Today’s post is all about double majoring. Why did I decide to complete my undergrad as a double Major? What are the pros and cons of this? Who I recommend it to? My application story: I cannot recall ever being stressed about post-secondary, having doubts, […]
Money, Money, Money: How I Went From Being a Self-Serving “Hyper-Saver” to Finding Balance with my Finances
Money. It’s one of those things I was always taught not to talk about. I learned in childhood not to disclose how much of it I had, not to talk about my savings– and to save as much as possible. Proverbs 13:11 Dishonest money dwindles […]
This past weekend takes the cake as one of the best of my life.
Friday morning, in one of my theology classes, in the midst of my friend Bethany’s presentation, my phone started ringing.
I quickly silenced it and responded to the caller– my friend Sheldon– that I was in class. His reply was quick and to the point:
Want to drive to Wisconsin?
To see Johnny’s soccer game.
I need an answer soon. I’m leaving at 4pm with or without you.
My mind started racing. My heart leapt into my chest at the thought of seeing my boyfriend, who lives in Winnipeg, and plays varsity soccer through the states. Sheldon and I had been planning on seeing his nationals games in North Carolina, but it wasn’t guaranteed that Sheldon could get the time off work. And, being the most spontaneous person I’ve ever known, it was not surprising to me that Sheldon would text me with the thought of leaving for a 12 hour road trip the very same day.
All the reasons I couldn’t go
You have so much homework, You work tomorrow, You volunteer at church on Sunday
flooded my mind. I slipped into the bathroom to call Sheldon and tell him I needed to figure some things out. And ask him that, if I could get things taken care of, we could please leave after my classes, so at 7pm. He agreed.
The events of this weekend were grounds for me to witness some of the greatest compassion, selflessness, and love I could imagine from many of my friends.
One of these people was beautiful friend and co-worker, Brooke. I texted every employee at Pure, the restaurant I work at, to see if anyone was able to cover my Saturday shift, and no one was able. Brooke works harder than anyone I know, and she told me that she would absolutely work the shift if no one else was able to, even though it was her one day off. I didn’t want her to be the one to work it, and fought her on it, but she ended up insisting.
Brooke, if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have been able to go on this incredible trip and support Johnny. I don’t want to say “I owe you–” I just want to show you love in the same way. Thank-you, a thousand times, thank-you.
I also received words of encouragement and approval from my incredible pastors and team of leaders at the church I go to, Risen City. They displayed grace, love, and understanding for the fact that I wouldn’t be there Sunday at the last minute– and also excited for Johnny and I to see each other!
And so, I packed my bags quickly before heading off to my evening class… where, even MORE last minute, Bethany decided to join, and Luke, our friend and Sheldon’s roommate, did, too.
With only a few bumps along the road (literally and figuratively), we embarked on our journey from Waterloo to Wisconsin, my heart fluttering with the thought of seeing my love, who I hadn’t seen in 2 and a half months, while he had no idea I was coming.
The four of us made for one of the most fun car rides of my life… except, of course, they would tell you that I slept most of the way there. Sheldon, bless his heart, drove for the entire trip on no sleep, from 8pm until 7am. We stopped only a couple of times, in between singing our lungs out, laughing our heads off, and, some of us, snoring quite peacefully. We couldn’t stop talking about how comfortable and close we all became so quickly and easily.
I also have Jay, one of Johnny’s best friends and teammate, to thank for the fact that we made it to Wisconsin. He received my last minute messages with grace and excitement, and woke up early to make sure we arrived safely.
Sitting in a McDonald’s 8 minutes away from the hotel Johnny’s team was staying at, I couldn’t contain my excitement to just hold my man any longer.
“Can we just go guys?!” I bounced up and down like a little kid while my friends nommed their sausage breakfast sandwiches.
Jay let us know that Johnny was still asleep, unsurprisingly, but encouraged that we head to the hotel anyway. Jay met us in the front lobby where he noted, “We should just wake Johnny up. He wouldn’t want to waste any of the time he could have with you.”
So Jay walked me down a hallway to Johnny’s room, where, after some whispering, he knocked. And waited. And knocked again.
After a moment, a very sleepy, very bed-headed Johnny slowly opened the door sporting an unimpressed expression directed at Jay, until he saw me. His eyes widened, and he slowly said, “Whaaaaat?”
I could barely contain my excitement and energy, and neither could Johnny. “Come here,” he said, and we thanked Jay before having a moment to ourselves. And then all the questions came.
We went after a few minutes to see Sheldon, Luke, and Bethany, who had graciously waited in the lobby so Johnny and I could have a private reunion. Johnny was, as I suspected, so excited and humbled by these amazing friends having shown so much care in order to take a weekend to make such a long trip.
We got to spend the morning all together just catching up and chilling before Johnny got ready with his team for the big game, the game that would decide whether the team would go to Nationals in South Carolina.
While Johnny spent time with the team, we took a quick trip for lunch in downtown Watertown, Wisconsin.
We all reunited at the soccer field to watch Providence’s girls’ soccer team’s game, which they won in an intense and hard-fought match that went into overtime. Then, we got revved up to watch Johnny play.
I can’t begin to put words to the pride and emotion I felt watching my man do so amazingly in what he loves. There is so much to say for the determination, passion, and love he has for this sport, that is the main reason he sought out his degree in Winnipeg. When we first started dating, soccer was just “soccer” to me. But I now have a love for it that comes directly from seeing the joy and passion Johnny has for it. Not to mention I have witnessed firsthand his skill in the sport grow tremendously since I’ve met him. He is the fastest, most technique-focused soccer players I’ve ever seen live. And I’m not being biased ;).
All this emotion and excitement made for an intense game. With so much pressure coming from both talented teams, the rivals scored one goal in the first half of the game. Not long after, though, the Pilots tied it up, ending the game in a tie that led to 2 ten minute periods of overtime, in which there was no score.
This led to an intense best of five shoot-out, in which Johnny’s team just barely lost.
Walking over to Johnny at the end of the game made for a very emotional embrace. I just wanted to hold him forever, my Johnny, who looked so disappointed and defeated while still sporting a little smile, and overall amazing attitude. Thanking me for being there and just saying how grateful he was that I was able to be there.
Our goodbye was the shortest we’ve ever had, which made it difficult to process. Saying goodbye to Johnny always leaves me in a pool of tears that I always just want to be alone in. But, in the middle of nowhere 12 hours from home, I had no choice but to be surrounded by my three amazing friends in Sheldon, Bethany, and Luke… and this ended up being the biggest blessing.
We booked a cheap hotel, stocked up on snacks (dairy free ice cream only available in the States!) and basically crashed as soon as we got to our room.
I woke up the next morning incredibly disoriented. Had I really just seen Johnny? Was I dreaming? Where AM I?
As it all slowly came back to me, the friends and I packed up and headed out for our long journey home. Continually, and throughout the whole day, the patience, fun-lovingness, and compassion of these three beautiful friends inspiring me.
From IHOP to Chipotle, THE CHICAGO BEEEEEAN and a beautiful patch of fall trees, our trip home was nothing short of incredibly eventful.
And the drive home took us to about 3am, where I ended up on my doorstep realizing I’d left my keys in the coat I lent from Bethany that I had given back to her.
Yet another show of kindness the end the trip, I had no other choice but to call my roommates, and Mary answered her phone graciously and kindly, coming downstairs to open the front door for me.
This spontaneous trip taught me so many things that I will never forget.
Selflessness cannot be planned. Spontaneous sacrifice is real sacrifice. My friends sacrificed time, money, and their own agendas for Johnny, and to support him. This is a true and real kind of love.
Routine is no way to live. I’m a creature of habit, and get very comfortable in routines and timelines and plans. This very nearly prevented me from embarking upon one of the most beautiful little adventures of my life.
People should be celebrated. If it weren’t for Brooke and Sheldon, I would not have seen Johnny this past weekend, or likely ever seen him play varsity soccer.
Little acts of kindness that focus on the other are what it’s all about. A parking garage monitor reduced our parking cost significantly, just cuz. Sheldon bought a homeless man a donut and coffee in Chicago, just cuz. Jay got up at 6:30am to make sure we were safe. Brooke sacrificed her weekend plans so I could see Johnny. Sheldon drove with no sleep to make it all possible.
I have been so inspired to live in a way that serves others, as I know this is the way to serve Jesus, the ultimate completely selfless lover.
What a weekend, and what a God, who has blessed me with such incredible people as role models, friends, and my amazing boyfriend.
Until next time, Wisconsin!
My Sweet, special sister, 18 never looked so beautiful. My sweet pea, you have such a fiercely loving heart. You have always had this beautiful compassion for people that translates to the way you interact with people. I have watched you feel so deeply and […]
On Wednesday, I turned 21 years old.
I am officially in the 20s.
And, while it doesn’t feel weird– I’m mostly surrounded by people in their mid-20s, and I feel I’m mature for my age– the milestone led me to a lot of reflecting.
Put honestly, I’d be lying if I said what I’m about to detail is every major reflection I’ve been having. While I’ve been quite honest in the space of this blog, and delved into some very personal things, I think it’s important to note that reflections of the human spirit and mind go much deeper– into the territory of thousands and thousands of words of reflection– than what I’m able to document in a single blog post.
That aside: 21 made me feel loved.
It made me think back to age 8, when I was obsessed with Harry Potter, memorized monologues in my spare time, and read every book I could get my hands on.
Of age 11, when I found out I was allergic to dairy, started caring a lot more about what people thought of me, but still was a straight-A student.
Of age 14, when high school felt like the whole world, and I had my first secrets and truly deep-seated fears, and I still told everyone I was “going to be a pastor.”
Of age 16, when anorexia was my identity, when every day was spent in fog and trying to find any energy to move/live/be, when my thoughts were consumed with calories.
Of age 17, when I was kind-of-sort-of-better-cuz-I-was-eating-again-but-not-enough-and-measuring-everything-and-life-revolved-around-food, and parties were all that mattered, and alcohol became my new favourite way to live in excess, and in all-or-nothing.
Of age 18, when “pastor-school” was a reality, and I heard Jesus’ voice and His love, and nothing else mattered, and I knew there was freedom from my demons and that I wanted it because He did.
Of age 19, when freedom became a reality, and Joy like nothing else took over, and my life finally became less about me and more about others. When I truly gave Him my life and said “I’m walking with you, Jesus, no turning back.”
Of age 20, when I learned more just how I broken I am, just how much I need Him, and that, while I’m not perfect, He is. It’s all about Him.
Of age 21, when I’m learning how to rest, that my identity is in Him and not my actions, that there is grace, but that He loves me too much to leave me where I’m at.
A birthday to remember spent with beautiful friends who know me too well, and gifted me thoughtful (and funny!) things that I cherish, but no gift better than that of their time.
I know what’s important in life and what I want it to be coloured by, and it’s knowing my God and His heart more each day, so that I can become more like Him for His glory and His people.
It’s a good 21st birthday. I’m so excited and so beyond blessed by where He’s placed me, and who He has called me to be.
And now, to add to reflections…
I’m reflecting on this deliiiiccious dinner.
Greek Chicken Souvlaki
(for one person)
4 oz chicken, chopped
1/4 red onion, sliced
1/4 bell pepper, sliced
2 tsps oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp red wine vinegar
pinch each oregano and basil
1 tsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp yogurt of choice
2 Tbsp garlic dill pickle, finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp of juice from pickle jar
Hummus, spinach, and bread, to serve
- In medium bowl, place chicken. In separate, small dish, combine oil, garlic, lemon, vinegar, oregano and basil, mustard, and salt and pepper. Pour over chicken. Cover and refrigerate, at least 2 hours.
- Heat medium skillet over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Add chicken and all marinade. Add bell pepper and onion to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
- In small bowl, mix yogurt, pickle, pickle juice, and salt and pepper.
- Serve chicken mixture with salad, hummus, bread, and yogurt mixture for the ultimate healthy, simple Greek souvlaki!
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I remember like it was yesterday asking my Bible prof the question, “does the phrase so that have a single word in Greek? I see it everywhere in the Bible. It must be a common translation from one Greek word.”
My prof smiled. “Yes, it absolutely does. It’s hi-na.”
This was last semester, and I remember knowing that the word was important.
Colossians 1:9-10 We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.
The word meant so much to me because, when I see “so that” in Scripture, it always denotes a reason, a greater purpose. “Trials and tribulations are so that your faith might be made greater. Suffering and mourning are so that Christ might fill you with His strength.”
On my right wrist, I have a tattoo of the eating disorder recovery symbol. I’ve always felt it’s complete.
Since hearing the Greek word for “so that,” I keep thinking about getting hina, (in Greek it looks more like ‘ina) tattooed on my other wrist.
The eating disorder I endured was so that He might be glorified. The devil has no real authority through the disorder, thus God allowed it to happen so that He might be glorified, and that I might lean on Him more.
Flash forward to now, yesterday, in Biblical Greek class with the same prof who taught me hina. About a month into Greek, and I’m pretty proud of how much I’ve already learned.
When I stumble upon this in my textbook:
“Eis can denote either result or purpose; ‘Ina far more commonly denotes purpose. Paul’s change of language is likely deliberate– to point out that his purpose in disciple is entirely rehabilitative, even if one of the results of his action is temporary exclusion and ostracism of the persistently rebellious sinner… “What the grammar suggests, then, is that the ‘destruction of the flesh’ is the anticipated result of the man’s being put back out into Satan’s domain, while the express purpose of his action is his redemption.” Craig Bloomberg
Wow. I can’t put words to how much this commentary excited me. This word had meant truth, historical and spiritual proof of healing to me… and here it was. Discipline purpose entirely rehabilitative.
It is this truth that has set me free.
And that reminded me of the freedom yesterday.
I’ve been meaning to write about this for some time.
If you know me well, you may be skeptical of my eating disorder recovery.
This is hard to write, but necessary to write.
I understand that. And I don’t mean to be a recovery advocate hypocritically. The healing that God has worked in me, by His Spirit and through His word, is done, and miraculous, and I give all that glory to Him.
But I became aware recently that there were still some habits around food, and views of food, that I held, that I was blind to, because they were normal to me. Because I’d been living this way for so long.
And, with that word, by His Spirit that I both physically and spiritually felt fill me up in my Greek class yesterday, I knew what I needed to do.
Controlled by the Spirit, I finally did the hard work of writing some of these things down. Views of food that I know are skewed. Wow.
I spoke them out loud and renounced them. And prayed.
And more rebirth. More memories. More healing.
There’s always more. Wow Jesus I just want moooore of YOU!
He is so good, my friends. He is so good. He refuses to leave me and He refuses to leave you. He wants to do a great work in you. He wants to bring you in to the purpose of life, and bring you joy and adventure and peace and a kinder heart in doing so.
The past few days I’ve eaten more peanut butter than I have in long time, lots of oily snacky food, and the skin on turkey, and I realized for the first time the swirling voices in my head that have still been there.
And it’s okay that I’ve been struggling. But I’m not okay with staying that way, only because I know Jesus is apart from those voices. And I want to be all His.
He’s allowed me to acknowledge the voices– and silence them.
This whole ordeal– Hina. SO THAT. Purpose.
*if you are resonating with any of these words– about eating disorders, or just about knowing there’s healing/purpose– and have questions or need a friend, I am here. Feel free to message me or ask any questions you might have. I’m trying to be more honest about the lows, rather than forever saying “I’m fine.” Because when darkness is brought to the light… well, it’s not dark anymore.
You know that just-about-to-leave-the-house feeling when you look in the mirror, take one last look at your outfit, and… it’s just not complete? Something’s missing? There’s an easy solution for those almost-perfect outfits. A piece of jewellery might be the exact finishing touch you’re looking for. For […]