28 June 2013

the first time he said the words

I'm trying to document beautiful moments from my life. This is an attempt at sharing one.

Heart̢۪s Content by Brandi Carlile on Grooveshark

I was seventeen the first time a boy said I like you. He was twenty-one. It was a big deal. And up until he said those words, I was absolutely clueless as to what was happening.

We were working up at a summer camp, but hadn't met up until the last week of camp. I'd been hanging out with my campers in the field, and had decided to play a game with them. But I didn't know how to play it. I saw this guy nearby, called him over, and asked him to teach us. He did.

Over the week, we hung out a lot. I had a tough cabin that week, probably the toughest of all my five summers of counselling, so he was a good conversation when I had a minute.

As the week ended, our campers left, and as staff, we had to clean up the entire camp before we could leave. This was probably my most dreaded evening of the summer since I hate cleaning. I'd run the craft shed that summer so my job was to pack everything up and store it all away until the next summer. For some reason, he was keen to help me. I didn't mind, not just because I really enjoyed his company, but because he was helping me clean.

We finished cleaning, and everybody headed over to the main chapel area to watch the camp videos from the summer. Since he walked with me, it only made sense that we sit together. So we did.

Then the next morning, I walked from my cabin to the dining hall for breakfast. I can't remember if he was already there or if we'd walked over together somehow, but we went through the food line together. We looked for seating, but there was only one table with two seats, so we sat down. There was nobody else at this table. Over the next few minutes, various people came over, didn't sit down, but simply took the chair and sat elsewhere. It was so weird. This is so long ago that the memory is  fuzzy, but I remember one thing distinctly. My friend Justin walked in, looked at me,  and gave me the funniest look. I think it was right about then that I started cluing in that something different was happening.

As everybody started to leave, the guy told me he's love to hang out at the beach and chat. I said sure, but that I wanted to say goodbye to all my friends. I took my sweet time, as I do when I get in  conversation, and eventually, found him. Turns out he hadn't realized I was going to take so long, so we decided to just walk away from the crowds and find somewhere to chat.

We walked over, sat down, and it was quiet for a few minutes. I heard the lull of a golf cart coming by (the way of transport for many at summer camp), and I watched as the two camp directors gave us a grin, devising their own idea of what was happening.

Conversation happened, and he told me that he liked me, and wanted to get to know me. He also told me that up until earlier that morning, he hadn't realized that I was still in high school. (that is like the golden ticket to winning a teenage girl over. tell her she doesn't look like a high schooler) I was surprised, happily of course, and quickly told him that I didn't want to date him.

I barely knew him, and I was young, so I suggested that we hang out and get to know each other before dating. He was fine with that, and over the next few weeks, our relationship lived out a sweet little life.

There's one reason why I'm sharing this story of my first little relationship. I was watching the movie Safe Haven the other night, and there was a scene where the main couple danced to a song in a restaurant, through to a store nearby. It was sweet and cute, romantic and playful. The song is at the very top of this blog. You should listen to it. It's pretty!

And it reminded me of the most romantic moment in my life thus far.

One night, as boy was driving me home, Frank Sinatra came on the stereo. Boy took a right turn instead of going towards my house and parked in a parking lot. He restarted the song, and instructed me to get out of the car, and for the rest of the song, we danced in the parking lot.

It was magical and it was perfect.

The relationship, if one would really call it that, ended a few days later. And that is just fine with me.

Boys, take note: girls like me like when you do things like that.

What about you? What's the most romantic act of your life? I sure hope I get to have another one soon.

27 June 2013

{a walk through} psalm 52

For it is good.

One of the most common lies that floats in my mind is did God really say . . . ? I've written previously how Satan isn't creative and pretty much is still using the same material as garden days. And yet it works, doesn't it?

I'll be confidently walking forward in something I've learnt about God and all of a sudden a thought floats through um Nadine, but is that true?

And so I'm learning to right in that moment, audibly say no, and to reflect on the truth that I know in my heart.

The truth that I know in my heart is that God is good.

26 June 2013

refresh: blush edition

Well, hello. Welcome to my blog where I am UBER talented at makeup.

Um, I mean, I'm trying to learn a bit more about wearing makeup better, and for some reason I'm also sharing that with the internet.


You know that moment, when a girl's Mom takes her to the makeup counter and teaches her the way?

I never had that moment. My Mom is the best mom I ever could have been given, and teaching me about makeup was never high on her list. I wore, overwore, underwore, and all things makeup throughout the years, and I'm just recently feeling like I'm in a better flow with makeup.

Today I'm sharing about my new blush routine.

Foundation. Powder. Blush. Mascara. basic and beautiful.

A few weeks ago, I went on a search for blush. After reading the Refresh book and seeing how easy it is to make your cheeks look pretty, I was determined! I've got a natural redness to my skin which has meant for most of my life, I've worn minimal blush, simply because I didn't need to. I went into one store and the lady was not helpful. She basically told me that because I had pink understones, I had no hope for blush.

Um. no.

So I popped over to the Bay, and walked to the clinique counter. I knew I'd be paying a bit more money, but I also figured they'd probably listen to me and hopefully do a demo. I was right!

The girl working was super helpful. She found me product that worked with my face, and even tried two types of blush on me so I could see the difference. I walked out with new product, and feeling like I could actually get 'er done.

I walked away with new foundation, blush, mascara, and a fun illuminating cream. The last two pieces were freebies she added in. I know she was upselling and treating me well so I'd come back, and she was successful because I'll go back to her counter again.

The look is still really simple. But I feel pretty, which makes the day seem a bit brighter.

Foundation (alabaster). Blush (precious posy). Mascara (top & for the bottom). Liquid Illuminator. Powder.

Now, let's all let out that chuckle we held in. I'm wearing my glasses like a necklace. awkward.

Next week, I'll shared some awkward selfies of me with lipstick on. You're welcome in advance for that. Unless I chicken out, which is quite likely.

What's your beauty routine? Do you have a way to make your eyes pop? I don't want anything crazy, but if you've got links to pretty eyes that are REALLY EASY TO DO, then I want 'em!

25 June 2013

{a walk through} psalm 51

Before this study into Psalm 51, I'd never thought about how verse 13 goes along with these verses. I would sing the classic song, and had the words memorized for verses 10-12, but never verse 13.

But verse 13 really is the best part because verse 13 is when God gives us our task, and that task is the same for all of us - to teach everybody else about Him.

24 June 2013

life lately

I'm linking up with Blair again this week to share a glimpse into life lately!

First up occured a few weeks ago. I was prepping for worship team at my sister's place and she pulled my niece right on up to the piano to distract her while she did dishes. And then, instead of doing dishes, she took pictures and videos of us having fun! It was a really precious time for me.

The internet remains a sweet place for me. I've been having a lot of fun writing, both for here, for naptime diaries, and for some stuff coming up! I'm excited about the opportunities coming my way! I got to do a vlog interview with Moriah recently which was really fun! Did you check it out?

 I'm continuing to love the Influence Network. I love that once I've taken a class, I can take it again and again and again to gleam more wisdom. You can also listen to a lot of the talks from the Influence Conference last year. I've listened to a few and have been super blessed!

And then of course, video chats! Where would I be without those? I feel that once I've chatted with somebody in that face-to-face form, all of a sudden they get a new space in my heart. Don't get me wrong, I love all my twitter friends and blog friends, but I've got extra love once I've heard somebody talk to me.

The one pictured is with my sweet friend Virginia! She cooked dinner, ran after her kids, changed them out of their suddenly soaking clothes thank you automatic sprinklers, and we chatted life. I love that online friendships ARE real life.

On June 14th, I had the opportunity to play a role in a fundraiser for friends who are planting a church. The night was a great success and it was extra special to have my Mom and sister there to cheer my work on and support my friends!

On Saturday night, after work, I went to my sister's and hung out with this little princess. Oh man, I love this princess. She makes me wish that my other siblings lived closer so that I could go on walks with all of my nieces and nephews. For now, skype will do.

We went for a walk and just chatted. I mean, I chatted.

21 June 2013

five minute friday: rhythm

I have this memory from back when I lived in Africa. On the days when I felt most alone, not because I didn't have people around, but because I missed home, I would watch the sun set. I'd watch it round the horizon and I would know that it would be arriving back home. It brought sweet comfort to my heart.

I found a new pattern when I moved to where I am now. The sun setting still holds sweet beauty, but there's a different rhythm I look for now.

When I find myself overwhelmed, I either go to, or envision the sea.

Even now, I picture the place on the beach where I go. Just over the log, down the rocks, and onto the sandy beach.

I look at the water, and over time, as the minutes and hours pass, I watch the water, rising and falling, just as it should.

I watch the waves reach their mark and then slink backwards. I watch them come to me and leave me. There is such comfort in me, knowing that these waves never go further than they are allowed.

I feel the same when I think of lightning, going only where it is told.

Wind blowing, however fiercely, only because it is allowed.

The moon, bright or dim, only because somebody told it where to stand that night.

There is sweet comfort in these rhythms.

Whether it's the sun or the water, or whatever it is I've found myself fixated on for comfort, it's all sweet comfort. It's good to know that these things go only where they're told, so I can rest easy.

I'm linking up for five minute friday.

20 June 2013

{a walk through} psalm 50

Well look-ee-here. Psalm 50! I'm kind of giving myself a pat on the back today, because this is one of the most long-term things I've ever maintained. Twice a week, here we are, looking through the Psalms. As I mentioned a few times, it's been edifying for me, challenging for me, good for me. I'm so thankful for this time I have in my life to just look at the Psalms and learn from them.

Once in a while I think about what the next series will be, but then I get overwhelmed so I stop thinking about that! And there are still a lot of Psalms left to read!

19 June 2013

5 tips to a joyful life

It's been a couple weeks since I started my #refresh journey. I've made some distinct changes and choices in my life, and restructured some things that were already on the right track! On random Wednesdays I'll be sharing what I'm learning, things I think others should know, tips and tricks, and all sorts of things.

I love the line above by Jessi Connolly about how we can be that girl. We can be the one who speaks life into those who meet her. We can be the one who just seems to have it going on. Not because of things, but because of a good heart attitude.

Today I want to share a 5 quick tips to help build a more joyful and genuine life!

1. Make it a habit to smile more than you frown.

When I was in high school, I went to a birthday party where the parents filmed part of the party and then we watched it later. I had been having a pretty decent time, but when I saw myself on video, I realized I had been frowning with my arms crossed. I made a decision right then and there that I would be known for smiles not frowns. It was a conscious decision at the time, took some time to put into practice, and is now a really easy thing for me.

I don't mean a fake smile. Genuine joy isn't about faking happiness. Genuine joy is a decision that God has done good work and so I can walk out a life filled with joy. And for me that means more smiles than frowns.

2. Don't use social media to air laundry.

Whether somebody hurt your feelings, somebody hurt your friend's feelings, somebody hurt your mom's feelings, or anything at all - social media isn't the place to talk about it.

I'm not an expert at this because I get frustrated and tweet things from a grumpy heart. But in most cases, I go back and delete them.

I know that it's easy to share things online, and it does make us feel better, but it really doesn't show off a good side of yourself. AND I am not saying that we're only meant to show off our good sides. We should show the mess in with the pretty, but I have one rule for my social media: that it never is allowed to hurt anybody.

There are a whole lot of grumpy people on the internet, unaffectionately called trolls. Let's never be those people!

3.  Limit your use of strong words.

This rule applies to profanities, words like "always", and anything that causes you to raise your voice.

This is in no way a hard and fast rule for my life, but I do notice that people who use profanities in their natural speech tend to speak more negatively than those who don't. And nobody likes a negative Nancy. Nobody.

I have (and have had) a lot of friends and colleagues who swear a lot, and when I listen to them talk, their words seem dull. I tune them out because I'm sick of how they talk. I think that a well-timed strong word is far more effective than a thousand ill-timed words. Not only with profanities, but just with words that hold power.

Our words are something we can never take back. I'd rather hold my tongue than wish I'd held it.

4. Spend more time being kind to others than you expect kindness back.

I forget this rule the most often because I'm all kinds of selfish. But the seasons where I spend more time serving, encouraging, and loving out than doing serving myself, seeking encouragement, and looking for people to love me - those seasons are definitely more joyful.

A few weeks ago, on a day where life wasn't my favourite, I wrote from a place of hurt. By the time I'd finished typing, I was at peace. I'd found my comfort as I'd considered hope and grace. The comments were so encouraging to me, and one in particular stuck out to me by my friend Lindsey.

She encouraged me to look outward. It was just the push I needed. Life was busy and full, but the next day (or a few days later), I sat down and wrote about 25 cards to friends. As I wrote each one, I found encouragement in my own heart. Loving my neighbour helped me to love life again, and feel far more like myself. Making time for the things that fill you up with joy will give you the boost to get through the things that you don't.

These are just four basic things that I do. I'm no expert in joy, but I've been told by many that I have a joyful spirit, that kindness seems fluent to me, and that I always seem to be in a good mood. While I can promise that I'm not always happy or joyful, I have learnt that the joy of the Lord is my strength.
 So one final tip is this:

5. Cast your cares upon Jesus.

Jesus did all that He did so that we could experience life, life to the full. I know that life bogs us down, but I also know that we were never meant to carry our own burdens. We're meant to hand them straight to Jesus. That's the easiest way for me to find joy. When I become extra burdened, I make sure to take a few minutes praying thanksgiving for what God has done. He takes my cares, the good ones and the hard ones, and relieves me of trying to play god.

Those are 5 basic tips to a joyful life. But what do you do? How do you foster joy in your life? Did I miss something important? Did I get one wrong?

18 June 2013

{a walk through} psalm 49

This is a Psalm for me, that makes me sing wouldn't it be nice if we could . . . speak wisdom and meditate on truth.
So what's stopping me? 

I tweeted something recently that I'd been reflecting on for all of five seconds. But I've reflected on it more since.

Scripture tells us to seek wisdom. If we're not actively asking God for His wisdom, we'll become fools. Straight up fools. (Prov 1:7, 4:5-9) 

I really want to be somebody who is actively pursuing wisdom. Being passive isn't an option.

If I want to be able to speak wisdom, then I need to know wisdom.

If I want to have understanding, I need to seek understanding.

How do you seek out wisdom?

17 June 2013

life lately

I'm taking this day to take a look back at the past few weeks and share a whole bunch of pictures and I'm linking up with Blair to do it.

Another wedding! Photos were done by my VERY talented friend Danaea of Danaea Li Photography!

What's happening in your life??! I'd love to hear.

14 June 2013

that time she asked me

Jessi Connolly was one of the first bloggers that I started reading everyday about a year or so ago. My friend Margaret tweeted about Influence, I looked into it, saw some girl named Jessi, and fell for her writing. I fell for her love for Jesus, her sincere understanding of the Gospel, her passion for truth, her creative ability, and just her!

She did my blog design which resulted in countless emails over a series of months. After the design was done, the emails continued, fewer and fewer, and then over time, more and more. Over the past few months, through the providence of God (I really really truly believe that), we've become sweet friends.

We met for the first time about a month or so ago via video. With her kids roaming in and out of the camera shot, we chatted. We'd been planning for ages to have this chat, and it was just what my heart needed.

A cool thing about Jessi is that she has spotted some gifts in me that I didn't really realize were in me, and God has done some serious speaking to my heart simply because of this friendship. I always know that if I'm feeling a bit under the weather, spiritually speaking, Jessi will speak some health and wellness back into me.

A few weeks ago, Jessi asked me to become a contributing writer for Naptime Diaries. I'm honoured and delighted to be over at Naptime Diaries today to share how Proverbs 18:10 is a really good space to start a refresh journey.

An extra fun perk of this day, is that today only, Jessi is offering a special sale on her print shop! YAY!  So be sure to pop on over to her blog to read my words, or just skip to the bottom and get that coupon code and buy yourself a scripture print (or 25)!


13 June 2013

{a walk through} psalm 48

Today is less about Psalm 48 and more about fun other stuff. BUT I didn't want to skip the day and I do love this verse.

I'm really excited to be over on my friend Moriah's blog today! I had a fun idea of doing a vlog instead of a typical blog sponsor post and she was all for it!

The questions she asked me were on the spot so I hadn't thought through them before. One answer that I gave was really good for me. I think I spoke out what I had been thinking about for a while so I want to share it below.

But go check out the vlog too okay? OKAY!

That's the purpose of my blog.

Not that I'll be so good. 
But that God will really be so good. Because HE IS SO GOOD!
And that I'll be able to show that through what I write.

You don't drink water just because you're weary. You drink it so that you don't become weary.

So let's drink up some of that living water today.

How do you actively seek the Lord? What are you doing to fill yourself up with truth?

12 June 2013

the spaces between the walls

So today the members of the Influence Network are hanging out for the day in our hometowns together. We're looking back at where we're from and then we're supposed to share about where we are now.

First up, I should warn ya, I'm from Canada. I know. Exotic! Right?

I was born in a small town called Mission, but we moved to Abbotsford by the time I was about one, so Abby (as most call it) has always been my home town. I lived in the same house until I was 17. A few weeks before I graduated high school, my parents moved to a house not far from where we'd already lived in town. It was fun to move for me. I don't actually think I played much of a role in deciding houses, but my Dad and I would drive around town looking at places for sale, so as a teenager, I'm pretty sure I thought I had made the decision.

The spaces in Abby that really resonate in my mind when I think back to living there (I've now lived in Vancouver for 3 1/4 years) are the movie theatre where my friend Becky and I would go to movie after movie after movie, the school I grew up at, and the restaurant that I worked in.

Yet more so than those spaces is the home that my parents built for us. Not physically the buildings we lived in, but the spaces that filled the building. I have so many fond memories of our house being full of people because that's just something they did. They welcomed people in all the time. Whether it was friends, clients of my Dad who were hard to love but needed extra care, family, or who knows who else, from an early age, I watched them model gracious hospitality.

Now I live in my own apartment. I've been in this space for 2 1/2 years and I love it. It's this big heritage style apartment with hardwood floors, tall ceilings, pretty door handles, large windows, and just a lot of heart. It's a space of my own to show that hospitality. I don't think I've mastered the art of hospitality as well as they modeled it, but I'm working on it. I want to fill the spaces between the walls with joy, peace, and hope. I think that sounds like a good space to me.

P.S. In this bottom collage, I'm the one laughing my face off at my birthday party. For some reason, my friends and I decided to crouch down in front of the guys and photo bomb their conversation. I was the only one who crouched, and it really wasn't that funny. But I laughed, because that's what I do.

11 June 2013

{a walk through} psalm 47

God is so good. So so so good.

I'm a season of busy. So busy that I keep putting posts into drafts instead of finishing them and putting them up here. I'm so excited to come back here and dust off some cobwebs. I know I've still posted pretty consistently, but it's felt sparse for me. It's felt like I'm not here as much as I'd like because I serve a good God and I want to talk about Him. Yet busy keeps keeping me away.

I had plans to continue my refresh series tomorrow but I just don't think I have those words in me. I've made some sweet changes in the area of refreshment, but they'll be just as true next week and the week after. I'll also be over on Jessi's blog Friday sharing a little about refreshment.

Speaking of refreshment, at least, speaking of things that make my heart get happy, let's talk about the Influence Network for a minute. This community is beautiful. One of my extra busy sections of life is happening over there. I'm doing a bit more behind the scenes in the forums to keep them kind and neat, which is fun. If you're considering joining the network, recently joined, or have been around for awhile, get excited about the network. Good things are in the works friends!

Friday I'm helping plan a fundraiser for a local church plant! I spent most of my day yesterday at the church office planning, emailing, praying, dreaming, and just getting stuff done! I'm so excited for my friends to start this new church. It's called Christ City Church and I'd love if you'd consider donating to their fundraising start-up fund. You can donate at www.sentandsending.com. If you're a local blog reader, be sure to come out to the event Friday! 

I absolutely love going to a church that is committed to planting churches. This is the second church plant that's happened while I've been a part of the church, and I've only been going for just over 3 years.

On Sunday I was on worship team at church, and it was so good. The goodness had so little to do with my fingers hitting the keys and my voice hitting the notes. The goodness had to do with looking out at my church and watching people experience Jesus. The goodness was Jesus. It's such an honour. Few things bring joy to my heart like the opportunity to lead people in worship to Jesus.

I'm excited to hear how you are doing! How are you? What's keeping you busy? What's keeping you not busy? What's causing you to sing praise to God?

07 June 2013

grace by the gallon

For the days that feel like weeks.

For the weeks that feel like years.

For the thankless gifts.

And even for the thanked ones.

No matter the day, the week, the lack, or the plenty, it's all by His mercy.

Which sure takes the pressure off.

Last night, I drove home from a volunteer appreciation night feeling unappreciated and unloved, which is very dumb because I had spent the entire evening being appreciated and loved.

I'm not quite sure why, but for me, a crowd full of people I know is far scarier than one of strangers. It's an oddity that makes up me.

I drove, and I cried, and I told God that I needed Him to intervene.

I know it's because I'm not getting enough sleep, but I've found myself in a grumpy week.

I'm normally very cheerful and not too moody.
This week I'm grumpy and snappy.

I can usually bounce back from mean comments and rude customers.
This week I'm taking everything to heart and thus bruising up like a peach.

So for the weeks like this one, where I'm feeling like I'm all alone while also being fully surrounded by people who love me, I'm claiming 2 Corinthians 4.

I'm also drinking grace by the gallon. (which means a lot)

What do you find yourself gravitating to? How's your week?

06 June 2013

{a walk through} psalm 46


This is a Psalm that I can get excited about, because oh man, my heart gets this Psalm.

Or at least, my heart needs this Psalm.

So today, I'm taking a break from my own words and just sharing this song. It's not written by me, but that is me singing. Few things are more fun to me than just singing. I love playing instruments, but my favourite is the instrument of my voice.

05 June 2013

refresh: a giveaway

About five seconds after it was released (well, maybe like 2 minutes after - I was very quick!), I bought a copy of an ebook called "The Refresh Book an experimental ebook" by Jessi Connolly and Hayley Morgan.

I waited until Sunday night to read it, figuring I'd give it a quick browse and kinda leave it on my figurative ebook shelf for a day when I felt like reading it.

See I have a habit of buying books because they sounds fantastic and then putting them on my shelf. I fully intend to read them someday, but someday hasn't yet arrived.

I started it and continued on reading.

I took a break to go through all of my clothes because I got inspired to refresh my closet.

But then I came back and finished the book.

And seriously friends, I feel refreshed and am now ready to start seeking refreshment.

Which leads to three things.

The first is that I've decided to put this whole refresh thing into practice

The book is called an experiment, so I'm testing its theories on my life. Chapter by chapter, I'm going to make some changes. Some of them I've started (you should see my clothing giveaway pile), and some are yet to happen (especially the marriage chapter. No shower dates for me).

The hardest part about change is every single second of it. Am I right or AM I RIGHT???

So I'm not looking at each chapter as change. I'm finding myself looking at my life with fresh eyes, ready to spot the things that need shifting, sifting, savoring, and saving.

So I'm just going to go second by second. It's okay if things take time because I have a strong feeling that those types of changes tend to lead to long-lasting changes.

The second is that I want you to join me. 

Grab a copy of the book and let's start this! We don't have to talk about if you don't want to, but we can if you do. We can work on different things and come to different conclusions, but seriously, I'm ready for some change and I have a feeling you are too.

So if you're tired, grumpy, excited, transitioning, settled, or whatever, let's do this. Let's hit the refresh button on the areas that need it and let's do it together.

My plan is to talk about my refresh journey each Wednesday. If a few others are interested, I'm happy to host a link-up, but I'm also okay if that isn't the case. It's really not about numbers, links, or anything. It's about me needing something new in a lot of areas and you as well. And not just new as in shiny, new, and fancy. New as in refreshed.

Which leads to the third thing. A GIVEAWAY!!!!! 

I want everybody to read this ebook and find refreshment, not just in the ideas that it shares, but in Jesus it points to, because He is our living water. While I really haven't shared much about the book here, there is such good and beautiful content in it. I've got numerous blog posts started with statements that these sweet friends of mine wrote that have stirred my affections to Jesus. I'm also sharing over on Jessi's blog next week about how I find refreshment in God.

So enter below to snag a copy, and if you don't win, dig in your wallet for the $4.99 the book costs okay? Okay! And share with your friends. I've never hosted a giveaway before and I'd REALLY like everybody to enter. EVERYBODY? Kinda.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

01 June 2013

She Reads Truth

So, I remember a year ago, watching a hashtag show up. #SheReadsTruth

And today is the anniversary of a bunch of ladies (followed by a whole lot more ladies) starting to read through the Bible together.

If you're not already a part, you should be okay? Okay!