Archives For Life

Our Word for 2018: WONDER

olive chan —  January 3, 2018

Every January, we set aside a day to assess where we’re at and plan for the year ahead. We call it our “Blue Day” (a more detailed description of it can be found in our free e-book, Fight With Me). We always begin our Blue Day with a bit of silence and solitude, out of which usually arises a word that becomes our theme for the year. For 2018, our word is WONDER.
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Advent Photo-a-Day 2017

olive chan —  November 26, 2017

Advent is a season observed by many Christians as a time of preparation and expectant waiting for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. The term comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” For the last two years, every Advent season, I have followed a list of photo prompts to help me reflect and prepare for Christmas. Many people like to go through a set of readings during Advent but at this stage of life for me, it feels a bit daunting to find time to sit, read, and reflect every day. Having one word to contemplate throughout the day and looking for an image to capture that word allows me to practice Advent in a simple, accessible, and integrated way that flows with the rhythms of my life. This year, I am planning on also involving our daughters in this practice – something I’m really excited about.

The practice of taking one photo a day throughout Advent has enabled me to live with eyes wide open, in both a physical and spiritual sense. In the midst of the hubbub of December, it has allowed me to slow down and be attentive to my life. It has been such a rich practice that I wanted to continue it this Advent. I wasn’t able to find any list of prompts online this year so I created my own.

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I turned 36 today. 36 years on this Earth. 36 years as a Canadian citizen. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I learned the truth about this land that we claim to be our own. The Indigenous Peoples in Canada have suffered immensely, and for the most part, their story has been untold until recently.
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Our Word for 2017: STEADY

olive chan —  January 7, 2017

“As we start this new year, I am sick, worn, and weary…” So began my journal entry on January 1, when Tim and I had our 9th annual Blue Day. For those unfamiliar with what a Blue Day is, we set aside a day to dream, to listen, and to plan for the year (you can read more about this practice in our free ebook, Fight With Me). This year was the first time we actually did it on New Year’s Day.
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This Advent, I’ve decided to do a series of photo reflections based on the Advent Photo-A-Day guide put out by AliveNow magazine. I did a similar series for Lent earlier this year and I found the practice to be enriching, both in terms of allowing me a creative outlet each day and also giving me a word to focus on as I listen to God and prepare my heart for Christmas.
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I considered it a grand experiment. How would a mother of two young kids and wife to an entrepreneur manage to take a whole month off to rest? That was the big question.
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[Trigger warning: sexual violence]

Thirty-five. The number of years of life I am celebrating.

Thirty-five. The number of times she is forced to have sex with different men a day. She’s only 7 years old.

Let that sink in.
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Dear Depressed Me,

I love you. But I haven’t always loved you like this. I used to struggle with accepting who you were. I used to love you partially—with some reservations and hesitancies. I used to dislike you. Resent you at times, even. But my love for you is different now. It’s deeper and fuller.
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At the start of each new year, we like to choose one word. A guide or theme for the year, so to speak. Something to give us focus in the ebb and flow of life.

Our word for 2015 was “Strengthen.” We wanted to become stronger; we also needed strength. In retrospect, it was a hard, dark year marked by the unexpected presence of Post Partum Depression, but we did receive all the strength we needed to get through it.

For 2016, we are choosing the word, “Moments.”
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Today I turn 35 years old. It’s a milestone birthday of officially being in my mid-thirties. Or as our friends pointed out to this morning, it’s halfway to “three score years and ten” (which is mentioned by the psalmist in Psalm 90:10 as the length of a normal lifespan). As I reflect on how I feel at 35 years old, I notice the tension I feel between disappointment and gratitude.

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