A word to the wise…


Wisdom teeth are interesting. They’re the last of our teeth to emerge (somewhere between the ages of 17 and 21) but they’re also the most painful and perhaps the most useless.

They tend to be impacted… meaning the tooth is blocked as it attempts to push through the gum into the mouth. But, even if they come in naturally, most people don’t have enough room in their mouth to accommodate them. The longer they stay, the more likely they’ll cause pain, swelling, infection, or crowd the other teeth.

There’s only one solution… extraction.

Why are they even called wisdom teeth in the first place? The reasoning was that they appear so late (as third teeth) … at an age when people are presumably wiser than they were as a child, when their second teeth came through.

So… that begs the question… is wisdom always painful and does it automatically come with age?

Well… yes and no. Wisdom is quite often painful and, no, it doesn’t automatically come with age.

The dictionary defines wisdom as “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment”… things that take time and, often, trial and error. It’s rare that we acquire wisdom when life is going well. But, that’s not to say that wisdom is always the result of age or experience.


Wisdom isn’t simply intellect, intelligence, or knowledge. It’s the ability to use what we know, or have learned, to think and act in such a way that common sense and good judgement prevail. We also gain valuable wisdom by surrounding ourselves with wise people. But, to gain the best kind of wisdom, we need God.


Why God’s wisdom?


Do you know someone who stands out because of their wisdom? Someone you look up to for that reason?

You can be that person.

It’s never too early or too late to seek wisdom.

So… go for it.

Wise up!





What a gift…


Several weeks ago, my husband and I gifted an acquaintance of mine with a practical item they very much needed. It cost us several hundred dollars but we felt it was an important gift because this person had just gone through an extended time of unemployment and financial difficulty. We wanted to bless them.

The person was initially very appreciative but, almost immediately, problems arose. They had complaints about the gift, and they kept trying to trade it in for something better. And in their interactions with the company, they were demanding and difficult.

My husband and I actively tried to move the situation to a favorable outcome. But, four weeks later, a continuing litany of text messages made it painfully evident that our efforts had been in vain. So we decided it was wisest for extricate ourselves and let this person handle things themselves.

Their response?

They declined the gift.

The old proverb “never look a gift horse in the mouth” came to mind.  Since horses’ teeth grow over time, checking their length is a way of gauging old age, and therefore a sign of mistrust towards the giver. So, in a nutshell, the proverb conveys that, when receiving a gift, be grateful for what it is and don’t imply you wished for more by assessing its value.

It made me think about the greatest gift of all… the gift of salvation. About how many don’t see it as a gift at all. Oh, they may accept it for a period of time but they’re never really very happy with it. They want it to be something else. Or they feel it can be improved upon. Or they have difficulty accepting that it’s free.

They would feel better if they had paid something towards it or had done something to earn it because then the gift would be on their terms.

And so, they ultimately reject the gift.

It was such a terrible feeling when our gift was rejected that it pains me to think of how God must feel when literally millions of people have rejected His gift throughout history. And yet He has never withheld the gift because so many have rejected it. He still graciously and generously continues to offer the gift to everyone… without exception… in the hopes that even a few will accept it.


It reminds me how it important it is to keep giving, no matter what. We’re not responsible for the outcome, only the opportunity.

I’ll leave you with another proverb…

“If you receive a gift, don’t measure it.”





Thank goodness…



Have you ever felt that life is like a roller coaster… full of ups and downs that are nowhere near as thrilling as the actual ride?

In Psalm 27, we learn that David’s life had its ups and downs. He was transparent about his difficulties, fears, and times of testing. But, he balanced that angst with hope. In verse after verse, he spoke of his commitment to God, and confidence in His character and provision. He never once mentioned putting his hope in anyone but God.

No matter what life brought his way, David relentlessly kept his focus on God. Like most of us, he had times of despair but steadfastly believed he would see the goodness of God in the land of the living. He didn’t know how long before God would give him answers, or before He would intervene in certain situations, or before He would show His face in tangible ways. But, David knew that God’s faithfulness and goodness were certain, regardless of the outcome.

blog 6If you’ve never read the story of David’s life, it’s worth the read. He was a man after God’s own heart but he went through a lot of tough stuff in his life. He experienced betrayal, family problems, threats to his life, life on the run, loss, and times of abject moral failure.

David’s life was never once perfect, and ours never will be either.

Believing we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living doesn’t mean that our circumstances will change. But, it does mean our perspective will change.

I don’t know about you but I need that reminder a lot.

blog 7How many times have I despaired because I took my eyes off God and fixed them on my circumstances instead? How many times have I tried to figure things out on my own instead of crying out to God for help and then resting in His sustaining grace? How many times have I allowed temporal hardships to overshadow eternal hope?

How many times have I sung ‘O, Great is our God’ during praise and worship at church while focusing on ‘O, great are my problems’?

Life is going to bring its share of turmoil, struggles, and tears. There will be times it will be difficult to see past our pain or hardships to find hope in the goodness of God.

But, the goodness of God is not dependent on our circumstances or our feelings. Our circumstances are temporal but God’s goodness is eternal.


One of the beautiful things about God is that He doesn’t require us to get our lives together before we come to Him. He wants us to come to Him just as we are. And then He comes alongside us to walk with us through whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.

It’s only when we surrender everything that brought us to our knees, to the One who alone has the ability to work our circumstances together for good, that we will truly experience God’s goodness in us, for us, and through us.

Honest to goodness…

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True confessions…

I’m stressed out. Tired and stressed out, to be precise.

Earlier today, I looked up the definition of stress, and this is what I found:

“A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”

So, I looked up the definition of peace (seeing as it’s the topic for May), and it gave two definitions, both of which started with the words:

“Freedom from…”

Freedom from…

Those two words stopped me in my tracks and highlighted the fact that I’ve been feeling the opposite of peace.

The truth is I haven’t been feeling freedom from anything.

But, I’ve started taking steps to figure out how I can keep stress from dominating my life. Especially since the “adverse and demanding circumstances” that contributed to me becoming so stressed are probably not going to go away anytime soon.

What’s a girl to do?

Well, my hubby and I are going on vacation just 4 short days from now, and I’m pretty sure that 8 days in Puerto Vallarta will go a long way to helping my stress. But, that will only be a brief respite, after which life will resume and, no doubt, my stressful circumstances.

It was recently suggested that I need to regularly spend time with a trusted friend or two who I can confide in, and who appreciates me for the person I am. I do have those people in my life but they mostly live somewhere else, which is the downside of having moved around a lot. But, there are a couple of friends where I live who have the potential to become close relationships. So, one of my goals is to become more intentional about deepening those friendships.

The closer your support system, the better.

It was also suggested that I be kinder to myself, and regularly indulge in some of the things I most enjoy. Things like going for a massage, taking a brisk walk, baking, reading, blogging, having date nights with my hubby, getting together with a friend for coffee, watching a movie, etc. These ideas seem somewhat simplistic on the surface but I do enjoy them, and they’ve been falling through the cracks in direct proportion to how stressed I’ve been feeling. Basically, I need to work smarter, not harder.

The goal is to manage my stress rather than have my stress manage me.

I’ve done a few of the things I enjoy this week but, to be honest, I still don’t feel much better. I do think our vacation will help jumpstart the process, and I’m very thankful for the timing. From the moment we leave the driveway until we return 8 days later, nothing but rest and relaxation will be on the agenda. I plan on taking full advantage of being out of the country… spending lots of quality time with my hubby, sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling, eating, reading, sightseeing, and sleeping.

I just need to remember that I didn’t get this stressed overnight so I won’t get unstressed overnight either. But, simply having a plan makes me think that peace is at least possible.

I especially need to remember that God is bigger than anyone or anything that’s been causing me stress. It’s easier said that done but committing my circumstances to Him, and trusting that He will intervene in the right way and at the right time will go a long way to being able to feel peace in the midst of the storm. I’ve been praying a lot but maybe I need to be still and listen more too.

It’s hard to hear that still small voice when I’m doing all the talking.

I decided to combine the definitions of peace and stress to come up with a new definition for peace that goes like this…

Freedom from a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”

I like it.

I’m actively in pursuit of peace… my own version of “freedom from”, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it increases my joy.

But, it’s a journey, not a destination. So it’s to be continued…

Peace out.



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At nearly every turn, I see articles and/or books about love, friendships, and relationships but I don’t nearly as often see things written about trust.  Yet every aspect of our lives hinges on it.

Consider this… we trust that our car won’t malfunction and put us in harm’s way while we’re driving, we trust the pilot of the airplane we board to get us safely to our destination, we trust that the company we work for will pay us regularly, we trust that restaurants will serve us food that has been properly stored and prepared, we trust the medical profession to properly diagnose and treat us, we trust the bank with our money, we trust that our friends, family and/or significant other will not betray us in any way.  Trust is foundational to our lives. We all trust whether we like it or not.

We’re often not consciously aware of all the ways that we trust.  And that’s ok.  If we stopped to think every single time before we said or did something – about whether or not we should trust in that instance – life would grind to a halt.  It would actually breed two unwanted things… paranoia and fear. To coin a phrase, we would start finding a demon under every doorstop.  That wouldn’t be healthy or productive.

But the flip side of that coin is that sometimes we trust too much or our trust is misguided.  We shouldn’t trust blindly, although blind trust does have its place.  If your house is on fire and the fire fighter climbs up the ladder to the third floor to rescue you, that is not the time to insist you never trust anyone to carry  you.

One thing I appreciate the longer I live is the benefit of first hand experience.  I’ve learned that I couldn’t trust people I should have been able to trust, and I learned that if someone starts out as untrustworthy, that’s most likely the way they’re going to stay.

I also appreciate the God given gift of gut instinct.  Think of it… if someone betrays your trust, the first place you feel it is in your gut.  It’s like you’ve been kicked in the stomach.  So, while I’m aware that my gut instinct could potentially be wrong, I’m not apt to outright dismiss it.

Instinct always deserves careful consideration.

I’ve decided that the older people get, they often fall into one of two categories… they trust everyone or they trust no one.

You’ve heard about the too trusting ones.  Scam artists target them by phone and/or by e-mail.  If you act in the least way official with these people, they’ll tell you anything.  “Hi, I’m with Bank XYZ.  We inexplicably need you to verify the banking information we should already have.” So, of course, they tell you everything.  The next thing they know, their account is empty.  Or their credit is ruined.  Or both.

But, you’ve also heard of the chronically suspicious people.  They’ve never learned who or what to trust so their policy is to distrust everything and everyone.  Relentlessly.  Irrationally.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to ‘grow up’ to be either of those people.

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I have been badly burned in the trust department – as I’m sure most people have.  Some of it could have been outright predicted; some of it no one saw coming.  Regardless, it would be easy to just decide to never trust again.  After all, it usually only leads to heartache, right? That way of thinking schools us to end up like person #2.  Or we could just keep trusting everyone regardless… and become like person #1.

For me, the hardest part of choosing to trust is letting my guard down.  Allowing myself to be vulnerable is, well, kind of vulnerable.  But, I believe the experiences I’ve had in life to this point have equipped me with the knowledge to make better choices in all areas, including who I can and can’t trust.  That being said, I will probably always go to doctor’s appointments having done at least some background research. I don’t care how good the doctor is, I’m not going in there blind.  And I’ll probably continue to keep certain people at arm’s length because of damaged trust in the past… which is along the lines of eyes wide open.

But, my ultimate goal is balance.  Surrounding myself with quality people who I know I can trust implicitly.  Who I can let my guard down with.  Who I can just be me with.

It’s worth it to figure out the difference.

Trust me.  I know.


20 questions…

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When I was growing up, I loved playing 20 questions.  After being recently nominated for the Liebster Award by francesgabriel75.wordpress.com (thank you!) – and seeing the questions that go along with it – I decided to expand the list to 20 questions, for old times sake.  I’ve always loved Q&A (as long as it’s not a test), and I’ve often thought it would be cool to be interviewed for that very reason.  So… game on…

  1. What are your reasons for writing a blog?  Self-expression is the short answer.  I’m not artistic or creative so words are what I have.
  2. What is the best thing (for you) about writing a blog?  The people that I’ve met who either stumbled on my blog or I stumbled onto theirs.
  3. What is your best quality?  Compassion.  I have the ability to put myself in other people’s shoes.
  4. What is the quality you want God to work on the most?  Oh goodness… it’s hard to narrow it down to one.  Patience is always on the list.  I think most of us could use more patience.  The main thing I pray for though is that God will make me better – whatever that is and however He sees fit for it to happen.
  5. What is your favourite place in the world and why?  My favorite place in the world is Paris, France – even though I’ve never been there.  It has history, architecture, romance, cuisine, fashion, the Eiffel Tower, and a temperate climate.  What’s not to love?
  6. How would you spend an ideal day?  For me, it’s more about who you spend it with than what you do.  Anything can be an ideal day if it’s with the right person/people.
  7. What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve ever been told?  That I’m the strongest person they know.
  8. What do you do to relax?  Take a walk, read, blog, watch TV/movies, spend time with friends/family, play word games.
  9. If you were able to meet one person (alive or dead, real or fictional) who would it be and what would you ask them?  I would like to meet Billy Graham.  I would ask him what lessons he’s learned and what, if anything, he would do differently if he had it to do over.
  10. What’s the first question you would like to ask God when you meet Him?  I’m pretty sure any questions I have will cease to matter the moment I first meet Him face to face.
  11. What makes you smile?  dogs; humour (particularly situational humour); kindness; the people I love.
  12. What makes you sad?  unkindness; tragedies; hatred; insensitivity.
  13. What motivates you?  a desire to live life to the fullest; a determination to persevere/overcome; my faith in God.
  14. How would you describe your personality?  I’m an introvert with extrovert qualities.  I can be funny and outgoing but I can also be shy and quiet.  Depends on the circumstances.  I’m loyal, caring, kind, giving, logical, smart, quirky, beat to my own drum, hard worker, peacemaker, unique, capable.  
  15. What do you least enjoy doing in life?  Dealing with conflict, doing things alone, and being late are the first 3 that came to mind.
  16. What is your favorite song?  My favorite song routinely changes but, for the past few months, I would have to say, “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave.  It has an amazing message of hope and redemption.  Lifts me up every time I hear it – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDAGCow3dsg.  I also pretty much love any song of Toby Mac’s.  “Steal my Show” is a fav right now – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA_HoEC9ixc.
  17. What is your favorite quote and why?  My favorite quote routinely changes too but I think this one is epic… “If you found a man at the top of a mountain, he did not fall there”.  I know firsthand how true that is.  Love it!
  18. What is your favourite Bible verse and why?  The verse that speaks to me the most lately is “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” – Psalm 91:1.  It encourages me.
  19. What are some of your favourite things?  The people I love, books, good food, sushi (I’m hooked!), sunshine/heat/warmth, walking, cars, hockey, roller coasters, facts/trivia, words, humour, Snoopy, travel.
  20. What has life taught you?  I’ve learned that I can’t change the past so I shouldn’t live there.  Learn from the bad, embrace the good, be the change I want to see in the world, be an overcomer, persevere no matter what, love relentlessly, hope always, live life to the fullest, age is only a number, attitude is everything, life is hard but God is good.

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Not a problem to be found…

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I’ve been bogged down by problems lately.


Sound familiar?

I’d like to know who even invented that word.  Just saying it weighs me down.  In fact, I think I’ve had it with problems.  I”ve decided I’m replacing the word ‘problems’ with ‘challenges’.

Instead of problems to be solved, I have challenges to overcome.

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I’m feeling better already.

I don’t have problems weighing me down anymore.  I have opportunities disguised as challenges.

That may sound like denial, but it’s not.  I’m just adjusting my perspective.

I’m also reminding myself that challenges take time to overcome.  Few challenges are conquered in a day.  Whether I like it or not, some things just take time.  And sometimes the things that take the most time are the things that will be most worth the wait.

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I think what really defines us is how we deal with the challenges that come our way.  And, make no mistake, challenges will come.  We can either struggle against them kicking and screaming or we can tackle them one step at a time as patiently as possible.

Personally, I want to be an example of grace under fire.  Of strength through strain.  Of determination over obstacles.

How am I doing so far?  Well, it’s a process.  Sometimes I’ve veered from the path but I’ve never lost sight of the goal.  I don’t know that I’m even necessarily close to the goal but the one thing I can control is how I handle the journey.

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Thankfully, God is beside me every step of the way.  He knows the plans He has for me, for good and not for evil, to give me a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

A future and a hope?

I like the sound of that.

So, yes, I may have a few challenges but really…

It’s no problem.

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Gently please…

I was reading my Bible the other day and this verse stopped me in my tracks…

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Mild mannered.  Even-tempered.  Pleasant.  Kind.


After all, if our gentleness is supposed to be ‘evident to all’, it has to be consistently displayed.  Not just brought out for special occasions.  Or special people.  Or special situations.  Or only when we feel like it.

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We all know people who are consistently the opposite of gentle.  They aren’t pleasant to be around.

I know there have been far too many times where I haven’t shown gentleness.  I feel terrible about it almost immediately.  I always wish I could turn back time just long enough to do it over.  To do it better.  To do it right.

It’s always easier to do it right the first time than it is to fix the damage done by doing it wrong.

And doing it right the first time isn’t easy in the first place.


Gentleness means making a conscious choice to be kind every single day.  Sometimes multiple times a day.  It means choosing and practising self-control.  It means doing the right thing, and being the right kind of person, no matter what the situation.

I recently started working with troubled young people living in family group home situations.  I’ve only worked a few shifts but I’ve routinely been defied, cursed at, insulted, taunted, punched, kicked, and even bitten.  Gentleness is not the order of the day.  Each time, I have a choice… respond in kind or respond with gentleness.  Firmness, tempered with gentleness.

I don’t know about you but I need help with that.  I need God’s help to do in me what I’m unable to do on my own.  That doesn’t mean I don’t participate in the process, it just means that I lean on a perfect God to do in a very imperfect me what I’m unable to do in myself, by myself.

Gently, of course…

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No ordinary Joy…


This is the year I decided to start really embracing life, to live life to the fullest, and to be as joyful as possible despite what might be happening at any given time.

It all started when my beloved dog, Max, passed away suddenly on Easter Monday from a catastrophic intestinal tumour at the relatively young age of 7.  I was beyond devastated.  He had been in my life less than two and a half years, and then he was gone.

But, as I grieved, I reflected on Max’s zest for life, his love for everyone and everything, and his quirky sense of humour.  The first five years of his life, he had been owned by an alcoholic who mistreated him and kept him chained outside.  Max had every reason to become a vicious, snarly, and confrontational dog, yet he was the very opposite.  His circumstances were part of his story but they didn’t define him.  He was the kindest, most loving, most giving, most caring dog I have ever known.  I miss him.

Max’s death became the catalyst to one of the most important decisions in my recent life.  Two months later, I fled my marriage.  I had been married for just over 11 years, with the last 4 years marked by increasing control, isolation, and verbal abuse.

I learned that, for real change to happen in a marriage, it takes two.  If one person doesn’t want to participate or is resistant, change is impossible.  But, only in the marriage, not in the individual who wants the change.

So, I chose to change me.  I took only what I could fit in my compact car and drove 2720 km across three provinces to start over in a new city.  I didn’t have a job or a place to live but I believed I was in the right city, and that things were going to come together.

I ended up being called for a job interview within minutes of arriving in Calgary, and I found a place to live before the end of the week.  But, things weren’t perfect.  The job wasn’t full-time, and didn’t pay especially well, and I had to live in a motel for several days because the apartment wasn’t available until the first of the month.

The apartment was just a tiny, one room bachelor, but it was furnished and it was affordable.  Within a few weeks, I was offered a full-time job that paid much better.  The only problem was that it was only a short-term contract.

Since the job wasn’t permanent, I kept looking for work.  I recently had three interviews for one job, and they wanted a reference list with at least one current reference.  I gave them the contact information for my current boss, but only on the condition that it be used upon an accepted offer of employment.  They readily agreed but then turned around and almost immediately sent my boss an e-mail, requesting that a reference be given by way of a detailed questionnaire.

I ended up turning that job down late the next day because of the reference and a few other things they had been needlessly dishonest about.  But, three days later – on November 1st – I was terminated from my current job because my boss was still rightfully upset about having been blindsided with the reference request.  My work was never called into question.

Since it was just prior to the three month mark, I was terminated without notice, without severance, and without the ability to apply for Employment Insurance. 11 days later, I still have no job, no income, and no money and, as of November 30th, I also won’t have a place to live.

I won’t pretend this has been easy.  I had never been terminated before, and it was a traumatic experience.

I do have a job interview tomorrow that, if successful, would take care of my employment and a place to live in one fell swoop. But, this is the thing.  There’s no guarantee it’s going to come through.  Life has its up and downs.  Stuff happens.  People are dishonest.  People are needlessly mean.  Money comes and goes, jobs come and go, people come and go, but NO ONE can take my joy without my permission.  It’s MY joy.

It doesn’t mean that I’m never sad, that I don’t cry, that I don’t have a hard time sometimes but I am determined to bounce back faster and higher each time I’m knocked down.  I’m determined to see the funny side of life, to laugh more, to love more, to be thankful more, to be more joyful.

I am ALIVE, and I’m living life to the fullest.  I’m in a better place now than I was six months ago.  All things are relative.  I’m BLESSED.  I have a wonderful son, wonderful friends, and wonderful family.  I have been shown uncommon kindness that I can never repay.  I have seen miracles happen, that are not explainable other than to say they are evidence that God continues to be in control of my life.

I’m THANKFUL.  I’ll be thankful if I get the job tomorrow and I’ll be thankful if I don’t.  There’s a reason for everything, and we shouldn’t get everything we pray for.  If God says “no”, it’s always for a good reason.  I’m GRATEFUL.  I’m grateful to be me.  I wouldn’t want to be anyone else.  I’m grateful for what I’ve experienced – the good and the bad – because it’s all brought me to this moment and shaped me into the person I am today.

“Joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”   – Marianne Williamson


This is the first year of the rest of my life.  I’m determined to live with abandon, to love unconditionally, to be a better person, mother, friend, sister, and employee, to live my life as an example of Gods grace, to be kinder, to be happier, to be more joyful.  I’m going to succeed, I’m going to finish my book, I’m going to become a public speaker, I’m going to overcome, I’m going to laugh more, I’m going to love more.

I am going to be no ordinary Joy.  You can count on it.

My two cents on feeling like a million bucks…

Have you ever felt like you don’t measure up?  That your worth depends on what other people tell you?   That no matter what you do, it will never be enough?  That the mistakes from your past will forever hold back your future?

What if I told you that your worth doesn’t depend on what you do, or on what other people say, but solely on what God says?  And what if I told you that this is what God says about you?  Yes, you!

Do you believe it?  Can you believe it?  Will you believe it?

Most of my life, someone close to me has communicated through their words and actions that I don’t measure up, that I don’t have the same worth as other people (usually them…), that nothing I do will ever be enough, and that the mistakes from my past will forever hold back my future.

Guess what?  They were wrong.  Every single one of them.  My true worth depends on how God sees me, and He loves me for who I am. 

I recently realized that I don’t like myself very much.  I also decided it’s time I changed that.  I’m making a conscious effort to see myself as God sees me.  Every day, I’m trying to celebrate how God made me, and to be intentional about using my gifts and talents in ways that interest me, and that have the potential to make a difference in people’s lives.  My focus is on what I can do and not on what I can’t.

Weaknesses and faults?  I definitely have them.  But, I’m striving to be more realistic both about what they are and what they aren’t, and then surrender them daily to God, who promises that His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

In short, I’m finally starting to realize that I’m…

So are you.

If someone is telling you otherwise, it’s not healthy to let them keep doing it for even one more minute.  And trying to convince them of your real worth might seem worthwhile but the truth is that it never works.  Trust me, I know.  If someone doesn’t recognize your true worth up front, nothing you say is ever going to convince them, no matter how many years you tell them.

I’m working on surrounding myself with people who build me up and encourage me but who care enough about me to speak the truth in love.  I’m also setting healthy boundaries so that the people who bring me down won’t have the power to do so anymore.  The result?  Freedom.  I’m free to be me.  And truthfully, I wouldn’t want to be anyone else.  I feel like a million bucks!  You can too…