Friday, December 28, 2012

Shine. 2012.

image credit: Lisa Vandenberg Photography
card design: Tam Harder @ Shine Designs

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

christmas 2012

We had a wonderful Christmas. Filled with comfortable traditions, family we love and the hope and peace that comes with knowing why we celebrate. Hope yours was Merry & Bright.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

melt downs.

Last night I had one.. it was a long time coming. I have been holding in some frustrations for awhile now... It just seemed to all need to come out. My poor Stallion.. he was so confused cause I had left for Bootcamp in a great mood and came home swinging punches. Lucky for him he was not the cause.

Some days it just feels good to get it out. A lovely friend who knows my heart and is good at telling it like it is sent me a message this morning and in it the loveliest words.

It's important stuff. And I think instead of 'getting over it' it's something you need to 'get through'. Value your own feelings. They are real and true to you. Be kind and gentle towards yourself.

It clicked with me. I LOVE it.. not that it makes the journey easier but for so long now I just keep telling myself to get over things... but maybe that's not the path I should be looking to take.. I do need to move forward and get through.

In the course of this year I have fed my heart and my mind a terrible lie. Four words that have done a number on me... I'm just too much. I have felt like I can't trust my emotions, I have felt like a part of me is just broken.. irreparable. I have felt like I have to hide my emotions or just make sure that people only get the true me in small doses cause if they saw the true me they would twist it around and turn it against me.. again. It's been a complete lie. A fear. One that has stuck. I want it gone.. part of the reason it's not gone is cause I am having a hard time bringing it to the only one who can take it away... the one who knows my heart and the one who made me love deeply. I know as I do this the lie will be ripped apart for what it is.

Heres the truth. I LOVE people, I VALUE people.. I make time for those I love because it's important to me and I make them priorities in my very busy life because it means that much to me. I could and these days just wish I would sit at home and not open myself or my heart up to anyone. I would love to just shut down and not let anyone close.. but I can't.. because it's just not in me... I asked the Stallion last night why I had to be the way I am.. especially when it is so hard and he assured me he may not have married me if that were the case.. (I know he's a good one) So when this email came to me this morning I got it... It's me.. It's who I am... My feelings matter. I've spent the last year re-evaluating the very things that make up my DNA.. and who am I kidding it's not like they are bad things... they're not.. they are good.

All that to say I want to commit to being true and to stop trying to just get over hurts. I need to walk through it. To value myself more. So I'm going to try.

Sunday, December 02, 2012


that's me these days... some definitions say sad, depression of spirits. some say pensive, reflective, contemplative.... sullen. a sad stated of mind. I feel those things.. not all the time... but it's just under the surface.

it's interesting to me cause for the most part things are really good.. a month or so ago I felt the storm coming.. it was clear to me that it was on the horizon.. some things happened in my family and we braced ourselves and we were hit hard... it all turned out ok.. and there have been victories, joys and new found hope for sure.. but somewhere when the trees were bending from the wind a few of my strong trees broke. It was subtle but I feel contemplative...

even as I write this I am confused.. things are good with life.. great even. but something inside is unsettled. incomplete. I had high hopes for November.. I had made some lofty fitness goals and was really excited about it and then I tore the rotator cuff in my right shoulder.. it's been painful and difficult to keep at it.. easy to say oh well I can't do some stuff so why bother? I felt defeated before November had really even begun. I have taught more at bootcamp and feel like I am doing a dis-service to my clients by not being able to really give it my all... I want to inspire them to reach their goals and really go for it.. I definitely did not reach my goals... failing makes me feel defeated.

In my journey this year to be vulnerable and authentic (a word which I have grown to dislike in lots of ways this year) I have felt more insecure and more angry. I have felt more love and more hope. I have felt all the emotions that lead to being pensive. Strange right? Confusing for sure.

I am celebrating Advent in a new way this year... trying to take it all in and really celebrate the reason for this season. I created a Random Acts of Kindness Advent calendar for the boys. Each day a new activity to really get us to focus on others and creating a life of service and love. I think it will challenge us and help our hearts to give more. We are keeping Christmas really simple with no extravagant gifts.. we have so much already. Some days I long to go back to YWAM days and be able to teach my kids some of the valuable life lessons we live through each day.. of course I know I can do that here too but some days the simple life would be easier.

Ok so this post was all over the place... just some random jumbled thoughts. please don't worry figuring these things out is always good for the soul.

Thursday, November 01, 2012


Been feeling blah in the blog department. Nothing in particular just uninteresting maybe.... I don't know. I have had a couple of really great weeks. Mood was up and I felt like things were going really well and then lately there was another shift... it's been subtle but it's there. My heart is heavy. I am really tired of not being able to let go of a deep hurt this last year... why can't it be easier to let go?

Motherhood has been good... I know... crazy right?? I just feel like my kids are so fun and great and seeing them conquer new things has just given me so much joy lately. I love them. I'm so proud of them and thankful to be their mom. Blessed.

I want to make all kinds of confessions... afraid of that. So for now this is it. 

A cow, Bumblebee and Batman. Epic night.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

celebrate story.

This blog post has been marinating in my head for sometime.. I think partly because it's so special to me that words don't seem to fit.
I love to celebrate. I think we don't do enough celebrating. The one area I think it's most important is in our relationships. We need to celebrate our friendships and take time to let people know how much they mean to us. Last year I hosted a Favorite Things party and invited women who were my friends.. women who were imporatant to me and inspired and encouraged me. I decided to keep it a yearly tradition (and if I had more time I would do it more often than that)
When my birthday was approaching this year I kept telling the Stallion I wanted to do something more.. more than presents and stuff. I wanted to give back. My thoughts immediately went to my Brother and family who are hopping on a plane and going across the world in the next couple weeks. They have waited a LONG time and finally they will add 2 sweet brothers to their family. These boys will have a forever home. They have lived at an orphanage and in a few weeks they will be home. Forever. Apart of my family. It got me thinking that my story is entwined with adoption.. it's how my story started and it's my destiny.. my legacy. I decided to mix this passion with my passion for celebrating and so this party came to be. 
I carefully selected my guest list and prayed over each invite. I was sad that some decided not to come but thankful for each woman who came and sat around  the table with me. It was special. I kept saying how amazing it is to have so many women from so many different areas of my life in one spot. It's magic. Truely.

I spent weeks planning and preparing.. each detail thought over. From the handmade invitations which set the tone down to the party favors were created with each one of these women in mind.

I asked that they each bring a sleeper or something of the like that we could bless the orphanage my two nephews come from. I placed a small suitcase on a table to collect the gifts and was overwhelmed as they spilled out of the suitcase onto the floor. Beautiful soft bright sleepers soon to cover small babies a world away in Africa. I am thankful for this gift. I know my family will deliver it with as much love as it took for you to select the perfect one. Thank you.

The night was incredible. 17 women came to drink wine & tea and devour delicious desserts. We laughed and had all sorts of conversations. The party was also inspired by this quote a favourite Brene Brown quote of mine. It was the star of the invitation and just really speaks to my life. I love that our lives are a collection of Stories... we all have so much to give. I admit the second part of my party plan got the best of me.. I was overcome with insecurity and then my Lisa told me to stop being insecure and do it cause it was walking into my destiny.. again part of who I am. 

So I introduced creative collaging to them. And although some of them maybe thought they were not creative we spent the next few hours cutting, laughing, pasting and putting together a collage that was special to us. I challenged them to ask a question of themselves or maybe it was a goal or a place in their lives they wanted to go. Whatever it was it was special and unique, different and part of their story.

Sometimes I had a hard time looking up cause it was just so overwhelming. NEVER take for granted the people who share their lives with you. It's beautiful.

I have a few regrets I wish I would have shared more about what each of these women meant to me.. I admit I let my insecurity get the best of me and for that I missed out on an awesome opportunity to share with them why I celebrate them. I have plans to make that right. :)

Thanks to Lisa for taking such beautiful photos so I have something tangible to remember the night by.. the memories aren't going anywhere. Celebrate the ones you love. Don't let a day go by without it. Life is too short. Life is too incredible to let it pass you by. I'll leave you with pictures.

oh and for those that wonder about all those sleepers... this is the final result (although I had some people drop more off after this.)

I am already planning for next time.. brunch I think. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I like to think i am thankful.. I try hard to be thankful. Am I? If all was stripped away from me would I still be thankful?

The Stallion and I had a fight.. well okay not really a fight but he pointed something out about me that I dislike. (He was right.. lets just get that strait) He's so good and gently and he lovingly pulls the gross stuff out of me... I mostly hate it but feel such redemptive love wash over me when it's over. When I've looked the gross in the face and had it out.. of course it's painful but there is a sense of calm that comes after. He's just good like that. I then look out over my life.. my road and I come back to that... am I thankful enough?

Friends of ours from the past, from when we met and fell in love are going through their darkest night.. as the things we take for granted are breaking down all around them they are basking in love, thankfulness and who Jesus is to them. It's breath taking. It's unfair. It's ugly but their love is so beautiful.

A friend wrote the most amazing blog today and you should go read it especially if you are a mama you should head over there and read it right now. But I love what she said about being a verbal processor.. that is so me. I sometimes have no clue what I am thinking until it's said out loud... this sometimes becomes my out loud.

If all my masks were stripped away.. would my core be love and gratitude? I have begun to explore my girly side again.. feeling emotional. I mean I've always been an emotional person.. up and down.. just ask the Stallion. But sometimes I feel it makes me too much.. does that make sense? I am sick of it.. you know I am just generally so sick of trying to fit into someone's box or idea of who I should be .. It's October and I think I am finally getting to the nitty gritty of what this last year was meant to be.. vulnerable, authentic.. so painful but I think I may be finally unwrapping the gift that it was mean to be.. the gift to finally be ME...when my time on earth is done I want to be remembered for being a women full of authentic character.. one who loved deeply and much. Who spent more time loving others than myself. Not who spent time wishing I was something else or scared I am not enough.

My favourite girl Zooey says it best...

Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all – look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.
— Zooey Deschanel

So as I flounder around trying to figure this all out may I be reminded to be thankful for who I am and for who I am surrounded with. As I think of our friends facing the unimaginable I am thankful for legacies and deep unconditional love. We all have so much to glean from those who walk before us.

Grace, love, gratitude.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

25 Randoms... almost

I am stealing this from my friend Megan's blog. You know the drill you list 25 Random things about you and try not to look too dorky.

1. I have a notebook/journal in almost all rooms of my house and in my purse. I must have somewhere to write things down... whether it's lists of things to do, random thoughts or just somewhere to pen my thankfulness I must have paper near at all times.

2. I always have to sit in the same spot on my couch when I relax in the evenings (if I relax in the evenings) it bothers me when the Stallion sits in my spot.

3. I always have one leg out of the blankets when I sleep. Always. It seems as if my boys are like me cause they do too.

4. I am loyal to a fault. Over the last year I have questioned whether this is a bad trait but have come to the realization it's not.. it's a good quality. I care deeply about people.

5. I travelled across Canada coast to coast with 60 people on a bus. With a heart to reawaken the pioneering spirit of Canadian young people, in 2003 a small group of international YWAMers invited youth from around the globe to join them in a 40-day trip across Canada. Sensing from the Lord that he wanted to try to "Wake Up" the nation of Canada and challenge YWAM Canada, they called this trip the "Wake Tour". The response? Sixty people traveled to 21 cities from Victoria, BC to St. John's, NL with a creative presentation at each venue as well as a special challenge from Frank Naea who was YWAM's President at the time. It was an historic and life-changing trip with many coming away with a new measure of faith and a broader understanding of God's heart for the nation of Canada.

6. The above trip resulted in me meeting my Stallion where we fell in love as we crossed our Nation. Dipped our feet in each ocean. Held hands in Ottawa and Expressed our love for each other on a large rock in Newfoundland. 

7. I was a part of YWAM (Youth With a Mission) for 8 years. 

8. I have administrative blood running through my veins. I love to organize things and plan things. I was in charge of  housing and scheduling for point number 5. That is my craziest job yet.

9. I have lived in Los Angeles, Colorado Springs, Seattle, Shelton, Hamilton & Vancouver.

10. I travelled to Cambodia alone for 1.5 months. I taught myself how to play guitar and write songs on that trip.

11. Oh I recorded two of those songs when I got back and still have the CD to this day 

12. I have been at the birth of 13 babies .. in Vancouver I was a birth & postpartum doula. It was an amazing time. 

13. If I lived in a big city I think I would love to be a fashion executive or a wedding planner.

14. My big dream was to host a talk show... you know like Live with Regis & Heather or something... dang it Kelly Ripa!!!

15. I took gymnastics from the time I was 4 until I was 14. 

16. I would love to train as a yoga instructor.

17. I love the show Franklin & friends. It's adorable and I enjoy the life lessons.

18. I am not a good "player" I don't do sit on the floor playing... my kids don't mind they just like having me in the room. I am just not good at it.

19. I am quite spiny after only 2 glasses of wine. Easily.

20. I love ethnic food.. I enjoy to cook it but miss living in Vancouver where all kinds of food was right at your doorstep.

21. I went to Coldplay's first American concert ever when I lived in Seattle.. it was a tiny small venue and we were so close. When Chris played the piano and sang The Scientist I swear he was looking strait at me. It was SO good.

22. I love coffee in the mornings and enjoy tea in the afternoon & evening.

23. I am a creature of habit in most areas of my life and although change used to make me crazy I can handle it much better than I used to.

24. I LOVE to cook.. baking not so much but I enjoy being in the kitchen. I don't need to follow a recipe and enjoy creating things....

25. I have three tattoos and I think I am good with that... 

Monday, October 08, 2012

Friday, October 05, 2012

bucket list

I can't believe I am even going to write this blog. Last weekend the day before my 33rd birthday I crossed something off my bucket list. The Tyson Method put on a triathlon of sorts... tyson method style of course. I loved the idea of it when I first heard of it and knew that it would be a fantastic goal. I put out the challenge to my bootcamp ladies and was so thankful to do this with my dear friend Val. She's always in my corner. She's the reason I am a Tyson Trainer in the first place. I was nervous and did not know what to expect and man it was WORSE than I thought.. 
We did an hour of bootcamp (kickboxing - the same one I taught twice that week) and then we got on the bike for a 8 mile (windy) ride and finished it with a 3 mile TRAIL run. So much of this was unexpected... I could not believe how hard I worked on that bike.. partly because I did it on my 20 year mountain bike I got in Grade 7. The wind, the hilly parts and did I mention the wind? I was surprised I finished in 22 minutes. But the sensation of getting off the bike and willing my legs to move was another story. I have no clue how I even got to the path to start running. Then the run was like I said a TRAIL run pebbly, hills, turns and all kinds of craziness. Some of the inclines were pretty steep... we were only expecting 2 miles and this was much more... when I got to the top of the hill where the mile marker was I could not believe we had more to go... it was HARD. I am used to running on pavement on flat pavement. I tried to stay motivated by reminding myself that my body is fearfully and wonderfully made and that I have come so far from where I used to be. It helped.. a bit... Towards the end I just cried. It was so hard.. I don't know if what I was doing was even considered intervals.. it was more like run when you can and weep and walk when you can't... looking back it's pretty funny.
OK now after all that I DID IT!!! We did it.. and you know what we even did it in a really good time. My time was 2 hours and 4 minutes... I am proud.. of myself, of Val. Overcome with how amazing it feels to have come so far.... It's true when you put your mind to something you can accomplish anything!!! Now I am not sure I will ever do something like that again but at least I can cross it off my list. 

Here we are before the event.

and after...

 also so thankful for some fellow trainers who cheered us on. sorry girls about the swear words under the bridge during the run. i love you.

so now what's next??

Monday, October 01, 2012

thirty three.

I love LOVE love birthdays. I get better every year.. each year that passes I have a chance to grow, change and learn from my past mistakes. This one was no exception. I also love when my birthday falls on a weekend... more days to celebrate!

We started off the weekend with a night at Pizza Haven with amazing friends who do not see enough. Awesome food and excellent company made for an awesome night!

Saturday I did something I NEVER in a million years would have said I could do.. but I will save that for it's own post.. tomorrow.

We celebrated Loewen family style at my parents.. best tradition is picking the meal. I chose Turkey Lasagna, garlic bread, caesar salad and of course DQ Ice cream cake (where bowls were licked)! YUM. I love hanging out with my family.

Sunday (my actual birthday) was AWESOME. We headed to church and then back to my parents where we left the kids and took off with good friends for Winnipeg. The plan was Shopping, Starbucks and Sushi. It was sooo good.

First stop St. Vital to of course take shots with this girl.. :)

Had an awesome shopping day and managed to get rid of the rest of my gift card. Super happy with all my purchases. It was an awesome shopping day!!

We headed to our new favourite sushi spot. It was SO good. Have I mentioned how much I love this guy. I do. ALOT.

 So here's to number 33. May it be a year of growth, new challenges, dreams sought after and unveiled. I have a feeling this is going to be a big big year. And instead of the fear I would normally feel... I just can't wait.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


"The More I run the more I love my body. Not because it's perfect, far from it. But because with every mile it is proving to me that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible"

Just like Joyce Meyer once said. "Do it afraid"

I started running late spring... I had ran before but never really loved it and then I got pregnant with Jett and kind of quit... My sweet friend Tracey introduced me to Imagine. An organization that works to be a resource for those who are dealing with Mental Illness. There are a few people in my life that this affects including me. I struggled big time with postpartum depression after the twins were born.. for those of you who have been long time readers.. you remember. There is a stigma around mental illness, suicide, depression and imagine if we lived in a world where those who were struggling could feel comfortable to ask for help and not feel judged for it... Anyways when Tracey told me they were doing a run in September I thought it was the perfect goal.. do my very first official run.
Who is this girl? That crosses my mind a lot these days... making good choices, setting goals and conquering fears.

It felt good to run... I won't say I LOVE it or anything but there are times when I am running that I am just overcome with emotion... my body is fearfully and wonderfully made. I have used and abused this body in the past and with every step I gain strength. It's amazing and nothing short of a miracle.

I have been a jumble of nerves this past week... lots of excitement but also terrified of doing this with other people.. what if I was the last one?? what if I fall?? what if I just can't do it?? I was so thankful that the Stallion and my dear friend Jenelle would be there that morning. I even got Jenelle to sign up and run too. I picked the perfect playlist, packed my shoes, picked out an outfit and was determined... to at least show up.

So thankful for these two!


This was a pretty big deal... they put a lot of time of thoughtfulness into this race. They started the morning off with some people who shared their stories with mental illness.. sharing of loved ones lost to Suicide. Inspiration messages of hope and healing. Right before the starting bang these balloons were released.. it was beautiful. 
I stood in the pack of people and I had butterflies & goosebumps.. I don't know how many hundreds of people there were but it was alot.
The Stallion made it to one spot to watch us run by.. the route had random bands playing on corners.. it was so cool. Spectators cheering you on. This corner had a huge drum line up.. so fun!

I wanted to document what was going through my head and certain points of the race.. first of all I did NOT stop... not once. I was inspired by the people on the route, the strength my body felt and of course the music... Man at one point I wanted to stop and Christina came on with Fighter.. it was just perfect timing. :) When I rounded onto the main street knowing that I was close to the finish my emotions got the very best of me... there were no old tapes telling me I was garbage or not worth the feeling this was producing.. I thought things like I am really becoming the best me I can be. Each accomplishment comes with the decision to try. We gotta show up.
I was kind of glad I was wearing sunglasses cause I had a couple ugly cries... just really overcome. Then I passed a women in a wheelchair on the other side of the road... she was with the walkers... I remember her bib number. She rocked my world. She was smiling, she showed up.
David Crowder's song Shine came on right then... as I was minutes from the finish line...

Send me a sign
A hint, O whisper
Fill me with life
'Cause I am listening

Come break the quiet
Breathe your awakening
Bring me the light
'Cause I am fading

Surround me with the rush of angels' wings

Shine Your light so I can see You
Pull me up, I need to be near You
Hold me, I need to feel loved
Can You overcome this heart that's overcome?

You sent a sign
The hint, O whisper
Human, divine
Everyone is listening

Death laid low
Quiet in the night is stirring
All around the rush of angels

O the wonder of the greatest love has come

Shine Your light so all can see it
Lifted up, 'cause the whole world needs it
Love has come, what joy to hear it
He has overcome, He has overcome

I ran fast. I finished 8 minutes better than I have ever done before. I had a really good ugly cry when I passed the finish line. The lady at the end made me feel really special. 

 So thankful to have shared this with these two beauties. And thankful the Stallion was there to cheer me on, tell me I made him proud... and take pictures. 

 I am a runner. I am strong. Goal. Check.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

thursday ramblings

i am blessed. i mean i have always known that. but i have really been feeling it lately. but something i have come to realize is that it's a choice.. to feel it. i have been making a ton of good choices lately and although i am so tired... it's just way better to be happy!! my mind is working on overload lately.. so many little (and big things) going on.. here is a glimpse into my head.

- i love my job. my co-workers, the people. it's all good.
- bootcamp is in full swing.. we just finished our second week. these ladies are amazing!! they show up and work hard. it's not always easy but they do it! isn't that what it's about? showing up and getting it done! so proud of them.

-i am a blessed mama.. i mean look at these faces. family photos taken by the lovely lisa vandenberg of L Marie Photography. you should all book with her.. she's special.
- N & A are doing better in school.. it's not always there favourite thing but they love their friends, recess and gym. I see them changing and just generally they are so grown up to me.. sometimes I just stare at their perfect faces and wonder how we got here...
- i am planning a party. i love planning parties especially when they celebrate special people.
- i turn 33 next weekend... i love birthdays. i have gotten better and better every year. i gave myself an early birthday present.. i LOVE them. Worthy - because of the growing, learning, sacrificing and confidence this year has become to me. it's been painful but more than that it's been a treasure. i really like who i am becoming.

my flock of five. my perfect flock of five.

- i got an iphone. so fun.
- i run my first 5K on Saturday.. I'm nervous and excited... hoping it's not cold and windy. i am anticipating the exhilaration of completing it and conquering fear and accomplishing a goal.
- i have cut back on coffee.. usually having only one cup each morning... although i love a good skim milk americano misto or a coconut latte. i have been drinking tea in the afternoon.
-my afternoons.. they are quiet. i have success with a to do list and usually have some good down time in my quiet house.

i think i will leave you with that for now. i'll be back.