Tag Archives: Christianity

Here I Am

The newest addition to my plant family, a purple Hyacinth, is sitting close by as I sip on my coffee and write. The blossoms are filling the room with a soft fragrance and I’m taking deep breaths of it in.

Inhale – exhale

Inhale – exhale

Here I am. Doing the same thing I was doing yesterday. And the day before that. And the one before that one. It seems winter, post-Christmas winter, brings out the worst in me. I should clarify that it is specific to post-Christmas winter because I love the Christmas season and, other than the few weeks of adjustment to more bundling and winter driving, I enjoy the weeks leading up to the holiday despite the rush of it all. But I finally have admitted to myself that I’m not a winter person. I hibernate as best I can, curling up on couches with warm steaming drinks close by.

Winter is actually a lovely time of the year, the slowness of it all. I try to take advantage of it. I try to see the glass half full. The beauty of the freeze, the activities only winter can provide. But then…then I start to feel cooped-up, held back, bored, depressed. Every damn year. It doesn’t seem to matter how much vitamin D I’m popping or the fact that we had a week of warmth away from the kids this time around, I simply get weary of the winter.

I NEED spring. I get excited for the new growth and despite all of its messiness and muck, it revives me. One foot in the frost, one foot in the thaw. Every spring reminds me of perseverance and grace. Seeing life burst through ground that was once frozen, I am reminded of myself in it all.

I could use some reviving right about now.

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

Jeremiah 31:25

 

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Grief

Grief is a funny thing. It hits you at the strangest times. There’s the obvious initial response to the death of a parent that is emotional and jarring and raw, but then that gives way to daily life needing to move on and that’s when grief creeps up, bubbles up, bursts forth at the oddest of moments. Seemingly odd at first, but very fitting upon further observation.

James’ dad died in the middle of February. It was sudden and unexpected. He wasn’t the healthiest of people and seemed to be aging rapidly, but no one would have guessed he was going to pass at 62 years of age, not yet two months into his retirement. I’d never experienced anything like that before. My husband hadn’t experienced anything like that before. We’ve lost grandparents and a few people on the outskirts of our lives, but never someone so close and dear and…there. Having to tell the kids their beloved Grandpa, the man who would pick them up and take them for pancakes and read to them was gone was one of the hardest things to do.

I found that because James is the eldest child and his dad was alone and we had children going through their own grieving process I shelved a lot of my emotion. After Pat died, after the room cleared out, I sat there and just thought about the mountain of things that this meant. What this meant to everyone, all of the things that had to be done and taken care of. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom and have been for a long time now, but the list grew instantly and I went into ‘care’ mode.

But now I find it creeping out or bursting forth at bizarre moments like when I walked into Safeway the other day. It was the first time since he died. Pat had called James from Safeway because he felt dizzy and short of breath. It was the last time they talked. The manager had called Pat an ambulance and by the time James got to him he was unconscious. I put Eli in the buggy and walked through the doors and an instant flood of emotion came over me. “He’s gone” I just kept repeating in my head.

It also caught me off guard when I put a dish of rice pudding in the oven to bake. The last time that I had made it was the day he died. The connection to a time when he was here was too profound. The absence of the person is felt so deeply. Too deeply. But it’s good. I need to feel it. I need to care for the people around me during a time like this, but I also need to wade through my own emotions and let them break the surface so that I can work through them.

I imagine it will be a long road of these sorts of things. We will never fully recover from a parent dying, they are linked too closely to our lives. They mean too much to us. Especially if they have been the type of parent, like Pat, who, despite his flaws and our flaws, has loved us greatly and unconditionally.

 

feather1

 

‘Farewell’

 

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The Gumption is Gone

Call it the winter blues, a February slump, SAD’s or just straight-up depression, but whatever you label it as, all I know is the Gumption Train left weeks ago.

This is fairly normal for me during these dark and bitterly cold winter months. Last year was particularly brutal considering it was about -40 most days with mountains of snow taking over the city. I thought this year would be different. We stocked up on Vitamin D, booked James some time off for the end of this month and hoped that we’d be able to afford a warm vacation. It hasn’t been as cold and we’ve had barely any snow (for Winnipeg). However, I’m finding myself having only one or two “good” days every week. Which isn’t all that good…

I’m not so sure that it’s the weather, although it does play a part, as much as I feel a bit lost in life right now. I don’t feel like I’m fitting in to things. I don’t feel like myself. I could use a good dose of sunshine for sure, but it’s more then that.

I’ll have been a parent for ten years this coming September. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for almost all of that time. I think that lately I’ve been feeling the weight of that undertaking, if that makes any sense. A lot of myself is on hold, and has been for a long time now. I’m finally getting back into my artwork, which has been good for me, but I’m still so limited by space and nap times and shift work and the energy to do it.

The gumption to press on and move forward and keep my chin up is waning. I need a break. I need to recenter and rejuvenate but there’s no break in sight.

Someone said to me the other day, “The days are long but the years are fast.” I’m currently feeling the long, dark days.

“The Lord will work out his plans for my life,

for your loving-kindness, Lord, continues forever.

Don’t abandon me—for you made me.”

Psalm 138:8

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Jesus in the Ordinary

Enough time has passed that I’m no longer mortified that I did this video. I was going to share it awhile back and write a whole post entitled, “Hi. My Name is Bria and I’m Awkward”…but at the time I didn’t feel like sharing the video yet. So here it is now.

About a day after we shot the video everything came together in my mind and I figured out how I felt about the question. I texted our pastor with my modified but unusable answer. So here’s what I would have liked to say:

I think if I could go back, I’d add that I experience Christ in the risk, and in the trust. In the mess of the day to day. In the exhaustion. In the mundane it’s easy to miss all of it, it’s easy to not listen and not look but when I do, He’s there. He’s asking me to risk and trust and step out and look. Whispering that through all of the unsure, He’s right there, walking beside me, loving me and teaching me. Often through the simple. Sometimes through the grand. Always through the ordinary.

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Taking Some Time

The world keeps turning outside of social media. Who knew? Life carries on.

I felt the pull to repeat the same Lenten fasting as last year and have removed myself from all of those time-sucking websites and have limited computer time to after the kids are in bed. I got a lot out of it last time around and was looking forward to stepping away from the hustle and bustle of the news feeds and game requests and idyllic envy-inducing instagrams. Truth be told, I’d love to walk away from all of it for good but, like so many others I’ve talked to, I just can’t seem to make that leap.

However, this has proven to be a good starter week for me since our sink and dishwasher aren’t draining at all. My attention has been on washing a million dishes in plastic bins and since we are a hungry family of five, we go through a lot of dishes. It’s a good thing I have a six year old who loves to be a helper.

Along with dish duty, I’ve been continuing to read some books that I had previously posted about. These are pulling at my heart strings and awakening my long-subdued homesteading/hobby farming desires. We aren’t buying land any time soon but I’m seeing ways in which I can get more out of our urban life. The way in which I’ve viewed myself as “only” a stay-at-home-mom is slowly changing as I try hard to pull away from the damaging priorities I’ve bought into for so long…but that’s a whole other blog that’s bubbling up to the surface.

It’s refreshing to retreat for awhile and allow yourself some space to breath and to evaluate your trajectory.

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Beauty

We are constantly bombarded these days with ideas of beauty and what beautiful is; our own inner voices, our family and friends, the media, the world around us. Girls seem to be more obsessed than ever to fit into the societal views of beauty, trying to acquire flawless skin, perfectly applied eye make-up and the ever illusive “thigh-gap” (I read an article about this new obsession…kinda crazy). Older women rush to the spa to get skin treatments and injections, paying thousands and thousands of dollars so they can keep-up with their daughters. Every things seems to be competing for some of our head space (because if it gets in our head then we’ll obsess and spend money on trying to ‘fix it’, right?). It’s loud and it’s hard to shut it off.

Beauty is a touchy subject for me. I say touchy because I find that I am far too frequently in sync with the cravings our society has for beauty. I want the youthful look and slender build and Banana Republic’s 2013 fall wardrobe (I think I actually had heart palpitations when I went into the new store). I enjoy Vouge and often peruse The Sartorialist. It’s not that I think these things are wrong in and of themselves, it’s that I know I get carried away and allow them to take up too much time. I often put too much stock in a materialistic definition of beauty and I become shaped by all of those voices that begin to chat away in my brain. I begin to compare myself to those definitions and I fall short, because they are unattainable. Seriously, I’ve had three kids, my body will not look like a 16 year olds.

But the funny thing is that when I think about the woman that I want to be and become, these definitions of beauty don’t hold a lead role. Sure, I hope that I look as good as my mom does when I’m 58, but I long for a different beauty as well. A lasting beauty. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately and it’s probably because I’m nearing my 30th birthday.

We are told to take care of our future. We put money away and make plans upon plans upon plans to ensure our comfort and our childrens safety. We are told to eat healthy and be active so as to ward off heart disease and strokes…which are all important. But I’ve been wondering why more of us (and maybe this takes place but it’s not talked about as much) don’t plan for how we want to age in character and faith and personality. I’ve been thinking about how I would like to age in many areas.

I came across a quote that I wrote down quite a long time ago. Unfortunatly I didn’t write down the author, but it goes like this:

” This is what beauty says, All shall be well. And this is what it’s like to be with a woman at rest,

a woman comfortable in her feminine beauty. She is enjoyabe to be with. She is lovely.

In her presence your heart stops holding its breath. You relax and believe once again

that all will be well.”

This quote resonates with me, but I feel so far off. Mentors seem as though they are a thing of the past, but I bet this is where they would come in to play. I’d love to have a mentor, a Ruth or an Ester type, a godly woman to look-up to and ask questions to and  see how she walked through all of the long rough years.

When I look at my peers and at older women around me that I know and admire, they don’t fit into these silly cookie cutters that the world has made for us. They come in all shapes and sizes. I find that what makes these women beautiful are their lives and their stories, their love and their passion, their flaws and their humour. They have something that a cosmetic stand or Botox add cant sell.

“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom…

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”

Proverbs 31: 10, 26,

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A Time To Refocus

Here’s the deal, I spend waaaay too much time in front of my computer. When life feels overwhelming (which has been most days lately), when there’s too much to clean, when the kids start acting-up, when I sit down and don’t immediately know what I want to do, I pick-up my computer and get lost in the mindlessness of it. Oh it’s wonderful, having something so readily available to distract me from the things that need to be done around the house and with the kids or from devotions or…thinking in general actually.

So for this Lenten season I’m going to be drastically cutting back on my computer time. I will still receive e-mails (briaerskine(at)gmail(dot)com) so if you’d like to get in touch with me, by all means shoot me a text or e-mail and I’ll get back to you. I won’t be on social networking sites so if you leave me a message then I won’t be responding for a while.

Since I’m giving-up something that takes-up a lot of my time I’ve chosen to take on something else. I just downloaded it and am hoping it will be a good tool for helping me reorient and focus during this season.

Cheers!

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