Archives For love

God Doodles

Alana —  March 13, 2014 — Leave a comment

Last summer I took a solo trip back to my hometown to hang out with my Mom and Dad. It was between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and I wanted to spend some one-on-one time with each parent to celebrate. This type of hang out time is rare for us and it may have happened only once since Josh and I have been married. My Dad is an Illustrator by trade and he really enjoys doodling.

Daddy/Daughter Date - Summer 2013

Daddy/Daughter Date – Summer 2013

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“Love” Dust

Alana —  April 15, 2013 — 2 Comments

Why is it that when we pray to God, we put on our ultra churchy and religious voices? It’s kind of a funny thing to experience. Have you ever been at a gathering where Christians are milling about, having normal conversations, speaking in their normal voices? Then one Christian stands up to pray before beginning the service or party and suddenly his voice transforms into a dramatic tone with a hint of James Earl Jones, “Dear Heavenly Father. Jesus, we bless you today. We come to you, humbly to request…”

Josh and Alana 1 Continue Reading…

Trickle Down Effect

Carissa Woodwyk —  January 15, 2013 — 1 Comment

Eyes, nose, hair, body, personality…they all get passed down through the gene pool. There’s so much of “them” in “us.”

The Woodwyk Family

The Woodwyk Family

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The backstory.
Josh was out of town this past weekend for a cycling event, so I had the house to myself. Being a person who loves to be surrounded by people, my original plans were to pack virtually every moment with hosting out-of-town guests, meeting up with others for coffee, and spa dates. As the time drew closer, a few of the plans fell through and I felt the increasing desire (or need) to spend a substantial amount of this time alone. This time would be used to re-group and focus on what the heck I am doing in life. Ha. One of the things I love about myself is that I always have ideas for projects, businesses and improvements. One of the things that frustrates me about myself is that I always have ideas for projects, businesses and improvements. My mind moves at 100 miles/hour and sometimes I cannot even keep up with myself. I feel like this weekend, I got a little taste for what this has been like for those around me. :)

My original intention for the weekend was to figure out which of my many projects I should pursue first. However, it took a completely different direction. Last Wednesday I met with my naturopath of whom I’ve been meeting with for at least three years now. That being said, he has had plenty of time to get to know me – my strengths, desires and struggles. The abbreviated conclusion of our conversation is that I do not love myself. Yikes. This is coming up, AGAIN?? This must be an underlying current because it pops up in various areas of my life and recently has been popping up more and more often.

The twist.
I left his office with a new focus for the weekend – one I was much less excited about: “I am loved and accepted by myself and by God right where I am.” Not so ironically, the thing I have been avoiding is what I needed most. And… ironically, the thing I wanted most for others is what I most needed.

The basics.
I have based my value strongly on what I can produce – how quickly I can turn projects at work, how much house cleaning I can complete, how many people I can help… It has been an exhausting life to say the least. In my mind, if I am not actively producing, then I do not have value. So to deal with this this weekend, I chose to eliminate distractions (facebook, e-mail, and tv) and all projects (no blogging, no housework, no finishing the basement project that I started and have left hanging for a week now). It was hard.
I then wrote on a few notecards, “I am loved and accepted by myself and by God right where I am” and placed these in each of the bathrooms. Throughout the weekend, if I found myself thinking critically of my physical appearance or spastic tendencies I would drop what I was doing and force myself to walk into the bathroom, look into the mirror and read out loud: “I am loved and accepted by myself and by God right where I am.” Admittedly, at first, I had a difficult time even looking myself in the eye. Throughout the weekend it became easier.

The love.
Despite all the “soul-searching” I have done over the past year, I have lost touch with the basics of what I love to do. I have been caught up in what everyone else thinks I am good at or what they think I should do. This week, when I met with my naturopath, he asked me “What do you love to do?” When I’m asked this, I always go back to the same staple answer: “Well, I love being with and interacting with people.” This weekend I forced myself to go deeper.

What do you love to do?

I selected a yellow index card, wrote the words, “What do you love to do?” and taped it on our living room wall. Throughout the weekend, as things came to mind that I truly enjoyed doing, I would write them down and tape them to the wall underneath the original card. I was surprised by my answers! I forgot how much I enjoyed dancing. At one point this weekend, I closed the living room curtains, moved the furniture and danced like a crazy woman – and had a BLAST!

The conclusion.
I realized a few things this weekend:
– I don’t need to have all life’s answers figured out RIGHT NOW.
– My value is not based on what I can produce (still grappling with this one).
– It’s okay to take time to do the things I love to do (dance like nobody is watching).

What is one thing you love to do but have put it on the back burner because “life happened”? Please share in the comment section.

The Significance of Date Night

Alana —  November 29, 2011 — 26 Comments

MJ and her husband

I met MJ at a Vision Board class in October and immediately found myself drawn to her warm and inviting spirit. During our time together, the way she spoke of her husband caught my attention. She spoke of him with respect. Love. Endearment. I asked how many years she had been married and she replied, “19 years.” I was shocked! Unfortunately, it is more common to hear a woman complain about her husband, than it is to hear her praise him. Especially after that many years! I asked MJ to share her tips on keeping romance alive and she smiled and said, “Keep dating!”

It’s “date night!”

The hubbs & I schedule regular “date nights” and have since we met 20 years ago. You see, we became an instant family when we married (more here) so we’ve never have had time that was just “ours.” We’ve always been parents and that’s OK – that’s the life we chose and neither of us would change it. Our way to navigate some time together has been to schedule it, as a way to reconnect and reaffirm what we already know. Many times we didn’t have the money for a sitter or to go out; we still made time for each other. More here.

I’m glad we have prioritized this because:

Date nights mean “I hear you.”
Date nights mean “I love you.”
Date nights mean “I’m here for you.”
Date nights mean wearing something other than “Mom & Dad” clothes, a whiff of cologne, cleavage, a buttoned-down shirt, a swirly skirt and lipstick.
Date nights mean “You are still it for me.”
Date nights mean singing our songs, telling our work stories, and being in the moment.
Date nights mean comfort, warmth, passion and love.
Date nights mean “In spite of everything around us – jobs – kids – family – I still choose time with you over everything – and everyone – else.”

I love that he schedules tee times early enough so that he can come home, shower, change and spend the night with me. What girl wouldn’t love that in her man?

He loves that I use my time to do what interests me and, when he returns, he’s greeted by a warm and willing companion who looks nice, feeds him and wants to spend her night with him. What guy wouldn’t love that in his girl?

At the January “State of the Union” Presidential address, a rather large fuss was made about how “both sides of the aisle” abandoned their polar positions and sat together, effectively inter-mixing the powers that be.

It’s startling that this was news. Grown-ups acting civilly towards each other. Really?

I can’t speak for Congress but, for us, date nights have always been the buoy we swim to against the undertow of daily living.

How about you? How do you maintain the state of YOUR union?


Meet MJ…a country mouse living in the city; a Saskatchewan farm girl, MJ’s now a proud U.S. Citizen and, in Canada, holds dual citizenship. MJ is a writer and she’s also a wife, mom, nana, daughter, farm girl, cousin, sister, co-worker, friend and a million other things. (Mischievous imp? Tricky Minx?) She loves to cook and will admit to stirring the pot. Cheeky, practical, sentimental and romantic. And a lifelong Elvis fan. That’s MJ. Stop and visit her at

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