Sunday, February 28, 2016

It's One Year Later....

Wow!  We have officially been back in Canada for one whole year.  Shut the front door!  I'd like to take the time to update you all and let you know how we are doing.  I've had a few of you request me to write more frequently.  I'll do my best.

One Year.  A lot can happen in a year.  Think about it!  Today is a defining day for me.  Today allows me to know that I'm a survivor.  I'm brave.  I'm courageous.  I'm a strong woman.

I've been reflecting on how life was for us this time last year.  It was NOT pleasant.  Life as we knew it changed for EVER!  Victoria and I drove in my car, while Martin and David drove the U-Haul truck with his car towed behind it.  Everything we owned was on that truck.  We were moving our whole life.  I still can't comprehend that to this day.  Victoria and I were talking the other day at how what a surreal day that was.  It was happening, but it didn't feel real.  Victoria and I were listening to some music that a friend had prepared for me.  A song came on and was talking about how our life is like a book with many chapters.  Victoria said that sometimes the next chapter can be exciting.  Gulp. My 14 year old daughter who was hurting deeply from saying Goodbye to the life she had known since she was born was doing her best to make the best of this day and time of her life.  She ministered to me in the car.  That is something I will never forget.  I love you Sis!

Fast forward to a month later... we settled in our home.  Martin was working and the children were in school.  Life was getting settled for them all.  I was left feeling empty and alone.  I spent a lot of time unpacking and crying.  I didn't want to unpack much.  I just wanted to unpack the necessities, because this was NOT my home.

Fast forward to 3 months later... I was still struggling.  My kids were doing amazing.  It's amazing how resilient kids are!  They were becoming more involved with the youth group at church.  I struggled.  This wasn't MY church.  I wanted MY church.  (Gosh!  I sounded like a child wanting their toy!)

Fast forward to 6 months later... we've been here 6 months.  The kids are still doing amazing.  Martin is really enjoying his job.  I'm starting to notice that I don't cry so much.

Fast forward to 9 months later...  I decided that it was time to start moving out of my comfort zone.  YIKES!  I began to get involved a little more at church and get to know people in the community.  Hmmm.  Maybe this place isn't so bad after all?  Although... it's NOT my home.

Fast forward to 12 months later... I'm feeling so much more settled.  I'm not experiencing extreme anxiety every day.  I've been blessed with a job where I can work from home and set my own hours.  I can still attend all my kids sporting events and be there for them!  Martin's job is going great.  David loves Canada.  Victoria has grown so much as a person and spiritually.

The heart is an amazing thing.  It grows!  My heart misses and loves the people from my Michigan life, yet at the same time, my heart has grown to love others that I've met here.  I never expected to actually begin to care for people and my life here.  I'm so happy I was wrong.  The very best scenario for me would be to have everyone I love in one place!

This may not be the best post I've ever written, but I'm lacking the ability to express myself as efficiently as I want to.

And... how I said above that I found out many things about myself... strong, courageous, brave... that didn't come from me.  That came from HIM!  I could not have walked this path without Jesus.  The most amazing thing... HIS love is bigger than mine!  HE LOVES YOU!  HE CARES FOR YOU!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Moving Again!

Now that Martin was working, we had to figure out where to live and get our children enrolled in school.  He works in Toronto.  Nothing around there felt right.  We prayed for direction.  Martin had always wanted to live in Barrie, Ontario.  He suggested Barrie and I said "I'm NOT living in Barrie!"  He asked if I would at least drive to Barrie with him.  Victoria (who was NOT happy about this move, but was so mature about it) and I went with Martin to visit Barrie.  We drove around and it might sound weird, but it felt right!

We decided to come back the following week to see how the commute would be for Martin.  It was definitely do-able.  We ended up living in a hotel for almost 2 weeks, while we found a place to live and got the kids enrolled in school.

In one month's time, Martin had found a job, the kids started school, we found a church and we moved into our house.  One Month!?!  Someone up there sure does love us!

As I sat in church last week singing the words to "I'm Not Alone" I began to cry.  Yet, this time it was for another reason.  I  really wasn't alone during any of the events of this year!  He carried me and sent people to help and care for me when I couldn't do it myself.

I am now on the other side (quite literally!! LOL!) and things are going well.  Life isn't perfect, but we are blessed.  Martin is enjoying his job, my kids are adjusting so well and I even started a job yesterday.  I really am NOT alone.

And by the way, those 3 pounds I lost, I found them again.

Moving Day!

February 28th, 2015 arrived.  The date that I was dreading began to excite me.  I had so many different emotions on this day!

We were moving back to Canada without jobs or a house of our own.

Starting at 8:30, people started to arrive to help us move.  We could not believe how many people came to help.  A special hockey friend took off work!  More people stopped by for one more hug.  It was the most amazing moving experience we have ever had.

One of the last memories I have of being in our house was standing in my son's room looking into our backyard and sobbing.  My kids had done so much growing up in that house.  It had been filled with love, laughter and wonderful memories.  My beautiful friend, Amy Isaacson found me in there and just hugged me and cried with me.  I will never forget those precious moments.

Thank you our precious friends for being there for us in one of our hardest times of our life.  We love you!

I am always nervous crossing the border.  I'm weird like that.  The custom officers were so amazing and kind.  There was a LOT of paperwork to complete, but they made it fun!  Who knew!?!

We arrived at Martin's mom's late that night.  His mother and step dad had opened their home to us for as long as we needed.  You hear many things about mother-in-laws.... I have the very best one.  She loved me through those first few weeks.  I cried a lot.  We changed her routine.  We had kids.  It was crazy in there.  Not once did she make us feel unwelcome.  She loved us through the changes.

Thank you to all those that helped us on the north side of the border with unpacking the truck and loading up those storage units!

We moved on a Saturday and Martin received a job offer on the Friday!  He started the following Tuesday!  We couldn't believe it!  We have been told by so many that you don't just get a job that quickly here.  God was taking care of us.

Learning To Be Canadian Again Part #2

It was decided.  We would be moving back to Canada on the last day of February.  There was so much to do and I wasn't one bit happy about doing any of it.  God sent some very special people to help carry me through this time.  I hesitate to start mentioning names, lest I forget anyone.  One name that has to be said is Heather Saroli.  If it wasn't for her, I would probably still be sitting in my house wondering where to start.  Heather was not happy about the move, but she put that aside and took care of so many things for me.  I was numb.  I was angry.  I was sad.  I had anxiety that was debilitating.  She carried me through.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

We were so overwhelmed with all the love and support we received.  So many friends came by to help pack, took us to dinner, talked with us, cried with us, one special friend of ours made sure we had every box we needed AND took Martin's car home with him the night before we moved to make a repair on it.  We were stunned.  There were so many of you that dropped by with hugs, gifts, Tim Horton's Gift Cards (best place ever!).  We did not expect any of this.  Martin and I would sit at night and talk about the love shown to us and just cry together.  If you must know, I"m crying now as I type this.

Some of our very best friends who we consider family were so upset that they were going to be out of town when we moved.  They came by the night before their much needed vacation to bring us dinner! The list goes on and on.  Friends threw us Goodbye Parties.  Another friend let me host a surprise birthday party for Victoria at her house with over 20 teenagers!  That is a good friend!

From the bottom of our hearts... THANK YOU.  Thank You seems so little compared to what you all did for us.  I'm humbled.  We LOVE YOU!

The last week of our life in MI was happening.  I was sitting in the very last church service as a member of Woodlawn Church.  I LOVED my church.  Why was God making me leave!?  As we worshipped, God impressed on my heart that everything was going to be ok.  It was time to not just get through this move, but to EMBRACE it.  I had a spiritual heart operation happen right then and there.  My spirit changed, my outlook changed.  All of a sudden, I actually felt excited about the move.  What a difference!

Learning To Be Canadian Again Part #1

Yes, it's been quite a while since I have blogged.  I have had so many thoughts running through my head, but I've struggled with getting to the place where I was ready to start typing.  We recently sang "I'm Not Alone" by Kari Jobe at church.  This song brought me back to earlier this year and I knew it was time to start typing and to share our experience.

I'm now ready!

It all started on December 31st, 2014.  I began to feel an unrest in my spirit.  It continued on through the celebrations of New Year's Day.  I tried my very best to ignore this feeling.  You see, I've had this feeling before.  This feeling always meant that big changes were on the way.  I don't know about you, but I hate change.  The older I get, the more I hate change.  Yet, it seems that the older I get, there is a lot more changes (and I'm NOT talking about the change of life!!!)

I felt like it had something to do with our living situation.  As most of you know, we were living in Michigan and were in the green card process for permanent status.  This feeling of unrest would not go away.  I finally told Martin that I had this feeling and felt like we would know in 2015 whether we would be staying in the U.S. or not.  Of course we would be staying in the U.S.  That's where we had built a life and we wouldn't be moving back to Canada.  WRONG!

Martin was in a job where he had the worst boss ever and was treated terrible.  Things turned from bad to worse.  This boss made a big mistake in his calculations.  He was pressuring everyone hugely to "find" more money and made the comment that they could "lose" some bills stating expenses.  His job was on the line.  Martin took a lot of verbal abuse from this man.  He wanted Martin to "fudge" the numbers.  Martin refused to do so.  L-O-N-G story short, Martin resigned the day after my birthday.  

Honestly, I was devastated.  I knew what this meant.  We would not be staying in Michigan.  Don't get me wrong, I was SO proud of my husband that he was such a man of integrity that he would resign from a very nice-paying job to do what was right.  However, I'm human!  I was stunned.  Life suddenly became very scary.  This should NOT be happening!  We followed your leading our whole lives Lord and this is what we get!?!  Yep, I had those thoughts.  Remember... I'm human.  

Some of those days seem like a blur.  My anxiety was over the top.  I couldn't eat or drink.  I sat on the couch and stared out the window and cried and then I cried some more.  I lost 5 pounds in 3 days.  I was in the "pit of despair" as Anne of Green Gables would say.  Martin shared Kari Jobe's song with me "I'm Not Alone".  I would sit and listen to it and sob.  I felt alone.  My whole life was changing and there wasn't one thing I could do about it.  I was scared.  I was angry.  Anxiety was consuming me.  On the flip side, Martin was so happy.  He had such a joy that I hadn't seen in quite a while.  He couldn't stop smiling.  I looked over at him one night and said "I've never seen you so happy to be without a job."  A huge weight had been lifted off of his shoulders.  He had chosen morals over money and that alone brings one joy.  

Monday, August 20, 2012


As I was sitting in church yesterday, the words "He's my King" stuck out to me. I've heard this phrase many times, however, yesterday, it really made me think. The word "my" really began to excite me. The word "my" is a simple two letter word. It shows possession. When my children were younger and their vocabulary was yet to be developed, the word "Mine" was used quite often. As their mother when they would exclaim (and sometimes quite loudly) "Mine!" It was my job to teach them to share. I would confirm that yes they did indeed own the desired toy, however, sharing was appropriate and actually would make not only others happy, but in return, they would have be happy because they shared. (For the record, my kids still look at me like I'm senseless when I repeat that to them!) Jesus is MY King. However, when I share Him with others and I don't keep Him to myself, I will have renewed joy also. I was excited to think that I am able to proclaim that Christ is MY King. He died on the cross for MY sins and He rose again so that I might have life. That's some pretty exciting stuff! There's good news! Even though He is MY King. He can be your King also. The love Jesus has for us is even greater than that of a parent for their child. I can't even comprehend the magnitude of that type of love. It's free for the asking. The childhood song remains true "The More We Get Together The Happier We'll Be". Jesus died on the cross for MY sins, but He also died on the cross for your sins. There is great rest and safety in His love. I pray that you too will call Him "Mine!"

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm God's Favorite!

Last night, I did a little experiment. It's quite funny how it played out.

David and I were in the basement and I said "Hey Buddy, I have a secret to tell you, but you have to promise me to not tell anyone, especially Victoria." His eyes brightened and he looked at me and said "Ok!" I told him "Remember, you can't tell ANYONE this, but you are my favorite child." He started to laugh and replied "No, I'm not!" I asked him why and he just kept saying "Victoria is!" We both headed upstairs.

No sooner did we get upstairs and David yells out "Victoria! Guess what!?! I'm Mom's favorite child!" I hid behind the wall and shook my head no and pointed to Victoria and mouthed the words "You are." I knew all along that David wouldn't keep a secret. My little boy would be unable to keep a secret if his life depended on it. My plan was playing out.

I put David into bed and went in to talk with Victoria. I sat on her bed and I said, "Honey, you know you are really my favorite child, right?" She responded "No, I'm not. I know it's David." I asked her why and she said "Because he doesn't get in trouble." This made me laugh outright because anyone who knows my energetic darling boy knows this to not be the case. Even though that was her response, I saw the twinkle in her eye from our conversation.

I head to the kitchen and there appears my son with his cup to get the infamous second cup of water at bedtime. He heads to the fridge and begins to fill his cup with water from the water dispenser. He looks at me with wonder in his eyes and asks in all seriousness, "Mom, am I REALLY your favorite child." I assured him that this was true. His eyes took on a glow and amazement radiated from him. He was in such awe that he forgot he was filling his cup and majorly over-filled it until it spilled all over the floor and on the fridge. He looked up and said "Am I still your favorite child?"

As the minutes passed, I found out that trying this experiment at bedtime may not have been the very best idea. You see, David thought that since he was the favorite child that he could keep getting out of bed. When I put him in one last time, He said "Mom, how is it the child that gives you the most trouble is your favorite?" Any mother knows that no matter what, you love your child. His question pricked my heart and made me think.

This morning as I was getting ready for the day, I was reflecting over last night's events. I began to think of how it is with myself as God's child. If God told me "You are my favorite child." I would respond the same as my children "No, I'm not." The thought of God loving me that much is incomprehensible to me. Just as I do not love one of my children more than the other, my eyes have been opened through this experiment that Christ loves us all equally. He didn't die on the cross for someone else's sins more than mine. His blood was shed for all of man-kind. I really am God's favorite!