Updated: Sep 16
It's the day my parents' lives changed forever...and the day mine began.
As the story goes, my Dad ran a yellow light to get to the hospital in time. So, they decided to called me Amber.
Although this didn't actually happen. It's the story of how I got my name, as far as Dad jokes go.
It is 36 years today. I'm a year older. I've found strands of grey. Growing in grace, this day marks the gift of another year gone by.
So, here’s a list of 36 things, some of my favourites, some of what I’m learning and some just about me.
"She doesn't need alone time, she needs friend time!!" This, from my littlest. My kids constantly reminder me about the heart of friendship, and how my friends support and care for me. I feel so blessed to be a part of their lives.
Writing in journals. I enjoy writing! (hence the blog) I came from a heritage of diary keepers, and while mine isn't a diary per se, writing in a journal has helped me get out of my head, to pray, discern and process in a tangible way. Found a set at Costco that I regularly stock up with!
Books, books and more books. Surprise, I love reading!! 📚 Books are great. I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction; stories and teaching. My 'To-Read' list on Goodreads gets longer, and longer, but slowly I try bring it down. It's always blows me away how God guides me through seasons by what I'm reading.
A kitchen mandolin. because slicing veggies goes so much faster! Which clearly outweighs the risk of losing a finger.
Marvel movies. A good superhero story is fun, and I enjoy them. Plus, you usually know what you're gonna get from a Marvel movie, so there aren't too many surprises.
Gardens. The oldest and most visible reminder to me of sanctification. I grew up on a farm and yard work was a love of mine; pulling the weeds, pruning the shrubs, mowing the lawn, always pointed me to the Creator.
Nutella: by the spoonful of course.
Campfires. For campfire pies, s'mores and pizza sandwiches, there's nothing yummier! Plus, you can sit beside the fire and read under the stars.
Hiking with the family. Now, I could play my voice warning, "don't step in the poison ivy!!" on repeat, but exploring forests and beaches has been so much fun this summer!
Playing Settlers. As our kids are getting older, we've started playing some more strategy games together with them. Plus, this also means that when we get together with friends, the kids go off and play, allowing us some space to pull out the games again! (And, I win sometimes)
Thunderstorms. My favourite is sitting out on the porch, listening to the storm roll in. 🌩 The awe of the thunder's roar points to the power of God, and I imagine His voice, with lightning around His throne.
Preserving. Part of our family heritage has been preserving our garden produce for the winter, in the form of jams, preserves, sauces and pickles...oh and pies for the freezer!! It can be a lot of work at times and uses up a lot of 'free' time in the summer, yet there's nothing that beats a pie in the winter months.
Humility in learning. I began a master's program in counselling psychology last year, working on it a couple courses at a time. I am really enjoying my studies, but I'm constantly brought to humility as I learn new skills.
Coram deo. "All things in the presence of God, under the authority of God, for the glory of God." This has been a focus for me the last year, written on the front of every journal, as a reminder for the day to put my plans and goals in perspective. And what a year it has been!
C2K app. I am not a long distance runner, but I enjoy running. This app has been really great for me, starting with super simple intervals, and then up to 5K.
Wrote my first ebook. It's a prayer guide, which has been on my heart for a long time...since we began our life overseas. I continue to see the gap between sending churches and their missionaries, so my prayer is that this will be a helpful resource for supporters to pray and encourage their missionaries. (Subscribe to the blog below to get it! It's free!)
Healthy family. I don't think I will go a year without reflecting on how grateful I am for my own health and that of my family. It's something not to be taken for granted; that we can participate in sports activities, go camping and hiking, swim and bike. Our daughter's transplant continues to be effective and produce antibodies, protecting her body from illnesses. Taking each day with gratitude, knowing how quickly life can change.
Pizza. It’s my favourite food. 🍕
Seasons. I love the ways seasons change, how the ebb and flow of life moves to new rhythms. A time to plant, a time to harvest. It’s been a long, hard season the last 4 years and I’ve been grateful to see how the Lord has been ushering me into new growth and healing out of it, how His hand has steadied me along the way.
I love the water. Growing up on the prairies doesn’t fit this well, but being out on the lake, or at the ocean soothes my soul. Our team always commented how our biggest decisions were always made at the beach, as the rest and quiet provided space for our souls to seek and listen.
I’m an enneagram 1. Also known as They Reformer’. Personality types are really interesting to me, although I tend to be cautious about stereotypes. I’ve found them helpful in gaining insight into who I am. Knowing that everyone else in the world won’t see things as I do, helps me relax about my opinions and be more considerate of other perspectives.
Pie is the best dessert. 🥧 (Have I mentioned pies already?) And it needs to be a fruit pie, if any kind tops them all, it would be Saskatoon. There doesn’t need be ice cream but it’s helpful.
If I’m going to watch a sport on TV, it would have to be college basketball. 🏀 In my days at university, I may have skipped a few classes to watch March Madness, and as I began work there were times in March that shifts needed to get traded. There’s a great excitement in the “one and done” atmosphere of ’The Big Dance’.
Coffee vs. Tea. For me, I enjoy both! ☕️ I began drinking tea during our time overseas, and it has stuck with me being home now, but I still take a go-mug of coffee with me most days.
Grace. I’ve been learning a lot about grace the last while. Being a recovering perfectionist, I have misled myself so often into thinking I live on my own merit. Yet, with so much I don’t deserve, Gods grace covers me and is sufficient for me. Through very tangible life lessons, our time overseas, our daughter’s bone marrow transplant, I have seen gifts of life and healing that I could never earn but were graciously given by the Father.
New discoveries. Our teammates in Africa introduced us to birding, and we have really enjoyed finding a new bird almost every camping trip this summer, thanks to our trust field guide for birds. So, don’t tell the kids, but I think we are going to buy a new board game for Christmas called ‘Wingspan’ and yes it’s a game about birds! 🦅
Pine. A trip to the Whiteshell area of Manitoba always brings with it the nostalgic smell of pine 🌲 Being outdoors and enjoying Gods beautiful creation is such good rest and refreshment for me.
Netgalley. This year I made an account on Netgalley, a place where you can read advanced copies of books to post early reviews. I’m also a member at the Crossway Blog review program. It has been good for me to think through a review and look at books in a different way, as I write about them.
Flourish Bible Studies. This fall, Crossway will release the first bible study in this upcoming series by Lydia Brownback, it is on the book of Esther. I am just finished reading it and I gave it 5 stars. This series will be an excellent resource for individual and small group studies, not heavy on homework, but loaded with good content.
Hot Pockets. Sitting in cold arenas watching my kids play hockey is fun, but very chilly. The warmth recipe: merino wool baselayer, wool socks, mukluk moccasins, a long parka and hot pockets (both in your mittens and in your boots). A blanket is also an essential piece.
Patience. Went to physio again last week, and she reminded me that building muscle takes time. Anytime there’s a struggle, I have been prone to feel the desperation of just wanting it to be over. Yet inside the struggle is learning and patience, so I find time and again the Lord bringing me back to the basics of waiting and learning to persevere. trusting that the effort in daily exercises (both the physical and spiritual) will bear fruit and build the muscle for the steps He has laid out for me ahead.
Keen sandals. Yes these are a favourite of mine! Enjoying the outdoors means having quality, good fitting footwear, and these fit that great for me. (I’ll trade them in for my Sorrel boots in a few months)
Early Riser. My day usually begins early. I love starting my day before the sun comes up, in the stillness and the quiet, time to listen, reflect and plan before the day begins.
Travelling. Getting on an airplane is also a favourite of mine. This year is not exactly conducive to that, but I remember the first time since being back from Africa, walking into the airport to go visit a friend in BC, and I texted my husband “I didn’t realize how much I missed the airport.” when you live overseas, the airport signals new beginnings, anticipated times of rest and refreshment, or the ending of a season. It’s an outward journey that parallels the inward on.
A desktop computer. Lol I made typos while typing this post on my phone so it reminds me that I’m grateful for an actual computer!
It’s the end! This was way harder than I thought. A last thing, is gratitude for friends and family. people who have surrounded us, supported us and loved us, as a family when life has been chaotic. A life serving the Lord begins as we serve our people. I know I have been so blessed to be served, and I pray my own actions will serve and bless those around me.
Have a wonderful day!!