Shattered and Beautiful

I was thinking about times in my life when I’ve felt so shattered and devastated by situations or circumstances.

I’m talking about the times when you feel so beaten down or broken that you don’t even feel like you have it in you to worship or praise or rejoice your way out of the situation. What you want to do is fall on the ground in a heap and either have a tantrum; or sob until you can’t breathe, or both. Or maybe you just want to curl up in the fetal position and hide……have you been there or is it just me?

I love how real David expressed himself in the Psalms. The Psalms are gritty and glorious and real; and filled with emotion and heartache and suffering and joy and praise and worship and even frustration and a desire for revenge. They’ve got it all and when I have no words to speak what my heart is feeling; there’s always something in the Psalms that resonates with me, no matter the situation or circumstance.

In Psalm 51:15-17, David is feeling all the feels and he cries out to God because He knows that praise will help him move beyond his immediate feelings. You’ve got to know that he’s not feeling like praising. He feels locked up, maybe shut down; but He knows what He needs to do.

He acknowledges that God isn’t interested in the surface things like how good we present ourselves or what we offer or give up to make ourselves look or feel better about something.

I think verse 17 is one of my favourites.

Think about the picture it presents. God’s pleasure is released like a fountain bubbling up and overflowing when we scrape up the pieces of our heart and offer them to Him. When we come to Him with all our brokenness and wounding and shattered pieces and say, “Here. I don’t even know what to do anymore.”

Have you ever had someone despise you? It’s an awful feeling. Especially if they are despising your weakness? It’s like getting kicked when you’re already down. But God won’t despise you when you come to Him shattered. The opposite of despise is to cherish, adore, admire, love; that’s how He will receive you when you bring your broken pieces to Him.

Imagine. Imagine feeling like you’ve been broken into a million pieces and you can’t possibly see how you are worth anything to anyone in the shape you are in. You scrape together all the pieces and come before God with all the sadness and hurt and shattered-ness that you are feeling. And He looks at you with such love and compassion and holds all those pieces close to His heart until the warmth of His love softens them enough that He can mold and piece them back together into an even more beautiful masterpiece than what originally was.

May we offer those shattered pieces of ourselves to the One who loves us most. Trusting that He will create beauty from brokenness.

Why the Focus on Gratitude (Part 4)

I feel like I’m finally getting back into the swing of things here at home. A month out of routine is long enough to really throw you for a loop and I think. In some ways, I’ve been trying to “get back” to where I was.

But I don’t know if that’s truly the goal. I’m starting to think that a “shake up” is not a bad thing, if I choose to see it that way. Is it possible that this is a new stage of life and rather than attempting to “go back” to what and where I was…maybe this is a fantastic opportunity to put new routines into play? I’ll definitely be giving that some thought over the next while.

I pushed quite hard on Monday and Tuesday to accomplish my “To do” lists and I got a ton done but today. I felt like I was flailing a bit. Not as productive or organized and I was even struggling to create a list, let alone work through it.

But, it’s a gorgeous sunny day and I did get my linen closet organized so I’m calling today a win!

One of the things that I’ve learned over the years is to be kind to myself. Did I accomplish as much as I wish I had today? Nope! But what would I say to a friend who was lamenting their lack of productivity?

Would I say, “You loser! What’s wrong with you? You just need to be more focused and try harder?

No, I wouldn’t. If I did, I wouldn’t be a very good friend and I probably wouldn’t have many friends. Instead, I’d probably say, “Oh that tough! I know what it feels like to not get done what you were hoping for. But look, you did get “this” done and that’s amazing. There’s always tomorrow to try again. You’ve got this.”

If we wouldn’t talk to a friend with scorn and contempt, why do we do it to ourselves?

I’ve found that practising looking for the things that I can be thankful for has impacted so many areas of my life.

In today’s example, I didn’t get done what I wanted; but my brain sees the gorgeous sunshine and the fact that I did tidy the linen closet and those things are AMAZING.

I’ve had days where I’m just grateful that I’m alive and that my kids had enough cereal to get them through serving themselves breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve had days where I was just thankful that my bed was comfy and I had a window to look out of. I’ve had some really bad days where I had to set the bar of what I was grateful for pretty freakin’ low; and that’s okay. There will be those days.

But you know what, just as certain as winter turn to spring which then turns into summer and then fall; the seasons of your life will change, too. I’ve experienced some of longest, darkest winter seasons where I couldn’t possibly fathom a change to anything even resembling the growth of spring. But it happened. Every time. Without fail. And I’ve learned to trust that. I’ve learned to trust that Season’s change and sometimes what I need to do is to hunker down and just hold on because even if I don’t see it or feel it, it’s gonna happen.

In the mean time, I look for things to be grateful for. I look for the beautiful things. I look for the things that make me smile. I look for the things that will bring my soul, even the minutest glimmer of hope; something to help me get from this moment to the next and the next and the next because I know that Spring is coming.

It wasn’t until 2019 that I decided to go all in and actually DO A THING. At the end of February 2019, I decided to do a month of Gratitude and post every day on Instagram with something that I saw or noticed, in my day, that I could be thankful for.

I had already been irregularly practising gratitude for over a decade BUT the change in me from the beginning of the month the end of the month was powerful. It was easy to see the good. It became natural to look for things that I could be thankful for. Putting the idea into a daily practise meant that it became a habit. A regular behaviour that gets done almost subconsciously.

So now, I’m always looking for things that will brighten my day. If I’m struggling with something, I’ll acknowledge the challenge to be honest with myself AND find something to be thankful for.

It’s not about Toxic Positivity. I looked that phrase up and the definition is dysfunctional emotional management without the full acknowledgment of negative emotions, particularly anger and sadness.

That’s not at all what I’m encouraging because life can be really freaking hard. I know. I really know. Life has been challenging enough for me that I needed “something” to help me not only survive when I’m in the middle of a challenging time but to help me carry on and even thrive, in spite of the garbage that I’ve been going through.

Practising gratitude has been that thing for me and I believe in it enough to say that it could be life changing for you, too.

So practically, how can you do it? How can you start to live a life where you practise gratitude and see the benefits at play in your life? I’m gonna talk about that in the next post.

If you feel like it, I’d love to hear ONE thing from your day that you are grateful for. I’ll go first.

I’m thankful for my dishwasher. It’s full and running and I don’t have to wash all the dishes by hand and my empty sinks make me feel happy.

Or…..I’m thankful for cold drinks on hot days.

Or…..I’m thankful for the wind that’s blowing my wind chimes and making them chime so pretty in my backyard.

Or…clean clothes. Really thankful for clean clothes.

What are you thankful for!?

Why the Focus on Gratitude? (Part 2)

Where were we?

Oh yes, in hell.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? Are you ready for a story? It’s a scary story.

Ok, it’s not horrifying but it’s my reality and it’s exhausting and when I get overwhelmed by anxiety, it’s really, really hard to deal with.

In bed with a migraine – March 2022

My Brain: There’s something wrong with you. You probably have cancer.

Me: I have a headache. It’s a migraine. I’ve been getting them for years. I’ll just took a med and I’ll take it easy and be fine.

My Brain: Ya, but what causes it. No one else in your family gets migraines. Not like you do. It’s probably a brain tumour.

Me: It’s a hormonal migraine. I get them every single month around this time. It’s annoying and yea, I wish I didn’t deal with them but with meds, it’s manageable. Relax!

You have no idea if it’s a tumour or not. It’s not like you can see inside your head or like you have a diagnostic tool you can easily access. You could have one growing and have no idea.

It’s not a tumour.

You got dizzy when you stood up from bed this morning and your hand was going tingly and numb. You even felt nauseous.

I have always felt dizzy when I stand up too fast, that’s nothing new. Thank you, POTS. My hand was numb because I was sleeping on it. And I only felt like I was going to puke, when I was brushing my teeth. Stupid gag reflex from being sick during my whole pregnancies. There is nothing new to be worried about.

The fact that you are downplaying all of this means that when you finally take things seriously, it’s going to be too late. It’s probably already too late.

Me: I’m fine. You really need to stop this. It’s not helping. There’s nothing wrong and you know it. This is your brain lying to you.

Also Me: Ya, but what if that’s right? If I discount my worries then how will I know if there is a problem. I’ll just tell myself to ignore my intuition and end up not being able to be treated before it’s too late.

My Brain: If it’s a brain tumour it’s too late anyway. Not like you’re beating that. It’s probably skin cancer that has metastasized into your brain. You’re totally screwed. You have way too many freckles and moles.

Me: Are you kidding? How can I possibly be having this conversation with myself? I’m crazy. I’m absolutely crazy. I’m bullying myself and I can’t possibly “out-think” myself. This is ridiculous. How can I make this stop?

Ocean Sunrise – April 2023

This type of conversation with myself could and would happen for 18+ hours a day. While I’m making breakfast or dinner, taking kids to school, folding laundry, watching TV, driving to an appt… just loops and loops and loops. When it’s really bad, I can’t seem to stop the conversation or thoughts. It keeps me awake at night thinking through worst case scenarios. It wakes me up, if I do get to sleep; and it’s really difficult to find something that distracts me from the rumination.

Now, I don’t actually hear voices and it’s all me; but I have felt like I’m warring against myself for as long as I can remember. It’s traumatic. Imagine feeling like you are in a battle or war for years and years and years. Imagine the mental gymnastics when you contemplate that it’s yourself that you are fighting against. How do you protect yourself from yourself? Is it even possible to do?

The ruminating could be about a conversation that I had with someone and parts of me are trying to convince me that I messed up and the other person thinks I’m awful. It could be about any health issue imaginable. It could be that one of my kids is sick. (That particular one is hard because one of my kids did get life threateningly sick and so I know that it’s a real possibility and not just an imaginary thought.) It could be that a neighbour is annoyed with us for some weird reason like my kid was too loud. Most of the things I worry about are either health or socially related. Once in a blue moon, I might have a bizarre thought, like the wheels of my car might all come off at once while I’m driving; but that’s ludicrous enough that I can laugh it off. The ones that are hardest to deal with are the ones with a tinge of truth or possibly reality to them. Those are particularly difficult to shake. I can’t just “logic” myself to not worry.

It’s exhausting. It’s like the alarm system in my brain is set to a hair trigger release and it fires at the slightest issue. Once it gets going, it’s so difficult to get it turned off.

I’m fortunate enough to currently be in a good space. I have the right meds on board. I’m fairly balanced and stable. I’m not currently in a state of rumination but, it also seems to cycle. Winters and our rainy season are particularly hard on my mental health but summers have been tough, too. I’ve had a number of summers where I seriously contemplated checking myself into a hospital because I could not get my mind to settle and it was so overwhelming that I could hardly cope.

Knowing that summers have been tough and knowing that summer is coming, I’m preparing as best I can. I’m doing as many “right things” as I can. Not in a frantic or panicked way, I’m just trying to make good choices. Eating better, getting enough sleep, exercise, journaling, therapy, medication, getting outside, practicing gratitude and staying present.

I wouldn’t say that any one thing is my magic elixir that makes everything all better; but each thing layers on top of an other and together they are more effective than any one thing on their own.

Part 3 tomorrow…don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions!


As someone who loves routine and thrives on organization and planning, coming home from 3 weeks on the road isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

But, I really enjoyed the time away. It was a change of pace, a change of scenery, a different lifestyle; and it was time spent with some of the people that I love the most in the whole entire world.

I can find and create routines anywhere; but that sacred time away together….it’s precious and not something that our typical fast paced world fosters.

Gia sleeping on the couch beside me

As we settle back into familiar routines and create new ones to serve us now, I’m aware of what we had in that time and space. It is a gift, a blessing. It’s not something to be taken for granted and in someways I’m missing it. A grieving, if you will. Not in a heartbroken or heart wrenching way but just a wistful awareness that our cherished time together is done.

In these moments, I purpose to look for the beauty in the world around me. Not to distract myself from my feelings; but to create a sense of balance within. To acknowledge that I can hold that duality of life that I mentioned previously. I can be both sad and happy. I can remember the past and look forward to the future. I can long for something and be satisfied within.

We took Gia for a walk yesterday and in the last couple of weeks, while we’ve been away, so many flowers have started to bloom. There is an incredible number of tulips in the gardens in our neighbourhood teeming with different color’s and varieties. Between the flowers blooming and the magnolia trees and cherry blossom trees, there is so much color and life. It’s extraordinarily gorgeous.

Tulips are one of my favourite flowers

It’s easy to become complacent and not really notice the beauty in our world because it’s there all the time. Sometimes, we need to purposefully choose to see the good so we can benefit from it. Our negativity biases can trap us in a loop and it’s not “natural” to see beyond that. We need to make a concerted effort to do things differently.

Daily art prompt – butterfly

If you are feeling discouraged or down or even if you just want to be more aware of the beauty around you and the things you have to be thankful for, I’d challenge you to take a month and either search out beautiful things each day or do a gratitude challenge. It will change you in the most amazing ways.

When you start focusing on the good and beautiful things in your life, you become so much more aware of all the things you have to be thankful for.

PS. My sourdough starter activated after 3 weeks in the fridge. So bubbly and happy. It might seem a silly thing but it makes me happy. I experience delight just seeing it double and knowing that it will soon be delicious bread to nourish my family.