What God Does

A year ago today, I got possession of my new home.

It's hard to believe.

One year ago I was in hiding. I knew nobody at my kids' school. I spent all of my money on therapy and security cameras and lawyers. My days were spent in tears and many nights I'd wake up screaming. I thought there would never be a time when I wouldn't feel broken.

It's interesting what happens when something seeks to destroy you: God steps in.

What was once a dark void has now been filled with people: people at the club, parents at the school, families at the ski hill, my boyfriend's circle of friends, extended family, and people in the Christian community at large. Most of these people are new in my life: unknown to me at this time last year. There have been miracles both big and small that defy rational explanation. I'm the most cynical person on the planet - especially after what happened - and even I'm filled with awe.

I've found a new church where I cry almost every Sunday because the music is so good, made friends with the excellent people at Crossroads, joined the social and membership committees at the club, met Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, decorated my new home, met Lisa Whelchel, gone to Italy, reconnected with a couple of dear long-time friends, gone to art school, finished writing a book, watched my children settle into a new community and thrive, painted my gazebo, met an amazing guy, possibly found a new calling (stay tuned), and, last but not least, adopted a champion French Bulldog who suits my personality to a T.

Last but not least, my eye…

I don't write this to brag; quite the opposite. I didn't do any of this. I wasn't able to do any of this.

And yet this is my life: good, solid, rich with possibility, and filled with love.

Because that, my friends, is what God does.

Something Wicker this way comes...

It's a winter wonderland in Oakville.

And time to decorate for Christmas. Last night, I was invited to a Christmas decor blogger shindig at Wicker Emporium. I've driven by the Oakville location several times but assumed they had only wicker baskets.

I was so wrong:

They have furniture and dishes and pillows and Christmas things galore, all at super reasonable prices. The always effervescent Lynn Spence was on hand to show us what to do with it all. 

 Love her! (I used to live one street over from her in Toronto. I can attest that she is stylish 24/7.)

Fun night and exactly what I needed yesterday.

[This is not a sponsored post. I only write what I want, when I want on this blog. But I got a little gift bag and won the wreath door prize (I'm on a door prize roll!) and was fed samosas, so - in the interest of full disclosure - I was treated very well!]

The Serious Post

So, I'm doing this EMDR thing. Apparently, on the outside, I look like a ubiquitous Oakville mum, but on the inside, I'm more like a traumatized soldier. I suppose Chanel and shearling is my version of camouflage. Once a week, I meet with a lovely therapist who cut her teeth in shelters and crisis centres and is amazing at what she does. For 90 minutes, I hold these little gizmos in my hands that stimulate bilateral thinking and talk about the thing that happened to me. At the end of the session, I pour out all the hurt back into a vessel (thanks to Bruxy's recent sermon, mine is the ritual stone washing jar that Jesus used to transform the water into wine) and cap it off for another week. It sounds very woo woo magic but so far, it's amazingly effective.

On EMDR days, I take it easy. I watch Nashville and let God know that in heaven I'll be expecting Connie Britton's hair. I watch Crimson Petal and the White, which seems like an odd thing for me to view given the circumstances but I remembered reading the book a dozen years ago and loving it. It's kind of mind-bending to revisit the material with such a different perspective: It makes feel wise. It also makes me want to soften. I will not become a Mrs. Castaway, the hardened madame who recalls the game she played with her young daughter to condition her for this corporeal life:
On the coldest winter night, I’d creep into your room while you were sleeping, all cuddled up in your blanket, and I’d pull it off. ... And I’d say, ‘That’s what God does.’ 
She's wrong, of course. It's not God who's the thief in the night. It's God who puts the blanket back on.

I'm also reading The Goldfinch. I adore Donna Tartt. I was a double major in English and Classics when The Secret History was published in 1992 and I was hooked. This is my favourite book of hers so far - Dickensian in theme and tone, with a deftly modern style. It's gorgeous and bridges the isolation I sometimes feel even though I'm surrounded by lovely people. As the protagonist points out, most people have "zero idea what it was like for a plank to snap so it was all gone in a minute." It's nice to have someone else on the voyage, fictional or otherwise.

Such seriousness! I was unsure whether or not to share these less glossy parts of my life. Of course it was the sharing of the less glossy parts that drew me to blogging in the first place, way back in 2003. Has it been a decade? Goodness.

It's not all dire, of course. I also manage to go to hockey parties and on Niagara wine tours:

I've had the chance to celebrate the birthdays of two of my favourite people in the world. I modelled ski wear at the ladies lunch (to which I wore a skirt from the local Melanie Lynne at the mall with my fox collar and Roger Vivier pumps - the hi/lo mix made me feel deliciously subversive.)

I attended a school fundraiser and came home with lots of goodies including the chocolate and Prosecco door prize. Sometimes God knows how to answer your needs in simple ways.

And I went shopping for Italian footwear:

Yes, those are some sexy Dalbellos n'est pas?

Stay warm, lovelies.

Dwell on these things

We like:

French bulldogs (esp Foxmoor Petite Chérie)
Chanel Jumbo Flap bags
Cipriani Venice
Wood-burning fireplaces
Emma Bridgewater
Roger Vivier
Critical Thinking
Donna Tartt
Marian Keyes
Charlotte Olympia
A smart jacket
Coronation Street
Wes Anderson movies
A stiff drink
Recycled fur

Old houses
Worship music
Victoria Magazine
TV Movies of the Week
Fortuny silk
The Oakville Club
Afternoon tea
Tennis whites
Chanel Rouge Coco in Gabrielle
Dorothy Parker
Small plate dining
Witty dinner companions
Salt and vinegar chips
The politically incorrect
Redemption stories
Whit Stillman
Blue and white china
A good man in a storm

Two types of good

Saturday Bliss involved 6 yards of silk taffeta, triple strand baroque pearls, lace t-strap dancing shoes, and a dapper beau in black tie.

(The OTMH Candlelight Ball was lovely!)

Monday Bliss involved kids tucked in, coffee and Baileys poured, and watching An American in Paris on TCM. 

Grateful for it all. 

Christmas Traditions: The Nutcracker Ballet

Every year, I take my daughter to see the Nutcracker. (I took my youngest son once, but he loudly complained that there was too much dancing...