I wouldn’t trade mine for the world (friends)

Friends.

They sit in the movie theatre & seat-dance to “My Heart will go on” and hip-hop music with you.


They will spend most of their Saturday cleaning out your apartment with you.


They will looked shocked and upset but ultimately support you when you tell them you’re thinking of moving.


They drive you to the airport & pick you up when you have to fly home for a family emergency.


They send you cards just to say hi and to “keep smiling.”


They write you encouraging emails even though they have busy, full lives.


They meet you in the park and bring the drinks just because it’s a nice evening.


They support your decisions, act selflessly, not selfishly, hug you when you cry (and tell you to stop when it’s just time), they laugh with you, they celebrate.

I have the best friends. I don’t know how they always put up with my randomness, my annoying habit to plan everything, my tendency to stress or cry at random moments…but they do. They’re amazing. 
Through my friends I have felt the love of God so strongly. No matter where I am in the world or where they are…we have stuck by each other through thick and thin. 

Community is so important…cherish those friends who don’t give up on you and don’t give up on them. Remember that a real friend is selfless. Support them even when you don’t understand. Let them move on with their lives. Watch them fall in love. Celebrate the little things. Let them break down when they need. You really never know the impact you have on someone’s life…

Then stand on the balcony of your best friends apartment shaking your booty and singing “my milkshake brings all the boys to yard.” go on…I dare you.

I have too much stuff

My name is Michelle and I have a disease: it’s called German-Oma syndrome. It’s self-diagnosed but any woman from a German background will relate. It’s an obsession with keeping things clean and tidy. I however have another syndrome: the inability to get rid of stuff. The combination of these ensures that every once in awhile, particularly when I’m really really busy and have been travelling a lot, my place gets so out of control it starts freaking me out and makes me breakdown in a flood of tears. Yes, it sounds mad but it’s true and you can ask my ex, he probably thought I was insane.

One one of my goals this year is to become more organised in my home (I live in a studio flat, no wait, what the English call a bedsit which really means I have a kitchen in my bedroom and a couch to the side), and get rid of a lot of the excess in my life (clothes, books, stuff and that which is not so tangible as well). I have found on Pinterest a lot of great tips on how to do this…

My motivation is not solely to get rid of stuff, but to lead a more simple life and not let material goods or the need to have control me in anyway.

I love this article from The Good Women Project on learning you have too much stuff…It challenges you to understand where your motivation in having “stuff” comes from…now, I am not going stop buying that which I need and making my home comfortable and pretty (or pretty clothes because I need to be presented well in public) but it does allow me to re-evaluate my need for stuff and the hold that it may have on me.

So, spring cleaning challenge: I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this, see your before and after photos. I think if we can help spur each other on we’ll all be more motivated to lead a more clean life…

And because it’s Friday, here’s one of my fave songs from “He is We”

Hold your head high & laugh in the face of adversity

Do you ever feel that it all hits you at once? Just as parts of your life are moving ahead, showing breakthrough, and getting exciting you’re hit with a barrage of negativity and obstacles.

Honestly, I got some news about my mom yesterday, finding out she’d been injured and not able to make a trip out to NYC for my birthday next week. I held myself together through a new client meeting but by the time I got home, I was devastated and called a dear friend. I could hear myself on the phone, saying I had zero strength left (and that I was definitely pushing hard into God’s love, mercy, grace and providence) but on the other hand my life is abundantly blessed.

It is a conflict, isn’t it? When moments of blessing are combined with circumstances full of grief and pain? I have been challenging myself about how I react in these moments. Where does my heart go? How do I face diversity in the midst of success?

There’s a phenomenon called Tall Poppy Syndrome, when people try to knock you down when you are up. The more you succeed in life, the more you want to do better, be better, improve your life and those around you, there will be forces, in the natural and supernatural that want to hold you back. How will you respond in those situations?

My challenge is to hold my head up high, be full of grace and smile, even if it kills me.

dancing in the rain

It was my last year of University and I was writing a paperin my room. I had the basement of a three story house and my window was all of12 inches wide and barely off the ground. Outside I could hear the infamousthunder and lightning storms of Ontario plunging my tiny town into a worlddancing in sparks of light and violent rain.
Head down and trying to understand how I was going to teachon autodeconstructivism I heard a pounding at my window. It got louder andlouder until I stopped, looked up and standing outside were three of my bestfriends beckoning me outside.
I ran up the stairs, grabbed my flatmate K and the five ofus, grown women, danced in the rain at midnight, giggling and jumping inpuddles. When K and I got back in the house we fell down laughing, trying tofigure out how to get our rain-soaked clothes into the wash without creating amudroom all the way down to the basement.
That was easily one of my favourite memories of myuniversity days, taking an opportunity to smile, even in the rain.
It’s easy to smile when we are happy, when times are joyfuland the sun is shining but it’s not as simple or as easy to smile when we aregoing through times of struggle or even when it’s pouring rain and our shoesare soaked and we’re late for work.
But more importantly it reminded me of the power of goodfriends, those friends who help you smile in the rain…those friends who don’tlet you focus on the rain but instead on what the rain brings. Clean, freshstreets, nourishment to the soil and a rainbow (the promise given to us) are allbenefits of the rain.
A good friend gives you grace to cry, to swear, to yell, tofall asleep in their arms when you have not had rest…but a good friend alsotells you to suck it up and move on and gives you a hand to hold when you can’tquite balance yourself. A good friend will reminisce about the good times andremind you that everything can only get better. A good friend dances with youin the rain.
Personally, the last year has been full of sunshine and rainand I realised that my best friends, wherever they are in the world, are thosewho dance with me in the rain…not afraid to get soaking wet just to bring asmile to my face.
For that, I am thankful…

There are some things that haven’t changed

When I was a child I loved reading. I think I started reading at 3 but you would have to confirm that with my parents. One of my favourite things to do was curl up with my Big Bird and read along with him. He was so cool; Big Bird sat in a nest, you put a tape in him and he read to you from the corresponding book. I loved it.

As I grew older my passion for reading continued. I can recall making my parents buy me a heap of books when we went to the States; books were cheaper there and I could get all the new Babysitter’s Club books. I would be mostly finished my first novel before we got to the border.

If I’m caught up in a book I will barely hear anything around me…and I hate putting them down. I’m like a small child.

Last week I picked up the Hunger Games series last week. I finished the Trilogy tonight. Honestly I could not put it down…I love getting lost in a book, empathising with characters. I find myself wishing I knew them in real life. For example, in the Hunger Games I loved Peeta. He was everything I would want in a man and I found myself rooting for him throughout the entire trilogy, hoping he’d survive. Maybe I just have a very overactive imagination but when I finish a book I feel a bit lost.

Maybe it’s not books, maybe it’s film, or a TV series, or perhaps it’s something crafty like knitting or painting. What takes you away, allows you your release and time away from reality?

someday.oneday.healed.

someday you will understand the reasons behind the tears when we were together. (the pain of seeing your pain)
someday you will know the extent of my heart for you. (the desire to see you meet your potential)
someday the memories won’t hurt, they will make us smile. (while now they just remind me of what we were)

one day I will be okay with not understanding the end. (until then I trust the Greater plan)
one day I will see where it went wrong. (and learn and grow and be whole)
one day my heart will feel complete again. (No one can penetrate it now)

That day I will smile. (completely)
That day I will laugh without reserve. (from the tips of toes)
That day I will be able to give my heart away again. (healed)

Miracles from the Mess



‘The greatest miracle in your life might come out of themessiest season you ever walked through’
Carl Lentz tweeted this last night and immediately I thought of the last year andthe “mess” it’s been.
Lastweek in Stockholm I had a conversation with my client, we were discussing ourlives and all that had transpired over the last year since I had been withthem. She turns to me and goes “this was your year of testing.”
I hadto step back and think…really, I mean, sure there’s been hard times but they havealso been so many very good moments as well. From deaths of family members, tofinancial breakthrough, to falling in love and letting it go, to new futureplans…It’s been an  incredible year…
Howeverit has been messy. Even in the most joyous moments there has been trouble andheartache. And through some of the most horrible moments, light has shonethrough that would light even the darkest of nights. It has been my year oftesting (pretty sure it won’t be my last). Through good and bad I have had tochoose where my hope, my strength and future have come from. My goodness, it’sbeen messy, nights of tears, days filled with joy, wondering if I am doing theright thing, trusting that I didn’t do the wrong thing. Did I always pass? noway…I didn’t always find myself centred in Christ…I was selfish and frustrated,fearful, overexcited, not always careful…but I was also a risk-taker and Igot to experience many new and exciting moments too.
And throughit all I now understand better what it means to trust. It is in the momentswhere we don’t understand, where we have no strength left, or whereopportunities are endless and we can’t choose the one to take, those that seemthe messiest, where we can stop…grab hold of the sink and go “God, Ihave no clue/no strength/no understanding so you really need to stepin…”
Andit’s here that we allow God to move…where we know that He sees the beginningand the end and we can surrender it all to Him, keeping Him in the centre. Hecan then perform the greatest of miracles because we stop and let Him…and whobetter then the author and creator,  Hewho chose to give His son so that we could be free, be in relationship withhim?
 Iwill instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with myloving eye on you.  Psalm 32:8
I havedecided I’m okay with being a mess. I’m on a journey…but He sees the end.