(Savouring a moment of fall beauty this morning!  It is so good to live in Chilliwack where fall extends into November!)

I feel I need to preface this post reminding my readers that my life is much messier than my poetic words can make it sound.  I hope you realize that I write my “findings” not because I’ve now arrived and learned them; but, rather because I too need daily reminders to embrace them and placing them here in black and white facilitates that process.  Please remember, when I write I am in a good space.  I am in my happy spot and I can find the positives in all lifes up and down.  I have had time to process the good, the bad and the ugly of my life and come out with a gem.  But.  Oh but.  To find that gem there is a bunch of ugly to sort through. 
The purpose of my writing is firstly as a therapy for me: spending time in a hobby that fills my soul.  Secondly, I desire that my words serve as encouragement to those who read them.  I desire that the gems I’ve uncovered through the muck of my life will breathe peace and joy into your lives.  Because I hope to encourage all with my words I feel I need to draw you deeper into my experience with me.  While my story is different than yours, I remind you that we all have different stories.  We all have different kinds of difficulties.  Through out our lifetimes life will present each one of us with insurmountable difficulties.  Though these difficulties are different for each of us, the human story is such that at some point this insurmountable difficulty will come our way.  You and I are all comrades on this journey of life. 
Furthermore, I hope today to show you a glimpse of my struggling soul.  I am a performance driven perfectionist.  I like to achieve and achieve at the highest level.  Do you know what that means? No room for failure.  Do you know what that means?  I don’t like to give voice to the bad and the ugly of my life.  On my journey of understanding myself better I seek to change this; however, outright here is my disclaimer: just like people put their best images on social media, so too I present the best of me here.  Please be gracious with me as I seek to bare the ugliness alongside the beauty.
I am learning that the battle for the life I want is real and everyday.  Join me in fighting for it today, tomorrow, the next day and so forth.  And in the process find grace.  Our Creator has a never ending supply of grace, I pray that you and I will let this grace wash over us today.
I am honored that all of you are journeying with me.  Isn’t life better together?
The Good: Celebration (written yesterday in response to celebrating my kids’ and my birthdays)
I am exhausted from celebrating.  It was so good, so soul filling and so physically exhausting.  This is life with young kids…always so tired. Always. 
It leaves me asking: was it worth it?
Was it worth it?
This worn out, this spent feeling.  Was it worth it to celebrate my children and myself well?
(Still in the high of it all I reply to myself) Absolutely!  We were given this life to celebrate with! 
To celebrate firstly what Jesus has done, then to celebrate those people he has given us.  To pour out our lives to this end for God’s glory, coming regularly back to the fountain of life, Jesus so we can keep keeping on in this exhausting journey called life which when we pause demands our joyous celebrations!
So today I am exhausted, filled and renewed all at the same time.
I realize I have this: choice.  I choose how to respond to what motherhood throws at me.  So as I return to the hair-pulling, mundane of mothering 3 youngsters, battling my own anxiety along the way, organizing activities and packing lunches and taming tantrums and mood swings and facing toilets that are getting scarier than Halloween, I have a renewed sense that I need to choose to pause and see that LIFE is so GOOD and this life of mine is an incredible, priceless, beautiful GIFT.
This life’s a grueling marathon; but I am choosing to let my life shine brightly so I do not lose the race! (Phil 2:16-17) And I am on mission to celebrate every km covered!
Join me comrades! This race is epic!
End quote from my journal
Back to present day.
Really?! I ask myself chuckling.  I am so freaking tired in this moment.  I have been tired for 3 years and I am worn and I CANNOT muster spunk.  I am glad to sit in front of computer and drink tea and let my introverted self just be, calmly, boringly, no hint of celebration, just BE.  Because what I feel in this moment is reminiscent of this (excerpt from journal Oct 22/18):
Who I really am
I am big and strong
Brave and optimistic
Stepping into the future with
Oh so much Hope!
I have so much to live for
I have so much left to give.
I have so much to learn,
I have so much to share
I have so much to experience.
In my mind I daily envision cancer being destroyed
By God’s mighty armies.
Obliterated. Denied access. Penetrated. Confused.
I envision strongholds around my healthy body fortified
And nourishment- rich nourishment feeding my body and soul.
(Having read that envisioning optimistic outcomes increases longevity)
I envision splashing in the lake with my teenage children
I envision holding my first grandbaby
I envision cheering my son to athletic victory in high school
I envision my daughters’ weddings and beginning to know my daughter in law.
I envision this all so optimistically.
But when I pause
I weep.
I am so very weary from fighting.
Oh how hard I am fighting.
I am worn and I need
Desperately, I need rest.
I need that quiet field where I can lie in the soft grass
And smell the flowers.
Where sun warms my body and soul. 
I need that space so quiet, so still, so unaware of time.
A place where I am truly
Where all the tasks do not exist
Where being is all that’s asked of me
Where life is beautiful
Simply because its lived.
I want to lie in this quiet field
Until my soul is full and jam packed
With peace and inspiration
Where I learn to live freely
Alive, like I’ve never been before.
Oh God
Take me to THIS field.
Take me to this place where I can see what I really want
Where I can feel what’s really inside
Where anxiety cannot exist.
Where sadness and anger roll in and fight within me so they can be
My God teach me this peace so
I can bring it with me.
Each step of my path
Teach me how to sit at Your feet
To wrestle with the discomfort of it all.
Oh God give me the strength and wisdom that I do not have.
End quote from my journal
I contemplate how to wrap up these 2 dichotomies; how to conclude today.    I think this might be it:
My celebrating self declares that how I choose to respond to life is a choice.  She is optimistic and cheery, celebrating this choice.  However, this choice remains the same in good and bad days.  There are days when I am exhausted: emotionally, physically, both.  There are days when I am at my wits end.  There are days that anxiety clenches my throat.  There are days that hope threatens to evaporate.  Most days faith does not come naturally.   But in these days too, I have the choice of my response.
(I am reminded of my 3 year olds who will scream and not do a task if I tell them to; however if I ask them if they want to clean up now or in 5 minutes, the choice diffuses their emotions.)
I am empowered to choose my response in good days andin bad or sad days.  This is the premise of the gratitude journal I have started; gratitude can be found everyday.
And so…
I choose to savour all that life puts in front of me.  (At a relaxation class yesterday I was learning the practice of savouring the moments of life.  Those who savour life are more satisfied with life.  )
I choose to enjoy celebrating.
I choose to allow myself to rest.
I choose to cling to the Hope of Jesus Christ.
(And remember having choice doesn’t make it is easy; but just like my 3 year olds, it helps diffuse the ugly, so we can get on with the good stuff.)
Isn’t this life a crazy thing?
Psalm 118:24 (Cheryl version):  This is the moment I have been given.  The moments make up my day.  Today I choose to praise God for the gift of moments!  Today I choose to be grateful in these moments.