It’s All Happening SO Fast!

This time three weeks ago, I thought the world was ending. Life just sucked. I’m sorry to say that, but it’s true. At that point there were seven and a half weeks left until I left for Germany, and it felt like AGES. I honestly couldn’t wrap my head around how I was going to get through those 50-some-odd days until freedom set in.

But now?

Now there are only 4 weeks left (okay, okay…four and a half), which translates to 32 sleeps, 23 teaching days, and 4 glorious weekends left until one chapter of my life closes and another opens. How can that even be?

Now that I am in a better head-space than I was a few weeks ago, I am realizing how short a time this actually is.

In less than a week I am moving out of the cottage and in with some friends until I leave…and while a part of me will most certainly mourn this, another piece of my heart will rejoice, because I know with all my heart that when God closes a door, a window opens. I don’t know where I am going to live when I get home in September, but wherever it is, I will be safe and warm and dry, and I have a soft place to land. People who love me. Who want me to live with them. So it will be okay.

In being so aware of the gift I have been given, this gift of 10 weeks to just be Christina Chantal without the stress I have been carrying, I have been thinking a lot about how I am going to spend my precious time away this summer. The last thing I want to do is waste it by being lonely over there. Being lonely, for me, often leads to self-destruction…negative thoughts followed by negative actions (read: over-eating and then being tempted to throw up). My friend Karen wrote on her facebook page the other day, “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Well, I really don’t want that at all.

The list, which will most definitely go on (and on and on and on), is going to help me stay focused while I am there. And I’d really like to have some sort of routine which includes lots of naps! I’ll be jumping over to the UK for 2 weeks in the middle of the summer and hopefully travelling around Europe sporadically while I am there (it is SO cheap to travel once you’re there!) so obviously I want to be flexible, but staying somewhat grounded and having goals while I am there will be good for me.

In the meantime, I am dedicated and committed to finishing strong here. I’m doing my very best at work, exercising every day, still losing weight, being responsible and tying up loose ends, like changing my addresses and stuff. I refuse to let this stuff weigh me down when I am right around the corner from a grand adventure.

I am writing this post in my car in the Starbucks parking lot, while my landlords give tours of the cottage to a few potential renters…part of me feels territorial and a little sad that it’s not me. After all, it was less than a year ago that I packed up my life and moved into my little piece of heaven. But as I sit here and think of all I have to look forward to, my thoughts turn to gratitude for my time there. It was a healing place for me, and I pray with all my heart that the girl who moves in will experience the same peace, contentment, and serenity that I have this last year.

“I know what I’m doing.  I have it all planned out–plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.

When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.

Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. 

I’ll turn things around for you…You can count on it.”

Jeremiah 29:11

~C

PS: The link I put in there leads you to the post where I moved into the cottage…and it talks about how I was never, ever going to move again. It made me smile to read that. I am so glad that Someone has better plans than I do myself. I’d hate to think of missing out on Germany and so many blessings just because I was too stubborn to think about moving again. Yes, I’ll miss you Jackson Street Cottage, but I know everything is going to be okay.

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Can’t Get You Out of my Head (May)

The alternate title for this post could definitely be “That’s What I Want“, but what I’m gonna say today fits in really well with the confessions theme.

My Gramma is sending me to Germany this summer (39 more sleeps!) and I could not possibly be more excited or more aware of the fact that this is exactly what I need right now.

She knows better than anyone what a hard year it’s been for me. She knows because she has been there. She has been the girl who felt unloved. She’s been the girl afraid to answer the phone because it might be Visa calling. Again. She’s been the girl who feels afraid to be completely real, completely vulnerable, completely exposed. She’s struggled and she’s overcome.

And she firmly believes that this is my time to overcome.

So I’m going away for a little while. No cell phone. No job. No obligations. No responsibilities. No one who is mad at me, or short with me, or mean to me. No alarm clock. No fear of not being able to make ends meat. 9 weeks of just being

She has asked only one thing of me…

And it’s that I really try to think about what it is that I want.

I have an idea of what that looks like…

{I want to not be overweight}

{I want to not be in debt}

{I want to be closer to God}

{I want to learn to trust again}

Maybe to you these things seem boring,  but they are serious to me.

Another thing I’ve been thinking hard about?

Gratitude.

It’s eluded me this past year, and I have not been totally blind to my own pity party that never seems to end. I’m done with feeling blue and melancholy. I’m done referring to this “hard year”. I’m done feeling sorry for myself.

So I’m getting on a plane on June 23rd and I’m gonna fly away and really take some time learning to be thankful again. Learning to love again. Learning to smile at the little things in life again. I have 5.5 weeks to prepare myself for this, and it starts now.

I’m thankful for this opportunity to leave Canada for a couple of months and to rediscover who I am. I know I am a lucky girl and I am not taking that for granted.

(for the record, this trip and my destination aren’t totally random…my gramma’s sister-in-law’s apartment in Germany is vacant at the moment which is how this is even possible—we’re not rich, but we’re richly blessed. The last time I was there was in 2006, and I can’t wait to go “home” again)

True gratitude is not simply self-serving though in the “I’m thankful I have a wonderful life” sense. True gratitude is not just a passive recognition but an active responsibility, a complex relationship between awareness and our own capabilities to make change.

~Kelle Hampton

I confess this month that I have been feeling deeply sorry for myself. But so also I confess to you that I am ready and willing to change that. Big time.

Happy Monday, my friends.

~C

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

About 4 week ago, feeling ambitious and anxious to bust of the house after a long winter, we packed up the kids (minus a baby but plus an extra big kid!) and headed for Lindeman Lake to tackle an “intermediate” hike. Intermediate? Ha. It was a piece of cake!

(kind of)

First of all, we got out of the the truck and there was NO snow on the ground anywhere…the second we hit the trail head, though, there it was, and in abundance!

Remember how Lucy from Narnia walks through the wardrobe door into a magically white world? We did, too. Only not through a wardrobe, of course.

Why, hello again, winter.

The hike was fun but really challenging. The can’t-catch-your-breath-but-you-keep-on-going kinda fun.

The title of this post is misleading…it sounds melancholy and dooming in a way. But it’s not supposed to be. Not entirely.

The truth is, I am in a bit of a rough patch in my life, but it’s making me a stronger Christina, and just like we had to use muscles on this hike that we didn’t even know we had, so am I using my mental and emotional muscles right now to get through these tough weeks. More on that, later.

So 2ish hours later, we reached our summit, our destination, and it was beautiful and so totally worth it. Totally and completely worth it.

There’s always gonna be another mountain, I’m always gonna wanna make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I’m gonna have to lose. Aint about how fast I get there, aint about what’s waiting on the other side.

You know the next part.

If you’re between a rock and a hard place, you’re not alone. And you won’t be there forever.

Gotta keep moving!

~C

Sun Runnin’ 2012 (our day in pictures)

13 solid weeks of training all came down to an hour and twenty minutes of sweat, exhilaration, sheer exhaustion, and the cutest view ever.

This is Baby G, my running partner in crime, who slept the entire way and made everyone want to stop to stare at her rather than complete the run. It wasn’t easy running with a 45 lb jogging stroller + 21 lb 1 year old, but it was worth it and I am proud of myself. Very proud.

The course was, in some ways, harder than I remember it being. I knew there were a few big, big hills, but I forgot about the smaller ones. And while I was smarter this year and trained outdoors rather than on a treadmill, I still wasn’t fully prepared for the inclines. Lesson learned.

It was another beautiful, sunny day, much like last year. We almost didn’t make it in time. Like, we literally stepped out of the skytrain station mere minutes from the countdown for our line. Perfect timing, in my opinion! It didn’t rain and no one that I saw got seriously hurt, which is awesome. I smiled through the beads of sweat at the street bands and cheerleaders and well-wishers. Oh community events, how I love you so.

Without these beautiful people, I might not have even made it to the start line, both literally and figuratively.

We all accomplished something really big that day. All of us. I mean, come on, a SIX year old completing a 10k without a word of complaint? An EIGHT year old keeping up with her daddy the whole way, beating thousands of people who started out at the same as she and Kris did? How about a ONE year old, sleeping in a baby jogger for over an hour, without so much as a peep? And as for us adults, the fact that we completed this thing, rocked this thing, conquered this thing is beyond what we imagined 3 months ago. Am I being melodramatic? Think what you want, but there is nothing like setting your mind to something and having it come to pass. Amazing.

When I ran the Sun Run last year, it was the last run I went on until I started training again. I lost all motivation the second I crossed the 2011 finish line. And yes I was battling my demons at the time, as you know, but it wasn’t an excuse to stop taking the very best care of my body. So this year? This year I have already ran 9 times since crossing, and I don’t intend to stop. And furthermore, I am going to do the Run for Water, and the Starbucks Run for Women. And maybe even the Police Run in the fall. It sounds ambitious and it is, and I can totally do anything I set my mind to. I know that now.

And so can YOU!

~C