endless flat fields and pastures.

Leaving on our road trip early Saturday afternoon!
When the most exciting thing you've seen all day is a loose herd of cattle some men are trying to corral, it's probably time to call it a night.
After spending the night in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, we woke up to Mother's Day.  Having celebrated with our moms before leaving, and being on the road away from commercialism, I honestly don't recall noticing it much.  I noticed it more the day before, when we stopped in at a mall and there were daddies with kiddos everywhere.  It affected me in that crazy way of feeling sad at the same time as thinking they were all so sweet.

Back to the trip.  It was a lot more driving through Saskatchewan.  There were a lot of big puddles beside the highway full of shore birds and ducks.
One lake we stopped at was called Reed Lake and it had a tower we climbed up to birdwatch.

American Avocet, one of my favourite birds.
We arrived in Calgary, Alberta for the night.  The next day we went to the Calgary Zoo!  I love zoos, but have been to very few.  Neither Hubby or I had ever been to the Calgary Zoo before.  The main animals that I had never seen before were giraffes, hippos, rhinos, gorillas, and most of the kinds of penguins.

King Penguins are disappointingly smaller than I imagined, but still regal.
Attractive, eh?  Lol!

The rhino looked really prehistoric.
Mama & baby.  I love meerkats!  There were lots of them; they were standing in the sunshine and as they got sleepy they almost fell over - very funny! 
The conservatory and gardens were beautiful.
We left Calgary which meant we started seeing mountains, and stayed for night at a really nice place - Falcon Crest Lodge in Canmore, Alberta.  Both of us agreed we'd like to come back to this specific lodge and stay longer!

Please come back to read the second part tomorrow :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


I am pretty excited!  I am doing my first ever giveaway on this blog!

Recently my husband & I finished the book "By This Name" by John R. Cross, and it was SO worth the read! 

Basically the author goes through the Bible from beginning to end.  He explains the main story of the Bible and ties it altogether so it makes sense.  I know, at first that may not sound super-thrilling, but I found this book grabbed my attention and I wanted to see how it all turned out!  If you've read the Bible but never "got" it, or if you've heard a lot about the Bible but never read it, this book is for you.  It's even worth it if you already feel you know the Bible!  And if you are wary about reading anything "religious", the author is careful not to do any "arm-twisting" to make one believe the Bible's message - it's presented objectively. 

I love how everything came together at the end like a puzzle and I could see the big picture.  This is my hope for you, too, and that's why I'm giving away a copy to one winner!  Just leave a comment on this post and you will be entered in the draw!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(I am not being paid or in any way compensated for doing this giveaway; no one asked me to do this; I just love this book, and love you, my readers, so much, that I wanted you to have a copy of this book as well!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


I knew when I started this blog that I wouldn't be a frequent poster, but lately I feel like I've really dropped the ball! Since I've started this blog, I've posted at least once every month, but I even missed a whole month (May - granted, we were gone for 1/2 of it) recently. Sorry about that and thank you to those who keep checking back! (I do try to keep updating our timeline even when I'm not blogging, if you want to check that.)

I haven't been posting much for a couple reasons. Mainly because there's things I could say, but don't want to, so rather than say something, I've said nothing. Also, we've been busy!

March and April were both difficult months. We were gone for 17 days in May, celebrating our 10th  anniversary with a road trip to Alberta and BC. Pretty much the moment we came back, our condo sold and we went house-hunting, and then bought one in June. Hubby's mom got diagnosed with colon cancer in July. We move in August, at which time the renos start. Also, summertime is when Hubby works 11-13 hour days. Whew! I feel worn out just re-reading that list.

Life has been stressful, but I don't feel right complaining. There's been a lot of good, too. It's summertime! Hard times are always easier to handle when I can go outside and enjoy the flowers and heat (I am in my hammock right now - I can hear a baby, which makes me feel sorta happy/sad, and birds, and smell freshly mown lawn, and see my marigolds and apple tree). Hubby & I both have family that loves us and that we love, and they almost all live nearby. Most importantly, Jesus loves me and I love Him. I'm so thankful that He died instead of me and paid for my sin so that I don't have to. He is such a wonderful God and I am so thankful for Him! When everything else goes "wrong", or I have no idea what my purpose is and feel useless and lonely, I can always rely on Him to never change, to never leave me, and to always love me. He is so good!

How has life been going for you lately? Has your summer been relaxing?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I'm Not Super Woman

How long are your days? Everyone's varies, I imagine, but mine are really short. My husband's days are really long.

The time I get up changes, but in general it's between 11 and 1. Bedtime varies, too, but is also between 11 and 1, and then it takes me 1-2 hours to fall asleep. I usually get 8 1/2 - 10 1/2 hours of sleep. That leaves me with roughly a 13-14 hour day.

During the week, Hubby gets up at about 6. He works from 7 am to around 6-7 pm.  He squeezes in a shower and supper, and a couple minutes of downtime, a couple minutes with me, and maybe a couple minutes of doing something that needs to be done. Then, waaaay overtired, he crashes into bed and conks out in literally seconds (I've counted) - usually also around 11-1, because he likes to go to bed the same time as me. This gives him 4-6 hours of sleep a night, a 12-14 hour workday, and about 5 hours in the evening during which he is EXHAUSTED. I don't know how to convince him to go to bed earlier, and I know it's costing him his health. It's disheartening and a little scary for me.

You may wonder why I go to bed so late and get up so late. It's because I don't have a choice. Well, unless I want to risk having a seizure. Which I don't. My kind of epilepsy, JME (Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy), is characterized by jerking of the arms in the early mornings and after too little sleep. (There are other lesser triggers as well, but this is the main one.) Too much jerking usually equals a grand mal seizure. So I control my epilepsy with medication, sleep, prayer, and watching my other triggers. In this way I only have, on average, a grand mal seizure every 1 1/2 years. Not bad, eh?

So, yes, I hate sleeping so much. It sucks. It hurts. It frustrates others. I've missed out on many morning events and will miss out on many more. Little things, like restaurant breakfasts that close by 9, 10, or even 11. Sunrises. Parades. Big things, like weddings. Funerals. Christmas. Scheduling in "life" is different for me and my hubby. Think what booking appointments, taking vacations, and family gatherings would look like for you if you could never start your day before 11, noon, or even 1 am. That is my life. I hate inconveniencing and disappointing those around me. Some have chosen to understand and work with us; others haven't.

BUT. If sleeping in is what keeps my jerking at bay? And thus keeps my seizures away? If sleeping in actually does the opposite and helps my whole day NOT be wasted (since jerking keeps me in bed for the day)? If sleeping in relieves my mom's stress ten-fold? My husband's stress a hundred-fold? If sleeping in helps my body not feel for days like it was run over by a steamroller (what a seizure feels like)? And helps me keep my memory and emotions fairly intact (a seizure wreaks havoc with both for weeks)? Then, yes. Then I accept the remedy.

I do wish I could be "super woman". I would like to hold down a job, birth children, adopt from overseas, homeschool, have friends, write an amazing, consistent blog, encourage people spiritually, scrapbook every week, cook healthy meals, exercise, volunteer, drive, take vacations, host people over at our home...the list could go on. But this is not who I am. Whether due directly to my epilepsy, my short days, other health issues, past experiences, faults of my own, or reasons I do not understand, this is not who I am. I probably never will be my ideal "super woman".

And that's okay. As long as I am who my Saviour, Jesus, wants me to be. And I am. He wants me to be His. I believe Him and I trust Him so I am His. I know that He is in control and this brings me HUGE comfort. What also brings me peace is being willing to do whatever He wants. When I was fighting to do what I wanted because I was scared His plans would be scary and sad, I wasn't at peace at all. When I was willing to do His will, I learned that He takes away desire for the things He doesn't want you to do, so that it isn't as big a deal as you thought it would be. It's ironic, but the lack of desire for the thing I wanted was the very thing I feared! But when I let Him run my life, well, of course you don't miss something you no longer desire. Silly me. God always knows best. I really, truly believe this.

I've gotten a little off track. Let me conclude my thoughts. I have short days that make me feel like I can't accomplish everything I feel like a woman my age should. It's also hard for me to miss out on morning events and I know it's hard in some ways for my loved ones, too. But to avoid seizures and the stress it puts on my already-exhausted husband, I accept the remedy of sleeping in. Also, as long as I am the woman God wants me to be, it is okay if I cannot be the woman I desire to be. In fact, if I desire to be a woman that pleases God, I will most likely lose the desire to be "super woman". I am so thankful for the contentment that a trusting, dependent, relying, and willing relationship with Christ brings.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

TEN Years!!!

Today is our 10th Anniversary!  

It's been ten years of highs, lows, and a lot of just everyday life:

-We got married!
-We went and worked at a fishing lodge in a neighbouring province for the first 4 months of our married life.  I had 2 seizures there and one shortly thereafter.
-After the lodge we came back and Hubby resumed working at a boat factory while I stayed at home.
-We lived in a borrowed camper trailer on our yard while we helped renovate a tiny, uninhabited house that we rented from Hubby's parents.  
-Just in time for winter, we moved into said tiny house.
-We got our first [outdoor] cat, followed over the next 7 years by a succession of many more outdoor cats!
-We got our "baby", our [indoor] cat, Smacky.  He was ours for 7 years and still remains in our hearts.
-My brother and his wife came home from China with their daughter whom they adopted at the age of 22 months; I now had 3 wonderful nieces.
-Hubby got laid off from his job at the boat factory just before Christmas.  He immediately went and got hired driving semi-truck long distance.
-After 4 years of being on antidepressants and living with depression, anxiety, and physical side effects for those 4 years, we caught on that the drugs were doing the damage, and I spent the following 4 months withdrawing from them, and the next number of months and years recovering.
-In the middle of the brutal drug withdrawal, Hubby & I went on a really great trip to Oshkosh, WI for the biggest annual airshow in the world.
-My biological clock kicked in and I started wanting to start a family.
-We bought the house we were renting.
-Hubby left his job driving truck and went to work as a flight instructor.  The new job didn't pay as well as planned and caused us a lot of financial struggles.
-We got another [indoor] cat, Chilla, whom we had for 2 years.
-We went on an amazing trip with my brother, sister-in-law, and their almost-4-year-old daughter whom we got to babysit for a chunk of the trip.
-After almost 3 years seizure-free, I had two this year.
-Hubby had to quit flight instructing and went and got a job driving gravel truck, because we were weeks away from going bankrupt.  Later in the year he switched back to driving semi-truck, but this time around he was home every night.
-I went through a lot of negative health experiences, some of which were short-lived and some of which I am still dealing with.  I had an exploratory laparoscopy as well and got my appendix out at the same time.
-We gradually quit attending our church that we'd been part of for about the last 5 years, due to both my poor health that wasn't allowing me to get up in the mornings and our changing spiritual beliefs.
-I continued to experience more poor health.
-We took a major step and quit trying to conceive, causing a lot of grieving, and started switching me from one seizure med to another, and decided to adopt.
-I completed the change from one seizure med to the other.
-Started the process of subdividing our land, which was a huge, long hassle.
-We had to wait for the medication change to be over, and our land to be subdivided and sold, before we moved any further forward with adoption.  I spent a lot of time researching adoption and reading adoption blogs.
-My oldest sister (but only 35) got diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was a very rough year for her, her daughters, and our family.  Thankfully she is fine now!
-I turned 30. 
-In preparation for moving and hopefully adopting a baby, we reluctantly gave away our cat, my baby, Smacky.  We also gave away our precious last outdoor kitty, Buddy.
-We sold our land and our house.
-We applied for adoption and got to work on the approval process.
-We moved out of the country and into a condo in town, and renovated it.
-Hubby quit driving semi-truck and started dispatching at the same place, and then was shortly let go from the job due to being unwilling to break the law.
-We got approved to adopt!
-I became an independent rep for Regal Gifts, but still stay at home.
-Hubby resumed flight training and passed his flight tests, put in resumes for flying jobs, and started driving gravel truck.
-We tried to sell our condo but after a few months on the market with no bites, took it off again.
-We had our annual update and found out we had been shown to zero expectant parents in the last year.
-After almost 6 years of being seizure-free, I had another one.
-Hubby turned 30.
-We found out near the end of the year, that in the last six months, we had been shown 3 times!
-We put our condo up for sale again.
-I had another seizure.  I plan on going up on my meds to better control my epilepsy; I want to be the best mom possible if God so chooses for me to be a mom.
-We are busy working on our annual update for adoption and excitedly planning our 10th anniversary road trip!

Happy Anniversary, Lee!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Motherhood Month - 16

Progress:  1 year + 11 months since we were approved to adopt.  Working on our annual update.

How I'm Feeling:  It's been rough.  I've been feeling like I've lost support from people who previously supported us in our adoption journey.  Also, I'm realizing that after 2 years I can't still expect people to be excited for us; adopting is on our minds more than others and I have to tell myself that's okay.  I was feeling insecure and needing some validation so there was some crying on Sunday, but my mom is so sweet; she could tell immediately what was wrong and knew just want to say to comfort and encourage me, and let me cry on her shoulder.  So at the same time as things being rough there have been good things that have come out of it.

Craving:  Nothing, really, as far as food goes.

Thoughts About Our Future Child:  I just hope you will always feel as loved as you are.

Thoughts About Our Child's Expectant Mom:  Looking forward to getting to know you.

Most Recent Baby Purchase/Gift:  Nothing lately.

Friday, April 10, 2015

His Steadfast Love is Clear

I admit I'm feeling a little disheartened lately.

We've got a lot going on.  Our annual adoption update, planning our 10-year anniversary vacation, selling our house, applying for jobs, and getting a grip on my health.  Amongst all that is everyday-life responsibilities.

Oddly enough, I feel like I am really growing spiritually while at the same time feeling like God is not being overly clear-spoken.

I have to cling to His promises, His truths, and what is clear. 

I've been reading a lot in the Psalms lately, and I have been both encouraged and taught a lot.  I've also been re-reading the book "Fear Not" by a compilation of authors.  Here are some bits & pieces of what I have been learning lately:

- God's chosen path for me may be a more difficult one than the one I would choose, yet it may be a more fulfilling one.
- I can only see the steps in front of me.  I cannot see around the curves ahead.  My future here on earth is unknown to me. 
- The future is in God's hands.  He knows the best path for me.  He can see all the steps ahead.

- There is no problem so big or too hard for God to solve.
- The reason I know this is because He solved the hardest problem ever - a perfect God forgiving sinners who deserved death.  He managed to do this without breaking any promises nor compromising His perfect love and perfect justice.

- God's love is absolutely steadfast.  Man will fail me.  But God = steadfast love.  Just look at these verses:
  • "But I, through the abundance of Your steadfast love will enter Your house..."  Psalm 5:7
  • "But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation."  Psalm 13:5
  • "Remember Your mercy, O Lord, and Your steadfast love, for they have been from of old."  Psalm 25:6
  • "All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness..."  Psalm 25:10
  • "For Your steadfast love is before my eyes..."  Psalm 26:3
  • " me in Your steadfast love!"  Psalm 31:16
  • "Blessed be the Lord, for He has wondrously shown His steadfast love to me..."  Psalm 31:21
  • "Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens...How precious is Your steadfast love, O God!"  Psalm 36:5 & 7
- God is the God of comfort.  Nobody - not even my sweet, caring husband who knows me so well - understands me the way God does.
  • "Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.  The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer."  Psalm 6:8-9 
To quote John MacArthur in my Bible's notes on the above verses, "Out of his dire straits, boldness surprisingly breaks through as he addresses his enemies.  This boldness has only one basis, that the psalmist's confidence is wholly grounded upon his Lord's attention and ultimate intervention." 

And here is one of my favourite comfort verses:

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted 
and saves the crushed in spirit."  
Psalm 34:18