Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Tunes Tuesday :: Born is the King (It's Christmas!!)

I came and sat down to write this post quickly today, then realized it was Tuesday so it fit perfectly for a Tunes Tuesday post ;) 

Lots of Christmas baking and cookie-decorating going on in this house today! :) Have I mentioned before how much I looove the Christmas season???! Lots of Christmas music playing too, and I thought I would share this super fun Christmas song that will likely inspire much dancing, singing (it's praise, y'all!), and help us remember the reason we're celebrating :) (don't be afraid to turn it reeeeaaaal loud ;))

Take the time to enjoy your day - try not to be caught up in all of the to-dos, and miss the point of the season, and the joy it can bring. 


gingerbread house neighbourhood ;)
I promise you that even though these look like lumps of brownness they taste heavenly (double chocolate w/ candycane gooeyness)




also? you should play it again and again until you're almost sick of it.

Born unto us this day a Saviour
Gifted from heaven to a manger
The hope of the world
A light for all mankind
All of the earth rejoice
It's Christmas time

So lift up your voice and sing out His praise
It's Christmas
Born is the King, rejoice in the day
It's Christmas
Make a joyful sound
It's Christmas
Let His praise resound
It's Christmas

Goodwill to all the earth
And peace divine
All of the earth rejoice
It's Christmas time
It's Christmas time

So lift up your voice and sing out His praise
It's Christmas
Born is the King, rejoice in the day
It's Christmas
Make a joyful sound
It's Christmas
Let His praise resound
It's Christmas

So lift up your voice and sing out His praise
It's Christmas
Born is the King, rejoice in the day
It's Christmas
Make a joyful sound
It's Christmas
Let His praise resound
It's Christmas

So lift up your voice and sing out His praise
It's Christmas
Born is the King, rejoice in the day
It's Christmas
Make a joyful sound
It's Christmas
Let His praise resound
It's Christmas

Praying that today and the rest of the days leading up to Christmas are a time of peace and joy for you and yours - it's a time of celebration!

blessings,
love Emma


Friday, 19 December 2014

Thoughts on Running

Sooo... I just signed up for my first half marathon last week (!!!!!). So excited and nervous. For the past few years I have run a 5K every spring, but this year I am running the half.

So today I thought I would share a few thoughts on running, some quirky things that work for me when I run, some quotes, and a couple songs that I always listen to during the hard sections of every run. Any thoughts or tips you might have for running a half would be much appreciated!


I've always run the 5K with my friend, and this year when our race had its annual sale, I asked her if she was going to do it. She said she was going to race, and was thinking about the half. I will admit to being skeptical at first, thinking of the lack of training I had put in the last few winters and knowing there's no way I could run 21km right now!

But we figured out that the reason I haven't likely trained the last few years is because training in the winter requires motivation, and if I can just run a 5K anyways without doing much training, why go out in the cold or suffer on the treadmill?? So because I now have a goal that I currently can't achieve, and I signed up for this race I can't subconsciously excuse myself from training.

And I will admit to always having the desire to run a half somewhere in the back of my mind, but there was another part of me that knows it's totally crazy and I needed my awesome friend to help me make this commitment. :)


So this is the training plan that we're doing. Even though we're both already runners we are doing a couch-to-half plan because then we can ease into it ;)


A couple of super random kind of weird things about me and running:
  • A piece of minty gum or a mint helps me to run better. I don't really know why, I think it has something to do with minty-ness making my breath feel fresher, making it easier to breathe or feel less yucky or something, and it gives me a really small easy jaw movement to half focus on. It's weird, I know.
  • For me, when I feel like I'm running slow, I do less walking, even if I'm actually running faster than usual. And if I'm running slower than usual but it feels faster, the desire to walk is greater. So I usually try to run fast and make it feel slow. lol ;) 

There are a few go-to songs that I put on when I feel like I need to walk, or right at the end to help me finish well, right now, the very best one is My Lighthouse, by Rend Collective. 


 And the live version is even longer so sometimes I like that one. lol

Another great one is Never Ending Love Song by Peter Furler, and Greater Is He, also Peter Furler. 



and Steven Curtis Chapman - You Are Being Loved


Other than that, I don't really think I have any particular songs that I like for running, I just listen to whatever music is currently my favourite. 



And can I get an amen???!!!! ;)
 
I think I need these shirts ;)



Anyone else have any tips for running? Any funny quirky things? 
 
blessings,
Emma

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Tunes Thursday :: One Silent Night

I meant to share this song on Tuesday but the day kinda slipped away from me, and then yesterday too, so here it is today. 

It's one of my favourite Christmas songs, I love how it just feels so quiet and still, I can totally see the story happening. The song is so simple, so sweet, and has several lines that make you stop to think about them again. 

It helps me to feel quiet and still before the LORD, to think about how 'heaven came down and changed everything', and how there was 'no one to kneel, and no one to sing'.  




Quiet and still was the whole world that night
The stars and the land and the sea
All were enjoying the quiet moonlight
Spinning so effortlessly

And the wind blew tender and sweet
Through the manger stall
Over one new tiny heartbeat
That would save us all

One silent night, one holy night
When all was calm, when all was bright
With no one to kneel, and no one to sing
Heaven came down and changed everything
Let all the earth receive her King

His mother there holding Him close to her chest
Rocking the Savior to sleep
Sleep, baby Jesus, You need all the rest
You can get, there are people in need

For a moment Heaven stood still
As the midnight watch was kept
As on that Bethlehem hill
The savior slept

One silent night, one holy night
When all was calm, when all was bright
With no one to kneel, and no one to sing
Heaven came down and changed everything
Let all the earth receive her King

One silent night, one holy night
(Oh, come let us adore Him)
When all was calm, when all was bright
(Oh, come let us adore Him)

With no one to kneel, and no one to sing
Heaven came down and changed everything
Let all the earth receive her King

Oh, come let us adore Him
Oh, come let us adore Him
Come let us adore Him
Oh, come let us adore Him

Come let us adore Him
(Silent night, holy night)
Oh, come let us adore Him
(Silent night, holy night)
May you be blessed today and during this advent season, this time of preparing our hearts to receive the King who has come for us. May we not be too busy with all of the things to do and miss what is really important. 
Anyone else have any favourite Christmas songs? Please let me know, I'd love to check them out! {I loooove Christmas music!}

blessings,
love Emma

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Lots of Things

 I took quite a break from blogging {obviously....} but there have been so many times the last week or so that I've been like, oh I should post about that. But then I would be like, oh wait I should really post about that first. But I have also been finding myself very much lacking in energy and time, and so none of those posts have been written. Today I decided to write one post with little bits of them all so that I can't use any unwritten posts to keep me from posting anymore. {make sense? lol}

photo taken by my brother :)


First off, just this week my grandfather who had heart surgery  was moved out of ICU. Praise God! So many weeks of ups and downs, and finally he seems to improving. Thank you to all who prayed, and please continue to keep him (& my grandmother) in your prayers. 

 But partially as a result of all that, this past month has been so exhausting. My parents have been back and forth to the hospital (in a different city) regularly, and my mom has stayed with my grandmother a lot. Resulting in a large load being put onto my shoulders. And I am so thankful - thankful that we are currently in a stage of life where my mother was able to go be with her, thankful that the kids are all old enough to let her go, thankful that I have had this experience of running a household, thankful I don't have a full school load right now. I'm thankful for the great training I've had which allowed me to be capable of doing this. 

And I realized something. Running a household is not easy. I mean, I didn't really think it was, but I just didn't think it would be quite so hard. So thank-you Mum. Thanks for all that you do for us. Because I see more of it now :) And also, I see why you were always ragging on us to take initiative to see something needs to be done and do it. lol

Next order of business, this year I am doing Dressember. The group of people that I'm doing it with this year is raising awareness (and money) against abortion

I wear dresses all the time, and I thought I wouldn't get tired of it until the end, but whadduya know, I already am. Hopefully I'll get a second wind or something lol. And why on earth did they choose such a cold month for it??! Why not sometime in the spring or summer when you don't have to wear leggings (especially fleece lined ones) every day? I mean, sure Dressember is a catchy name that doesn't really work with any other month, but still. haha

I read these posts this week:
This post, by Bri. "But I long for a fall on your knees in awe and gratitude because God has sent a Savior, His own son to save me." Amen amen amen!!
And this one, by Marian. this was juuust what I needed to read this week. because it's true... when we're all messy and needy that's when we can best receive him, and that's why He came.

And lastly,
November Goals.
-run/exercise 5 days/week. The sun keeps rising later and later leaving me with less and less time to run, so I may need to start doing my indoor workouts soon. My goal is to do it most mornings. 
//hahahahahahaha. newp. I think I still ran once a week though.
-count blessings. I've been counting gifts for a couple of years now. I find that some times I count regularly, habitually and other times more sporadically. Right now it's sporadic but I hope to change that because I can really notice the difference.
// yes this did happen. :)
-goal #3. of course I had thought of another goal that I planned to make but forgot to write it down, so I will update this when I think of it. :P
//and of course, this month I didn't even remember or make up another goal. 

December Goals
-quiet for advent. try and remember that this is not just another 'to-do' for this season, but rather a time to bow humbly before the King who was born to save the world. 
 And ya know what? That's actually all I've got right now. :P 

So there we are. I'm so tired right now that most of the probably doesn't make sense but if you got something out of the mumbo jumbo then I'm so glad! ;) 

Blessings,
Emma  

Monday, 3 November 2014

Hey there, November

So now that November is here, I will admit that I am not overly optimistic about the weather. And the time-change has sure taken a whack at me :P I will admit that I do love waking up to the sun again, although I know that won't last for long!


This past week has been super crazy, prayers would be super appreciated for my grandfather, he has had some complications after his heart surgery this past Thursday!! 

Let's see how those October goals went:

October Goals:
-post {something} every day of October, except Sundays. I already decided I'm taking Sundays off and it won't be a large post every day {I will guarantee you that lol!} but I'm hoping there will be something. 

// yesss!! I did that! you can read them here
-run twice a week. once a week outside of my Wednesday runs with running-buddy :)

// well, um... I did run once a week, each week. but what with blogging every day, I didn't exactly have make time to run outside the weekly run with my running-buddy.
-make dinner at least once a week. this is something that I know helps my mom out a lot and it really gives me great practice :)

// I didn't exactly count, but I did make dinner quite a few times last month. yay!
-and uh, yes. keep working on that prayer thing. 

//well, yes I did, although not so much as I would've liked to.

And this month:

November Goals: 
-run/exercise 5 days/week. The sun keeps rising later and later leaving me with less and less time to run, so I may need to start doing my indoor workouts soon. My goal is to do it most mornings. 
-count blessings. I've been counting gifts for a couple of years now. I find that some times I count regularly, habitually and other times more sporadically. Right now it's sporadic but I hope to change that because I can really notice the difference.
-goal #3. of course I had thought of another goal that I planned to make but forgot to write it down, so I will update this when I think of it. :P

And I just wanted to share with you a passage that I've really been focusing on lately: Matthew 6:25-34, with the verse that has stuck out to me the most being Matthew 6:33:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
 How about you? Have you set any goals this month? How did last month go for you?

blessings,
emma
    

Saturday, 1 November 2014

31 Days :: {28} :: wrap-up/conclusion

Hey there friends! thanks for stopping by! This is the final post of my 31 Days series on Celebrating Life. If you'd like to see all the other posts so far, you'll find the introduction here or the posts all here :)

So I made it. I wrote every day in October {except Sundays}, on the topic of Celebrating Life. And I learned. so. much. 



Please please please go and read the Chapter entitled 'Cold Tangerines' from Shauna Niequist's book Cold Tangerines, you can do that here {scroll down a little bit and it will show up in blue printing}. Because I tried to find a couple of paragraphs from this chapter to highlight and share here but I have to admit that the whole chapter is underlined in my copy. Actually, I highly recommend reading the entire book ;)

I've tried to figure out what exactly I want to accomplish with this official wrap-up conclusion. And it's been hard. 

But I think I finally landed on something. I just want to encourage you {& me}. Encourage you to celebrate. Because it is so worth it. Even when it's hard.



Believe me, I know. When you get to the end of the day and you find yourself all snappy, and achy and tired, it's hard to celebrate. 

When you're bored crazy, it's hard to celebrate. When you're sad, mad, disappointed, hurt, frustrated, it's hard to celebrate.

A lot of times, it's even hard to celebrate when life is going good and it's a great day. 

Ouch. And that's the one I struggle with oh so often. Because I just let myself onto cruise control and it no longer matters if anything is worth celebrating, and nothing in my day has a real point, and I'm just breathing and moving but not really living. 

And so when Shauna write this in her book, it resonates with me. It calls to deep within me and says, celebrate. Make that effort. Because tomorrow will soon be today and when you look back on what will be yesterday, will you wish you had lived more alive?

"I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift, who will use it up and wring it out and drag it around like a favorite sweater." ~Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines)
 And it's not about waiting to celebrate the big moments in life. It's not about waiting to become whoever or whatever it is you think you are becoming. It's about celebrating this very life that you have today.

"But this is what I'm finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I'm waiting for, that adventure, that movie-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidwalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets - this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience.
I believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without even realizing it.
 

I don't want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That's the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don't even see it, because I'm too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting." ~Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines
 And so today, I am encouraging you, calling you, appealing to you, pleading with you to please, open your eyes and intentionally look at all the beauty around you to celebrate.


"The world is alive, blinking and clicking, winking at us slyly, inviting us to get up and dance to the music that's been playing since the beginning of time, if you bend all the way down and put your ear to the ground to listen for it." ~Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

Shall we?

complete post list:
{1} :: October Goals and Pre-Intro
{2} :: introduction 
{3} :: beautiful 
{4} :: tangible beauty 
{5} :: today... 
{6} :: Tunes Tuesday :: 10,000 Reasons 
{7} :: we need it 
{8} :: hidden beauty 
{9} :: don't wait
{10} :: sleeping in 
{11} :: laughter 
{12} :: Tunes Tuesday :: Carrie Underwood
{13} :: 31 Days love
{14} :: in which I sort of tell you a story
{15} :: intention 
{16} :: intention, part 2
{17} :: Today...

{18} :: Tunes Tuesday :: Something Beautiful 
{19} :: intention, part 3 
{20} :: the root of celebration
{21} :: believing it 
{22} :: link love 
{23} :: family {beautiful people}
{24} :: Tunes Tuesday 
{25} :: celebrating when it's hard
{26} :: Today... 
{27} :: quotes 

linking up with Elizabeth :) 

Friday, 31 October 2014

31 Days :: {27} :: quotes

Hey there friends! thanks for stopping by! You've found us at Day 27 of my 31 Days series on Celebrating Life. If you'd like to see all the other posts so far, you'll find the introduction here {includes post-list at the bottom} or the posts all here :)

So this is the last day of October, and it's not my wrap-up, and I wasn't going to post today, but in the spirit of posting every day in Oct {except Sundays}, I thought I would share a quote from Cold Tangerines that I really love. :)

"Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising. But life with God is like that exponentially. We can dig in, make plans, write in stone, pretend we're not listening, but the voice of God has a way of being heard. It seeps in like smoke or vapor even when we've barred the door against any last-minute changes, and it moves us to different countries and different emotional territories and different ways of living. It keeps us moving and dancing and watching, and never lets us drop down into a life set on cruise control or a life ruled by remote control. Life with God is a daring dream, full of flashes and last-minute exits and generally all the things we've said we'll never do. And with the surprises comes great hope."
~ Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

And that scares me. Because I don't even like change at all, most of the time. 

"That's what I want. I want to arrive. I want to get wherever I'm going and stay there. That's why I was such a ferocious planner of my life. But I'm learning to just keep moving, keep walking, keep taking teeny tiny steps. And it's in those teeny tiny steps and moments that I become, actually, who I am. We won't arrive. But we can become. And that's the most hopeful thing I can think of." ~ Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines 
I can identify with that. And maybe you can too? 




this weekend I'll post my wrap-up post, thank you to anyone has stuck with me throughout this 31 Days challenge :)

love emma 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

31 Days :: {26} :: Today...

Hey there friends! thanks for stopping by! You've found us at Day 26 of my 31 Days series on Celebrating Life. If you'd like to see all the other posts so far, you'll find the introduction here {includes post-list at the bottom} or the posts all here :)


So today is the second-last "official" post of this 31 Days series. This topic is so important to me so look to see more coming on it in the future :) 

Another note, I don't think I'm going to have time to post tomorrow, so my wrap up will likely be this weekend. *gasp* ;)



Today, I celebrated my Papa's successful surgery!! Thanks to all of you who prayed :)

I also celebrated a walk in the beautiful fall weather we're having right now,

and squash {with brown sugar & cinnamon ;)} for dinner,
{that's what fall tastes like :)}

everyone pitching in, to do whatever needed to be done with minimal complaining,

 pumpkin spice tea :),

and oh so much more... I meant to take pictures but it's been a busy day and I didn't get a chance to...

don't forget to celebrate the little ordinary things in your every-day life! :)

blessings,
love Emma


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

31 Days :: {25} :: celebrating when it's hard

Hey there friends! thanks for stopping by! You've found us at Day 25 of my 31 Days series on Celebrating Life. If you'd like to see all the other posts so far, you'll find the introduction here {includes post-list at the bottom} or the posts all here :)

Seeing that I only have two days left (whaaa??!) and I haven't really touched on this yet, I thought today was a good day to do so. And also, since I can't really do justice to the topic, I think I will let Shauna use her beautiful words today. 


"What I know now is that his [God's] kindness burns through even the deepest betrayals and invites life from death every chance we let him. There are things that explode into our lives and we call them curses, and then one day, a year later or ten years later, we realize that they are actually something else. They are the very most precious kinds of blessings." ~Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines



"But the only person who decided my life had turned to dust was me. The only person who is still deeply troubled about what I've lost, even in the face of what I've gained, is me. I would never have wanted it this way, but something bright and beautiful has been given to me, and I'm in grave danger of losing it, squandering it, becoming a person who cannot find the goodness that's right in front of her because of the sadness that she chooses to let obscure it.
Now we're talking about celebration. Celebration when you think you're calling the shots? Easy. Celebration when your plan is working? Anyone can do that. But when you realize that the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways, that you could tell it over and over as a tragedy, but you choose to call it an epic, that's when you start to learn what celebration is. When what you see in front of you is so far outside of what you dreamed, but you have the belief, the boldness, the courage to call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong, that's celebration."~Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

 Celebration is hardest and most precious when it is hard. But it is so. worth. it. 

linking up with Elizabeth :) 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

31 Days :: {24} :: Tunes Tuesday

Hey there friends! thanks for stopping by! You've found us at Day 24 of my 31 Days series on Celebrating Life. If you'd like to see all the other posts so far, you'll find the introduction here {includes post-list at the bottom} or the posts all here :)

This post isn't gonna have much text in it today because I have already slept in and I have to work all day, and I'm out at my local BFM's Volunteer Appreciation night. 

But here's a song that I'm loving :) it reminds us to celebrate how God can work even when our hearts are breaking, and bring us closer to Him.




This is not what I asked
Not what I prayed for
Are you listening now?
'Cause all that I've built,
All that I've bled for
Is coming undone

But what if it had to be broken
Before my heart could be open?

Maybe the shattered parts
Are the places where Your love starts
And now I am closer to where You are
With every beat of my broken heart
Oh, oh

Maybe it's not what i would've chosen
And I won't understand
But I'm trusting You now
Cause all that I know is
I am safe in Your hands

But what if it had to be broken
Before my heart could be open?

Maybe the shattered parts
Are the places where Your love starts
And now I am closer to where You are
With every beat of my broken heart
Mercy is here with me
Even if I can't see it now
I am closer to where You are
With every beat of my broken heart

So break me all the way
'Til we are face to face
When Your work in me is through
Then all that's left is You

Maybe the shattered parts
Are the places where You're love starts
And now I am closer to where You are
With every beat of my broken heart

Mercy is here with me
Even if I can't see it now
I am closer to where You are
With every beat of my broken heart
Oh, oh

I am closer to where You are
With every beat of my broken
Beat of my broken heart

Monday, 27 October 2014

31 Days :: {23} :: family {beautiful people}

Hey there friends! thanks for stopping by! You've found us at Day 23 of my 31 Days series on Celebrating Life. If you'd like to see all the other posts so far, you'll find the introduction here {includes post-list at the bottom} or the posts all here :)



We've talked about beautiful: hidden beauty, and tangible beauty. Today, we're talking about beautiful people.

You know, sometimes your family can seem like the ordinary. I mean, I guess they are, really. They're a big part of the daily fabric of your life. 

And along with so many parts of the ordinary, it's so easy to see only the ugly, or the common, when we look at them. 

But what about the beautiful of your family? The humour, the honesty, sacrifice, the loveliness of those people in your family? 

When was the last time you looked for that in the people you live life with - your family?

apparently we don't take family photos very often... this one is from February and it doesn't even have my mom in it...
So today, try. Look for the beautiful in each of your family members. Because they are beautiful people. 

blessings,
love Emma

linking up with Oak and Oats :)

Saturday, 25 October 2014

31 Days :: {22} :: link love

Hey there friends! thanks for stopping by! You've found us at Day 22 of my 31 Days series on Celebrating Life. If you'd like to see all the other posts so far, you'll find the introduction here {includes post-list at the bottom} or the posts all here :)

Today we're celebrating some beautiful all around the internet :)

This pumpkin curry from Shauna... made it on Thursday, was so great, had the leftovers for lunch yesterday ;)

Sarah (&Roman) Casterline has written so many posts that I have loved lately... here are three of them this past weekish that I just had to share :) Pitching Our Tent, Waiting My Life Away, and Being Present in the Bad Days.

Love how Kailey has been exploring her city this month! And also, brothers are awesome ~ I love mine! :)

Also, some exciting updates from Chantel about their hopefully upcoming adoption! I know she would super appreciate it if you would keep it in prayer for them!

Aannnd, finally, these great tips from Bri on running your first half-marathon! way to go girl! :)

That's all for today! Don't forget to celebrate life! :)



    blessings,
emma

Friday, 24 October 2014

31 Days :: {21} :: believing it

Hey there friends! thanks for stopping by! You've found us at Day 21 of my 31 Days series on Celebrating Life. If you'd like to see all the other posts so far, you'll find the introduction here {includes post-list at the bottom} or the posts all here :) 

So far, we've talked about beautiful: hidden beauty, and tangible beauty. Next week I want to talk about beautiful people, and beautiful moments, but for today I want to talk about believing that something is beautiful. 

Often, it's not even about discovering, or finding the beautiful within the the ordinary, it's about believing the ordinary to be beautiful in itself. 

Example, the other day I went for a run with a friend of mine. I probably should have, but I didn't actually look around for little beautiful things to celebrate as I ran by, but rather I simply believed what we were doing was beautiful. A gathering of friends, to run, is a beautiful thing. 

Sometimes we need to believe something is beautiful simply for the reason that we know God is working through it, using it to grow us. Otherwise it's just too ugly or painful. 



It's not always about looking for the little moments I spend with my sisters that are beautiful, or looking for hidden beauty, or tangible beauty in those times. Often it's just about believing that spending time with them is beautiful.

Service is beautiful. Therefore, cleaning the bathroom is a beautiful thing. So is washing the dishes. And yes, so are the soap suds {all filmy and shiny and rainbow-y}, but so is the act in itself. 

Next time you're doing something, think about why it is beautiful. And believe it. It is!  

What sorts of things is it hard for you to see as beautiful? Why?

blessings,
love Emma


Thursday, 23 October 2014

31 Days :: {20} :: the root of celebration

Hey there friends! thanks for stopping by! You've found us at Day 20 of my 31 Days series on Celebrating Life. If you'd like to see all the other posts so far, you'll find the introduction here {includes post-list at the bottom} or the posts all here :) 

I will admit, that while this topic is certainly something that I feel passionately about, and try oh so very hard to practice, the first half of the month, I really struggled. I felt kinda fake about this. And it super-bothered me especially because I'm trying to write about it and felt kind of hypocritical.

I considered that maybe trying to write about it every day was the problem, but nooo, it wasn't. It was my reasons and my priorities. 

Even doing something right for the wrong reason turns it into something wrong. When I started this I was all gung-ho to learn lots and glorify God, but as I went along it kinda turned into something else. 

This is supposed to be a follow-after of what God is teaching me. A way to process and keep learning. But when you start to make this more important {of course, I would never say that but my actions showed otherwise} than Bible reading and prayer and learning from God? Well then it becomes words of my own mouth, not real and empty. That's what happened. 

And then on the 16th, I realized, my goal here - why I'm even celebrating life at all - is to seek and glorify God. I touched on this a little bit yesterday, talking about how to celebrate and enjoy life is a way of thanking and honouring God, and it's so true. 

He gave us this glorious gift, and the best way to say thank-you to Him is to use it so fully. If you gave your friend a dee-licious cake, and they said thank-you, maybe even wrote you a nice little card, that would be nice, wouldn't it? But would you still think they were thankful for it if they just set it on a shelf in their kitchen and didn't eat it? Would you really believe they were thankful for it? I wouldn't! 

But if they ate it up, maybe all in one sitting, maybe asked for the recipe, gave me back an empty pan, then yes, I would know they were thankful for it, and that they enjoyed it. The same is true of our Father in heaven. He gives us this gift of life, and all the little gifts within that. When we walk right by them, when we don't eat them up, bask in the luscious warmth of the sunshine, does that show Him we are thankful for them or not?  

But when we taste the flavour of the food, when we inhale the scent of the woods, and notice it, when we pause in the middle of the street because something is so beautiful, when we dance because music makes us need to move - then we are saying 'THANK-YOU GOD', with our lives!

The other reason we celebrate life, the gift from God, is to seek to know Him more. I love love love how Caroline put it. {<please go read her whole post!! :)}


"Look for the gifts and truly see them, and you’ll better see the Giver."

Amen!! This, this is what I need! I look for the gifts, so that I can see the Giver better. Last fall what God placed upon me to learn deeply was contentment, this fall I'm learning to seek Him first. {Matthew 6:33}



And the last thing, something very important to remember, is that we cannot do this all on our own. We need to take the initiative to do this celebrating and thanking, but if we try to do it on our own strength, we will fail. We will become weary and we will give up. But through the power of Jesus, we can indeed do this through Him! So make sure you're doing this with Him. :)
  
"Each one of our lives is shot through, threaded in and out with God's provision, his grace, his protection, but on the average day, we notice it about as much as we really notice gravity or the hole in the ozone. So what I'm trying to do is learn to see the way Sister Carmen sees. Because once you start seeing the faithfulness and the hope, you see it everywhere, like pennies. And little by little, here and there, you realize that all of life is littered with bright copper coins, that all of life is woven with bits and stories of God's goodness." ~Shaua Niequist, Cold Tangerines (pennies)

Don't celebrate for the wrong reason - do it to thank God for this beautiful gift of today!


On another note, my grandfather's surgery was postponed from today to next Thursday... and my great-grandmother is very weak, still in the hospital, but holding on... prayers are appreciated!


blessings friends!
love Emma

linking up with Chantel and Elizabeth :)


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

31 Days :: {19} :: intention, part 3

Hey there friends! thanks for stopping by! You've found us at Day 19 of my 31 Days series on Celebrating Life. If you'd like to see all the other posts so far, you'll find the introduction here {includes post-list at the bottom} or the posts all here :) 

Soo.. the story is here, part 1 is here, and part 2 here. I thiiink this will be the last part. ;)

So you may have read the other posts, and been like, Emma, this is cool, but I thought that your series was about celebrating life, not living with intention. Please please explain exactly how this connects. And so that's what I'm hoping to do today. 

We are not, by nature, thankful people. Because of our sin nature, we will not, unintentionally, give thanks, which is, incidentally at the root of celebrating life. {did you catch that? sorry for the run-on sentence.}

We celebrate life as a way to say thank-you for each glorious moment - because even the 'un-glorious' moments, truly are glorious. We celebrate as a way to say thank-you when we live life fully, making the most of this sensational gift of life. 

Here's what Shauna has to say:

"I live according to my faith when I love a meal that has been prepared carefully, when I notice texture and color and taste, when I let the flavor and scent of something fresh from the ground surprise me and bring me back to life. I demonstrate my theology when I dance all night with people I love, because this life is worth the best celebration we can offer up to it. I thank God every time I eat crusty bread and garlicky olives, and when I smell clean laundry and hear that little squeak of fingers on a guitar. For me, what God said when he made the world is a prayer: It is good. This world, it is good. The beauty of a perfect green apple is good. The first steps of a child are good. Watching my grandparents dance in their kitchen is good. It is good. 

I have to remind myself that it is good. I have to create hope in my life, because there's something inside me that has radar for the bad parts of life. I walk into the kitchen and all I can see are crumbs on the counter, and I look in the mirror and don't even see my face, I just see all the potential wrinkles forming. I have a dark, worst-case scenario sensor, and it takes over."

{And here's where it's really hard. Because that thought continues and it's really amazing but I can't put her whole book here {otherwise I would, because I love it so much, and I think everyone should read it!!} so I have to pick somewhere to stop, but please go and read the next couple of paragraphs right here. She has so much beautiful to say about this!} {Or you could read the whole chapter... I think I underlined every word of it in my copy.}}


"When I live purposefully and well, when I dance instead of sitting it out, when I let myself laugh hard, when I wear my favorite shoes on a regular Tuesday, that regular Tuesday is better." ~Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

 

So, in conclusion: to celebrate requires a conscious choice. To make that choice, you need intention. Celebrating is a way to say thank-you to God. He loves it when we celebrate life! 

But how many times do you walk past that clean laundry without noticing the scent? How many times do you eat good food without really tasting it? It takes intention to see all those things. Practice it! :) 

love emma

linking up with Chantel and Elizabeth :)