NEKO…

NEKO…

So, I’ve seen a few friends posting lately about their children – you know, sharing their achievements, etc. etc. So I thought I would share with you about one of my “kids”…

This is Neko. Born October 6, 2011. Brother to Bernie. Best cat EVER.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking, every cat crazy person says that about their cat. But, you guys? I MEAN it. He plays fetch. He sings a song everywhere he goes. He goes crazy over the sound of crumpling paper. He lets Buddy (my in-laws’ huge orange cat) use him as a pillow, punching bag, racing partner, whatever he might need. He puts up with his pesky little brother trying to make him fight.

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I have owned a few cats in my lifetime.  Bernie and Neko are the second cats that are officially ours (we owned their mom for a few months before giving her away; that’s how they became a part of our family).  We almost gave Neko away – we had some people coming to look at the kittens and had a lady fall head over heels in love with him. But she never returned our calls and we quickly decided to keep both him and Bernie. Best decision we ever made.

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I can be having the worst day and this little guy will come trucking up the stairs singing away.  He’ll drop a paper ball at your feet and be like, “Hi. We’re going to play fetch now.” If you throw that ball, he will almost always bring it back to you (the only time he doesn’t? When his A.D.D. gets the best of him and he forgets to come back. LOL.) If he loses one of those paper balls? He knows exactly where he lost it – even if it was two weeks ago – and he will go back to that spot over and over to try to find it. He makes every day better.

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I’m pretty sure he would win over the most cat-hatingest (so not a word) person super easily.  If you love dogs and cats, you would be so happy to have the most amazing combination animal ever – am I right?  That’s Neko. And that’s why I love him.

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(By the way, his name comes from the Japanese word for cat.  It is supposed to be pronounced “Neck-oh”, but we pronounce it “Knee-Koh” because we didn’t always know it was supposed to be “Neck-oh”. I found out that was how it was pronounced by watching an episode of Flash Forward. Haha.)

It’s been one of those days….

It’s been one of those days you wish you would never have.  This morning, we received news that a man who had been very influential in our lives, especially in my husband’s, had gone on to glory after a long struggle with ALS, leaving behind a wife and three children.  He was one of those inspirational people you look at and say, “I don’t know if I could be that way as I went through a struggle like that.”

            Tonight, I logged onto Facebook and saw updates from an organization I follow saying to pray for two families who had lost their children to cancer today.  It makes you think, you know? There are so many thoughts going through my head as I try to wrap my mind around it.

            It is days like this that make me glad God is okay with our questions. He gets that we don’t always understand or see what He is doing in the world.  At the same time, it is days like this that make me look at my life and wonder a few things. “What do I really have to complain about?” “If today was my last day, would I be able to look back at my life and be happy with the way it had gone?” “How many regrets would I have if I did look back?” I’m not a morbid person; don’t get me wrong.  Usually, I’m fairly optimistic and positive. It’s just that sometimes real life slaps me in the face and I stop and think and consider.

            We’ve had our hard times, for sure, but life is pretty good for us. We have everything we could ever want (even though we always seem to want more); our families are alive, safe, and healthy; we are both healthy; we have a home, a roof over our heads, food on our table and in our fridge.  On top of it all, we’re blessed with a wonderful church family, great friends, opportunities we never expected, and (best of all I think) two of the most adorable cats on the face of the planet. Things may not be perfect; maybe not what we expected them to be; but we can find joy in the things we do have. We are truly, truly blessed.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

 

I’m not really one for making New Year’s Resolutions.  Too many times I would decide to make one and fall through on it, followed by guilt and disappointment in myself.  So I don’t really plan to make any this year.

Here is what I do resolve to have happen this upcoming year though. Think of it as a list of dreams/ideas for a good year:

-I would love to have a place that is just Stephen’s and mine by the end of the year. We have been living with my in-laws for a little over a year now and, while we appreciate it for sure, it’s been long enough. Everyone is ready for their own space.

-Find a job that I truly love.  Neither of has worked this year. It’s been lovely being able to focus on our health and well-being, but I would really love to have a job. I have been self-employed as a tutor for the past year, but have found it difficult to find clients. If I could find myself a good client base, I would be very, very happy to “just” be a tutor.

-Have my husband find a job he loves or continue his education.  It has been difficult for Stephen not being able to provide financially the way he would like to.  With all of his hard work to complete his Kingswood degree, seeing it come to naught has been kind of frustrating.  I would love for us to be able to find the finances for him to obtain either his Masters in Counselling or B.A. in Social Work. 

-Complete my TESOL/TEFL certificates.  My husband surprised me this Christmas by paying my tuition to start my training and I have until April to register, then one year to complete my 150 hours of certification.  I am super excited about this opportunity.

-Travel. The two of us have never been on a vacation that didn’t involve visiting one set of parents or the other.  I would love for us to be able to take a trip somewhere relaxing and preferably tropical. Or Japan. Japan is at the top of my list of places I NEED to go.

-Continue making good choices.  As I’ve said before, this past year has been all about focusing on our health and wellness.  Stephen has lost a total of 133.5 lbs. in 2012 and has about 60 lbs. more to go to reach his goal.  I have lost a little bit of weight, but didn’t have much to lose. Unfortunately, some of it found me again over the holiday season – so I’d like to get rid of that and continue moving towards wellness. 

I guess I do have some “resolutions” for the upcoming year, but I wouldn’t necessarily call them resolutions. I do hope that all of these come true though – it would make for a pretty awesome year of 2013!

Here’s to a Happy New Year, friends and family. Be safe and happy as you celebrate tonight.

Christmas

Christmas…

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We attended Christmas Eve service at our church with about 40 other people. It was a lovely time being with our church family, singing Christmas carols, and worshipping God for giving us the reason for this wonderful season.  After service, we came home, had a snack and each opened one gift as we always do on Christmas Eve. I opened a gift from my hubby, which was a wonderful comfy pair of Roots slippers – they’re lovely, I’ve barely taken them off since!

We woke up at 6 on Christmas morning and tried really hard to get back to sleep, but it didn’t really happen.  We got up just before the alarm went off at 8:30 and went downstairs. We grabbed a piece of toast for breakfast in anticipation of a big lunch later in the day.  We started opening our gifts and my brother-in-law arrived soon after to open his gifts, too.  We were very spoiled this year! Among my favourite gifts I received are: U-Draw for the Xbox, Nick Vujicic’s new book, Beverly Lewis’ new book, lots of fancy scarfs, a pair of Olympic Mittens, a beautiful owl necklace from my brother, and a gorgeous new top from my mom.

My all-time favourite gift came from my husband.  He paid tuition for me to complete 150 hours of TESOL training! It is something I have wanted to do for a very long time, but have always felt like we couldn’t afford it or it wasn’t the right time or (insert ten million other excuses here).  I am so excited to get started.  Right now, we are completing an employment-readiness course which we have six more weeks of in the New Year – so as soon as that is done with, I will be starting my TESOL training. It also includes a TEFL certificate, which will open even more doors for jobs for me. I am extremely excited to get started.

After opening our gifts, I went upstairs and called my family and talked for a little bit; had a shower, got dressed, and then hubby and I walked up to Nanny and Poppy’s for lunch.  It takes us about 30 minutes to get to their place, so I think I had burned off all my calories I had already had before partaking of a very large (and super delicious) lunch.  I love Stephen’s grandparents – it is hard being away from my own family every year, but they always make me feel welcome. After lunch, Stephen and I walked back home to burn off some more calories.  We watched a couple episodes of Ghost Whisperer and lounged around, then got his mom to take some pictures of us while we were still dressed up.

We had a lovely Christmas. We were super blessed as always and feel very fortunate for our families and how they show us they love us in such thoughtful ways.  We are thankful for the opportunity to give and receive love from our families.

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One Year…

One Year…

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One year has passed since we moved to Nova Scotia from Moncton, New Brunswick, following our internships.

 One year has passed since the last time either of us had a steady, everyday job.

 One year has passed since we have had a home of our own.

 One year has passed and we have accomplished so much…

Stephen has lost over 125 lbs. since January 2.

We both graduated University with honours in May.

We are both in much better shape than the day we arrived in Nova Scotia.

We have walked many, many kilometers.

We have grown in our relationship and our love for one another.

We have learned to trust God – things are not always easy or the way we expect them to be, but God always has it under control.

We have developed relationships and experiences that we never would have had if we were tied down to a job.

We have been free to help others, to give back in our community, our friendships, and the world.

We have been able to encourage, love and pray for two beautiful sponsor children, Gelaye and Sreynich.

 One year has passed and some really interesting/fun things have happened for us…

We visited the International Peace Gardens and a Taxidermy Museum.

Our cat, Neko, has learned to fetch.

We worked our way through the entire series of Prison Break – and we’re just about ready to do that again! 🙂

We worked our way through the entire series of The Mentalist – now we have to wait every week for a new episode (which kind of sucks haha.)

Our church got a pair of new pastors, whom we also went to college with.

We started volunteering in a youth group again.

We have played numerous games of Rummoli with my in-laws and husbands’ grandparents.

I began tutoring privately. I get to set my own hours, charge my own fees, develop my own lessons, and I enjoy it immensely – I only wish there were more parents out there willing to hire me!

Both of our cats celebrated their first birthday – as did our rats. (We threw the rats a party, but were away for the cats’ birthday. Haha.)

We both turned 27. We celebrated our fourth anniversary.

We lived. We loved. We laughed.

And we’d do it all again.

Not to say that there haven’t been struggles, difficulties or frustrations this past year – but we have been pretty darn blessed.

We haven’t been lonely. We haven’t been hungry.  We haven’t been on our own to try to make it.  We haven’t been without things we really, really needed – we haven’t even been without those things we could probably have lived without if we had to.  God has been and continues to be good. He has provided for us. He has taken care of us. He has given us more than we could ever have imagined.

We are grateful for another year.