Thursday, March 20, 2014

Growing Pains

Nothing could have prepared me for how much my heart would grow in these first few months of being Zoe's Momma. I remember reading the articles and the books prior, arrogantly scoffing at the moms who admitted to wearing puked-on t-shirts and yoga pants all day, the moms who had Cheerios in their hair and who hadn't showered in two days. "I will NEVER be that mom!" I assured myself.

Because Zoe is such a good baby, I thankfully have managed so far (knock on wood!) to maintain a somewhat pristine semblance of personal hygiene. Amazingly, she is a baby who sleeps through the night, so if I feel overly tired, it's usually my fault for staying up too late with my Hubster watching The Food Network. Cheerios haven't entered Zoe's menu plan yet, but it is true that there are days when I go through more wardrobe changes than she does. Not only do I get puked on, but apparently what comes out the other end can be projectile as well. And yoga pants - they're like sexy sweat pants, right? Comfort and style combined!

While pregnant, I remember fearfully pondering whether or not I was cut out to be a mom. See, there is a difference between WANTING to be a mom, and KNOWING you can be a mom. Diapers revolted me. Kids can't have intelligent conversations. And personal sacrifice was akin to hacking off my arm. I got my first reassurance that maybe I could do this thing called motherhood at my first ultrasound. The grey and white blob floating on the screen waved one of its stubby little arms at me and a lump formed in my throat and my eyes actually misted.

Before I knew it, that little grey and white blob made an entrance in our world and turned it upside down. One of the first days home, I called both my mom and my mother-in-law. They both asked me how things were going and it was all I could do to choke out "Fine!" before dissolving into hacking sobs. How did they do it? What does it mean when a baby's cry sounds like a screaming fire truck? How about when it sounds like a hysterical hyena? Or a piercing yelp that was at such a decibel that surely only dogs could hear it? "I don't know what I'm doing!" I wailed.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful mother-in-law, who said, "You're doing great, Jenny Girl! Zoe has no one to compare you to. You're the only Momma she has ever had, so when you don't know what you're doing and you feel uncertain, she still loves you!" While at the time, my mother-in-law's advice seemed daunting (I was the only Momma Zoe was going to have! She relies on me for everything! YIKES!), now I look back on it and cherish the fact that "YES! I am Zoe's Momma and she needs me! I am the world to her and she loves me!" 

The first few weeks, at the time, felt like years during which I never slept while battling an aching body and roller coaster hormones, seemed to have slipped through my fingers. Now I want time to stand still. I want to always be able to nuzzle the back of Zoe's neck, just to get a whiff of sweet baby smell. I want to always be able to kiss the soft little bald spot on the back of her head where all her hair rubbed off. I want to always be able to sing "You Are My Sunshine" to wake her up, knowing I will be rewarded with happy squeals and the cutest giggle. I want her smile to always be toothless and gummy just because it's so darn cute!

But that's not how it goes. Change doesn't wait for me to catch up. It just happens. And now, things that Zoe wasn't able to do last month, last week, even yesterday, are the things that I'm loving about her today. I don't know if she will ever fully understand how much I love her - not until she is a momma of her own. I know that is how it was for me - motherhood helped me realize how selfless and loving my own mom was as I grew up. Until then, I know that I'm going to mess up. I'm going to let myself, and maybe even Zoe, down. But I'm going to try my best. There will be growing pains, but isn't there always when love is stretched to new heights and deepened to new depths?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


As I was cleaning up Christmas this afternoon, I stumbled across an old journal that was tucked away in a forgotten box. I have always been a keeper of journals. I have my Mum to thank for that - from an early age, she instilled in me the important power of words. Mum constantly reminded me that there are lessons to be learned from reading about your past struggles and former dreams - that someday, when looking back at my memoirs, I would grimace, or cheer, or cry, or laugh with my younger self.

Today, as I turned pages of girlish ramblings in my forgotten journal, I stumbled across one entry that struck me as humbling, an idea that I needed to be reminded of in this new year. It's not often that when looking through old journals, I find something that I want to share. Mostly, I cringe at my near-sightedness, or I blush at my simplicity. However, today I want to share an excerpt that still rings true some five years later....

September 22, 2007

"I can't recall whether her name was Eleanora or not, but I know that she was definitely the last person whose hair I wanted to cut and style. She was big and slovenly looking. A long scar stretched across her mouth that made it difficult to speak and swallow. Her hair was thin and greasy. After having scrubbed and shampooed her hair, her scalp still smelled horrible and it was the most disgusting yellow colour. She made me want to gag. I had completely run out of genuine pleasantries for Eleanora before even half of her hair cut was done. And then I heard how she had been diagnosed with cancer in June, which prohibited her from having a proper shower or bathing of any sorts. This was the first time that she was able to come back to the salon to have her hair done in months. She was so excited to cling to the one hope of fleeting femininity. The cancer had deformed and bloated her beyond attractive recognition. And yet, Eleanora was like a young girl, excited about curls and bows and princess-like fantasies. As she sat under the dryer, I went into the bathroom to scrub my hands of the filthy, greasy feeling her hair left. The last thing I really wanted to do was run my fingers through Eleanora's hair. Then it hit me. For so long, I had been praying that the Lord would give me a servant's heart. And God loved Eleanora. She was a beautiful princess in His eyes. He loved the sick. He healed the lepers. He was a servant. Guilt washed over me as I thought of how insensitive I had been to a truly broken woman. As I combed out Eleanora's curls, I took on the servant's heart. I overlooked her peeling scalp, her disfigured face, the smell that permeated her whole being. In the end, she turned towards me and barely whispered, "You're such a dear. Isn't it so encouraging when we meet followers of the Lord?" I didn't know what to say. I smiled and looked at the woman who had transformed into an angel sent from God to remind me that His love extends to every Eleanora this world knows."

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Beginnings to Old Things

A new year means new resolutions. I've never been a keeper of resolutions. I don't like to be limited to obligations that remain unfulfilled by the time next January rolls around. BUT, this year, I've decided to take a shot at being resolute. (Perhaps my first resolve should be to faithfully attend to my blog? Anyone notice how it has been over a year since I've posted on here?) Perhaps its foolish to make my intentions for 2013 public.  However, knowing that I am at least accountable to a smattering of blog followers means that the chances of my resolutions being accomplished are slightly higher than if I kept the list muddled up in the back corners of my mind. So, here it goes...
  1. Two thousand and thirteen will be the year that I write more. Whether I write one sentence in my tattered Moleskin journal, whether I tap out a blog post, or whether I hunker down with my silly imagination and scratch out a story, this is the year that I will write. Today, alone, I have been encouraged on three separate occasions by three separate people to write. Being reminded of something that once was a passion and that has now fallen by the wayside is sad. And so, I am going to tap into that wordy creativity that used to possess an awkward teenage girl, and I am going to write. 
  2. I came across my box of oil paints, tucked away in a dusty suitcase that was shoved carelessly behind bins of Christmas decorations. Three months from now, my Husby and I will be proud owners of our  first home.
    Me, standing in front of the "shell" of our townhouse
     With our first home comes walls and walls of blank space, waiting for pictures to be hung. I used to paint and draw and sketch. Painting, along with writing, is something that has long flown out the window. However, I'm determined that this is the year that I will paint at least ONE piece of artwork to hang on our newly acquired wall space. 
  3. Eating locally has always been important to us, however, over the past couple of months, our busy schedules have loaned themselves more to frozen pizza and 5-ingredients-or-less-in-30-minutes-or-less kind of meals. In 2013, I want to be more aware of what we are eating. Though I seem to have a love/hate relationship with my itty-bitty-dysfunctional-postage-stamp-size-kitchen, I am going to purpose to spend more time in there, experimenting with ingredients from our local farmer's market.
    My itty-bitty-dysfunctional-postage-stamp-size-kitchen. Not exactly enough space for culinary magic.
    Maybe (if I remember to write!!!) I will share a few recipes that I have stumbled upon. 
  4. Our church has recently been doing a sermon series on what it means to be a disciple within our church body and surrounding community. My prayer is that this is the year that I will stop and spend more time listening to the needs of those around me - that I will look for ways to reach out to others, to be a friend to those who need a friend, and to be a disciple of Christ in the less glamorous situations around me daily. 
  5. I want to become more aware of how I spend, or rather, waste my time. Lately, it has become very apparent that there are many things that I allow myself to "indulge" in for hours on end...Facebook, Pinterest, the Ikea website, Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest....Before I know it, I raise my bleary eyes from my computer screen to the clock on the wall and realize that a good couple of hours has just slipped through my fingers. Perhaps I need to take one day a week where I remain "unplugged." Or maybe I need to limit myself to an allotment of time each day - nothing more, nothing less.
Some of these resolutions may be easier than others. Some may take a bit more courage and confidence, while others will cause me to gain a more inward, quiet grasp of what is important. When written out, these ideas seem like a tall order.Then again, it is 2013, and I have only ONE 2013 to live. Here's to making the best of it! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Food Inc.

Like 50% of the population, we have jumped on the "eating healthier" bandwagon for the new year. For us, however, it is not about trying to loose weight, appear thinner, or to become more buff. (That being said - we wouldn't turn those results down! :) ) Rather, we were inspired to change the way we eat after watching the controversial documentary "Food Inc."

Want to have your eyes opened? I suggest you watch this documentary. You will never look at food (specifically meat) the same. Whether you change the way you eat after this movie, is up to you. But, I promise that when you pick up a package of chicken breasts on sale for $10.99 you will think again. (And I was as big a culprit as any when it came to a good "deal" in the meat section at the grocery store.) "Food Inc" sheds light on the United States food supply - how it is controlled by a few corporations who keep personal profit at the forefront of their mind, while dropping all concern for the consumer's health. The consumer is not the only individual who suffers from these heavy handed corporations. Food Inc. exposes the truth behind these corporations and the environment, the way they treat animals, the lack of protected worker's rights, and the dismemberment of the "small town" farmer. (Granted, Canadian standards are different from the USA, however, they really are NOT that much different. For instance, just take a minute, when you're next in your grocery store, and see exactly how much of the produce is from Canada. It will startle you.)

Consequently, J and I have decided to be more careful with what we put in our mouths. Since we are both carnivorous individuals, this will not mean we will give up eating meat entirely. However, we plan on making sure we know where our meat is coming from. We want to know that the animals are treated properly, that they are not pumped full of growth hormones, that they are grass fed (opposed to corn fed, which causes E-coli bacteria in many animals), and that the workers are treated fairly.

So, how does this affect our diet? Let me introduce you to "Meat Mondays." On Mondays we eat meat (organic). Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we don't. Why do we not eat meat on the other days of the week? Personally, for J and I, it is to keep us mindful of what we are putting in our mouths. Also, our grocery bill is significantly skinnier now that we've left the pork chops, chicken breasts, and ground beef in the cooler. We've pledged to follow this routine for one month only, to simply see how we can tough it out. However, once February rolls around, we may find that our bellies are happier, our consciences are clearer, and our bank account a little richer. Maybe we'll keep at it. (Or, and let's be realistic here, maybe we'll just be craving that steak, or grilled chicken breast, or whatever it may be.) Whether we decide to revert back to our carnivorous ways or to continue on with our more "leafy" substitute, our choices on where our food comes from are going to be drastically different.

We'll keep you posted on how this journey goes! Wish us luck!

P.S. Lunch today was Black Bean-Smothered Sweet Potatoes and Stuffed Portobello with Balsamic Reduction....and trust me, it was anything but boring! Stay tuned for the recipes and pictures coming up!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas...

Christmas has hit the Feddema household with a vengence. About three weeks ago. I do realize that it is only the first week of December, but Christmas is my favourite time of year. My railing is wrapped in snowy, glittery greenery, red stockings already fat with stuffers plunging from the garland. Bing Crosby is crooning "White Christmas" in the background. My tree glints and glows from the corner. The aromas of nutmeg and cinnamon waft from the kitchen as I take an eggnog loaf from the oven. My Christmas shopping is done...waiting to be wrapped (the only thing I hate about Christmas).

It's just that time of year when everything seems magical, possible, forgivable, lovable. We get wrapped up in the smells, the sights, the traditions, the memories, the songs, the gifts, the future. As a Christian, it's hard to remember to "keep the reason for the season." We, too, get distracted with the glitter, the lights, the show of it all. But let's take a moment, this Christmas season, to think of Christmas from our Father's perspective...

The birth of Jesus in a barn stall was anything but magical - and yet, it was. It was the birth that breathed ultimate forgiveness, unconditional love and unfathomable possibilities for the Christian world. Close your eyes to imagine it all. While we smell gingerbread and holly, 2000 years ago, the only smell would have been of hay and manure. We marvel at the way people decorate their homes with lights and garlands and trees; God marveled from above at the sight of His Son brought forth - completely human, completely perfect, with ten little fingers and ten little toes. We reminisce of traditions and memories of Christmases past, while 2000 years ago, our Father savoured the moment of love between mother and Son. Gustily, we sing "Joy to the World," "Frosty the Snowman," and "Deck the Halls" with well-spirited fervor. God sent the choirs of the heavens, 2000 years ago, to serenade the hillsides of sleepy Bethlehem. With expectation, stress, and excitement, we pick out the perfect gifts, meanwhile, God knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that His Son was THE perfect Gift. On Christmas day, the future seems so bright ahead of us. To the Father, 2000 years ago, He saw the future - He saw the nail-printed hands and the blood-stained brow and the redeeming love.

Time dulls the intimacy of the real Christmas. Yet, if you stop to listen for just a moment amidst the hustle and bustle, I'm sure, instead of the tap of reindeers hooves upon your rooftop, you will hear the song of a Father's love resonating through the ages.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Make a Joyful Noise

Today I took a hesitant, nervous walk down memory lane. Just last week, I enrolled myself in The Beckett School of Music in Kitchener, hoping to reacquaint myself with my trumpet, which has silently accumulated a layer of dust in my closet.

It has been over four years since I have seriously played. Previously, I had studied music in University, spending hours cooped up in a practice room, playing until it felt like my lips would fall off. For all the physical pain and monotony of scales, there was nothing quite like the feeling of getting on stage and playing before thousands of people. Fellow band members were closer than family and the exhilaration of hearing a piece come to life was indescribable.

Playing a university level was likely the most challenging hurdle that I've tried to overcome. Within my first lesson, it was discovered that my embouchure ( the use of facial muscles and the shaping of the lips to the mouthpiece of woodwind instruments or the mouthpiece of the brass instruments) was completely wrong. My range of notes I could reach was deemed insufficient. I played too tensely. I attacked the notes. Before long, my fortitude crumbled and I began to doubt myself as a musician. It was because of these reasons, that I gently put my trumpet back in its case, closed the lid, and shoved it to not only the back of my closet, but to the back of my mind. For four years my trumpet sat there, only to be dragged out dutifully for Christmas and Easter celebrations at church.

However, the part of me that was passionate about the art of music never died. Those feelings lay dormant inside of me. I believe if it wasn't for J, who told me time and again, to not let that talent die, I would never have unearthed my instrument. And today, I did it. I could barely eat all day. All I could think of was my lesson, looming ahead of me.

I sat on a hard pew bench within the school, my palms sweaty, waiting for my teacher (who turned out to be late). I could smell the metallic of brass, the dusty sheet music, the valve oil spilled on old carpets, and it was euphoric. The lesson was 45 minutes long - probably the fastest 45 minutes of my life. I had been prepared for the worst. I was ready to hear things re-iterated about my lack of skill. My teacher, on the other hand, had high words of praise, deeming me "quite an accomplished player" by the end of the lesson. Of course there are kinks and quirks to work out of the system. My teacher acknowledged that yes, my embouchure was different than perfect form, however, not unable to be worked with. My range was somewhat limited, but the clarity of my notes was excellent. It was true that I somewhat attacked the notes, but my style was lyrical and full of emotion.

I left the lesson today, walking on a cloud. Taking back what I have lost will be a lot of work. My trumpet, though, now sits in the middle of my bedroom floor, where I will have to step over it every time as a constant reminder.

(Want to check out some amazing female trumpet players: Alison Balsom:; Tine Thing Helseth:; Cindy Bradley:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stylist Sisters

Most people would say that they have a close relationship with their hairstylist. Some would view their stylist as a friend, a confidant, even a therapist. They are the one person who you can count on to not only massage your scalp, style your hair, and update your looks, but also to give you completely undivided attention and a listening ear.

I'm lucky enough to have approximately six stylists like that. Having worked as a hairstylist myself, it's only natural that a fair number of my friends are also my former co-workers. These girls have been there for me during the normal and the mundane, but also for the shining moments:

Last night, I had the opportunity to sit in the stylist chair and let Cristina work her magic on my hair. It's always a strange feeling for me to be the "client" and not the "stylist" at the salon where I previously worked. (Check it out here: and ) At the same time, however, it's like no time has passed. We talk "shop." We gossip. We laugh together. We pray. Sometimes we cry.

These girls, who are more sisters to me than anything else, are timeless friends.