Well, it seems that instead of a once-a-week post here—which was one of my goals for the New Year—I’m managing to accomplish a once-a-month-ish rhythm. Which, in the greater scheme of things so far, amounts to two posts for 2018. I’m not completely sure that counts as a “rhythm” but I’m rolling with it.
It’s not entirely a bad thing. Especially if you’re on my subscriber list and don’t like clutter in your inbox.
In the meantime though, I feel a bit like life is passing me by. I’m hibernating and things are happening. We can step off the treadmill for a time, but the belt continues to turn. Isn’t that the way? Life goes on.
Like Valentine’s Day.
What’s that saying? “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Valentine’s Day usually has me pouring hot tar and steamrolling my way south, wavering between “I’m going to buy chocolates and dole out lovely sentiments to all my special people” and “Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark-invented farce to sell cards, chocolates and overpriced roses for once day a year.”
The struggle is real.
It has been for a long time. I recently came across an article I wrote while doing my degree, some twenty years ago. In his infinite wisdom, the course instructor handed the reins of managing editor of the Valentine’s edition of the student newspaper to me, a woman living in the ruins of a crumbled marriage. In his defense, he likely wasn’t aware of my marital status.
What transpired was a scathing editorial on Valentine’s Day, lambasting weak-kneed lovers, trite sentiments, overpriced roses and bonbons and lamenting the general lack of commitment evident in a society that was going to hell in a handbasket and clearly had no idea of what true love is really all about.
And by all of that, you can basically surmise that I was really just angry and bitter.
My experiences through the end of my first marriage left me emotionally battered and bruised and I confess, even though my second marriage is a completely different experience, there are scars that remain. They’re deep, but they’re there. And Valentine’s Day tends to re-open the wounds a bit.
So, this year, I stayed away from my computer keyboard and instead bought a few chocolates for my people and told them I love them every day of the year, not just the 14th of February.
My husband and I have a date night every Wednesday while the kids are at activities, and the 14th conveniently landed on date night. And so, we enjoyed a dinner out together, like we do every Wednesday and it was as great as the other date nights. We slow down. We hold hands. We talk about personal things: hopes and dreams, sorrows and celebrations, challenges and victories, and for one night a week, we leave the calendar and to-do lists at home (mostly).
I do feel a bit red-faced writing/confessing my lack of hurrah about the day, because in the weeks preceding Valentine’s Day I was riding the women in my bible study to consider how they could make Valentine’s Day special for their partners. Maybe “riding” isn’t the right word. Encouraging maybe?
What was that about good intentions?
On the heels of Valentine’s Day is our wedding anniversary. 17 this year!
Every great marriage involves some sacrifice, am I right? So, while I would have loved a little overnight getaway to the mountains with my love, I decided to “go big or go home” this year by offering him what I thought would be his version of the perfect celebration.
Soccer and hockey.
After the kids and me, these are pretty much his favourite things. He might organize his top three in a different order, but would never actually admit to loving soccer more than his family. Although, we have had more than one family vacation that has been planned around and for soccer, so maybe I’m being naïve here?
His team had a soccer game on our anniversary. And because after 17 years together, his soccer teammates and their spouses and kids have become family, we gathered partners and formed a cheering section and celebrated among friends.
A game well-played, followed by drinks in the soccer centre pub, with not one, but TWO hockey games on the TV—his beloved Calgary Flames and the Olympics Gold Medal final. It doesn’t get better than that. Actually, had Germany won the gold, it would have been perfect. But it was close to perfect, so…
It might be challenging to top that next year.
The first day of Lent coincided with Valentine’s Day this year. To be honest, it kind of snuck up on me and was overshadowed by all the feelings (see above). So, I’m not really observing in any formal sort of way.
It has made me think about my blog post from Lent a year ago though, which offers a little primer on the season of Lent and a slightly different perspective on the whole thing. You can check out that post here.
I haven’t given up Donald Trump for Lent this year, although I confess to wanting to block out quite a bit of the news on both sides of the border these days.
I suppose it’s never too late to start, even two weeks in. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16b
Who’s with me?
But iola is here! And it’s beautiful. Abi has outdone herself with the inaugural issue. Take a peek!
It’s more of a “book-azine” than a magazine, dripping with sumptuous photos and featuring inspiring words, poetry and photos created by women, for women.
It offers up everything from articles on mental health, self-care and well being to humour, fiction, devotionals, book recommendations, poetry and even a travel feature. Who’s heading to the Okanagan this summer?
You won’t want to miss it!
What you will want to do is curl up in a cozy place with a mug of hot something and savour the pages. Trust me.
If you’re in Canada, you can order directly on Amazon.ca and if you’re in the US, check out Amazon.com. I believe it’s also available on Amazon in the UK and Australia. Click the link in the sidebar of my site for more details of this gorgeous publication.
I’m going to be giving away two copies of iola on Instagram, so pop over there, follow my page and look for the GIVEAWAY details – coming soon! –
The Canadian winter knocked me a bit flat this year. I’ve grown up in the city I live in, so I’m not sure why winter–or the length of winter–always comes as such a surprise to me. But, for some reason, this one was a doozy. (Still ongoing… if you’ve been on my Instagram, you’ll have been privy to my whining about it.)
However, the days are getting longer. And though the sun is still mostly blazing in the southern hemisphere, it’s creeping closer daily, burning off the haze around me. I’m feeling a little more hopeful.
Hope seems to be my theme these last weeks. When my perspective lacks depth and fear, or depression, or fatigue, or frustration, or a million other things threaten to upend me, I look for it, I cling to it, I find rest in it.
“Love recognizes no barriers.
It jumps hurdles,
to arrive at its destination
full of hope.”
God has pursued me relentlessly through these weeks of mental fog, constantly giving me little glimpses of him in the day-to-day mundane of life. It all looks like hope.
Tell me about your hopes for the next while. Do you have big plans? Are you chasing dreams? Or are you walking through the day-to-day, just trying to get to the other side intact? I know a bit about that.
Can I encourage you in the midst of it? You are never alone.
“Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
you’re already there waiting!”
~Psalm 139:7-9 (MSG)
If you’ve enjoyed this little musing, it would mean the world to me if you subscribe to receive future blog posts. On the sidebar of my homepage, you’ll find a Subscribe button. Feel free to enter your email and use it!
I’m doing my best at navigating the twists and turns of this life with faith, hope and humour. I’d be so honoured to share the journey with you. Putting one foot in front of the other, and—hopefully—not in my mouth.
Based on my previous track record, I don’t promise that my posts will be consistent, or inconsistent, but I’ll try for amusing. At the very least, I hope you’ll come away feeling a little better about yourself.
Here’s to March and longer, warmer, sunnier days ahead!
Thanks for visiting,