Monthly Archives: May 2016

Knitting Noah’s Ark

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 I’m pretty sure that most people are quite familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark.

How God told a man named Noah to build a giant boat, and fill it with two of every kind of animal, (seven of a few special ones) in preparation of a world-wide flood.

Of course, that was my abridged version, but you get the idea. We’ve all heard the story, and have all seen the cute animations of it. With the over-sized animals stuffed into a little ark, all adorable and corny…

And that’s what got me. The adorable, corny, cute little animals all shoved into a little ark, only this time they were knitted! That’s right, I found a knitting book on Noah’s Ark! How could I have passed that up?

Now, I didn’t just buy this book for fun. Well, I mean, I did, but I also had an idea in mind when I saw it! My twin nephews are turning one this year! And I really wanted to knit them something special for their birthday, but also something that they could play with. So I thought that this would be perfect! A good excuse to buy more knitting things for me, and a super-cute gift for my nephews!

Had I known how long this project was going to take, I probably wouldn’t have bought the book…

But, I’m the type of person who, buys first, and asks questions later!

Right after I bought the book, I went to Starbucks (because coffee and knitting are a match made in heaven) to see what materials I needed to complete this rather large task. Upon looking through the book, I realized that there were many different yarn colours that I would need for the various animals listed, which meant that I needed a shopping buddy! A.K.A. someone who could pick out colours for me because I’m colour-blind!

Luckily, my husband is usually up for the task! We went to Michael’s, and picked through, what seemed like, endless amounts of yarns! But eventually we found what we needed and moved on. We went to Wal-Mart to buy stuffing, and then proceeded home so I could start knitting….

I started with the ark. I figured that I should start with the biggest part of the project and work my way down. I originally thought that the ark would only take about a week, and each pair of animals, a day or two… Needless to say, that was not how it went at all… The reality was, it was a lot harder than I anticipated! Not hard, I guess. Just time-consuming! It took me about a month to finish (most of) the ark! And honestly, I still haven’t sewn it together….

Because the ark was taking so long, I decided to start some of the animals. I decided to start with the rhinos. For two reasons: One being that, rhinos are grey, and Dylan wasn’t home to help me pick out the colours for the other animals, and two, because I thought they were really cute!

They went pretty well! They were more finicky than time-consuming, but it was still a bit of a challenge getting them done, mostly because I get bored pretty easily.. and because, I may have taken a few weeks off of knitting… (sometimes I’m hopeless at getting things done..) But even after I came back from my lull, I have only managed to get a pair of zebras done.. sigh…

I can’t exactly remember when I started this project… I believe it was in February… So you would think, February to May would be enough time to finish this project…. Oh no! Somehow I ran out of time! As I stated above, I’m terrible for getting bored with big projects.. and I should have expected no less from this one…

At any rate. I’m nowhere near finished, and the boys turn 1 in a week exactly! So my life right now is all about knitting this ark and getting as much of it done as possible before their birthday!

So far I have done: Rhinos and Zebras and the ark should be done tomorrow.

What I hope to get done before Saturday: Elephants (which I have started) alligators, lions and toucans!

At this point I figure, worst case scenario, I’ll give them the ark with what animals I get done, and just add more to their collection as I finish them! At least they’re still too young to notice that their aunt left out some of the animals from the story!

As I finish the ark and animals, I’ll post some pictures for you all to see!

Two Hearts, One Love

   Hello again!

I am thrilled to be writing  this post today! I’ve been waiting anxiously all week to be able to sit and write!

My post today is part of my wedding series, and today I get to tell you all about the wedding that Dylan and I got to be a part of on Saturday!

The wedding took place near Bancroft, Ontario at a place called, Joy Bible Camp.  Now, the location is special in two ways. One being that, for many years, the bride and her family attended as campers; And second, this camp is where the Bride’s parents got married 26 years earlier! (so special!!)

The setting was beautiful! The ceremony was going to be held down at the waterfront. Perfectly nestled in between the dining hall where the reception would be held and the Lakeside Lodge, where post ceremony refreshments were offered to all those who attended. All three points were connected by a path lit by lanterns! It was truly romantic.

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The ceremony was exquisite: The waterfront lined with white chairs, accented by lanterns and crates of flowers, all leading up to a beautiful white arbor, surrounded by mason jars filled with flowers! Pacabel’s Canon started playing and the groom sat his mother, and then proceeded to stand at the front, by the arbor. Then, one by one, each of the six groomsmen, dressed in grey dress pants and white shirts, walked over to stand by their friend, while in turn giving him a hug on their way by…

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The music faded, from the familiar tune into a different song. A beautiful rendition of “Just The Way You Are”. The bridesmaids, each wearing a different pastel dress, started making their way to the front, all smiling at Liam as they walked by, knowing just how beautiful his bride looked, and how magical that moment would be when he saw her.. The anticipation grew as each bridesmaid took her place… Green, yellow, peach, lavender, blue, and finally pink, the colour of the Maid of Honour’s dress…  The music came to a great culmination, and the guests were asked to rise. There she was. A stunning bride. Her dress a beautiful A-line with a magnificent train, all detailed in lace. Joanna was escorted by her mother, down the aisle to meet her soon-to-be-husband. The look on his face: Priceless! The love that was shared in that moment, when the bride and groom saw each other for the first time, was incredible. Here mother gave here away, the audience (and bridesmaids) were in a puddle of tears, and so the two began to take the steps of committing their lives to one another. The ceremony was a bit different from the traditional wedding. The bride and groom wanted to sing a congregational song with their guests, and they had asked myself and my brother to sing. We led the congregation in the song “Amazing Love” and then they proceeded with their vows. the vows were beautiful, heartfelt, loving. Both of them finished by saying “I just love you”. They exchanged rings, and shared their first kiss as husband and wife! And then, as they went to do the signing, my brother and I got to sing for this amazing couple again. We sang “Multiplied”. And then as the lovely married couple made their way back over to the arbor, the preacher announced for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Liam and Joanna Tait!!

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I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one who left the  ceremony feeling overjoyed for them! They were married!!

Right after the ceremony, the bride and groom had requested that the photographer get a group photo of all those who attended the wedding! It took a bit of time to get everyone organized, but in the end it was a great shot!

After that, the guests went to have refreshments, and the wedding party went to take pictures around the camp! The weather held off for almost the entire time that we were taking pictures, and it was only during our last shot, that it started to rain! But, we simply retreated to the dining hall, where there was a photo booth set up for the guests, and used that for a few shots. Also the guests were happy as they got to get their picture with the bride and groom.

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Dinner was served at 6pm, in the dining hall. The room was set up beautifully! Round tables, with burlap and lace runners. The centerpieces; a mason jar filled with baby’s breath, as well as, carnations and roses. And the favours: Tiny mason jars, filled with personalized m&ms that said “Joanna and Liam”, “May the Force be with You” and some that had two hearts on them. The dinner was absolutely delicious! The chef prepared chicken and rice, asparagus, and mixed veggies, and on top of all that, there was a salad bar and amazing, homemade dinner rolls!! And for dessert: Root Beer floats, mini cheesecakes, and lava cakes!

Over the dinner, there were a few games to make the happy couple kiss. And of course there were many speeches made. There were also a few songs that were sung. I had the privilege of singing so many times that day, and the final two were at the reception. I sang the song “God Gave me You” with Liam’s two sisters, and his brother’s girlfriend. Later on, Joann’s sister sang a song that she wrote, while Jo and her brother danced. And my brother and I had the honour of singing the song “I see the light” (yes, from Tangled) for the couple’s first dance!

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Throughout the reception, there was one thing that really stood out to me, and I’m sure to many others. Something sad and beautiful. Of course most of the speeches revolved around Joanna and Liam, but throughout the speeches made by Joanna’s family, there was also mention of a very special man, who was absent from that beautiful day. That man was Joanna’s father. He had passed away when Jo was quite little, and his absence was definitely felt by all who knew him, but also by those  of us who didn’t. At the end of the evening, the family released balloons  to remember him, as they have done every year since he has been gone.

It was truly a beautiful day! Emotional, also, but in a good way. I don’t believe that I have ever cried so much at a wedding before!!

All I can say is, congratulations Joanna and Liam! You guys are amazing and love you, and I wish you a lifetime of happiness!

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An Inward Battle

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.

C.S. Lewis

It’s funny, really, how unpredictable life is… We all would like to think that life is simple… care-free… easy.. And that beyond the awkwardness that is, being a teenager, there is a glorious land of adulthood that is filled with unending happiness and great success! but the somewhat unfortunate reality is that, oftentimes, our life is much the opposite.

I’m not saying that everything about life is dull and dreary. There are so many beautiful aspects to this life. So many things, that I am deeply thankful for. Family and friends, love, spontaneous adventures, even growing up is beautiful in its own way…

But, with the good, we will often face some bad along the way… an untimely death… a broken heart… an illness… For our little family of two, it’s the latter.

What I want to share with you today, is my personal battle of emotions and anxiety, that often come with living life with a spouse who has a chronic illness.

The Illness:

In 2008, right around the time I first met him, my sweet husband received news that would forever change his life. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

For those who have never heard of Crohn’s before, here is a brief history of what is known.

The general definition of Crohn’s disease is this:

A chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines, especially the colon and ileum, associated with ulcers and fistulae.

The symptoms:

  • diarrhea
  • fever and fatigue
  • abdominal pain and cramping
  • blood in the stool
  • mouth sores
  • reduced appetite and weight loss
  • perianal disease
  • inflammation of the skin, eyes and joints
  • inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
  • delayed growth and development in children

A bit more info…

Taken from crohnsandcolitis.ca

Crohn’s can affect anywhere in the GI tract. i.e. anyway from the mouth to the anus, but is usually located in the lower part of the small bowel and the upper end of the colon…. it is a chronic life-long illness…. People who have Crohn’s will experience periods of acute flare-ups, when they’re symptoms are active, and other times where there symptoms go into remission……There is no cure for Crohn’s – yet.

Now that you have a better understand of this disease, Here is a little glimpse into my heart. A small tidbit of internal struggle I face,

Where It All Began…

To be honest, before I had met Dylan, I had never heard of Crohn’s, and even after we started dating, I still wasn’t sure what to expect from it, because it’s one of those illnesses, where you can’t really tell from the outside that the individual is sick. but, I learned very quickly after we started dating, just how serious this disease is.

 3 months after we started dating, in 2013. I had been away, visiting family, and was on my way back home, when Dylan texted me to tell me that he was going to the hospital (which had never happened since he was diagnosed 5 years earlier). He told me not to worry, that the doctors would give him some steroids and he would be fine. So I only panicked a little, not really sure what to feel. That same night, he came over for dinner, but, to the unknowing eye, he looked fine; A little uncomfortable, but otherwise fine. We went to youth group that night, and he started looking more sick. I remember playing a game with the kids, and afterwards coming into the kitchen to find him curled up on the floor because he was in so much pain. I knew then, that something was very wrong, but I tried not to worry, because he said he just needed to go home and sleep. One of the leaders drove him home, and I stayed till the end of youth group and tried to not let myself panic. But then, at the end of the night, I checked my phone, and his sister texted me, she told me that he was taken to the hospital again, and that he would be staying there for the foreseeable future.

That’s when the full-blown panic mode set in. I went home that night because I had no way of getting to the hospital, and I wasn’t sure if I should tell anyone about what had happened. It was one of the most unbearable nights of my life. I didn’t know how Dylan was doing, I didn’t even fully understand what was wrong, I couldn’t talk to him. It was awful.

The next day, I told my parents what had happened, and they drove me to the hospital to see Dylan. I remember it all very clearly… rushing through the ER… seeing him in a hospital bed… everything. I don’t remember ever feeling so scared. This was definitely not something that I ever thought I would face in my life.

Dylan ended up being in the hospital for 13 days. The doctors told him that he had a very severe Crohn’s flare, that his disease had gotten worse, and his body had essentially poisoned itself, and that truthfully he was lucky to be alive. They said that looking back, he had probably been sick for months, and that he would need several months to fully recover..

Since 2013, Dylan’s health has been mostly stable, which I’m so very thankful for! Though he’s had two flares since then, but nothing as bad as his first one. But it is still an ongoing struggle to make sure he stays healthy. from medications, to getting enough sleep, to eating the right food. Our life, in many ways, revolves around this disease.

And that’s where I am struggling. I am so happy to be Dylan’s wife. I love taking care of him, I love doting on him and making him happy. I love spending my life with him! But it can be hard, and sometimes overwhelming. Often I find myself a little anxious about when our life will be turned upside-down again because of Crohn’s.

If I’m being honest, my issues with fear and anxiety started when Dylan was hospitalized.  I’m not saying it’s his fault. It’s not. It is simply who I am, and it comes with the territory of being with someone who has an unpredictable illness and also comes with loving someone. You care about them, and therefore, you worry. There is seldom a day that goes by that I don’t wonder if he is actually OK. If he was being honest about how he’s feeling, or if he’s pushing himself too hard at work… I always wonder… I’m fairly certain that I always will.

I find myself  anxious about the food that he eats. I know that there are certain things he really shouldn’t have… apples… popcorn… lettuce… but, in the back of my mind, when I make something new for dinner, I’m praying that it doesn’t hurt him, that I’m not the reason that he gets sick the next time…

I’m anxious about his medication. A few months ago, Dylan had a mild flare, and his doctor put him on a very strong medication, one which had cancer as one of the side effects.. The first week he took it, I cried. I cried, because he already had an incurable disease, and now he was at risk for another. I worried every time he took it… wondered if the next pill he took would give him cancer…

I’m anxious about him getting sick again (having a flare) because the reality of Crohn’s, is that he will get sick again.

It seems that life, for me, has become a constant cycle of being anxious and worrying…

But, despite my life being a whirlwind of emotions, my real battle lies in finding the peace and strength to get through each day. My real struggle, is trusting that God knows what’s best for our life, and that He will provide for every need that we have, emotionally, spiritually, physically…

I know that I painted a bit of a dark picture of what my life looks like, but I’m just being honest. There are days when I’m totally fine. I have a positive outlook on life and I know that God is in control. But, there are also many days when it is hard to even crawl out of bed in the morning. Days, when I feel very distant from God…

What I’ve Learned

I’ve learned a lot, over the past 3 years, about how harsh life can be. About how difficult it can be to stay strong, how tiring it is to “put on a brave face”, how painful it is to feel like no one understands…

But I have also learned how beautiful life is. That each moment that I get to spend with my husband is a gift. That, laughing, in spite of a really bad day, can make your heart feel light. That, even though you’re in a hospital room, it can still be a romantic date..

Through everything that I have been struggling with, and the many lessons that God has been teaching me, there is one that stands out about the rest. I need to rest in Him. He is my Rock, and I need to trust that He knows what’s best. Even if I don’t agree with Him, he knows what’s best for me, for Dylan, and for our life together.

When I was at camp, many years ago, I was challenged to pick a “life verse”. One that I could memorize and turn to when I was in a crisis or just needed to be reminded that I have a purpose. For the longest time, I didn’t have one… But my dad sent me this verse a few months ago, when Dylan was going through a rough time, and it has stuck with me ever since

 Psalm 61:2

From the end of the earth I will call to you when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

I hope that my story hasn’t been too depressing. Really, that was not my intention. I simply wanted to share my thoughts and feelings about this subject, in hopes that it will encourage anyone who is on a similar journey.

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