Hi, guys.

So, here is a type of post I rarely do. I prefer to stick with TV talk and Old Testament sharing and sweet pics of baby animals who, like Michael Jackson, know that it doesn’t matter if you are black or white.

But my Facebook feed is full of talk on Ferguson the past couple of days. And so much of that talk has made me sad. I barely even feel cheered by this picture of a very, very tiny goat.

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(OK, that’s not true. I actually feel very cheered by this picture.)

Anyway, here are my thoughts on pretty much everything except the details of the Ferguson situation.

I don’t think I can be called out as a person who plays the race card. In fact, most of my friends probably forget that I’m black. Identifying as black or white — especially since I’m an equal mix of both — has never been my thing. Like I’ve mentioned before, I’d rather be known for a million things other than my “race.” (e.g. loving Jesus, being awesome, liking BBQ chips, knowing the lyrics to every dc talk song that has ever existed, etc.) I have never been treated poorly because of my skin color, and I am grateful for that.

So, it is probably partly because I don’t think of race often, that I feel such a sadness, disappointment and heartache when situations like this arise. I open my Facebook and see my friends lumping entire groups of people together. I read an article on the Interwebs and peruse the comments (horrible idea, I know) and see truly evil things being said about black people — things akin to what Nazis said about Jews. I see my friends post opinions that blame everyone but their group — be it black or white, conservative or liberal. I see acquaintances mixing their political beliefs with their faith in a way I’m not convinced Jesus would appreciate.

I see irony galore. Black friends who often call for blacks to be strong, outstanding citizens somehow find a way to condone looting, violence and threats against whites. Conservative friends who consistently post about police militarization and how if Obama pushes the boundaries any further they have their rifles loaded and ready to use against the state (police), are suddenly eager to defend police in Ferguson. Or people respond with apathy, annoyed that their reality shows are interrupted with the latest news because they simply don’t care.

And what floors me is that people don’t seem to care what the actual truth is. They claim that they do, but they don’t. I think it is telling that whenever something like this comes up, whether it’s Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman or Mike Brown/Darren Wilson or any other black person/white person, I know who will be posting what opinion before I ever open Facebook. I know which people will be defending the white person, no matter what. And I know which people will be defending the black person, no matter what. I know who will be blaming “those conservatives” or “those liberals.” I know who will be posting stats about black criminals or white privilege. I know who will be blaming Bush and who will be blaming Obama. I know who will be defending violent looting, and I know who will be denying that racism is ever a problem in America. The fact that I can predict people’s opinions on any situation, before there’s even any evidence, shows me that people have already decided what is true — on both sides. Their opinions — no matter the details of a situation — have already been formed. But here’s the thing — that’s not how truth works.

But what makes me the saddest is Christians. Christians who get into “screaming matches” on their comment threads. Christians who fan the flame by posting subtle race jokes or promote the “us against them” mentality.

Last night as I scrolled through my Facebook feed (the majority of which is filled with Christian friends), I could only think of Paul’s plea for the church in Ephesus:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Eph. 4:29).

That verse got lost somewhere in all the opinions and vitriol. In fact, all of Ephesians 4 should probably be on our minds so that we do our best to get rid of bitterness, rage, anger and malice, and replace them with kindness, compassion, humility, gentleness, patience and love.

I don’t know why this situation has made me feel so uneasy, and I am probably just adding to the noise by writing this post. (Switchfoot would not approve. I am really dating myself with my music references in this post.) But this situation has just been a reminder in my own life that I often do very little to try to understand where others are coming from. I think I know everything. And what I should do is, through the power of the Holy Spirit, attempt to imitate the attitude of Christ — the one who humbled Himself for our sake.

Now I am not pushing for a kumbaya campfire sing. I know that there are harsh realities out there of violence, crime, pride, injustice — the harsh realities of sin. But what I am calling myself to do is, as a believer, make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (And honestly, I don’t want to make every effort. People often annoy me and make me want to make less effort. But, unfortunately for Denise’s Bad Attitudes, Christ has called me to something more.)

Reading Facebook last night made me ache for the finished restoration of all things. I wanted us to quit worrying about our “rights” and instead join with every tribe, tongue and nation in the worship of the One who is making all things new. I wanted us to recognize that the example we have from our God is one of mercy and justice — displayed profoundly through the death of His Son for our sins. For our riots. For our racism. For our apathy. For our hatred, piety and judgment.

It is only through the mercy of God that we can receive true justice. It is only through the power of His Spirit that we can live out Ephesians 4. And it is only through the grace of Jesus that those from every people and nation who were purchased through His blood will worship together in unity.

Amen, come Lord Jesus.

Hi, guys!

Well, I’m drinking coffee, looking through the Target catalog and getting ready to watch last night’s Parenthood (I have to prepare and hydrate for Parenthood because of all the thousands of tears.). I am feeling cozy and warm and nostalgic, which brought me back to the good old days. The days of Friday Listday. Shall we?

1. I feel like we need to start this post off the right way. My cousin Emily just posted this video on Facebook. The title is “Baby Bouncing” but the reality is 4,000 times better than that. Because it is actually a tiny monkey. In a snowsuit. Bouncing around. In the snow. He’s wearing a scarf. You. Are. Welcome.

2. So, Andrew owned a beautiful condo before we got married. Then when we got married he let me move into it. I have begun making a few “tweaks” to his decorating style. Andrew might interpret “tweaks” as a “completely unrecognizable home.” Potato/potato. (I pronounced both of those in my head as po-tay-to. So there.) Anyhoo, we’ve been doing some redecorating. We bought a dining room table the other day, but no chairs. Because who needs chairs? Except then we realized that we need chairs. So we started looking around, and why is a single dining room chair $200? Actually? Why? Me and my cheapness were not having it.

But then we experienced a festivus miracle. We had a couple days off and we decided to spend a night in Banff. It’s just we do, you guys. Off to the mountains for a spa day. (There was no spa.) Anyway, our hotel had just remodeled and they had a million dining room chairs in their parking garage. So we casually asked the hotel manager what they were going to do with all those chairs, whatever we don’t even care. He said we could take them for free!! Unfortunately, my SUV was already full, so we spent the next eighty years packing and unpacking and jerry-rigging chairs to the top of my car. FREE chairs!

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Yay! I’m going to paint them and re-cover the seats. Which leads me to my next dilemma. There are a million fabrics out there and I want them all. I’m going for a mid-century modern look, and there are so many funky, fun prints. Here are a few examples…

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Don’t even venture toward my Pinterest page. It is flooded with my indecision in various shades, colors and prints.

3. I have lots of videos today. Including this little gem.

4. Update: I watched Parenthood. I cried.

5. Our pastor has been preaching through the book of Deuteronomy and I am loving it. Why do I love the Old Testament so much? I just do, guys. It’s so beautiful. I’ve been blogging about each week because there’s some really cool stuff over in Deuteronomy. Check it out.

6. Umm, I have another video. I didn’t even know they were re-doing Cinderella until every single person on Facebook began posting the trailer for the new Cinderella movie coming out in March. So you’ve probably already seen it. But maybe you want to watch it again. I don’t know your life. Here it is. (Also, remember Gus in the cartoon Cinderella? I love him, but I hate mice. Very conflicting.)

7. Guys, I’m an immigrant now. Like actually. So that’s weird. We’ve been working on my permanent residency application — it’s so much paperwork, and it’s really hard to figure out. We have to provide tons of info on me, on Andrew and his job, and on our relationship history. We had to make a chart of every single visit we had while we were dating — the dates, the number of days we spent together and what we did. We have to provide all of our flight records and pictures. I have to send my fingerprints to the FBI and I have to get a physical. It’s a lot of work, but it’s obviously worth it.

But what I’ve been thinking about as an official immigrant is how hard it would be to go through this process if English weren’t my first language. In theory, I’m good at English. I make my career out of stringing together English words. But there are so many things on this application I don’t understand. I also would have such a hard time going through this process if Andrew and I didn’t have good jobs. In order for me to get a credit card and build my credit history in Canada, we had to put into a saving account the amount of money we want my credit limit at. So, it’s not even really a credit card, but it’s a way to build credit for me so that I can get a normal card in a couple of years. If I was an immigrant working a minimum wage job, it would be so hard for me to set aside a big chunk of money so that I could begin building credit in this country.

Anyway, through this process I am feeling way more empathy for immigrants. It’s a hard process and it would be tough to do without money or knowledge of the language. Which of course reminds me of Deuteronomy, which of course reminds me of how often God talks to the Israelites about loving the foreigner because they know what it was like to be a foreigner in Egypt.

OK, end of Listday! Have a wonderful weekend, friends! And Happy Wedding, Courtney!!!

Love!

Denise Ruth Morris Snyder

Updates from a Matron

October 24, 2014

Guess what I am supposed to be doing? (The answer is “not blogging.”) I should be writing a freelance lesson. But yesterday was my Jaci’s birthday and her one request was a new blog post, and I aim to please. (Also, I aim to procrastinate.)

You guys! Hi! Last time I wrote a blog post was more than two months ago! I’ve had a whole wedding since then. And moved. And bought a couch. I’m an old married woman now. A matron, if you will.

Umm, I would like to interrupt this post to show you something. I’m at a coffee shop, and the guy behind the counter keeps doing something back there with his leg. It just pokes out from behind this post and bounces around. When a customer comes in, he’ll go serve them, and then he comes right back here to do this. What do we think is going on? No one knows.

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I guess I should give some updates because you’ve all been waiting on tenterhooks to know the daily details of my life. (No you haven’t.)

* Andrew and I love married life! Like, I love it so much more than I thought I would. I mean, I assumed I’d like it and everything, but it’s really just been the best. Something changed once we got married. I’m so much more comfortable and peaceful and content. It’s just really, really nice to know that Andrew is here for me no matter what, and vice versa. (I have a lot of married wisdom to offer because it’s been a whole two months, so I’m clearly an expert.) All that to say, I don’t regret or want to wish away the years that I was single, because those were really great times too, but I’m enjoying this new stage of life a lot. Also, when you are married, you have someone who will tell you that all of your decorations and clothes have flowers on them, even though you didn’t think of yourself as a flower person, but apparently you are.

If you are my Facebook friend or follow me on Instagram (denise_ruth) then you’ve seen enough of my wedding pictures to make you wish I had never discovered Pinterest. So, I won’t post any more here.

Except maybe just one.

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* As I mentioned, it was Jaci’s birthday yesterday. And my mom just reminded me that it is my Grandma Betty’s birthday today. Betty Kay, hope you have a good day. (That was birthday poem, guys.) Jaci was a bridesmaid in our wedding, and I hadn’t seen her in literal years, so it was so fun to get to reconnect. She should move to Canada. So should all these other girls.

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*I’m not counting that above picture as a wedding picture. It’s a friend picture. I’ll stop now.

* Leg update — he’s still at it.

* My friend Suzanne just wrote a book, you guys! So, if you are expecting a baby or know someone who is, you should definitely buy her book because she’s a great writer and has three little kids, so she knows what she’s talking about. She’s also doing a giveaway for a free iPad, so you should definitely enter!

I wanted to pin the giveaway on my Pinterest page, but I figured if I did that no one would read the text and they would assume that I’m preggers, which I’m not. And then I’d have to write a whole blog post about how I’m not preggers, but my friend wrote a good book, and I just wanted everyone to know about it, and how when I am preggers in the future our baby will be nameless because Andrew and I will not be able to agree on a name, so little “Buster Brown” (that’s what we’ll have to call him until we agree on a name) will grow up to be socially inept because his parents could never agree on what to call him, and we’ll have to write our own book about parenting and how not to do it, and how important it is to name your children, and it would’ve wasted a lot of time and space to have to write all that… Where were we? Oh yes, get Suzanne’s book. And enter the drawing.

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* In other need-to-know news, I tried on this jacket today. Do I need it? (It looks better in person. And, also, what should we do with my hair? I don’t like it.)

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* So Andrew and I are leading a small group, and we’re all reading through the New Testament together this fall. We’re using this Books of Bible, which is the New Testament without chapter and verse markings.

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Andrew and I have been reading it aloud to each other, and it’s been amazing, for the following reasons: 1. It’s God’s Word, and therefore it is sweet. 2. This study encourages us to read the books of the New Testament in big chunks, like it was written. So, when we read one of Paul’s letters, we read the whole letter at once. It is how the original listeners would have read it, and we are noticing all kinds of new things. 3. Andrew and I are constantly thinking about and discussing the Bible together, which is so cool. 4. We have great discussion with our small group and learn a lot together. 5. This version of the Bible reads like a book, and it is cool to see the whole of God’s story this way. 6. God’s word is always useful and worth it. It shows us who He is — full of mercy and grace. Anyway, it’s great. Jesus is great. The end.

* Leg update — he was doing both legs at the same time for a minute. Fancy.

OK, I have to go. This lesson is calling my name. (Or a nap is calling my name. Who’s louder — that’s the question.)

Have a good weekend, friendsies!

Morris No More (ish)

July 25, 2014

GUYS. (I’m proud of that title.)

This is probably the last post I write as Denise Morris! Will you even recognize my writing once I’m a Snyder? (It’ll be the same, everyone. A lot of “you guys;” a lot of baby animal comments. A lot of whining. Perhaps I will suddenly mature as a married woman, but at the moment (while I literally look at a picture of a teacup piglet playing a guitar), it is feeling doubtful.)

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Actually, I probably won’t legally change my name until we’re done with all of the permanent residency stuff, which should only take about 400 years.

So, next Thursday after work, Andrew and I will pack up the car with 600,000 ivory tablecloths and begin the drive down to Colorado! I’m so excited to see my friends and my mountains. We’ll be there the week before the wedding — and I’m sure everyone is excited to help me with all the tissue paper and crepe paper and other paper-type crafts. My Jilly Bean is coming in early, which is so good because I haven’t seen her since Christmas! Then Charles in Charge gets in and Andrew’s family and all of our other family, and all our besties, and having a wedding is really weird! All your peoples, all together.

Umm, have you guys been following along with Andrew’s “May the Best Man Win” best man competition on Facebook? So thrilling!!! If you’ve been reading, you’ve noticed Andrew’s great hashtag skills. It’s the main reason I’m marrying him. #hashtaglove #hashtagstud #ahashtagadaykeepsthedoctoraway

Last weekend we went to our friend Meghan’s beautiful wedding! It was the best. The ceremony was at their farm, and their backdrop was an old shed with lights and beads strung everywhere. I mean. So darling. And this barn.

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They were beautiful and happy, and it was so fun to get to celebrate with them!! Also, Meghan is my style twin. I loved everything about everything she did for her decorations. #styletwins #stylesisters #stylesiblings #thatsenoughofthat

Have you guys read this article about what fakesters we are on Instagram? My friend Suzanne shared it with me, and it’s the best. Totes casual, drinking my coffee, early-morning sunlight. Whatevs, faker.

I mentioned awhile ago that I am re-reading Christopher J.H. Wright’s The Mission of God’s People. It is so good, you guys. We often tend to think about missions in terms of going to another country. We automatically turn to the book of Acts for advice on how to do missions. But this book makes the point that God has been on mission since the very beginning, since the first sin. God chose Abraham, and told him that His mission would be completed through his family. They would be a blessing to all families on earth. God invited Israel to a mission — to represent Him through the way they lived and followed His law. Their worship of Yahweh would draw other nations to Him. And, yes, God has always sent people as well: Joseph, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, us. God invites us into sharing His story–His gospel with others. And He empowers us to do it through His Holy Spirit. Anyway, it’s excellent. It looks at the whole of the Bible (and always starts with the Old Testament, which I love), and talks about the ways we can represent God on our mission to share His truth. So good. So readable. Get it now.

Umm, guys! This has been so fun! I’ve spent so much time wedding planning the last few weeks — ordering napkins and writing schedules, and making lists, and thinking of what needs to get done before we go. I actually kind of like all of the craziness, but also, it’s a lot. But I’m so excited. So excited. Excited to see family and friends. Excited to be in CO. Excited to relax the week after. But mostly excited to marry Andrew and spend time that day blessing the Lord for His awesomeness with our family and friends.

Let’s do this! #deniseanddrewido

 

Happy 4th, Americans!

July 4, 2014

OK, everyone.

I just watched a video of two baby elephants playing in the water in a blowup plastic pool and for some reason it made me want to blog.

So that’s where my mindset is as we go into this blog post. You’ve been warned.

HI! How is everybody? How is America? How is the 4th of July? They arrest you if you wear red, white and blue in Canada today. At least that’s what I’ve heard.

Here are just a couple things I would like to tell you:

* Tuesday was Canada Day, which is basically the same as 4th of July! We had a day off work and I used it to watch Netflix like a true patriot.

* Guess where I went last weekend?!

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The Gopher Hole Museum was just as I remembered it. Freakishly awesome.

* Yesterday was my mom’s birthday and she spent it shopping for wedding shoes. What a trooper. Thanks, Jilly.

* Today is my Jaci’s anniversary! Their star-spangled wedding was four years ago, and so much fun. Happy day, Josh and Jaci!

* Speaking of weddings, I am so excited to see my family and friends in August! But also, I need to know how many tablecloths I need to have. So if I invited you to the wedding, please RSVP or I will kill you. Joves!

* Andrew and I have maybe turned to a life of crime. Red Deer does that to a person.

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Criminals love bow ties.

What else? Basically I work, and hang out with Andrew, and constantly update my wedding schedule on Google drive. I’m fun like that.

At work I have been re-reading Christopher Wright’s book, “The Mission of God’s People.” It is the best and I love it so much. It’s such a great look at mission — what it means, and how God has used the same methods to call His people to live out their mission as His representatives in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and today. Superb.

OK, this was short, but that elephant video is fading in my memory, so I’ve got to go watch it again.

Happy day, friends!

 

Responsibilities

May 21, 2014

Best friends!!!

It has been so long! How have I survived without you? More importantly, how have you survived without me? I mean, it has to be tough to get by day-to-day without all the reports of what I’m whining about, what I’m watching and what kind of chips I’m eating.

Have you been so sad not knowing whether I’m wearing yoga pants or my Colorado sweatpants? (p.s. Andrew is not a fan of the Colorado pants. I don’t know why.)

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Anyway, dry those tears, my darlings. I’m here today.

Well, obviously, I haven’t been blogging as much because I am a worker. I work. Like a lot of days out of the week. Who made these work-week rules, anyway? I have working responsibilities now, you guys. These responsibilities include: getting up earlier than 9 a.m., showering earlier than 10 a.m., being dressed earlier than 11 a.m., smiling at people earlier than noon, watching fewer than 43 hours of Netflix by 1 p.m., etc.

Responsibilities.

I am in my third week at my job, and so far so good! I am still getting settled and learning and like such as. I am being a good listener, and so far, people still think I am nice, so I have them fooled. I did begin to share some of my Old Testament weirdness, but there’s only so long I can hold it in, you guys!

On Saturday, the church I work at hosted a Steven Curtis Chapman concert. That’s right, SCC saddled up his horses and headed to The Deer.

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I never loved old Stevie (that’s what he’s asked me to call him) when I was younger, but the concert was actually pretty good. He shared some cool stuff and led us into a really beautiful time of worship. Mostly, hearing his songs reminded me of being a teenager, which reminded me of dc talk, which made me literally yearn for a dc talk reunion tour. Guys, if that ever happens, I will cry. Like actual tears. Of joy. And then I will go to each and every concert on the tour. What will people think? I don’t really care.

On Monday, we Canadians celebrated Victoria Day! It is a very important holiday to those of us who are Canadian (I’m not Canadian). I think it’s maybe about the queen? It’s basically Memorial Day, but a week early. We honored the queen by going to Calgary to shop and eat brunch at this cute little diner with cute little signs.

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My hair looks very long and droopy in that picture. Kind of like Lady.

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I am busy not eating sugar ever. Do you know what is delicious? Sugar.

Guess what is coming up in two and a half months?!

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Notice that my phone service is provided by Bell. A foreign phone company, because I’m a foreigner now. I hope I remember how to speak English when I return to the States. (I think I will. A lot of people seem to know it up here.)

OK, I best be going. I’m a worker, remember. Responsibilities.

Have a jovely day, besties! I’ll try to talk to you again soon!

 

 

 

Alberta Bound!

April 17, 2014

Oh, guys. I haven’t posted in years! Basically because I had no idea what was going on with my life, so my update would have been, “Watched another 80 episodes of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix today. Never thought I’d say that.” Or, “I think “A” from Pretty Little Liars is following me around Ashley’s house…”

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Or a variety of other Pretty Little Liars updates. You get the unfortunate gist.

Anyway, enough about all the nothing and preteen dramas. I have an update!

In March, I was offered the position of Associate Pastor of Connecting Ministries for Crossroads Church in Red Deer. And I accepted it! Last week I flew to Calgary to go through immigration at the airport. They could have accepted or denied our request. I came prepared with every document anyone ever could have asked for — passport, birth certificate, social security card, diplomas, medical records, things I colored when I was a child, etc. (Like I said, prepared.) I was ready for all kinds of interrogation questions and ferocious dogs to check me for drugs. But when I got in line, the guy was polite and kind and he quickly and easily approved my paperwork and even hand-wrote my visa for me because the computer systems were down. Thank you Lord!

So, I came back to Colorado this week to pack up my things. Andrew gets in tomorrow, we’ll pack up a trailer with my life on Saturday (it’s not going to be fun, everyone. I think I have too much stuff…but I can’t go to Canada without my dc talk cds!), and on Sunday go to Easter service at my beloved Wellspring and then begin the two-day drive! We’ll have to go through border stuff again when we drive across, but it should be simpler now that I have a visa! Woo hoo!

What a crazy year. It’s felt so long and weird not knowing what is happening, but now that it’s time to go, it feels so fast! I have started to feel a bit sad because I’m leaving all of my friends — most of whom I’ve known for almost 10 years now. (We are very old somehow.) Luckily I get to see them all again in August when we come back for the wedding!

Speaking of which, last time Andrew was in town, we had Matthew John Photography snap a few pics for us — no bigs. Us just standing around in fancy clothes against brick walls like normal. Here are a few of the shots.

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Umm, I just saw a commercial for “clear-bottomed” Capri Suns. Basically the bottom of the pouch is see-through. So that’s an exciting new feature worth making a commercial for…

One of my friends posted this article about 26 animals that are so adorable they will make you angry. Like, furious. I’m so enraged at this teeny, tiny adorbs mini bunny!

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OK, I have to go finish packing, guys! For my move. To Canada!

Have a lovely day and a very grateful and joyous Easter weekend as we remember and celebrate the One whose sacrifice and resurrection redeems us and makes all things new!

 

 

Happy Monday!

How’s work going for everyone? Wearing running pants all day is going well for me. (Don’t worry. I haven’t been doing any actual running.)

So, it’s #noworrieslent everyone. I’ve been posting pics over on Instagram (denise_ruth), but in case you aren’t cool enough for Instagram, I thought I’d re-post some here for a little pictorial essay time. Let’s call it “Hakuna Matata: A Filtered Picture a Day Keeps the Worries Away.”

I eavesdropped on these ladies at Starbucks a couple of weeks ago. One of them was talking about getting a visa for her Canadian fiance! Mr. Ponytail and I both felt her pain.

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These really don’t have anything to do with No Worries Lent, but I had to capture them on camera, obviously. Because these are some shorts you can buy at Express right now. Apparently to wear. In public.

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Guess who came to visit me last week? (Hint: it was not that guy in the sweatpants and red sweatshirt.)

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Andrew’s visit helped a lot with No Worries Lent. It was so fun to see him and show him the wedding venue and hang out. We also took engagement pics! Actually Matthew John Photography took engagement pics — if you want to get specific. We can’t wait to see them!

Anyhoos. We had a lot of fun! I miss that guy. We should try living in the same country someday.

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How can you worry when you’re hiking around Garden of the Gods on a sunny day? Answer: you can’t.

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OK, here’s a thing: Ashley has been so kind and generous and wonderful to me the last few months. She has given me a room at the famed Boyer B&B, and has let me sit on her couch a lot. It is probably annoying to have a whiny, waiting girl living in your home, but Ashley has put up with me like a trooper. My only complaint is that when I make her delicious (not delicious) sugar-free treats, she shuns them.

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Diana and I went to brunch yesterday. None of this was sugar-free or fat-free or calorie-free. But it was delicious. If you are in Colorado, you must visit Adam’s Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs. It is my favorite.

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This really has nothing to do with worry, but look at the vintage windows I got this weekend! We went to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, and I loved it. Have you ever been to one? People donate doors and cupboards and light fixtures and furniture. And cute windows you can use to decorate your wedding!

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Umm, we went to a thrift store and found this sign. If you get hurt, they are not reliable. Don’t depend on them. For reliability. (Or, I’m guessing, liability either.)

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Saturday night the Jewish holiday of Purim started. Purim celebrates what happened in the book of Esther when the Jewish people were saved from total destruction at the hands of a mean guy named Haman. People usually celebrate Purim with a masquerade party. They do this because Esther is the only book of the Bible in which the name of God is never mentioned. Not once. Weird, right? But if you look at the story — a Jewish woman becoming queen, the plotting of Haman, the wisdom of Mordecai, the strength of Esther, the tables being turned on Haman, and the surprising triumph of the Jewish people — it is clear that, although God’s name isn’t mentioned, he is clearly at work behind the scenes. So people wear masks as a reminder that we cannot always see or feel God, but he is always there, guiding and working.

My friends and I read the story of Esther on Saturday night. We talked about ways we hope God is at work behind the scenes in our lives right now. We talked about how important it is to look back and remember and celebrate the things God has already done for us — because in the here and now, it is easy to forget and complain. It was a good night for No Worries Lent because it reminded me that God is never absent, even when he is not obvious.

Okey dokey. I best let you get on with your day. Have a good one — no worries!!!

No Worries

March 5, 2014

Lent starts today, guys. (I made paleo pancakes last night because I just happened to be hungry for pancakes, and also it was Fat Tuesday, and also I can’t eat fattening foods because I would like my white dress to fit this summer. p.s. Paleo pancakes are not as good as delicious, normal pancakes.)

I like Lent. I like it because the date of Easter changes every year, and during Lent I am so aware that it is coming — that the death and resurrection that brings restoration is on its way! I like that in giving something up, I am reminded of the One who emptied himself for my sake. I like it because it makes Easter Sunday so, so joyful!

So as I thought about Lent this season, I thought of my past year. Ugh. It has been and continues to be hard. The past week has been rough — I have felt sad and mad and listless at times. It has been hard for me to see bright spots. I have thought of every worst-case scenario for the next ten years.

Because of all this, I have decided to give up my favorite pastime for Lent — worry.

I’m worried about how it will go.

(See what I did there?)

I’m not quite sure how to go about giving up worry. Most of the time I don’t even know I’m doing it until I suddenly realize I’m thinking about how I will have to work on a ranch in Montana so I can live close to the Canadian border so that Andrew can come see me and our future children on weekends. Or something equally as reasonable.

praymore

But it’s dumb, you guys. I read this post by someone else who gave up worry for Lent one year, and it described exactly what I do:

Suddenly, it became crystal clear to me why I worry so much. Somewhere along the line, I’d convinced myself that worrying prevented bad things from happening, or at least, mitigated the damage when the worst occurred. Worrying helped me prepare a mental emergency first aid kit, and if I could manifest that preparation, like the gray tub of survival supplies in the garage, all the better.

I try to control everything by worrying. If I’ve imagined the worst, I won’t be surprised. If I’ve thought of all the horrible options, I won’t be caught off guard. It’s really dumb and not helpful. And most of all, it shows that I am not trusting God’s control. I am not trusting his character and plans.

So, what I am going to try to do for the next 40 days (and hopefully beyond) is redirect my thoughts when I realize I’m worrying. I will pray about whatever I’m worrying about. I will read my Bible. I will remind myself that worrying doesn’t work — what’s the point? I will pray for someone else. I will try to notice something in that moment to be thankful for. I will ask God to help me to trust him more and more each day.

If you want, you can do it too or help me out. I am going to Instagram a picture a day under #noworrieslent. You can Instagram along with me (my username is denise_ruth) and share your own ways you are trusting the Lord instead of worrying.

So that’s my plan. Sometimes I will blog about it; sometimes I won’t. (I like to be unpredictable. Like John Travolta’s name pronunciations.)

Anyhoos. Thoughts on Lent? Giving something up? (I recommend giving up paleo pancakes for Lent.) No? Love Lent? Hate it? Leave me a comment!

Have a good day! Don’t worry!

Let Me Tell You A Story

March 3, 2014

Oh hi, you guys.

My friends and I did a practice table setting for the wedding the other day. The best part about this is that we’ve had fresh flowers in the house all week! And the last few days, I’ve needed the brightness of these pretty flowers in my “Made in Canada” mason jar.

IMG_5614

So late last week we found out that my work visa was denied. Canada hates me. Or something. Not sure. I do know that all hope is not lost. My potential employer is still looking into options, so we will see.

But overall, I am discouraged.

I am tired of never getting to see my fiance — I miss him all the time. I am tired of not having a steady job. I am tired of worrying about money. I am tired of living out of a suitcase. I am tired of explaining that even if we got married tomorrow it doesn’t automatically make any immigration things easier — it is all a long process with more waiting and more unknowns. I am tired of Pinterest and Facebook and Netflix. I am tired of being lonely and bored. I am tired of trying to be strong in this completely abnormal and difficult situation.

I’m tired, guys.

Thankfully, the people around me aren’t as tired as I am. Andrew has been so encouraging and faithful and hopeful. I thrive on expecting the worst, and he’s one of those optimists. (I’m glad.)

So, I continue to wait. I have no clue about a timeline for anything at this point. I am looking for temp work and hoping that Canada eventually decides to call and invite me to take Rob Ford’s job.

I have felt so sad and sometimes mad about this situation. One hour I feel a bit hopeful, and the next, I am so discouraged. I am not feeling all that resilient anymore. But, the day we found out about the visa, both Andrew and I saw my friend Heather’s Facebook status — a couple of verses from the Psalms. And at different times, we were both reminded that the Lord is in this. Even when it is hard to see.

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” Psalm 37:23-24

So, that’s the update. If you think of it, please pray that something will work out sooner rather than later. That would be good.

This is also good when you are feeling sad.

sitdownOnce upon a time, I ate your hamster this morning.

OK, have a good Monday, friends! Thanks for your prayers!

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