Tuesday, 27 September 2011

On both sides of the fence...or pond...

While living in the UK, I struggled with the persistent grey weather and the seemingly impassionate people but revelled in the shopping, fashion and tourist friendly cities and activities. I longed for Canadian open space, highways that are more simple to navigate, people that speak plainly (or abruptly if you ask an Englishman) and SEASONS.

Upon my arrival in Canada I instantaneously missed the close proximity to the city centre we were spoiled with while living in Manchester. I missed the variety of fashion choices available within a 15 minute drive from home. I missed real, honest-to-goodness TEA. (I still do). And of course, I missed Marks & Spencers (who wouldn't!?). In short, I felt discontent...again.

These past few weeks I've become more comfortable in my new (old) space. I'm rediscovering Ontario. And I'm loving it. The ridiculously satisfying childish fun of being SOAKED on the Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls.

The vastness of Toronto City Ctr. The comfortable greens of trees turning to new bright yellows within a week. Aaahhhh Autumn. (Or "Fall" if you will). I have so missed Autumn. Warm sun, cool wind, the changing of trees. Some days pour rain and others the sun shines so reminiscent of the hot summer just passed. The weather here is goooooood. The shopping here is baaaaaaaad. And its just as well! And those big wide open spaces I so longed for? They are exactly as I remembered and so it costs a pretty penny for petrol to get anywhere!

I feel pretty blessed to have enjoyed the good and the bad in a few different places. And I see it as a blessing that life is in fact not greener on the other side...but pretty green either side of the fence...or in our case, both sides of the pond.

It means that I can remember parts of England fondly, and look forward to returning for visits, while embracing the positive things of Canada. It means I can come a tiny bit closer to being content. And this is good.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

On a lighter note...sharks

Last night I was described as "the shark lady" by friends at a dinner party. My husband finds my shark knowledge amusing. Most people roll their eyes when I ramble on about shark facts.

I can't help myself. Sharks, sharks, sharks. Great whites, hammerheads, lemon, ragged tooth, thrasher, mako, blue, grey reef tip, white reef tip, bull and on and on. Except the whale shark. For some reason, its too docile for my interests.

I remember on one of the first occassions when I met my dad (aka Mike, my step-father) and we sat in the lounge, discussing sharks at length. (Whatever can be considered "at length" when you're 9 years old). It was such an affirming meeting. I can geekily (and happily) research sharks and spend hours watching documentaries because my dad made me think it was cool. Thanks Mike!

I do so love Shark Week on Discovery, but I could watch programs on sharks on a daily basis. Its equal to my love for Starbucks and pizza.

Its fit for sharing as I saw at Chapters that Discovery Channel has launched a special anniversary edition DVD set of Shark Week.

My husband thinks I'm a nerd. I think he's lucky that I'm not interested in designers and makeup....though nail varnish and shoes are obviously in their own category entirely!

Actions v Intentions

I woke up, the day of my 25th birthday and felt older, no less wiser, yet, more responsible than I had the day before. I woke up knowing that my life was to be different from that day forward. Not in a theatrical sense, nor in a sense of futuristic knowing, however, there was an absolute certainty that I had no longer the luxury of excuses, nor the safety of ignorance. My future was my own and I had a lot of growing up to do.

A few months shy of my 28th birthday, I feel more experienced, yet wisdom remains elusive. And to be perfectly honest, I'm starting to feel a bit worn down.

I am aware that after living and learning through many challenges recently, I should feel proud and encouraged. I've in essence become an adult in 2 and a half years. My lack of wisdom and lack of maturity, perhaps more evident to me than it was before, in itself is a sign of maturity. Though the ability to be, what I'm expected to be, seems an impossible task.

These expectations I place on myself, derived from society and upbringing and lessons learned. The difficulty is in the fulfillment. It is daily. And it is costly.

I know what is required, but simply cannot make myself be a good wife. A good daughter. A good sister. A good friend. A good Christian. The requirements of communication and sensitivity and emotional investment and time while balancing each with the other and still finding time to develop as an individual is too great. For me. For some bizarre reason. I have friends and family that manage successfully. (?) Although, a part of me does wonder if sacrifice is required. One relationship for the success of another? I have been "advised" to prioritise. This is simply not possible. The needs in each relationship are diverse but all equally valid.

I feel exhausted. Stretched too far. With no results. There has to be a fault somewhere. I am lacking some knowledge, or some (aha) wisdom that will enable me to perform as expected and find peace in knowing I've fulfilled the expectations.

The expectations seem overwhelming but are quite straight forward: to love as I have been loved. To have my actions match my feeling for my friends and family. Why does it not? I endeavour to find answers.

But tonight?

Tonight I rest.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

And all these things shall be added unto you....

In our darkest hours and in our time of need, our focus is so often on self, on corking the suffering, pain, stress, frustration, anger et al. We find ourselves asking God for help and guidance and perhaps forgiveness. We ask for strength and courage and peace of heart. And He is a faithful God, a loving God and He answers, ALWAYS. We may not always have the answer we sought, it may not come when our schedule dictates, but He always answers. Because He loves us.

And then, He blessed me further. Because He loves me.

He has given me peace. And courage. And strength. Because He loves me.

He has given me forgiveness and joy. Because He loves me.

He has blessed me beyond my imagining. Because He loves me.

And yet I falter. Oh the fallible. And oh the grateful. For if we did not falter, despite His generous grace and blessings, we would promptly quit in our seeking of Him. And what a tragedy for us it would be.

So in my blessings and my yearnings and my fallible nature I continue to learn and grow because of His great wisdom. And I am SO thankful.

My focus now is to ask for a gracious nature. To love as I have been loved. And it is HARD. And so i will ask again for strength. And courage. And when I fail I will ask again for forgiveness. And when I am disheartened I will ask again for peace. And God will answer again. Because He loves me.

To God be the glory, the honour, the praise.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Anniversary (ies)

Today (in the UK...4 hours to go still in Eastern Standard Time) is our first wedding day anniversary. And we are not together. And....its ok. We Skyped until after midnight and it was a special moment to be able to speak face to face on our anniversary. I had a little cry, but it was not sadness, it was out of love and appreciation for this special relationship God has blessed us with. And after the moment had passed and we'd said our goodbyes, I started thinking about this anniversary business.

We have two anniversaries to celebrate. We had our legal ceremony on November 19, 2009 and our wedding ceremony with all our friends and family on September 2, 2010. And so, today we celebrate our first wedding day anniversary. And its important. And somehow, it does feel more special than when we celebrated our first legal anniversary last November 19th. It must be a result of the sentimental pertinence of being surrounded by family and friends when declaring your commitment and love to one another.

Not that it'll stop us from celebrating twice a year. We've decided that on our wedding day we will celebrate with gifts and on our legal day we will celebrate by trying out a new activity or having some quality time. I kind of like that.

But I digress, the importance of a public union...and it does lead one to wonder about whether eloping will have the same effect. Of course, the important thing on any wedding day is the commitment of one to another. However, perhaps there is something to be said for all the bells and whistles. It creates a comfortable, special atmosphere, a grand day that makes the time and energy and investment of others worthwhile (and lets face it, when its someone else's wedding day, it IS an investment of time and money, despite the joy of witness) and it gives you a sense of community. And perhaps that is the key. Community. Of course, we feel sentimental about November 19th and therefore will continue to celebrate it as it was a very significant point in our lives. But our wedding day?

September 2, 2010. Simply.

And so today, without presents and without a "date night" and without being able to wake up next to my husband, I still appreciate his kindness and humour, his gentleness and sincerity and above all, his steadfastness. A quality that I love about him more and more each day. There is no kiss and we cannot hold hands but within me, I feel closer to him today than I have since I left the UK.

If nothing else, anniversaries are simply an excellent reason to remember why we are in-love. And we are.

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