iTunes :)

The iTunes gift has been emailed out to all you AMAZING readers who are subscribed to Just Let Her Sing (except you, Mom, but you need to first GET iTunes!). If for whatever reason you didn’t receive your download, please let me know so I can re-gift it. But not re-gift in the tacky sense of the word 😉

And for the rest of you, you have 1 more day to let me know if you want Stitch by Stitch emailed to you through iTunes. It’s a REALLY good song 🙂

Follow the link on the right hand side bar.

Tomorrow is MOVING DAY and I absolutely cannot wait!

Jackson Street Cottage, HERE I COME!

~C

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Love Your Neighbour As Yourself

When I was a little girl, every time I bothered my mom to ask her how much longer something would take, she would always measure the time for me in intervals of my favourite TV shows. As in, “Mom, how much longer till we get to go to the zoo?”…”Well, 2 Mister Rogers and one Sesame Street”, she would reply. That would have equalled 2 hours. It was a brilliant way of helping me to discern time. To be perfectly honest, Mister Rogers is still pretty hip in my books…I loved that show and I kinda still do. Now in a nostalgic and melancholy way, of course. 😉

I loved the way Mr. McFeely (seriously, am I the only one who didn’t pick up on his super creepy name?) would come by everyday with the mail. I loved the Neighbourhood of Make-Believe. I loved how everyone knew Mister Rogers, whether it was the factory workers at the Crayola building or the baker at the cake shop. Idealistic yes, but appealing nevertheless.

Not sure if I have already mentioned this before, but right before Christmas in 2007 I got in a serious car accident in South Africa…2 months into the trip and still countless months from the end of it. (A cement truck t-boned me). I thought my life was over—but not in a physical way. I was actually fine. It was more figurative for me, that whole life ending thing, because up until that point I had been very self-sufficient and independant, despite the fact that I was a billion miles from home. In less than 1 second I went from having a car every single day to nothing. And in so many ways that stung more than the accident itself. I had never before had to rely on other people to help me get around…ever.

What happened next would have never, ever happened had I not been hit by that truck…I met my neighbours. Wonderful, amazing, supportive, loving, kind, caring people who took me under their wings and had compassion for me. Who invited me into their homes day after day and gave me rides to and from the school I was teaching in and the homes I was volunteering in. It made that trip 100, 000 times more meaningful than it would have been if things had gone my way.

I was lucky enough to come so very close to what I can only compare to the Neighbourhood of Make-Believe. For the record, the Cheers theme songs is totally stuck in my head right now…

…sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name…

When I said goodbye to Africa in 2008, my neighbours were at the airport along with my host family to say goodbye. My heart was broken.

And you know, I really didn’t think what happened in Africa could happen in Canada. But it did. Shortly into the 2010/2011 school year I made the connection with the mom of one of my students that we lived very close to each other. Close enough to be called neighbours.

These people…

…have made living on the West Side a JOY!

They have fed me. They have clothed me. They have taken me camping. They have brought me to fairs and lakes and they have seen me first thing in the morning. They have supported me and stored my things at their house. They have entrusted their children to me, including a random excursion for Gary and I in “Merica”. (direct quote to border crossing guard: “this is my school teacher and we’re from Canada”…Lord help me!)

They have been my go-to’s when I need things last minute. I can often be found “at the neighbours” if I am not at home.

And in a week, I’m checkin’ outta the ‘hood.

I’m not going to need to miss them because I know it won’t change things. Instead of being seconds away I will be 7 minutes away.

But still. We won’t be neighbours anymore, and that’s gonna be a sad day.

And so I thank you, dear White family. And that includes Big Papa and Gramma, of course!

For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in…*

Boxes are packed, stacked, and ready to go. Rental agreement has been signed. Excess furniture sold. Excitement is definite. And I am strangely calm and peaceful. That’s a good thing.

And next week when I move, my neighbours are gonna help me. Does it get any better than that?

~C

*Matthew 25:35

 

A Word (or two) from Jenna :)

Its been quite a while Just Let Her Sing readers. Just so you all know I have been procrastinating on my own blog too. Party because I have been super busy, but also because I just got back into town from a two month trip so I have been doing a lot of visiting with friends. The last couple days I have thought of a topic to share with you. On my blog and on JLHS I have talked a lot about self worth, so why not talk about ways to gain self worth? I am going to do my best impression of a writer and give some of my ideas of ways we can all change how we feel about ourselves.

One goal I have for this coming school year is cutting out crap T.V. What I mean by crap T.V is shows that make me feel bad about myself. Gossip Girl is number one on my list. As an avid G.G watcher I realize that every now and then there is a happy ending but 98% of the time someone is conniving, heartbroken, addicted to drugs etc. not to mention the body image and lifestyle issues it gives me. Every single episode I want that girls body, or that girls condo or that girls boyfriend. And every episode I feel miserable because I am never going to have that body, condo or boyfriend. Other shows on my DO NOT WATCH LIST are The Bachelor(ette), Jersey Shore, any talent show that consists of humiliating people who aren’t very good, Toddlers and Tiaras, Americas Next Top Model, and pretty much any other show that makes me feel shitty. The three shows I know for absolute certainty I will not give up are One Tree Hill, Survivor, and Law & Order SVU. Only because they are amazing.

I am also taking my finances seriously from now on. This means budgeting, and spending money within my means. I am the type of person who will ignore my money issues and pretend that they do not exist. I want to feel financially secure and loose all that stress I was carrying around last year. I think anyone who is like me should really consider doing this, it will only make you feel better and you’ll actually be able to enjoy your fun money spending because you know that you aren’t screwing yourself.

I am determined to eat healthy this year. No more pizza pops, chips or pop. I don’t think until I actually get into the habit of eating healthy will I get the motivation to exercise regularly. I don’t want to introduce too many life style changes this coming school year only to crash and burn because I get overwhelmed. First ill start with food, and maybe second semester ill try to add workouts a couple times a week. Eating smart will make me feel better, boost my confidence and release all the guilt I was feeling around food.

Here is a list of some other things I am going to do: Quite smoking, stop reading magazines and involving myself in celebrity news, get a regular sleep schedule, be a more active friend, surround myself with supportive people, delete irrelevant people from Facebook, be more aware of my emotional needs, stop allowing my internal voice to put me down, listen to my intuition more, paint more, listen to more country and less top 40 music, spend a few minutes a day in silence, find a cause and support it, play more scrabble, take care of my skin, no more fake tanning, be more empathetic, smile more, laugh, and spend less time on men and more time on myself.

I know that a few of these are personal goals that some of you might not be able to relate to but I think this will give everyone an opportunity to think of the things they want to work on. We don’t need to wait for January 1st to set life goals. Even if you don’t succeed just thinking about it might bring some personal goals to the forefront of your mind. I feel for people who never do internal searching because I find they are usually people who blame others for their own unhappiness.

I will definitely try to get a post out to you guys sooner than later, matter of fact ill add it to my goals. I have a few things on my plate right now, but as when school starts I will have more time to sit down and write thoughtful posts.

“Keep on moving, keep climbing, keep the faith baby, its all about the climb.”
~The Climb, Miley Cyrus

Live, love, laugh,

J

Stitch by Stitch…Year 2

This time last year, there was a celebration. A celebration marking my very first anniversary of the last time I threw up. And this year we will celebrate again. Because this is a big deal.

Bridesmaids was in the theatre for longer than they planned on keeping it on the big screen here in BC. Millions of tickets were sold, and with slightly pink cheeks I have to admit that I am solely responsible for the sale of 4 of them. I just couldn’t get enough! I laughed so hard that I was actually a little bit embarrassed. Like, I’m sure the people in the theatre who were CPR-qualified where probably thinking they were gonna need to resuscitate me…I was definitely that girl choking on popcorn. I’m okay with that, though.

So there is this part in the movie where Annie and Helen are at a country club getting ready to play a game of tennis and they have an argument over whether or not people actually change…Annie would like to think that her childhood bff Lillian hasn’t changed at all since they were little kids, but new bff Helen firmly believes that Lillian is a completely different person…and even though it’s just a movie, it is still a really good question…do we really change?

Because obviously I have changed. I no longer allow my life to be ruled by an eating disorder. But in other ways I know I am still the same.

Okay, anyways, I don’t think any of us have enough time to truly contemplate that one, hey?

I’ll move on.

The last 2 years have been really challenging and yet incredibly fulfilling. I feel like every time I have cried, every time I have laughed, and every time I have snapped into consciousness at the exact perfect moment of realizing that life is just good, I have grown and healed just a little bit more.

Healed little by little, stitch by stitch.

My friend Keziah has a knack for being incredibly tuned into the people around her, and one day out of nowhere she told me to listen to a song by a guy called Javier Colon called Stitch by Stitch. It’s like she just somehow knew that it was the exact song I needed to hear at that exact moment she made me listen to it.

The song was written for Javier Colon (he’s from The Voice, and the dude is good) by Dave Hodges. I don’t know if Dave Hodges is a Christian, and I don’t know who this song is written about. Maybe it’s about God, maybe it’s about some chick. But to me, it is about my journey and how God has helped heal me and walk me through all this.

You’re all perfectly capable of googling the lyrics on your own so I won’t bore you, but I do want to share this part here that just sends electricity down my spine…it’s just that sometimes I feel so alone, so very alone, and then bam…it hits me that I am just not. I have never been alone a day in my life. And I certainly haven’t walked this road alone either…if you have held my hand or replied to an email or were there to listen to me and challenge me through this journey of recovery, then thank you

I’ll give you all my pieces broken
In your hands, there’s nothing that you can’t fix
My heart is frayed, my scars are open
So put me back together now stitch by stitch

I’m still afraid of falling, somehow it’s takin’ over me
Don’t ever let me let it go…

There and back, there’s no doubt, your touch makes me whole again…

This blog of mine was an idea I had to keep myself accountable to recovery…I thought it would be a good idea to be brave and loud about brokenness. And I didn’t care if I reached one person or a million…

If you’re reading this right now, I want to thank you for being here in my life…whether you are my mother (hi Mama!) or my best friend or even a stranger who found me through a search engine, you’re here and I appreciate it.

As a way to thank you readers who check my site loyally and regularly, I would like to say thank you in a tangible way, and I want to give you a gift. I wasn’t joking about that song being incredible, and I want you to have it. Subscribe to my blog by the end of August and I will email you an iTunes link that will automatically gift that song to you. I know it isn’t much, but it is my way of thanking you for being on the journey with me.

If you look to the right of the screen, close to the top, you will see a link called “need a good read?”. Click on it and enter your email address and that way I can gift that song to you. If you don’t want to subscribe but would still like that song, then you can also go to the comments section and wordpress will generate your email address that way as well.

2 years…2 years since the last time I stuck my fingers down my throat and threw up on purpose…I remember teeth marks in my hands. A burning esophagus. Excruciating stomach pains. Rotten teeth from acid reflux. Embarrassment. Fear. Insecurity. Despair.

I never ever ever want to go back.

So welcome to my third year of FREEDOM. It’s gonna be a good one, my friends.

And I’m gonna keep on growing, and I’m gonna keep on healing…stitch by stitch.

~C

PS: Those of you who are already subscribed to my site, don’t worry about re-entering your email. I’ve got it down! You’ll receive an email from my by the end of the day.

pps…I am super duper self-conscious about this. I know I am not a professional but this song (also) means a lot to mehere you go.

Listen to (my) Mom!!!!

She’s always been GREAT at giving advice. 

She doesn’t tell me what she wants me to do. She tells me what I should do. Like when I told her at 19 years young that I was going to Africa. She could have told me no. But she told me yes. Because she puts me first. 

And today I got an email from her that it is too good to keep to myself. It is too insightful to not share…

************************************************************

Tell me about discipline! I can’t tell you how much pleasure I have missed in my life because “the dishes have to get washed before I can work on a soul-soothing hobby”. I’m afraid that I am at least partly responsible for your impossible sense of discipline. Happily, in my advancing years I have been able to say “it’s Friday night, it’s been a long week, and the dishes can sit there til tomorrow”, and not be haunted by the mess in the kitchen. Is anyone that matters judging me for my dirty kitchen, anyone that makes it more important than all else?  Okay so I still have to work on it all the time but the point is, I am working on it and every success is sweet!

Perfection? No such thing and we’d be pretty egotistical to think that we could and should achieve it huh?

Now getting a prescription IS a big deal and those are the times in life where we gotta be responsible, accountable grown-ups. You don’t think twice about being fully responsible for the children in your care. Taking care of your own vital needs is equally or actually more important. (Note – I said vital needs. Not always washing your face before bed or having a late night or two is not earth-altering). Like I mentioned last night, if you can’t see yourself slipping into Save-On for a prescription for a while, you have friends and family ready to jump in – the same as you’d do for them right?

On the subject of intentional and fulfilling visits with friends, our dear friend Judy, knowing that I always said yes even when I really wanted to say no has taught me that it’s okay to choose what I want to do and with who (or is that whom? ; ). Whenever I hesitate with a reply she makes a point of asking me if it will cause more discomfort, annoyance, whatever and will let me off the hook and still love me if it does. I’d like to think that all our friendships can be like that and I now strive for it.

The closest way I can think of to achieve some harmony and peace is to go to bed at night having done more to make the world a little better than worse, even if the only good thing I did all day was to let an itsy bitsy spider free outside instead of squishing it on my floor. To tell the truth it all still evades me for the most part so if you find the key, please share.

As for the rest, if there were one word to boot out of our vocab it’s “should”. Interesting, your first sentence mentions balance. Could that mean allowing imperfection as well? Hmmm…

Love ya Baby. Chill!

~M


The Perfect Combination

Do you ever feel like you’re constantly searching for balance? Lately I have been thinking a lot about combinations and how I can never seem to find that right one that opens the door to complete harmony and peace.

It seems like so many messages are constantly thrown our way these days, messages about what is best for us and what is worst for us, messages about who we are and who we ought to be. And there is the wise old adage to keep in mind that reminds us to take those words of ‘advice’ with a grain of salt; not everything you hear or read or see is true. Pretty obvious. But still, it’s pretty overwhelming, hey?

For about 4 months I was really proud of myself because I seemed to slip into a really good rhythm in life…I was going to bed at a reasonable time every night. Dishes were being done instead of piling up. I was taking a good mix of multi-vitamins and every night before bed I was remembering to take my Welbutrin. Visits with friends were intentional and fulfilling. Life was just running pretty smoothly.

I figured I had nailed down a pretty good balance of vitamins and sleep and down time and social time…

But then things just started falling apart. It all started when I forgot to return my library books. Why, oh why, didn’t I just take them back? But no. The more time that went by, the less motivated I was to go one of two FVRL’s in Abbotsford. Then I forgot to take a DVD back to Rogers. Then the dishes were being dumped into the sink again. And so on and so forth. I don’t know what happened.

My counsellor at UFV is baffled by me. She just doesn’t get why I am so freaking hard on myself. I once cried in her office because I had bought a bag of chips at Save-On even though they weren’t on my grocery list. Her catch phrase in our meetings is always, “Christina…chill out“.

I don’t know either why I am so hard on myself. I understand that life can’t possibly maintain a perfect balance and harmony and that things are going to fall apart from time to time. We aint in heaven yet!

But I do need to learn some skills on how to be a little more responsible.

Because yeah, not returning library books might not be a huge deal, but not refilling my prescription for my anti-depressant is a big deal. I got in a lot of trouble from Lindsay this week when she found out I went 7 days without them because I “forgot” to go to Save-On. Am I the only one who does things like this? Am I the only person who gets into this zone where I just don’t do things that I should? I sure feel like the only one…

Anyways, when I was living in Africa I learned quickly about how different that culture can be. My friends there taught me a little saying, and every time I felt confused or lost, someone would pipe up and say, “T.I.A!”. This. Is. Africa.

Well, I’m adopting a new phrase, and this one is gonna be T.I.L.

This. Is. Life.

And I am learning to chill out.

I promised Linds that I wouldn’t forget my pills anymore, because it’s not funny or good to go off medication like that cold turkey. So that I will be more diligent about. I’m fortunate enough to have amazing friends who care enough to lay the smack down from time to time, and I am very thankful for that.

But stressing about things not being in perfect harmony? Stressing about finding the golden key to unlock the magical land of balance?

That ship has sailed, my friends.

Thanks for all your feedback on The Cottage, guys! I am serious about having you over if you are in the area (or the province, country, or continent!). Can’t WAIT to fix it up and get pictures out.

Happy Monday! Stay tuned from a big post on Thursday marking my 2 year anniversary, including a pretty awesome give-away for all who want it 🙂

~C

 

Moving On…

I am moving on. Quite literally. From a basement suite in West Abbotsford to THE ANSWER TO MY PRAYERS!

Actually, I didn’t even know this was what I wanted. I didn’t even pray about it. But, as Alisha says, thankfully God isn’t interested in logistics. He knew this was what I wanted and needed way before I did.

Are you ready for this? Are you ready to see a picture of my new dwelling place? My happy place. My safe place…

.

.

Everybody, meet The Cottage. Known only as The Cottage.

I. Am. In. Love.

It was definitely not in my plans to move this summer. I wasn’t really looking for a new place to live; I was just playing around with classified adds one night when my green eyes fell upon a sentence that began…

“Be a part of historical Abbotsford in our 1920’s cottage…”

Something in my heart just knew knew knew that this was my next chapter. I am normally nervous and shy about phoning strangers about things like this and try to pawn it off on friends, but the very next morning I was very brave and called and one thing led to another and now it’s mine!

I’m gonna live in a freaking cottage!

Just thought you’d like to know 🙂

~C