saying goodbye to weekly goals

so for the past 6 weeks i embarked on an adventure of weekly goal setting. as we move closer to the end of 2011, i think i’m ready to start thinking about what i want to accomplish in 2012. it’s time to open the bag up again and plan on a longer-term scale. something i have learned is that it’s okay if you don’t reach every single one of your goals within the time frame that you set out. keep on pushing and working towards it, and you will develop the persistence and commitment you need to reach other goals.

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a weekend of birthdays

this weekend, i had the chance to head back to toronto to celebrate not one, but two birthdays! my cousin (who is really close to my sister and i) turned 19 on saturday, and my grandpa had his 80th birthday and dinner banquet on saturday night. as always, i love to exercise my creativity through the joys of cardmaking. here are their simple, but colourful cards.

birthday balloons!

 

circles and stitching

hitting delete

for those of you who know me, you’ll know that i absolutely love to play games. online games, games on my phone, board games…as long as it has some game element to it, i am hooked.

recently, i purchased an iphone. i knew that one of the things i would really have to watch would be my gaming. with free apps (that are so fun) flowing in from all directions, it’s easy to get distracted. lately, i have been distracted by one such game known as muffin knight. pretty much you are a little guy killing enemies and collecting muffins. sounds simple, right? well, it is. and it’s so much fun. so much so, that i spent 50 minutes playing it this morning. this is not uncommon.

thus, after my little spree this morning, i have decided to delete this game. clearly i do not have the self control to limit my game time to 5 minutes, and i don’t want this to stem into a deeper addiction. this screenshot happens to be the level that i have been spending oodles of hours on. it is a little tough to know that all my “hard work” beating each of these levels will be erased, but this is definitely for the better.

here’s to making better use of my time!

 

in preparation

i wrestled a little bit about whether to do this post, because it deals with a topic that is really personal. however, i felt that the lessons i’ve learned from this experience thus far have been invaluable, and i want to share them in hopes that you will be encouraged and challenged to think about how it applies to your life.

for the past two years and a few months, i have had the joy of learning and growing with kelvin. our relationship started off rather unconventionally, and it seems this trend will continue as we live life here in kingston. coming into this relationship, we both had our eyes set on the long-term. i think this is sometimes taboo for people our age, maybe because you don’t want to feel tied down, or maybe because you don’t even know where you’ll be in a few years and a relationship that requires planning and compromise just complicates things.

to delve even further into topics that may leave some people squeamish, we’ve been wrestling with how to determine whether we’re ready for marriage, and all that married life entails. as someone who watches a lot of slice and TLC, i have seen my share of wedding and newlywed shows. often, these can leave you gripping your wallet or bracing yourself for the 180 degree shift your significant other will seemingly take as you approach this milestone. however, most of these shows are focused on one day – your wedding day – shoving the rest of your married life together under the rug.

in all honesty, kelvin and i had no idea what to expect when it came to the life portion of married life, so we decided to seek out some answers. i am someone who loves workbooks, and i would say kelvin likes reading, so when i stumbled upon the book preparing for marriage, i bbm-ed him and we decided it would be a good investment. this was back in the summer. when i moved here to kingston, we committed to working through this book together.

on sundays, kelvin and i have our date night, and every other week, we set aside time to go through our answers from this book. we’ve only gone through the first chapter of this book (which has taken us over two months!) but already we have learned immensely and have struggled through the hard questions that nobody’s asked us before. these aren’t questions like “what is your SO’s favourite colour?” or how many siblings does your SO have?”. rather, it examines things like your parents’ relationship and how it’s affected you. it combs through your expectations for marriage, even down to things like household responsibilities, finances, sex, and how you will interact differently with your parents and in-laws. though it is a Christian book, it doesn’t just deal with your spiritual walks – it asks you to be candid about other aspects of your life as well – because in all actuality, you will be faced with those tangible things, and compatibility involves so many more facets than just how you both are before God.

something that really convicted me when we shared our answers yesterday was that one of the hardest things about marriage is figuring out how your two families become intertwined. for me, moving here to kingston was a big step, and already my relationship with my parents have changed. i miss them a lot and i wish i could see them more, but i know that God has called me to be here in kingston. however, all of these relationships will continue to be transformed as kelvin and i move into marriage and into the phase of life where we have kids. what interactions do we want for our children to have with their grandparents? how will we spend our holidays? it didn’t really hit me until yesterday that these things are going to change. i’m not always going to have the same relationship i have with my parents as i have now. further to that, my relationship with kelvin’s parents will be different. because of proximity, i will see them more. how will that affect my relationship with my own parents. and even now, i have had many more opportunities to develop my relationship with kelvin’s family than he has had to develop his relationship with mine. though he’s nervous about it, we need to work on this before we’re ready to move into considering starting our own family. many people may think that when you get married, none of this matters because you’ll be on your own, just the two of you, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. i’m thankful that we are realizing now just how pervasive the effects of those relationships are on our own relationship.

needless to say, i am really enjoying diving into this topic with kelvin, and as we focus more on looking at marriage throughout scripture over the next few months, i will continue to post my thoughts and lessons learned. so to end off, here’s to opening our eyes to life after the wedding day.

shfiting perceptions

this afternoon, kelvin and i listened to a whole slew of sunder krishnan sermons via the rexdale alliance website. something i love about listening to his sermons is that he is so passionate about living rightly, and he really reflects all the glory to God and not to himself. we listened specifically to his series on idols, and it dawned on me that there are a million different ways for us to screw up in what we do and in our relationship with God. but God is good, and He is merciful. his grace covers us, and that is something that we cannot earn or work towards, but it is something that is freely given.

something that i have always struggled with is this notion that i need to be happy all the time. in my junior high years, i felt a strong pressure to portray optimism, whether authentic or artificial, and this is something that has followed me into my adulthood. it has also affected my prayer life – keeping me from praying with abandon. i am so reserved and timid in what i ask, and this reflects how i see God. frequently, i forget who God really is, and i try to mold him into an image that i can comprehend. how wrong i am in doing this!

coupled with that, i am starting to realize the pervasiveness of some of the idols i hold in my life. whereas others may have money or status as idols, i cling to control and security. i want to know that i have things together and that i can make things happen. with every achievement, i feed my ego rather than give glory to God, and pride starts to take root in my heart. sunder’s message on idolatry really spoke truth into my life, and one catchphrase that he kept on repeating was “idols cannot be removed; they need to be replaced”. it is futile to try with my own strength to let go of the control i want or the security i crave. take a listen to his “canadian idols” series for his inspiring message.

accomplishing my weekly goal

this week, my goal was to decorate my house. i love to draw and be creative, but i don’t often use that to my benefit when it comes to furnishing the home. today, i really needed a creative outlet, so i thought it would be perfect to see what my little brain came up with. i ended up drawing two dual colour marker pictures. kelvin had 2 black frames that we had bought a while ago for another purpose, so we stuck them in there. i quite like them. hope you do too!

this is the first one i drew. it’s black and green. i think it’s my favourite of the two.

this is the second one. it’s black and blue. the lines are very similar, but the details are different.

in awe of God’s faithfulness

it was around march of this year when i decided that i’d take that step of faith. i would move to kingston, trusting God to provide all that i need. over the past few years, i have really come to love this city, and my plan was to live here permanently, but not before heading home for a few years to work. situations changed, opportunities presented itself, and i found myself committing to be here in kingston right after i got back from my summer adventure on the west coast.

i will be honest, it was really hard for me, and i found myself needing to trust God immensely. often i would break down in tears because i would feel so overwhelmed by how much i needed to do and how little resources i physically had. but as the story goes, God never leaves you hanging.

three months ago, i was homeless, jobless, and broke. today, i have a cute little house to call my own, 3 awesome jobs, an upcoming interview with the school board, and i’m in the black! none of this was by my own doing. in my devo time, i’m following a reading plan that focuses on stewardship. he has placed in me a love for education and for children and youth, so i pray that i will be a good steward of these opportunities, and i look forward to what will happen!

falling on my knees

tonight was our first small group bible study session. we’re doing francis chan’s crazy love study series, and so far the discussion, video, and readings have really challenged me to rethink the way i approach God in prayer. growing up, i was one of those kids who sped through my mealtime prayers really quickly. i said the same prayer every time…

God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food. By his hand we are fed, thank you God for daily bread. amen.

over time, that speed and lack of thought spilled over into my devotional prayer. spending time with God started to become a routine that i just needed to do, but that meant very little. there are mornings when i lie in bed and do morning prayer in a semi-alert state, drifting in and out of sleep. this is no way to approach the creator of the universe.

what i desire is a prayer life that is authentic, that is fresh and new. i want to wake up energized, ready to meet my maker, awestruck by his majesty and his goodness. God has been so good to me (more on this in another post – i have some awesome news to share!) and i continue to be grateful for all his blessings, but i crave that intimate relationship i can have with Him. that is the relationship he has called me to, allowing his love, grace, and mercy to flow out of me.

it is exciting to be in community with other Christians around my age and life stage again. i look with anticipation to what will happen in the coming months :)

just me and my blue exercise ball

i am really bad when it comes to exercise. when i was at queen’s i went to step classes every week because i love step, but now that i am out on my own and without a gym, the weekly exercise regimen is at a stand still. i tried running, but my stamina sucks and my knees were feeling it (and i’m only in my 20s…).

enter, the wonderful exercise ball! i found this workout in a real simple magazine at the library, and i started it…today. it calls for you to do the full exercises three times, but by the first time, my abs and arms were already hurting. so alas, i will stick with one time for now and work my way up. what i love about it is that it works a whole bunch of your muscles, but it is low maintenance enough that i can do it at home. in fact, i did it in my living room. i don’t have any solid chairs, so i used my staircase for that first exercise. resourcefulness!

this calls for an every other day routine, so we’ll try again on saturday.

more thank you cards

i recently borrowed a book from the library called “the best of papercrafts mag”. it has a ton of wonderful ideas in it, and this next card was inspired by a layout i stumbled upon in the book. it seems i tend to do a lot of thank you cards.

the card concept is really very simple, but i like how it gives me a chance to use my patterned paper. the thanks “plaque” is raised off the card thanks to a wonderful invention called 3D double-sided tape (not the technical term).

a place to sit

finally, after a month of sitting on the floor or on my exercise ball, i have furniture in the living room! i am really happy with the kivik sofa we bought at ikea, as well as my new poang arm chair. the rug was on sale for 30, so we picked it up as well. i think it really pulls everything together. i am having some trouble smoothing it out though – it’s still very clear that the rug came rolled up. the coffee table is from kelvin’s house – our “antique piece” he likes to call it. we might stain it down the road.

as you can tell from the corner of the picture, the dining room is still very far from being finished. yes, that is a fold-up table, and yes, there are three stools. they have served me well thus far though!