Monday, January 26, 2015

Stop!

I love my friends. Wonderful people who have heard the cries of my heart even if only over facebook and through my blog. Dear ones who see, and hear and read and think of me and send sweet reminders.

I woke this morning to this message from one of my dear, sweet camp daughters.



Only someone special can speak this truth with love that it is embraced in my heart as such.

Guilty.

I am.

I know it's true.

Prideful in all I can accomplish and all to which I commit myself. I don't like to say "no" because to refuse is to admit I can't handle it all. But the reality is I can't handle it all. Not well, anyways.

So today I am reminded that I don't need to glorify busy-ness but enjoy rest.

Thank you my dear daughter, for this hug filled with truth and love.

I am indeed blessed.

 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest.
 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
 for I am gentle and humble in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls. 
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

Sunday, January 25, 2015

WEEK FOUR - LIGHT

I was quite excited at the prospect of capturing light. With the expectation of snow, I was anticipating morning sunlight glistening off of snow covered fields. Diamonds sparkling on ice covered tree branches.

Contrasting the beauty of the ice and cold with the winter sun warming our living room while the children played peacefully together.

But this was not to be. The snow came but each day was cold with blustering winds and swirling white or overcast and dreary.

I rethought my plan and decided that I also enjoy the lights of a winter evening.

I am always amazed at how the snow reflects light making the night seem bright like the day.



I love the ambiance of this house. Especially at night. In the snow.



Driving to the River, I found myself surrounded by lights.



The Bridge at night always captivates me. This night it was lined with trucks from one end to the other. 





When I turned the other direction the Detroit Skyline was another series of lights reflecting on the cold water.



As I left the river, thankful to be warm, I couldn't help but notice Assumption. My husband's family was an important part of the history here and in Detroit, when it was still a fort! 
It was worth braving the cold again to capture these.









Monday, January 19, 2015

From Here to There - Part One


Alice came upon the Cheshire Cat sitting on the bough of a tree.

“Would you tell me please which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat

“I don’t much care where---“ said Alice

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go ,” said the Cat

“—so long as I get Somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”


I am sure, if you are anything like me, you have a picture in your head of who or what you wish you were. Unlike Alice you have a vision for where you want to get to. . Take a minute to write down how you envision the “there” in your life.

Maybe you would change something about your physical appearance or your spiritual fervor or maybe you just wish you had it all together.

Sometimes what we picture is attainable and other times what we hope for is wishful thinking. I am quite certain that I have the ability to gain more order to the chaos in my house but it is highly unlikely that I will ever be a cute, petite blond!

The destination is important but before we fully set our sights on where we want to be, we have to weigh in to make sure our goal is a realistic one. If it isn’t then we are setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment. Often we place our contentment on a future desire and then wonder why we aren’t happy.

As I think through all the areas of my life:

Physical – I would love to be thinner, healthier,  and have more energy BUT it is unrealistic for me to expect to be the size, shape or have the energy I did when I was 20

Mental – I want to be a positive thinker and embrace lifelong learning. I think if I stop learning I will stagnate.

Emotional – I want to be forgiving and gracious. I don't want to harbour bitterness. I desperately want to be more in control of my emotions.

Relational (social) – I want to keep growing in a happy contented marriage. I enjoy quality friendships that challenge, encourage and hold me accountable. I would love to have a mentor that invests in me and shares with me the wisdom they have gleaned. I enjoy mentoring younger women. I embrace that picture of having a hand forward to someone in the journey ahead of me and back in the journey behind me. Living in community. We are in this together.

Spiritual – I want to thrive in my daily devotions and know scripture. I want my counsel to be grounded in spiritual wisdom based on the Word of God.

I think there is an important fact that we all need to stop right here and accept. Repeat after me

“I am not perfect. I will never be perfect this side of heaven.”

It is important that we give ourselves permission to not be “all that”. THAT is an unrealistic expectation and the sooner we accept this truth, the better. Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that this is a license to live recklessly and do whatever I want because I “ain’t never gonna be perfect.” However, many of us hold onto the ideal of perfection like it is the holy grail. This isn’t what God calls us to be.

Motivational speaker Ronnie Doss says 

“You don’t have to be the best. You just need to be the best ‘you’ that God calls you to be"

I think that our “There” should look something like this 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 
let us throw off everything that hinders 
and the sin that so easily entangles. 
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 
 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. 
For the joy set before him he endured the cross,
 scorning its shame, 
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, 
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 
Hebrews 12: 1-3 

In light of the cross my daily battles seem minor. 

When I fix my eyes on Jesus, the rest will fall into balance. 

Keeping an eternal perspective can keep me from focusing too hard on the temporal things.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

WEEK THREE - SIMPLICITY

Since my experience last week, missing some beautiful shots and wishing I had my camera with me, I decided this week to travel with camera in hand. Or at least within grabbing distance.

Monday morning I was pondering what I might possibly photograph for this weeks theme. As I drove to work, I took that half hour commute to think about what simplicity means to me. I figured that it would probably be something I barely noticed as I rushed through my days. Something I took for granted but would notice if it was missing.

I had an ah-ha moment as I realized that the sun rises and sets everyday and I depend on it. My life depends on it but I certainly take for granted that the "sun`ll come out tomorrow". Faithfully. Without any input from me.

So my simplicity is a study of a week of sunsets (since anyone who knows me knows I rarely see a sunrise - I like my sleep too much!).

As simple as the concept of a sunset is, the experience will take your breath away.

If you thought last weeks challenge had too many pictures, I won`t apologize but this one has more. I couldn`t pick just one. Each evening sky transformed each moment into something spectacular. My pictures don`t do justice to the wonder I experienced this week but I hope they give you a glimpse of the beauty I beheld.

Day One

The sunset started with a simple yellow sky with a bit of orange tinges. The winter clouds covered most of the sky.




By the time I was almost home, the thick winter clouds were no longer in view.



Day Two

I was so disappointed that I had forgotten my camera at home in my rush to get out the door. Even more so when I watched a very pretty sunset dance across the sky. I was entranced all the way home.

Day Three

It started as a low orange streak across the horizon


Within minutes the entire sky was full of  colour. In our area, it seems that windmills are a blight on the skyline in every direction. Silhouetted by a flaming sky, even they can appear beautiful!


The purple streaks across the sky of fire, was a majestic display.


Day 4

The sunset started with a lot of cloud cover and a low pale pink streak. As I drove home, I expected this was the most colour I would see that dusk.


And then I rounded a curve in the road and met with the most amazing blend of pinks and purples.



I turned onto the next road and the sun peeked out from behind the clouds.


A bit further down the road, the sun dropped into full view.



Day 5

Once again, I thought a low pink streak was going to be the most I could capture and I wasn't going to complain, given the amazing sunsets I had already enjoyed.



And then again we rounded that corner in the road and rushed to a place where I could capture this:


Day 6

I arrived home, grabbed my camera and ran to the river.



I couldn't resist adding this father and son spending time ice fishing.


The sun setting over Fighting Island.


As I drove past a golf course, I couldn't ignore the sun between the hills. I stopped the car on the side of the road. jumped a ditch and followed the deer tracks through the brush for this:


I am so glad I did.

"so that from the rising of the sun
    to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
    I am the Lord, and there is no other."
Isaiah 45:6









Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Weekend to Rest

I laugh as I write the title of this post because honestly, though I do plan on getting some rest,what I am really planning to do is catch up on some long overdue housework.

This is, however, the first weekend that I have had with "nothing" happening for a very long time.
Since about last May.
No commitments.
No plans.
Nothing I have to do and nowhere I have to be.
A rest. And I am claiming it. It's mine!

A precious friend sent me this today. It spoke to me as I sighed a deep and satisfying yes!



Enjoying a weekend full of rest and family......and a bit of cleaning thrown in for good measure!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Choose

Yesterday morning a friend prayed for me. He spoke words that spoke to my heart.

"Help Marnie to choose rest."

A simple sentence. 5 words. But the volumes spoken in that moment......

I know that I choose to love and I choose my words and I choose my attitude but I honestly believed that "rest" just happened. It never occurred to me.

I can CHOOSE rest.

and I can choose NOT to rest.

Anyone who knows me, knows that more often I choose not to rest. I choose busy-ness, full days and nights and weekends. I am afraid of missing out on something - like being excluded from the fun or missing connecting with someone special. So I choose to say "yes" to every invitation and often every suggestion that comes my way.

If I can manage it, I will be there. And, sometimes, even if I can't manage it, I will still be there. 

But something has to give. Someone loses out. Sometimes that's my kids missing "mumma" -time or my husband giving up "our" time. My being THERE means I am missing being HERE, in this moment.

Mostly though, it is me missing sleep, missing peace and missing time with those whom I love more than life.

A conversation I had this morning gave me a second pause. (You know one of those where you think "okay, is God trying to tell me something?")

"Why do you keep yourself so busy?!"

My friend asked an innocent question. There was no ulterior motive. No guilt intended. 

But I had to stop and think.

Why DO I keep myself so busy?

After some thought I responded,

"Hmmmm, well, I have a hard time saying "no". I don't like to miss out on anything and the next thing I know our calendar is completely full. It was interesting yesterday, my co-worker prayed that I would "choose rest" and I realize that I do have a choice. So this season I am learning to guard my time and my rest. I think that the Lord went before me a kept my calendar clear because I wouldn't have done that on my own. It is a good way for me to transition into this season of rest."

I am so excited to have some time unfilled, No pressure to do anything. No clock ticking down to my next commitment. Taking time to breathe in and be in the moment. 

So, today, I choose to be here and present.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Week Two - COLD

Well this is quite a fitting subject for this weeks' challenge! This week has been cold and with the wind chill feels even colder. According to our local weather station it was 14F but felt like -14F. The wind was blowing and biting. I was just generally happy to be inside. Out of the elements.

Friday  I was admiring an amazing sunset on my half hour commute. I was also kicking myself for not bringing my camera so I could capture the beauty. The sky was glowing a beautiful pinky orange around the setting sun. The trees and barns of the countryside were silhouettes on the horizon. The wind was whipping the snow into what looked like a cold mist hovering over the fields.

I sped home all the while keeping an eye out my window. Sunsets change very quickly. The transforming beauty is captivating but is gone in the twinkling of an eye.

I was less than a block from my home, ready to grab my camera and run, when the snow started swirling and the sky grew grey and the beautiful warm sunset vanished. I grabbed my camera regardless and headed for the golf course down the road, hoping to at least catch the swirling snow.

In honour of the effects of the wind chill factor, this is how it looked



This is how it felt


The next day, the sun shone again. None of the children were begging to go and play in the yard this week!



Saturday, I wanted to see what else I could capture that encompasses COLD. 

The Detroit River was frozen and looked enchantingly dangerous with the entrance to Lake Erie on the horizon.




The broken ice. If my hands weren't freezing from the whipping wind, I would have spent significant time taking pictures.




The road ends at the river, the water's edge protected by a dock, the contrast was stark as just two feet further the broken ice took over the landscape as far as the eye could see. But here, the ice is peaceful and glistens in the sunlight.



I love spending time with my girl. She braved the cold and even grabbed the camera to take a few shots of her own.



I also realized that I am not very good at settling on one photo to meet a photo challenge but I guess that is another one of my defining characteristics!


Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Photography Challenge 2015

Once again I am joining a photography challenge. I found this challenge mentioned on a couple of other blogs and I found inspiration in skimming the different themes listed without the intimidation of a large community.

As always, I take these challenges as an interesting way to document our life with a unique perspective. It encourages me to look at life through a new and refreshing lens.

Feel free to join me on this journey  - the more the merrier.

Week One - Beginnings



New Words for a New Year



Saturday, January 03, 2015

This Little Word of Mine.....

A word a year. That has been my tradition for a number of years now. I started off in 2009 with INTENTIONAL. I wrote the following on Ali Edwards Blog: One Little Word

"Marnie Pouget

6 YEARS AGO
I am trying to decide between deliberate, intentional and choose. You could say I am deliberating about deliberate! I know the meanings are similar-it is the nuance of each word that I am trying to work out.
I read the challenge to my 11 year old son and he has chosen the word "attack". "As in attack the year. Do what you want to do. Get outside. Have fun. Maybe throw in a water park" (I'm hoping that throught he year he will decide to apply this word to his schoolwork as well!)"
I followed this with FOCUS, FOLLOW, ABIDEPURSUE, and finally  [learning to] LAUGH.
At the beginning of last year I envisioned our home filled with joy and times of laughter. Happiness overflowing from an easy life. HA! I guess that laughing during the easy times doesn't need to be learned - it flows freely and abundantly. 
You have to learn to laugh in the tough times. That's the training ground. You know the old saying "no pain, no gain"? Well, there were some easy times of joy and peace but mostly 2014 seemed full of difficult challenges that pushed me to seek joy and trust God. If I am honest, I didn't to either as well as I would have liked.
I started my year with a trip to Ottawa. I love our nation's capitol and am thankful that I get to experience it's beauty each year. I love my boss and the people I work with.
Then in February, McKenna competed in the Shining Star Competition. She didn't get beyond the preliminaries but she met her goals and certainly made us proud. We enjoyed Winter Jam 2014 in Detroit.
This year I had the privilege of counselling two amazing groups of young women for Spring and Fall Purity and Holiness retreats at BLBC"I laughed, I cried. They moved me..."
My beautiful girl graduated from Grade 8 and it was so much fun to find a dress, have manicures together, get her hair done and celebrate this milestone. 

We spent a ton of our summer at BLBC - exhausting but fulfilling. I love this ministry and the people there.
Leo and I got away for an overnight vacation in September. It was relaxing and lovely to spend time just the two of us.
We replaced our van. It was an incredible faith walk that was stressful in the midst but a joy at the end.
The holidays were full of family and friends. More restful in some ways than other years but extremely full of visiting and travel. A lovely way to end the year.
These were my "highs". 
If I could settle in on the laughter through these times I would say I had done well however, life is full of peaks and valleys. Highs and lows.
My "lows" included way too much snow and though I enjoy the occasional snow day, last year they were a little much. 
The van breaking. 
The freezer reaching its end. 
Financial stress. 
Moving two steps forward and then falling back, sometimes further than I had gained. 
Changing friendships. Sometimes forcing me into a very "alone" place.
There were too many deaths in 2014. It seemed that there was always a funeral to attend and a loss to mourn including those of my aunt from my mom's family and my uncle from my dad's family, within a few weeks of each other. Though often there was the celebration of a home-going, the loss was tangible and raw.
I also experienced two very heavy seasons of uncontrollable sadness - not diagnosed depression, but overwhelming sadness that required significant breaks from everyday life. I am thankful for my friends that intervened and my family that loved and supported through those seasons.
It was hard to laugh during those times.True laughs of joy not the bitter laugh of unbelief and cynicism. It would be easy to take the hard days and allow bitterness to get a firm grip choking the joy and the laughter from even the good times. I chose not to harbour bitterness. I didn't always embrace the rough stuff and I certainly can't claim laughter but I grew. My marriage became stronger. My faith became stronger.
I am still [learning to] LAUGH but a new season is upon me.....
A season of REST.

I admit that I am hesitant to share my thoughts of full nights of sleep. Sleeping in on Saturdays. Afternoon naps in the sunshine. I am bone-weary and the thought of rest invokes in me desires of deep slumber. 
though, it doesn't have to be all sleep....
Hot chocolate and a blanket snuggled up with a good book. Lounging in hammocks enjoying my backyard. Downton Abbey dates with my son. Evening worship with my kidlets. Mini vacations with my beloved.
If only that were it. I have a feeling that my anticipation of rest isn't all there is to this word for me this year.
I am claiming the following verses for 2015:
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. 
Psalm 62:5
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

Often, I will quietly choose a verse for my family for the year. One I pray through and think on and anticipate for them. I rarely share that verse but this year's verse encompasses both Leo and my words for the year so I have shared it with the children and we are memorizing it. You are welcome to join us
The fruit of that righteousness 
will be peace;
    its effect will be
 quietness and confidence
forever.
 My people will live in 
peaceful dwelling places,
    in secure homes,
    in undisturbed places of 
rest.
Isaiah 32:17&18

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I am the very blessed wife of my best friend. The humble mother of five precious children. Walking a life-road that is more amazing than I could ever imagine.
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