Incredible Summer

Hey friends,

It’s been a busy summer! I firstly want to say thank you to everyone who stuck around to hear about my stories and keep in touch! It means a lot that you listen to me and send me encouraging messages.

The last time I wrote was in February, in the middle of a tough winter. For months after my move to Ottawa I was terribly homesick, and visiting home filled me so with many emotions that going back to Ottawa felt sorrowful each time. Distance from my family felt like part of my heart got stuck on home and the bus was stretching and tearing it away. But God has done some truly incredible things since then.

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First of all, winter ended, FINALLY. It’s been one of the hottest summers in a long time, and maybe that’s because my place doesn’t have, A/C… but it’s been toasty. I’ve spent the spring and summer going on tons of adventure walks with André, eating at new mom-and-pop restaurants, and experiencing some truly magical days.

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My parents came up for a weekend visit in May and we went for a walk through the Tulip festival. Talk about romantic, breathtaking, and beautiful! My heart was so full going on that double date together. I love my parents so much, so getting to show them around a couple gorgeous parts of the city was really enjoyable. I remember one evening it was raining and we put on a movie, squeezed the four of us to sit on my queen bed, and relaxed. It was probably the only time my apartment felt like a home.

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Then one of my best friends came up for Canada Day weekend, and we had some of the most meaningful talks I’ve had in a long time. My sister and her boyfriend were also visiting so a group of us explored the busy, exciting Byward Market and saw street performers, had a nice lunch at Dunn’s, and then sat in a huge field to watch the fireworks. Those were some of the best fireworks I’ve ever seen in my life.

To top it off, my friend, André and I were pleasantly surprised that the park transformed into an EDM show! DJ Miss Shelton came on stage after Charlotte Cardin did her thing before the fireworks, and our sober little trio danced until the concert ended. André even put me up on his shoulders!

I’ll never forget that weekend.

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At the end of July, André and I decided to go to the Calypso Water Park! We had such a blast on a bunch of slides and in the wave pool and lazy river, and got a little sunburned too, despite our frequent sunblock application. That long day in the water was more than I could’ve asked for that day, but then it got even better.

When we got back from the park and went to dinner, the most magical moment happened. After a perfect date night, too beautiful to simplify in type-written words, he proposed. Moon high in the sky, water flowing under the bridge, strangers walking past with huge grins as they realized what was going on.

A ring was on my finger, the love of my life was in my arms, and I suddenly felt a wave of excited peace wash over me as tears of joy poured out of my eyes.

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Everything is falling into place in Ottawa. This move was the scariest, most unlikely thing I’ve ever done, and yet in less than a year, so many wonderful things have developed:

I’m full of gratitude towards the church members here who pray for me, and take an interest in my life and my family.

I’m grateful for the mentors who prepared André and I for such an important decision.

I’m grateful for our families and friends who provided the assurance that everything would work out in time.

I’m grateful for my roommates who make this apartment feel safe and comfortable.

And I’m grateful that I get to walk side by side with André for the rest of our lives, trusting God in all we do, and striving to love each other through His example. What a calling. What an honour and a privilege. What a blessing I do not deserve.

This is what always happens when we surrender to God. He gives us better things than we try to get by ourselves. He protects us when we stray and guides us back to the safety of His arms. He loves us even when we forget about Him and get distracted in superficial things.

And when we’re unsure of what is behind the next door, He surprises us with more grace than we deserve.

xx
Sarah

Gratitober: Entry 29, 30, 31

It’s the last day of October, and you’re all getting a special last-minute, procrastinated three-part gratitude list! Yaaayyyyy (@ making failures sound epic). This month has been full of SO MUCH reflection. Reflection of self, others, circumstances, past, present, and future. I’ve worked through some old ways of thinking, changed my perspective a couple times, realized that patience is something you develop with time, and was reminded of how extremely valuable the close people in my life are to me. I started the month in Ottawa, and pretty much ended it there, too. Some things came full circle, while others will never be the same again. A lot of good happened, and some really tough things, too, but I’m really happy to share my last three entries…

29. I’m grateful that gratitude can be chosen every day.

It sure can. Regardless of circumstances, or where you are in life, you can still choose to see life through rose-coloured glasses. And to me, there’s nothing wrong with that. Sure, it means you can get hurt and mislead easily. Sure, it means that you have to work extra hard to figure out who you should trust and who you shouldn’t. Sure, it means that you’ll have your party rained on a few times. But you get to carry a little joy with you every single day, because you choose to see the world as a place where dreams can actually come true, and where things can always get better.

30. I’m grateful that God accomplishes what I cannot.

God’s had my back this whole month. There were times I second guessed it but truthfully I know it’s true. He has answered so many of my prayers, sometimes by making me wait, and refusing to let me have things I thought I wanted. He’s opened my eyes and changed my understanding by loading me with wisdom. He’s helped me realize that even if you keep your heart soft, you should still be smart, and that there’s a nice safe balance between the two. He’s brought me new friendships and connections, opportunities to explore and have quality time with dear friends, and keeps loving me through the protective yet encouraging nature of my family. He’s moved me out of one path, and set me onto a different one, accomplishing what I never would’ve been able to do on my own.

31. I’m grateful for October 2017.

This month has been indescribably challenging spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, but I have been tremendously blessed through it. October 2017 was a transition month, and I’m excited to see where God will take me in November, and December, and in 2018. I’m ready.