March 23, 2015


Despite the bridal/bridesmaids photo, this blog post is not about my wedding. (Phew!) This blog post is about friendship, and the girls in that photo are some of my most closest friends/sisters, whom I love and miss dearly!
So, let me begin by saying that I have a huuuuuge praise-God report to share with you all, and I am just beyond ecstatic! But first it requires a little back story;

Any one of my friends whom I have talked/chatted/skyped with since I got married and moved from Canada to the USA, knows that I have been struggling with finding a tight-knit community of women here who are my age and love the Lord. (a.k.a- close friends!)

This experience is new to me. This feeling of being without a best girlfriend who lives in the same town as me is something I've never known before.
Not to sound conceited in any way, but I have always had an abundance of girlfriends! I have always been that girl who has never experienced a shortage of girlfriends. I am just a total "girl's girl", I guess you could say?!?

Now, at 24 years old, I am married to a guy who has a lot of MALE friends, which has made newlywed life quite interesting. It's been a whole 'lotta air-softing, shooting tin-cans, xbox parties, fishing, watching sports (football, hockey, soccer), and talking about sports (football, hockey, soccer). Don't get me wrong, these activities with our friends have been fun (and frankly, quite educational. I mean, I know more about hockey than I ever have, and at the same time I'm actually loving it! "Loving It" as in loving hockey, NOT football--no thanks, I'll pass). Haha!

Those things are fun, but they're not my first choice of fun. I'd rather be going out for coffee and chatting, shopping, watching romantic movies, going for walks, having a fun photoshoot, (and don't forget that all of these involve food).

Yes, I know that some of those things I can do with Jarryd.
Yes, I know that I have Jarryd to talk to and spend time with, and I love him more than I could ever love another person. be 10000% honest, it's just not the same!!!!
Husband time is not the same as girl time.
Please understand, I am not saying that any of the two are better than the other, I am saying that they are both such a blessing in their own way. (Ask any married/dating woman and she'll agree--hands down!)

As my own personal opinion, they are both ESSENTIAL to my overall well-being. Especially since I am someone who is relationship-oriented over being goal-oriented, I find that I am far from myself when I am not experiencing the joy and fulfillment that only female friendships can bring.

I love the verse that says "as iron sharpens irons, so one man sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17). What good am I by myself? How am I becoming any wiser when I'm keeping my heart to myself and not seeking Godly wisdom from anyone? Again, my husband is my best friend and we have the best talks in the world. But again, my relationship with him is different than my relationship with my female friends.

I mean, I have witnessed first-hand the differences in communication between men and women. For instance, when Jarryd and his friends talk about relationships, I am absolutely mystified...Let me introduce to you Exhibit A:

Friend 1: So, you hung out with your new girlfriend yesterday?
Friend 2: Yes.
Friend 3: What did you guys do?
Friend 2: Well, we did this, this and this. And then later this happened, so we did this.
Guy: Okay
Friend 1: Cool man, cool.
Friend 3: Glad things are going well, man.
Friend 2: Thanks guys. So ANYWAY, can you believe that the Pats traded blah blah blah?!! 

Like, laugh out loud. This is NOT how my friends and I talk, especially about our relationships!! Exhibit B:

Friend 1: How was your date with you new boyfriend?!
Friend 2: It was AMAZING!!! He was wearing this blah blah, and he smelt like blah blah, and his hair was just sooo blah blah blah.
Friend 3: Really?!?!! What shoes was he wearing?!?
Friend 2: He was wearing blah blah, which totally means blah blah.
Friend 1: Oh my WORD! What were you wearing?!??
Friend 2: I was wearing this, this this, and then this, this, this and this and this. When he saw me he was like blah blah, blaaaah blaaaah blaaaah.
Friend 3: HOW SWEET!!! So how are you feeling about it all?!
Friend 2: I feel so blaaaah!! I have never been so happy!!! His family thinks blah blah, and mine are all like blah blah. BLAH!
Friend 1: EEEEK! :D

If there's one thing I have learned about men, it's that details are just...not quite as important. I am constantly prying Jarryd for more details about things. I just HAVE to know every little thing about every little thing! Perhaps I am just over-generalizing about men and women, but at least I know what I want. And that is details! So it's a little tough being surround by guys who "converse" differently than I'd like. :)

Anyway, I feel I have truly gotten off on a huge tangent! To sum up this back story, I have really missed the fulfillment that comes with having good Christian girlfriends (that I don't have to skype with in order to see).

I have put this whole ordeal in a pretty positive and entertaining light, but it has had its rough moments for sure! I've shed so many tears about the whole thing that I don't even know how I have any tears left. 

If there's anyone out there reading this who is in a similar situation as me: you're in a new community and desiring to make some friends, then you're gonna want to keep reading! Over these past eight months I have learned ALOT and would just love to share with you four tips, which are in no particular order of significance, that I have found to be key in starting new friendships! :)

1) TIME. Give it TIME. Settling in to a new place takes time, and getting to know others takes time. I think since we live in a world where everything is just "instant" (Internet, fast-food, ect.), we expect EVERYTHING to be instant. Making a 100% close, solid, and trustworthy friendship is not an instantaneous thing. Yes, it can be really hard when it's Friday evening and you're sitting at home remembering all of the things you used to do with your friends on a Friday night and the tears start flowin'. But give it time, and take your time! (Remember, God doesn't work according to our measly schedules).

2) USE YOUR TIME WISELY. Sometimes God likes to get you all alone so that you can finally remember what you've been missing: a wonderful, amazing relationship with HIM. So spend your time with Him, strive to become like Him, and strive to become a person that someone would WANT to be friends with. The same is true when you're single and you're looking for someone you'd like to spend the rest of your life with in marriage. "Stop spending all of your time searching for Mr. Right and work on yourself, work on becoming somebody's Mrs. Right"! I love that!! Be the kind of friend that you would love to have!

3) BE YOURSELF. Don't settle for the first person that comes around, because that could get pretty ugly. If you're someone who struggles with gossiping and you feel like gossiping is your one and only new friend's favourite activity...then you'd better take a step back. Proverbs 13:20 tells us that "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm". Surround yourself with people who uplift you and help you be a better YOU. If you feel like you have to change who you are in order to become closer to someone, then that relationship will go nowhere fast! Be your weird, quirky, yet-still-socially-acceptable-self, and you'll see that you'll attract the right kind of friends! :)


4) PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE. You can't always expect for everyone to make the first move, to come up to you and start a conversation with you. Yes indeed, it is SO nice when you are new and somebody makes the effort to get to know you (those people are awesome!), but not everyone is that outgoing. Not everyone has the confidence, notices you, or even thinks you want them to talk to you. Sometimes as a "newbie" I have felt totally guilty in feeling entitled that others should make the first move. Big mistake! This just isn't real life. I mean, who wants to be in a friendship where one person is always initiating the hang-outs?
This one was a toughy for me because I'm pretty introverted. I'm definitely not one who loves going around a room starting conversations with people whom I barely know. (It seriously gives me the sweats)! Haha!
Here are some examples of how I have "put myself out there":
-When you see a familiar face, don't just walk on by. Smile, say hello, and start a conversation. Trust me, I'm no social expert on this but it makes you look like an approachable person.
-Get a job. (I haven't been able to do this yet, but it's definitely a great way to make friends!)
-Get involved. I find that the fastest way to make friends is by finding a church and getting involved in it! Through church and church alone, I help out with the preschool kiddos (I'm not trying to become best friends with four-year-olds here, this has just helped me get to know other leaders/teachers!) , I am one of the Jr. Youth leaders (again, helped me get to know other leaders),  my husband and I are in a "young married couples group" (which actually has never even had a meeting yet...LOL),..AND last but not least, I joined Apples of Gold, which is my praise report!

Apples of Gold is a program that my church adopted 10 years ago. It is women's ground where the older women mentor the younger women group based on the verse Titus 2:3-5, "Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behaviour, not malicious gossips or enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the Word of God will not be dishonored".
I absolutely love that I'm a part of a church that still holds onto traditional values and passes them on to the younger generation.

I have only attended one meeting so far, but as time goes on I will definitely dive into that whole topic on another blog post!
But the reason why it's such an answered prayer for me is because I feel like I really cliqued with the women there. And the mentors kept instilling in us that even though this ministry is only 6 weeks long (6 meetings), the friendships you make here will last a lifetime! (Which was what I want!!) And our mentors are our 9-11. If we have a problem or need specific prayer for anything, they have provided us with all of their contact information so they're always there to help us.

And on top of this, I just had a spontaenous sleepover with one of our friend's girlfriends which was really fun and the girl-time was much needed. :)
I'm just feeling super happy and so blessed by these opportunities God has placed into my life, and I'm so thankful to any of you who have been praying for me during this time!

With much love and thanks,

March 19, 2015

Today I am:

Making: this blog come to life! It needs some serious work. And my sister has been hounding me about it. :P

Cooking: Creamy Italian Sausage & Potato Soup for supper today. I've never made this before so I'm VERY excited to see the outcome!!

Drinking: Red Wine Sangria. Hee hee, you caught me. It has chia seeds in that weird?

Reading: I am about to start Reedeming Love by Francine day soon...

Wanting: to finish the "About Me" section on my blog. Why is this taking me so long?

Looking: for a job. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much luck in this area, but I'll keep searching! Don't you worry!

Playing: "Today's Country Hits" on Songza. With this warm weather these days, I am all about the country! ;)

Wasting: time, sweet time. Not gonna lie, I started playing the game Tropico 5 on my computer and it's crazy addicting. But I decided to put it away for now so that I could work on the blog!

Sewing: Sewing? I'd better break it to you now, you won't ever see me sewing. :)

Wishing: I had signed up for the ladies retreat at church this weekend. I was scared that I wasn't going to know anyone and felt weird about it, but now I wish I would have signed up! They are going to Ocean City, MD, which is somewhere I'd love to go. Maybe next year :)

Enjoying: this time that I have to myself while Jarryd is at work. It's hard to be productive when he is home when we're having so much fun together. :)

Waiting: to receive my "Advanced Parole" from United States Citizenship & Immigration Services so that I can go visit my family and friends in Canada. I cannot WAIT! (!!!)

Liking: being a Jr. Youth leader. Yesterday's meeting was probably the best one yet! I'm starting to remember everyone's names, the kids seem to be more comfortable with me, and I'm starting to feel more comfortable in general! Praise God!

Wondering: what life will look like for us within the next few months, in regards to employment. I guess we will see! :)

Loving: the new women's group I just joined at church. I'm so happy about all of the fellowship I have to look forward to, and I'm excited for all of the wisdom that our mentors are going to shed on us. :)

Hoping: that the Winnipeg Jets win tonight!!!! GO JETS GO! Game time is at 8 pm; be there!

Marveling: At how God has taken such great care of Jarryd and I. I know that He has always taken care of us, and that I should be used to it by now, but I absolutely cannot get used to it! I'm so thankful!

Needing: more time with Jesus. <3 I have neglected doing my devotions today thus far...

Smelling: my Wonderstruck perfume by the miss. Taylor Swift. Ooo la la! ;)

Wearing: Lululemon pants, a big comfy sweater, and giant fuzzy slipper booties.

Noticing: the dust on the coffee table. I swear I JUST wiped it clean the other day! Where is all this dust coming from?!

Feeling: 100 times better than I felt yesterday. Yesterday was just stressful, rough, and I was being emotional, of course. Today I am feeling hopeful and optimistic! :)

Knowing: that I am on a serious asparagus kick. Like, wow. Asparagus baked in the oven with a little olive oil, salt, and parmesan, is just golden! Thank you Costco for satisfying all of my cravings in mass quantities.

Thinking: that drying racks for your wet clothes are the BEST thing you could ever buy! I mean, running a dryer is expensive, so a drying rack is definitely a top-notch investment in my books!

March 11, 2015

Money Wise.

When I took this photo yesterday, it was honestly the most perfect morning.
The sun finally came out of hiding and completely enveloped our apartment in light and warmth.
Jarryd and I heated up our homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast and drizzled them with the oh-so-sinful cream cheese frosting.
We turned on the Keurig and let it do its thing: fill our mugs with delicious coffee (OK, it's not THAT delicious, since we buy the cheap-o brands, but it gets the job done).
We brought our breakfast with us into the living room, made ourselves comfortable on the couch, and opened up our devotional book.

We are not so disciplined with doing devotions. Something always comes up...[insert lame excuses here]...blah blah blah. So when we actually do get around to doing them, it makes the day feel so much more special.

This book, "You and Me Forever" by Francis Chan and his wife Lisa Chan, is probably one of the best marriage books I've ever read. Granted, we are only about half-way through, but from what I've read, it hits the concept-of-marriage nail right on its big complicated head.

This book is ALL about Jesus. "When two people are right with Him, they will be right with each other". I love it! As it states on the cover of the book, it really shows you marriage in light of eternity. Reading a book that is more focused on Jesus than it is about the do's and don'ts of marriage, is a complete breath of fresh air.

So yeah, as I was saying, basking in the sunshine, drinking coffee, eating cinnamon rolls, and reading this devotion with my hubby was the most wonderful way to start the day! Like, I was on cloud 9. (What is this cloud 9 business anyway? And why am I saying it if I have no idea what it is?) I felt like nothing could burst my balloon of happy spirits. (It's a pink balloon by the way, in case you needed some visual aid).

And then, all of the sudden came the pin. That sharp little pin that is capable of doing a great deal of damage.
"Ohhhhh no..." I exclaim from behind my laptop. "Ohhhhh noooo..."
POP! There goes my shiny pink balloon of rainbows and dreams-come-true...

Our bank account had a little less money than we thought it did. Nah, let me rephrase that, our bank account had a LOT less money than we thought it did.
"This bill was due today?!" (Blasted car insurance, grrr!)
I was so discouraged because a few days prior I was so strategic and smart with my grocery shopping. I planned it so that we'd have a certain amount to last us until glorious pay-day. I had no idea that this car insurance automatic-withdrawal-bill was due the very next day. Shoot. (You can say that again!)

Shoot, shoot, shoot.

Money-wise, things have been tough (tough = total understatement) for Jarryd and I.
About 3/4th's way into our engagement, he lost his job, after we'd already put down deposits on practically EVERYTHING for our wedding. (And here in Maryland there are practically no jobs, which is just mind-boggling to a girl like me who comes from a farming-community just LOADED with jobs). So literally, the first 6 months of our marriage were spent job-hopping, with Jarryd working anywhere that he could possibly get his hands on so that we could pay the rent on time. With me being on a marriage-visa, I wasn't legally allowed to work until I recieved my EAD in the mail (which I did just last week!!).

So...TWO people, surviving on ONE measly-minimum-wage income, with all kinds of bills to pay, expensive visa paperwork to file, car importing, student loans, sponsoring a child, ect., just doesn't happen. It's not plausible, at all.

And it's like this bank account incident was the last straw for me. I just got so sick of our financial situation. All of our friends are buying houses, cars, new clothes, gorgeous home decor, going on trips, while we are just trying to survive here.

"God, I would just like to say that I have persevered through this financial pit long enough, and I think we deserve to get out of this hole of despair now! I have had enough! I am ready for you to give us what we want!!!"

Those were literally my thoughts yesterday, as I moped around all evening. I was having a major pity party, and it was probably the top pity-party of the season!

Looking back and processing what my emotions went through yesterday, just leaves me absolutely mistified. I was having an awesome morning endulging myself in His word...God was so good...and then as soon as I take a peek at our bank account God has suddenly let me down in the worst way and I spend the rest of the day angry at Him? um...WHAT?!



I blame my emotions & feelings. My feelings of fear and worry about our finances totally encompassed my mind, and caused me to forget that we are STILL here!
We are still paying the rent, and all of our other bills--on time, mind you!
We have a roof over our heads, and as of this past weekend, a fridge full of Costco groceries.
I mean, God has provided for us in more ways than we could possibly list.
As I said before, two people on one income in our circumstances, should not be surviving right now...but we ARE! We are OK and alive! And that is all thanks to God. Honestly. I couldn't put it any other way.

As Lisa Chan wrote, "If there is one thing I positively know, it's that feelings cannot be trusted. Not for a second. Too often, feelings are based on perceptions, self-preservation, fear, and emotion."

"God said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong". 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

What an awesome verse. And to think that I read that passage right before this whole bank-account mess just proves that I have alot to work on! I desperately needs to keep these emotions at bay.

So, on a practical note, today I wrote on a piece of paper WHEN each of our bills are due, WHAT bills are due, and HOW much $$$ these bills require. And I hung this paper right beside our calendar. So no more surprises! (I'd take a photo, but I don't want the whole world seeing our financial-battles haha!). It's a small step, one that I should have done, oh I don't know....FIVE YEARS AGO?! But I think it's a step in the right direction! :)

March 7, 2015

30 Things About Me That May Surprise You.

1. Ever since I moved to Maryland my eyes are ALWAYS red and I've had several people here ask me if I'm OK. (!?!) I promise I'm not a miserable person! I get lots of sleep and I'm not always crying! Sigh...

2. I am in no way a health "freak". (The furthest I go is avoiding Aspartame, only because I dislike the icky aftertaste). I love sugar, I love meat, I love fat, and I love carbs. Mmm...

3. I don't exercise...scratch that, I don't -intentionally- exercise. But I probably should! Haha!

4. I hate talking loud. It hurts my throat.

5. I taught myself HTML when I was 12. I distinctly remember creating websites on domains such as Angelfire and Geocities. I always wanted to learn CSS coding, but I think once I grew out of my phase, I just never got around to it. LOL.

6. I truly used to believe that I was a good judge of character based on "first impressions". But today I can wholeheartedly say that I am 99 times out of 100: WRONG. In fact with some people I'm good friends with now, I didn't think I meshed well with in the beginning. How funny is that? And no, I'm not naming names. :P

7. I went to Culinary school...but some days the last thing I want to do is this normal? Am I normal?

8. In high school my best friend and I used to video ourselves dancing and lip syncing to our favourite songs. This would take place in the car, in our bedrooms, in our living rooms...anywhere and everywhere!! We even uploaded them to YOUTUBE. How embarrassing! (I've removed them since, but I am keeping them on my computers' hardrive forever).

9. I have recently rekindled my love for XBOX and it has totally siezed any chance I have at being productive. Jarryd and I just can't put the controller down!!

10. Not that anyone cares, but I have finally confirmed my year-round drink routine at Starbucks:
February-August: Caramel Macchiato w/ extra caramel.
September-October: Pumpkin Spiced Latte.
November-January: CARAMEL BRULEE LATTE <---obviously the best drink ever.

11. I'm not the biggest fan of DIY projects. I did it once the other day, so now I'm good for like 3 years. I choose convenience over hard-labour. (Haaa!)

12. I LOVE hockey! For some reason, my 22 years in Canada didn't do a thing for me hockey-wise, but as soon as I move to the US it's what most of mine and Jarryd's evenings consist of! (Go Winnipeg Jets!!)

13. My absolute favourite food is honey-garlic chicken...Oh! And also my father-in-laws' cocunut chicken curry. (I grew up on a chicken farm, I can't help but like chicken!)

14. I'm one of those people who thinks about the past more than the future. I have a habit of flipping through old photographs and bringing up old memories when I'm talking with my friends (Remember when we...ect, ect.). It's not the most productive thing in the world, but it sure makes my heart warm. :)

15. I love wine. And Pepsi. Not Together. Separate.

16. I take really long showers, like I'm talkin' 45 minute long showers. As a female with long hair, there is just so much that needs to be done!!

17. As much as I love having moved to a whole 'nother country and exploring what this part of the world has to offer, I still go through these really deep-cutting moments (moments that last a few hours usually) of homesickness. It sucks. Sometimes it feels as if the whole Manitoban-Canadian-girl inside of me has died and I miss her, her friends, and her family, so very much. I love my life, but it's not always easy.

18. After all of these years of country to pop transitions, I still love Taylor Swift...and her scottish-fold cats. (SO CUTE!)

19. I'm a Jr. Youth leader at my church. (Surprised? ME TOO!!) It's so stinkin' challenging for me, but God is teaching me so much through it. I feel like I'm growing. (?!)

20. Sometimes when I look back at my wedding I get really bitter feelings...toward myself! Like, WHY did I spend so much money on that? WHY did I need to do that? Oh Jennifer if only you would have saved your money so that life would be a teeny wee bit simpler now...Sigh.

20. I would love for my next trip to be to Nashville, TN. Perhaps see a Predators game and a country concert of any sort. Who wants to come with meeeee?

21. Mine and Jarryd's wedding was 9 months ago and we're STILL working on Thank-You cards. It's so overwhelming and haunts me in my dreams!! We are so close to being done though!

22. I help out with the preschoolers class at church on Sunday mornings. A lady from church asked me if I would help and I said yes, just because I was new to this church/community and wanted a place to put my time in serving. I never thought I'd love it this much! Those little ones bring so much joy to my heart, like EVERYTHING is just so wonderous and exciting to them.

23. I just got my EAD (Employment Authorization Card) in the mail, which means I can now legally work in the USA! Half of me is super excited for this, the Netflix-internet-cooking-blogging-cleaning-sleeping-in-reading-xbox half of me is quite distressed.

24. I installed curtain rods & curtains in our apartment a few weeks ago and felt SO empowered, as if I could do ANYTHING now.

25. I have realized that the most difficult part about moving from your home to a new place (or country, if you will) in your mid-twenties, is making friends. Everyone already has their set group of friends and routines that it's hard to fit new people in. Oh well, things like this take time!

26. Two things from Costco that Jarryd and I ALWAYS have in our freezer: Mrs. T's potato & cheddar pierogies, and Tyson Panko Chicken Breast Tenderloins.

27. I was actually sad when I found out that Josh & Andi (bachelorette) broke up. Do I know them? No, not at all.... LOL.

28. I really miss the innocent mind I used to have. The more places I go, the more people I meet, the more articles I read, and the more things I watch, the more music I listen to, have totally taken my brain to places that I never want to go again. I'm really learning the importance of Philippians 4:8: "Whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is ADMIRABLE--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things".

29. The top 5 things I say to my husband each day:
1)I'm cold.
2) I'm hungry.
3) I need a massage (!!!)
4) I'm cold again.
5) I'm sleepy.
Pretty much every bodily function. HA!

30. I hate to be rushed. It makes me feel like I'm being pressured, which then makes me feel irritated. I take my time with almost everything, especially this blog. (Not always a good thing, haha!)