relationships

THE STORY OF OUR ENGAGEMENT

One of the things I love most about Josiah is his sense of adventure. I quickly realized he was up for spontaneous fun on our first date. He took me to a local Oktoberfest beer garden, and on the bus ride back I spotted a cute year round Christmas Shop. Josiah suggested we jump off the bus and take a look inside the store. He then showed me one of his favourite book stores nearby. I had so much fun, and going off script for this type A gal was a welcomed breath of fresh air.

Josiah’s sense of adventure has given me the courage to venture off the beaten path. Josiah left for Vancouver in the Fall of 2015 to work on his boss’s federal election campaign. We had been dating for less than a year, but I quickly found myself buying a plane ticket to come visit him. Those months apart were some of the most difficult in our relationship. Josiah was incredibly busy with work, making our frequent dates in Ottawa a thing of the past. Long distance communication had its hardships. It’s during this visit in Vancouver that I became convinced that I could spend the rest of my life with Josiah as his wife. No matter how impatient or tired I grew, Josiah was a wellspring of patience and love. He makes me grow where I am weak, and persevere in the fight to be the best version of myself.

Josiah eventually returned from Vancouver. It was a difficult season for both of us after the federal elections. Josiah’s boss had not been reelected, and he was on the hunt for a job. We openly talked about building a future together, and how we both felt called to marriage, but I assumed it wouldn’t be happening anytime soon, given current circumstances. Thankfully, Josiah has more of a sense of adventure than me. On February 6, 2016, Josiah took me to St Raphael’s Ruins and asked me to be his wife. These ruins are meaningful to both of us. If you are familiar with the story of Tobias, you would know that it is the angel Raphael who led him to his wife Sarah. I had often prayed to St Raphael to intercede with God to send me a spouse who would be a strong and faithful man. My prayers were answered a thousand fold.

Josiah felt the ruins were significant given our personal faith lives, which have both been built back up by God’s grace. After saying yes to him, Josiah shared these verses with me:

11 The LORD will always guide you, will satisfy your needs in the scorched land; he will give strength to your bones and you be will be like a watered garden, like a flowing spring whose waters never run dry. 12 Your ancient ruins will be rebuilt; you will build on age – old foundations. You will be called ‘Breach-mender’, ‘Restorer of streets to be lived in’. Isaiah 58:11-12

Our engagement and time of courtship have served as the foundation of what will be, I am certain, a strong and blessed marriage. I couldn’t be happier to be preparing to become Josiah’s wife. Please pray for us as there are only sixty days left to our engagement. It’s very tempting to turn my type A organizational freak ways into full fledged bridezilla. I’ve been graceful throughout this season and stayed calm, and not too crazy I’ve gotten lost pinning on my TEN different wedding Pinterest boards (I wasn’t kidding about the type A organizational freak thing). Here are some words from Papa Francis which have been a good reminder throughout the engagement period, which I’ll leave here for any other bride to be, and really anyone else, who may be getting consumed in empty appearances: “Here let me say a word to fiancés. Have the courage to be different. Don’t let yourselves get swallowed up by a society of consumption and empty appearances. What is  important is the love you share, strengthened and sanctified by grace. You are capable of opting for a more modest and simple celebration in which love takes precedence over everything else.”

 

P.S. I just want to say a big old thank you to every one who read my last post on infertility. Some of you may have noticed I hadn’t posted in over two months. My health became a priority, and I had to put the blog aside for a little bit for my own sanity, but I’m hoping to be posting more regularly (every Tuesday is the goal). So many of you sent me private messages sharing your pain, sharing in my pain, and over all just being amazing human beings. Thank you. I love you.

SOME LITTLE AND BIG UPDATES

So I’ve not been hyper active around here and wasn’t too sure how to get back into blogging. I’ve decided to simply give you all a little update on what’s been going on in my life:

  • My internet and physical dwelling places are starting to feel a little more like home. Books are sprawled a little bit everywhere and I just love that my apartment is finally feeling lived in. Also, the amazing Erica Tighe from Be a Heart has created a lovely logo for the blog. It’s just what I wanted for this space. Something pretty, but simple, and not frilly. I hope you all like the new logo and it makes you feel more welcomed than my previous dreadful ugly prototype font.
  • I’M ENGAGED. I’m really not good at lead ins. My English professor in high school used to tell me all the time, but GUYS, I’M SUPER ENGAGED. My heart is so full of joy. I’m not going to go into all of the details (that might be a later post, but I’m not sure how much I’m comfortable sharing/whether people want to read about it).

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234That’s all I’ve got. I’m hoping to make more time for writing in my schedule. Thanks for sticking around those of you who read me. It’s really humbling to see sweet emails in my inbox from readers. You guys really are the best, just so you know. I don’t have a perfect blogging schedule, but I’ve got the most perfect internet friends who are patient and keep showing up. Thank you.

HOW TO PLAN A FIGHT, AND WHY IT’S THE LOVING THING TO DO

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One of my most recent Sunday tea dates with my Beau

Sunday is a sacred day of the week for me. I go to Mass. I’m intentional about praying and my relationship with God. It’s also the time where I’m intentional with my romantic relationship.

Sundays I plan on fighting. 

I know, “What, she PLANS on fighting?”.

Hear me out. Has your significant other ever done something to irrate or hurt you, but it was either around other people, or at the moment you didn’t know it hurt you (shout out to introverts who sometimes take longer to process…)? Have you ever harbored a grudge because you can’t tell them you’re hurt or upset and they just need to know RIGHT now and you end up blowing up in a really ungraceful way?

Yeah, I’ve been there… More than once.

Which is why I plan to fight. My Sunday ritual involves going to Mass with my boyfriend, then it usually is followed by having him spoil me and make me brunch. Afterwards we spend some intentional quality time, whether it be watching a Fr. Brown episode on Netflix and getting some cuddles in, listening to a good podcast, doing some window shopping, going out for tea/coffee, reading together, whatever it may be, we try and really enjoy each other’s company and relax.

At this point, when we’re both relaxed, is when we look at the week ahead, make our plans for our dates/when we’ll see each other, and then we open up the floor for discussing our hurts (a.k.a. fighting). By Sunday we’ve had time to think throughout the week about anything we may feel needs to be addressed, or perhaps can be let go. The beautiful thing is we’ve usually spent a few hours being filled with grace and being reminded of why we love one another before we jump into what can be a tough conversation.

Some weeks there are no fights, and we laugh, and count ourselves blessed to not have any hurts with which we need to confront the other. Other weeks, we have those difficult conversations, but by being so intentional about how we approach these conversations, we are far more loving and sensitive in how we go about it.

Have you ever planned to fight with your significant other? How do you go about bringing up your hurts? Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking to improve my communication game. It’s not my strength. I tend to bottle things up, and then forget about them until I later unexpectedly erupt like a crazy volcano (not fun for either party involved). Planning to fight keeps me accountable. It forces me to be vulnerable, and ultimately, that makes me far more loving. Healthy relationships require vulnerabiltiy.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves)

P.S. This is what is working in my relationship in my current state of life. It may not be what works for you, but you do you, boo. I would add that some fights do need to happen right away, because you risk being distant and unloving if you don’t resolve the issue.

UNCONDITIONAL

This past year my heart has been undergoing some serious growing pains. I’m learning to love. Disney doesn’t tell you how hard that is and they make you think that your happily ever after should happen in a blink of the eye. Love is slow and painful, but always the path to joy.

I am learning to say no to myself, so I can say yes to love. It’s a daily battle, but I want to keep showing up. Here’s the truth: We don’t deserve love, but we are worthy of love, because He made it so. How blessed are we that God does not tire of how undeserving we are? We are so blessed.

We are made to desire this unconditional love, because it directs our hearts to Him. Due to our fallen nature, we frequently project this need to be loved perfectly onto others, but they can never fulfill that desire, that need.

If we invite God to be Lord of our lives, if we ask for the grace to abandon our idols and make room in our heart for Him to reign, we will know this unconditional love through the gift of faith. He knows how hard it is to believe in such a love, which is why He makes His grace visible in the sacraments. As He provided the manna for our ancestors, He also gives us the daily bread in the most Holy Eucharist.

When we’ve broken communion with God through our sins and our souls, St Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 11:27-29), warns us to not approach God in our unworthiness. God knows we will fail Him, but only say the Word, and my soul shall be healed. He offers us a clean state in the sacrament of reconciliation. He is a God of mercy and just love, but He will never force His love upon us. We must approach Him with a meek and humble heart, with perfect contrition, in order to be in communion. From the cross, Jesus will beg His Father “Forgive them, for they do not know what they do”.

God is a jealous lover. He wants ALL of your heart. He will pursue you relentlessly, but never impose Himself.

Have you ever invited Him into your heart? Don’t just read about faith, act on it and tell Him: God I give myself to you with all that I am. He wants to be in relationship with you, and our earthly relationships should mirror this. I have a heart of gratitude for my love, who helps me see true Love.

 

CHEESE PLATE

I would like to start off this post by saying I did not intend on twinning with one of my favourite bloggers, Emily Schumann, but I totally am! Go over to her blog to see her beautiful cheese plate. Is there such a thing as cheese plate envy? Well I think I have it. I won’t let the green monster stop me from hitting publish though, as I did plan this post.

One of my favourite ways to spend time catching up with a girlfriend is on my porch over good wine and a cheese plate. I had a friend over last Thursday and made this plate. It was super easy peasy. A few strawberries in a pretty bowl, some cantaloupe with prosciutto, crackers, some cucumber and of course, cheese! I try and not go overboard when hosting a girlfriend. I can easily stress out about having the perfect presentation/dish/decor instead of focusing on the person I’m spending time with. I want to be present to my loved ones. A big part of that is not taking myself or my cheese plate too seriously 😉

HOW TO: SURVIVING LONG DISTANCE

Here are a few of the things I’ve been doing to tame the heart ache (yes, heart ache, I am VERY melodramatic):

  1. Stay organized

Missing someone can make you feel like your emotional life is complete chaos, but making sure my agenda is up to date, my house is clean, my meals and blog posts are planned for the week has helped me stay sane. Yes, I’m a hormonal mess (when am I not, really?), but at least if I’m going to mope in bed, it’s going to be in clean sheets 😉

  1. Eat clean

Addendum to staying organized, meal planning helps me ensure I’m eating relatively healthy throughout the week. That means I’m not eating my feelings and feeling miserable about it. Eat good food and your spirits will be in a much better place. I like to remember that my body is a temple to the Holy Spirit and would you rather feed God some fast food or a homemade delicious nutritious meal? That being said, I think God is ok with me making chocolate chip cookies every now and then (and even eating some of the batter). He’s all about feasts and inviting us to His table. Moderation is key.

  1. Plan your phone/skype dates

If I’m being asked on a date in person, I like my man to have a plan. Same goes for a phone/skype date. I know I thrive in my relationship when my Beau and I are being intentional. I’m not saying have scripted conversations with no room for spontaneity. Spontaneity actually thrives within structure. It seems like a paradox, but believe me: I’m far more fun and spontaneous when I have an idea of what my date is going to look like. Prior to my Beau leaving, I bought us both a book with 9 chapters for the 9 weeks we’d be apart. That way one of our conversations in the week will be a mini book club (this may sound nerdy to you, but it’s quite romantic for us two nerds who started dating when we were in the same book club). I look forward to reading this book and talking about it with my boyfriend.

  1. Be grateful

Trust that this time apart, though it may be hard, will bring good. You will grow in affection for each other and if the relationship is of God, the distance will only purify intentions and emotions. Be grateful for the extra time on your hands (sure, I’d rather be on dates, but I do have a lot more free time right now). This extra free time can be used to pursue other relationships: with your family, friends, yourself and most importantly, God. I know I’m taking this time to increase my usual prayer time, but also to do something fun like blog more regularly!

 

I hope these tips can be of use to anyone out there who is also experiencing a long distance relationship. Don’t forget to countdown to your next visit!

#BISsisterhood Link-Up // GOODBYE

This Saturday I am saying goodbye to the man I love. He will be flying out to the other side of the country for work for a little over two months. I always thought I was really good with goodbyes. This was before falling in love with this holy man who has taught me the meaning of vulnerability. To truly open up your heart to someone, to love, requires heartbreak. Our hearts must be broken in order for them to grow.

I’ve been a complete mess these past few weeks leading up to his departure. Crying at work, home, with friends. I even had one of those terribly movie cliché moments where I was laughing with friends, and that laughter turned into tears. I used to think this heartbreak had to be avoided at all costs. I wanted to be strong and not depend on anyone but myself. How foolish I am at times. Sisters, let your heart be broken. Only then can our sweet Father come and teach us humility. These tears have been reminding me of my deep hunger for Love. Real authentic love that does not fade, where distance is not a barrier. I can meet this love every single day in the Eucharist, in prayer. Let this time apart from the man I love teach me to love the Man who first loved me.

blessed is she link up

pretty in pink

This pink silk kimono is a gift from my sweet mother and I stole the straw hat from my gardening father. They’re both oh so pretty. I miss my parents terribly and have the kimono and hat hanging on my closet door in Ottawa. They don’t let me take many pictures of them, so it’s nice to have a visual reminder of some sort.

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Two weekends ago I went to the tulip festival, one of Ottawa’s highlights. It did my soul so much good seeing all of those pretty flowers. It’s so easy to get caught up in your head with your own little thoughts. Nature is often the best remedy to self-interest!

 

 

Our Spiritual Home

219There’s no such thing as being too flowery in prose when love is authentic. My friend Geneviève wrote this for me quite a few years back. She’s just one of those gems you can’t believe you get to call a friend.

 

I’m sorry

I know it wouldn’t be fair for me to call you up, but know that I’m sorry. I wish I would have loved you better.