Saturday, July 28, 2012

i love a good thunderstorm. if i'm safe inside that is. in no ways am i a fan if i'm caught outside carrying an umbrella. or on a bus. or sitting just inside the window on a metal bed frame. or when the lightning is so close that you can read a book even if the power is out. and i'm definitely not a fan when i'm caught off guard.

kind of like the storm we had the other night. i felt myself playing musical chairs on my couch cushions every time the sky lit up. i just kept moving as far away from the window as i deemed necessary. i would have been hugging the end of the couch at the sight of the third bolt if my 21 year old nephew hadn't been sitting there laughing at his jumpy, petrified aunt. [i forgive you, andrew].

sure i was scared, and feared that the beautiful tree that usually prevents my neighbours from seeing me naked would slice in two and land on my roof, or worse, my head. if i'm honest with you, this very thought may have been responsible for keeping me awake most of the night as i sat there wondering if i would ever live to see the morning [dramatic, i know].

but the next morning i woke up and realized something. the storm had passed. the very thing that scared me and made me feel uncomfortable and unsure for hours was out of sight as if it never happened.

can't the same thing be said about the storms we face in life? sure, during them, we feel an array of emotion; we may feel uncertain, confused, scared, powerless, and hopeless, even. we lose sleep wondering if the storm will ever pass, the potential damage it can cost, and sometimes we even wonder if we will make it out alive. but then one day [sometimes even the next day] we wake up, and to our surprise, the sun is shining as if the storm had never passed through.

keep going, friends. this too shall pass.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

things i find going through my head as i search through the profiles on the online dating site i joined last night [yeah - you read that right]:

"um hell no"

"HELLOOOOOOOO ________" [insert their name here]

"you may want to ditch the girl in your profile pic there, playa"

"dude - you're wearing a cheesy jesus shirt and you don't speak english" [true story, though my sister amanda thinks this is the perfect guy for me, because, and i quote, "you'll live a happy life if you don't have to listen to him"].

"65 years old? stop looking at my profile, you pervert"

then there's the guy who 'winked' at me. being curious, i checked out his profile. no pic. no short answers. no thanks. i'm looking for someone who can hold a conversation, not someone who can prove that their eyelids work.

amidst all of the weirdos, however, [and trust me there were many], i happened to find someone who i'm compatible with. sent him a cute email in true paula style, in fact.

stay tuned ... hopefully he hollas for paula ;)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

breakdowns pave the way for 'build ups'

if you couldn't tell by my facebook statuses as of late [i know that chances are this is how you found this blog], i've been having a rough few weeks.

people often tell me how blessed i am, and how they would do anything to have my life. the truth is, i am blessed, and i do have a pretty incredible life, but that doesn't change the fact that i, too, have bad days. weeks even. and struggles. insecurities. and, and, the list goes on.

i merely share this kind of stuff on my facebook/twitter in hopes that 1) people would realize that encouragers need encouragement, too, and 2) people would reach out to me in my time of need.

i find myself quite frustrated at the way the world works when it comes to relationships these days. there used to be a day when we would show up at people's homes and hang out, pick up a phone and call someone, even, dare i say, send letters in the mail. but now? now we [and i'm included in the 'we'] resort to texting, and social media, and think we've done our part when we write a measly 'HBD' on someone's facebook wall for their birthday, instead of celebrating our friends in a more personal way.

i fall into this trap at times, too. sure, i've made some changes in my life and continue to [one being the fact that i will call you on your birthday if i have your number, though i am still adjusting], but i, too, still find myself relying on such shallow means of communicating.

i was so frustrated this week that i wanted to throw my iphone out the window and actually deactivated my facebook account. that, of course, lasted a whole ten minutes as i sat there thinking about all of the people i would no longer have the very contact with that i am complaining about right now =)

but seriously, friends, what has this world come to? it started with an apple, and sadly, appears that the world is falling apart with a different kind of one. [some of you will get that later].

any ways.

so here i was last night, feeling like i hit rock bottom when i started bawling, and talking to a God i know 'gets' me, and walks with me through even the messiest of emotions and pain.

and then the phone rang and i found myself crying and venting to a friend who just sat on the other end and listened to me until i felt a peace come over me; a peace that i had been longing for all week. a peace that allowed me to get the good night's rest that i so desperately needed, and a peace that was waiting for me when i woke up this morning.

breakdowns pave the way for' build ups' indeed.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

i love pauladays.

i'm sitting at my favourite second cup attempting to hammer out this blog, and get some reading done. life has been chaotic as of late - with no hopes of slowing down any time soon - so i made a point of leaving this day blank in my day timer for the sole purpose of catching up on rest and doing what i want to do.

truth is, days like these are essential for my health and well being. some people don't understand this, of course, as life is surrounded by demands and people who will take our last free minute if we let them. but if i've learned one thing in the course of my life, it's this:

you can't take care of others if you don't take care of ... YOU.

Monday, July 16, 2012

a look behind.

it's been a siiiiiick month, if i do say so myself. some highlights:

though i started my 'journey to good health' more than four weeks a go, i'm down 27lbs so far and am sitting under 200 for the first time in my life.

we wrapped up our school programs this year and heard firsthand how our program and leadership had impacted students all across the GTA and hamilton.

i saw God work in people's hearts through a message he laid on my heart for a local young adults group, and a camp, both of which hold a special place in my heart.

aaaand i spent canada day weekend catching up with my friends and family in the nations capital, which made my heart full on a whole other level.

a look at now.

despite all of the victories i just mentioned, i'm having a hard time these days. i feel angry, disappointed, frustrated, miserable, and out of sorts, really. i am, however, determined to make it through and come out on top. and so i press on.

a look ahead.

my work couldn't afford to pay me this week, so i am on, what i like to call, a 'stay-cation'. i'm about to head to second cup to work on a teaching for tonight's honduras meeting before heading to toronto to meet with these world changing students who will be accompanying me next month. i cannot tell you how pumped i am to be a part of such a great team, and process. [dreams come true].

the remainder of the week will be spent helping my friend move, and paint her new place, and hopefully get some rest in there somewhere as my summer is about to kick off full force next week.

on sunday i will be heading north to muskoka woods for the week with twenty jr. high 'all stars' who graduated our S.W.O.L.E. leadership program this year.

the following week, i will be running my second week of camp here in brampton before heading to cobourg to coach youth camp a day later.

and after that, my team and i head to honduras. CRAZY. [for those of you who are itching to help out financially to ensure that these students get on the plane next month, holla at me for the deets].

until next time, friends. xo

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

single mom's camp is my fave.

now, don't get me wrong, i love youth camp. i love being on the 'A team' and dominating in the mud pit [that's right - 'PUT YOUR A'S UP']. i love the services, the games, the energy, the works; but there's just something special about getting to know some of the world's most dedicated moms, and their amazing kids.

i jumped on a train friday morning and headed to whitby where i transfered into a car with my favourite german family to 'begin' our trek to the ottawa valley. my bum was numb [rhyming not intentional] from all of the traveling, but i was quickly distracted at first glance of the beautiful lake that surrounded us.

we kicked off the weekend with a family game show, which was a huge success [even though my team lost] ;)

the following morning i had the honor of hanging out with the youth as their moms enjoyed their service. a few hours later, they found themselves being pampered at our beautifully thought out spa. the ladies looked [and felt] like a million bucks as they made their way to their kids afterwards.

that night we had another service, followed by a bonfire complete with smores and marshmallow fights. [i don't know who could have possibly started such a war?].

sunday morning came faster than we imagined it would, and sunday morning, as it were, would turn out to be one of my favourite ministry moments ever.

within minutes after handing out bibles, i realized that some of these kids had no idea how to navigate their way through one, so i made the quick decision to change up my plans a bit and teach them. i showed them where they could find the table of contents, the book summaries, and index, and then i gave them the opportunity to put what they learned into practice through what we call a 'sword drill'.

one junior high, who will remain nameless, became frustrated and certain that he would never 'get this'. i sat down beside him as the rest of the students were looking up verses, and promised him that i would sit there until he did in fact get it. [there are no words to describe how proud i was of him when he found a verse on his own, and how full my heart was as i walked away from what turned out to me my most rewarding ministry moment to date].

honduras is fast approaching.

it's hard to believe that the team and i will be on a plane in less than two months, with just over half of our funds raised. i, along with my fellow leaders, have had the honor of sharing some pretty fantastic news with a few of our students. what news, you ask? [i'm glad you asked]. one student had her whole trip covered by a stranger in edmonton who couldn't get her off of her heart. another student's trip was covered by a man who used to attend her school ... and the list goes on. one teacher even went as far as to give each student $150 towards their trip.

as much as we celebrate all of the above - and trust me - we celebrate it! - we still have a few students who are struggling to come up with the money to go.

now, understand this. we, as their leaders, are committed to making sure every one of them/us get on that plane in august, but we can't do it without your help.

i have one student who has been picking up extra shifts to make money, only to have to use it to help his mom out with unexpected bills and groceries. i've received several texts from this student, expressing his concerns and asking for help. so i turn to you, my readers.

that being said, it would mean the world to them, and to me,if you would consider helping this student/these students get on that plane. i'll do ANYTHING to ensure that these world changers get this chance of a lifetime. i'll even work for it. [i can cook, bake, and clean toilets like nobody's business, to name a few things].

a look ahead.

this week: i have the honor of speaking at a young adults' group in brampton and at lakeshore camp. [please pray with me].

july: working with youth through camps, and service opportunities/humanitarian work.

august: coaching at youth camp, leaving for honduras, and preparing for programming in the schools for the fall. what what.

and last but not least, as of today, i will be speaking at my second youth retreat in kansas in november. [i could not be more excited, and honored].

honestly, i haven't stopped smiling all day.

"each heart knows its own bitterness, and NO ONE CAN SHARE ITS JOY" [proverbs 14:10].

love to all.