Happy New Year!!

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Christmas Celebrations

Ah, Christmas is now over and I finally have a chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy what a wonderful time it was.  I love the holidays.  I love the fuss of all the decorations, the cooking, and the gatherings.  I love the excitement of wrapping presents, having lots to do, and catching up with people you haven’t seen for a while.  I just love it all.  This year, my sister Tiffany and my Mom came to Eston to celebrate Christmas with the Johnston side of the family.  My Ma and sis were here for a few days so we got plenty of time on our own, with the family, and visiting friends.  Louvain was kind enough to host a wonderful Christmas gathering where as always she was up to her elbows cooking amazing food for everyone to enjoy, and working her butt off to make sure we were all having a good time.  And what a good time we had!

In Quinn’s family, his Mom has carried on her family tradition of opening gifts Christmas Eve.  It was my first time doing that so it was something new and fun.  Quinn and I spent Christmas Eve with the McLean side of the family.  We had a wonderful meal together, went to the church service and then went back to their place where we opened up gifts and spent the evening playing games.  It was such a great evening together.  Christmas morning we opened up gifts at Lorne and Louvains, had a nice relaxing afternoon and then played plenty of games at the McLeans and the Johnston’s after an exceptionally amazing Christmas dinner cooked by Lou.  It was nice to have my family and Quinn’s family in one place this year.  I felt spoiled to be able to be so close to one another and have the opportunity to bounce back and forth from house to house.

Every Christmas holiday I am reminded of how blessed I am.  This Christmas, was no exception.

Now it is time to relax for a couple days (AKA get back to home renos) before the New Years celebrations begin.  Hoping all of you were just as blessed this Christmas!

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Merry Christmas

With only a few days away from Christmas my heart begins to weigh more as the countdown to my favourite holiday arrives.  The words above reverberate around in my mind.  This season hurts.  I wish it didn’t, I wish I could change this, but I cannot.

Grace…not perfection.
Grace…not perfection.

Another holiday season without him.  Our first Christmas not masked by intense amounts of grief and shock.  A season of reality.

Grace…not perfection.

I will rehearse these words this holiday season.  I will say them until I mean them.  I will offer my heart more grace than it has been given.

Grace.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.  May this holiday season be filled with all that matters.

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So busy!

Well, well, well!  It has been ages since I have written any sort of blog!  I always intend too and then something ends up taking priority and my blog is once again left on the back burner.  Quite honestly I have found myself much busier than I have been in a very long time.  One million life changes, projects, and plans on the radar.  All of them good and exciting so nothing to complain about but none-the-less, very busy.

I started a blog for Quinn and I over a year ago when we were planning our trip to Australia.  After the mess of last year, once our trip was over I never did update it again.  Ive decided to get that blog up and going once again so people can keep updated with what is going on with the two of us.  This blog will be kept as my own personal blog and bountifullyblessed.wordpress.com will be used as mine and Quinns blog.  If you’re interested in checking out the latest and greatest going on in our lives feel free to check it out there.

Until then, my blogging little butt is going to continue to be a little lazy on here until I get a bit more settled.  But who knows…maybe ill find myself all inspired to write at three in the morning tonight now that ive written this!  Lots of love being sent your way….

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Our truth…

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He wept….

“I am angry”
“I hurt”
“where are you god”

these words
require

trust
vulnerability
risk

the space to be honest
the space to be genuine

the space to be
in pain
and still believe

that the
god you ask
these questions of

is still there
that the god you ask
these questions of

is safe.

 

I have always been afraid of my sadness.
I have learnt to smother it, to hide it from the world, from the light, from my consciousness.  Christians are supposed to be happy.  We are allowed our moments of grief, but after a designated time, we are supposed to move on.  The gratitude of salvation, the joy of being forgiven – they ultimately give us hope, make us okay again.  We’re supposed to believe that nothing can separate us from the love of God and not admit those times we feel unloved and separated.
“Don’t forget, we have the victory!  We have won the war!” the church said to me.  “Its just this battle that feels so dark and hard and frustrating”.
The church used Bible verses to defend this point of view.  Yanked verbatim from the pages of the King James Bible, they were quoted and requoted and ultimately turned into weapons.
“All things work together for good”.
“Be anxious for nothing”.
Sadness meant lack of faith.  Unbelief.  There was a point at which sadness intertwined with sin, and thats when others shut down, refused to hear me, assigned it as a problem needing forgiveness.
There is a part of me that is in continual pain.  Sometimes I walk through a crowd of people barely able to keep my composure.  I still cry myself to sleep.  My sadness is sometimes bottomless; it wont let me meet my own eyes in the mirror.

….

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled…
Jesus wept”.
~John 11:33, 35

-Taken from, Stumbling toward Faith by Renee Altson

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One year…

This September 24th my family, along with our extended family and some friends went to the site where my Dads plane crashed one year ago.  It was an overwhelming day.  As we got ready in the morning to head out to Sundre I felt as though I was getting ready for the funeral all over again.  My heart was heavy, my fearful anticipation of the day was large, my body screamed once again “go to bed, pretend this isn’t happening”.

The day was difficult, but the days leading up to the one year anniversary were worse.  It was as though my mind was allowing me to go back to that dreadful day, small snippets at a time.  I would catch myself day dreaming about the night I found out, the images I saw, the words I heard, the details that were told to me.  For the first time, I thought about the nightmare I had the first time I fell asleep after hearing the news.  My pain was overwhelming.

I dreaded going back to the crash site.  The only times I had gone out there I was in complete shock and my mind was so numb I could handle just about anything.  This time would be different though, I knew it and I feared it.  A year later the haze that clouded my mind and heart had somewhat lifted and I was going to the crash site for the first time in a cognizant state.  When I pulled up to the site my heart was racing.  What would I find, what would I feel, could I handle this?  As our vehicle parked I could see people smiling, jokes were being told and suddenly I could see more clearly than I ever had before, people were healing.  Blessed.

I got out and looked around.  Little of what I expected remained.  The grass that was once reduced to ashes was now bright and abundant.  The scorched trees had shredded much of their black burnt scars.  The thistles had thrived from the blazed conditions.  The cows had moved back into their home and disregard the tragedy that once took place in that very spot.  It looked so different.  It looked so full of life that you could barely see the reminder of death.  Suddenly I wasn’t just standing in the place where my father was killed, I wasn’t just picturing what the moment looked like for him, miraculously I was also seeing the place where my Dad met the Lord.  Surprisingly there was a peace that came with that thought.

One year has passed since I lost the most important man of my life.  One year doesn’t make things better, and it doesn’t make my pain less – in actuality my pain has deepened in many ways as reality has slowly allowed itself to settle in my bones.  However, one year later I have much more hope than I had one year ago, and hope is an incredible gift to receive.

I have survived the one year mark.  I have grown in beautiful ways, I have became stronger as well.  I have touched the face of death in such an intimate way, and I walked away a survivor.  I found beauty in pain.  I allowed healing to begin taking place.  I smiled….many, many times each and every day.  I survived, and who knew I could?  I sure didn’t think so.  But miracles still happen every day; my family is a testament to that.

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Mahalo Hawaii!

Hawaii, where do I begin?  It was an absolute blast!  All the ladies on my Dads side of the family decided to go to Hawaii for the one-year anniversary of my Dads passing.  What an amazing time!  We all endured a tough few days before the trip and what better reprieve than a nice vacation away to clear our minds?

Sixteen of us packed our bags and headed to the land of beautiful beaches, amazing scenery, and an underwater world that can bring tears to your eyes in amazement.  The whole gang of us spent one week together exploring Hawaii, sitting pool side, and eating far too much for a bikini to forgive.  There were days we spent as a group doing activities together and seeing the sites, and there were days we spent doing our own thing – whatever caught our fancy for that particular day.  It was the perfect balance.

I can honestly say some of my favourite family memories were made on this trip.  Everything from watching my Mom and sisters snorkel, to watching grandma bask in the sun on our boat trip.  I adored seeing smiles after smiles on everyones faces.  I loved the excitement in watching someone discover a new place, and the joy in sharing a “first” with someone, like my cousin Dorothy going on a plane for her very first time.

Everyone left after one week and Mom, Tiff and I stayed back to have some down time to ourselves.  It was an amazing time.  My sister Christa had to go home to be with her babies which is too bad because she would have been icing on the cake those last few days.  We got a room at the Marriott and essentially stayed pool side for the remainder of the trip.  We slept in, we didn’t do any activities, and we just enjoyed some relaxing time with little on the mind and nothing on the agenda.

One of the highlights of our trip was most definitely snorkeling, then swimming with the turtles for the first time in my life with Larrissa and Sam (apparently I did with my Dad when I was younger but I don’t remember so it doesn’t count).  It was an incredible site to see.  I was lucky enough to have a few more times swimming with the turtles after that, but the first time it happened was by far the most exhilarating.  What beautiful creatures!  Another highlight was when I went swimming with the sharks.  I decided against an open water dive (I wanted to wait for Quinn) so I opted for a dive at the local aquarium where they have six species of sharks, blow fish, stingrays, and plenty other amazing sea creatures to swim with.  It took my breath away (literally) to have hammerheads brushing up against me in the water and tiger sharks circling above me.  What a thrill.

The whole trip was great.  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I was glad to share with everyone there (and missing everyone who wasnt).  Thanks everyone for such an amazing time and for the gift of a million wonderful memories!

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Home from Hawaii

There are some fish that cannot be caught. It’s not that they’re faster or stronger than other fish. They’re just touched by something extra.
~Ed Bloom, Big Fish

We are home from our wonderful vacation to Hawaii!  What a brilliant time!!  I havent written in a while so once I settle down a bit I will post about what September has brought and how our ladies getaway went.  XOXO

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Same same…

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