The Year I Left My Church

One year ago in September, I left my church. I started going to church {The Salvation Army} every Sunday from the time I was one week old, until I was almost 26 years old. Some people take a gap year between high school and university-to find themselves, to adventure; that has never been my personality. I am goal based and goal driven. I enjoy picking a goal and working towards it.

I have very much hesitated sharing this story because it is hard to correctly depict my emotions and growth. My heart rate is quickening as I type. Sharing your faith, and sharing your resolve is a tricky thing. I know it is likely many people won’t agree with me- but I have¬†also learned that that is okay. Stick with me [despite the wandering thoughts] even if you aren’t religious, we all have our ‘spiritual selves’. It is a pillar in our wellness, regardless of what we believe, and I think [and hope] that most people can relate. I hope to hear feedback from many walks of spirituality and belief. Not solely my own. My hope is for a dialogue. I also hope that if you are one of those people who ‘hate christians’, maybe we can seek understanding from one another.ūüôā

Initially I left my church out of frustration, hurt, bitterness, feeling lost. If you have followed my blog, last fall my husband and I also discontinued fertility treatments, grieving the loss of the dream to have biological children. It forced me to assess myself.  If this is it for the rest of my life, is this ENOUGH? [the infamous words tattooed into my wrist] Are my beliefs ENOUGH? Are my morals ENOUGH? Am I living in a world where I am doing ENOUGH? Is this person I am NOW, ENOUGH?

I think when a lot of people hear you are a Christian, they associate it with criticism, guilt, hypocrisy, judgement. I AM a Christian, and have¬†felt these same emotions. I left my church because I was critically assessing my own morals and beliefs, and I felt misrepresented. I didn’t want to live in a world where people felt I was judging their lives. I didn’t want to live in a world where other’s hate depicted how accepted people I love felt by me.

I left my church believing that my spirituality was based on me, and my personal relationship with Christ was between him and I. I left feeling squandered by a human expectation, when my only expectation should have been from Christ.

I still believe this, utmost, but I understand it in a new way now. We are each responsible for how the world sees us. Are you going to accept love, or personal resolve? I believe in a Christ who loves. Widely, and openly. Strongly and fiercely. Unconditionally.

Community was my first huge challenge. Having grown up in the church, I had a huge community within the church. Attending other churches, and ultimately another church which I chose was incredibly hard. How do you make friends as an adult? Do we choose when we make friends? Do we unconsciously choose not to connect in some settings, but connect wildly in others because of ‘cliques’, or because we are ultimately searching?
I dare to say, we choose the connection we need. Ultimately, we are selfish beings. If a group of people isn’t filling a part of our lives we need, why waste the time to get emotionally involved. Vulnerability isn’t easy. I don’t think we pick our communities out of convenience. I think we pick them out of need.

I personally witnessed so much heart ache in my community this year. It really solidified to me that these were ‘my people’. These were the people I chose to be vulnerable with. While for the most part, this community was still in my life, as a christian, to be vulnerable in worship was a huge missing piece. I developed a greater urgency to depend deeply on the people I loved. Our time is fleeting, where was I going to spend mine?

If we aren’t being challenged, we aren’t changing. Change.¬†Don’t we all hate change?
I was challenged to change, and it was at times painful. Other times my soul overflowed with joy. I was challenged to really understand every aspect of why I personally believe what I believe. Why do I practice what I practice? Because I was told to, or because I believe it. #1, I believe in a personal relationship with Christ. It seemed so complicated at the time, and it took me an entire year to realize, it is SO incredibly simple. Humans are great at complicating things. Faith and spirituality is really SO simple. What to you pick to share your soul with? I choose forgiveness, acceptance, unconditional love. If I expect others to believe it to be that simple, I must actively choose forgiveness, acceptance, and unconditional love. Inwardly and outwardly.

Understanding. Absolutely no person is with without fault. So why are we so harsh on each other? Why are we so quick to tell others what they are doing wrong? Why is it so difficult to encourage, and seek understanding?
To me, this is the problem with guilt-based faith. I believe if you seek out good, and justice, the bad in the world falls away in the fight. In my personal faith, I believe in repentance, which is essentially acknowledging ¬†you are wrong, and that you can’t do it by yourself. Seeking goodness through Christ. Even if you don’t believe in Christ, are you seeking goodness somewhere? Or are you seeking hostility?
We all believe differently, and isn’t that such a beautiful, glorious thing!!!! Can you imagine this world if all the questions were answered, and we answered them all the same? While choosing to leave bitterness behind, and to seek understanding of others [even the ones that drive me UP THE WALL] I am finding peace. I am finding self assurance. None of us ‘have it all together’. No faith or belief system ‘has all the answers’. It is part of being human. It’s the joy in being human-we get to SEEK answers.

Finally, I learned the importance of resolving to be extraordinary.

Of being the friend you long for….

Of loving as passionately as you long to be loved….

Of accepting as freely as you hope to be accepted….

Of perpetuating JUSTICE in an unjust world…

This world is a messy place. We are all so privilege to have the hours, days, months, years left that we have. So many are denied the privilege of growing, learning, doubting, leaping, changing.

So whether you are a christian, an atheist, or another faith; I think my prevailing thought is to make sure you are living with authenticity. Every walk of life has hypocrisy, but I really think hypocrisy comes from expectations. What expectations do we have for ourselves, and do we have them because we think we should live a certain way, or do we have them because we are living our true authentic selves?

Live the YOU you want to be now. Don’t wait. I waited 26 years, and the freedom that comes¬†from questioning the things you have always believed to be true is insane.

[Special thanks to S.R. Thank you for continuing to befriend me, challenge me, help me grow, and most importantly listen to be ramble on about my life mustering all year, as I have been trying to ‘figure it all out’]

Holidays: celiac, dairy/egg/nut free style!

Happy Thanksgiving!


My favourite holiday.

Yesterday my mom [dad had to stay home sick], her best friend + family and my best friend + financee joined us for a turkey dinner, making for 10 of us total.

Hosting holiday meals enables me to eat without having to be meticulous/ feasting on only vegetables (If another restaurant offers me salad with oil and vinegar implying that it is a real meal, I will probably loose it on them). I also find cooking cathartic.
[besides the fact that our stupid oven only has one rack]

A delicious turkey dinner really can be prepped in only one hour in the morning, and one hour pre-feast. I would suggest getting up to do all of your prep in the am, then near meal time when you are busy mashing potatoes and making gravy you have little to do.

Our menu this year and how I altered it to be suitable to my dietary needs[everything is approximate as I did not measure]:

Turkey– defrosted two days in advance, I woke around 0730 to prepare the bird for the oven to be ready at 1700. I cleared out it’s guts, and then prepared it’s massage oil: aprox. 1/2 a cup of vegan butter [Costco has a brand containing soy, or earth balance has soy free], about a tbsp of salt, about 1/2 tbsp poultry seasoning, 1 tsp dried parsley, 2 tsp garlic powder, combined.
**Please remember if you are celiac or cooking for a celiac to check the poultry seasoning’s ingredients, all are not the same. The no-name brand at Sobey’s is gluten free. Spices only.**

I threw a chopped up apple (core and all, you won’t be eating it), 4 whole cloves of garlic and a hacked up onion in the cavity of the bird, choosing to cook the stuffing separately for more even cooking [ie; no dry meat-stuffing sucks the moisture out of the meat, and also retains the core temperature low, for longer, causing the outside of the bird to over cook].

Next I sliced a tiny slit to separate the skin from the breast of the bird, and massaged aprox. half of the massage oil into it’s flesh. Then I replaced the skin, and did the same with the entire outside of the bird.

Popped her in the oven at 325 degrees F covered in tin foil, 6 hours and 30 minutes later, all areas were at a perfect 85 degree celsius {I got a fancy new meat thermometer which would beep when approaching perfection- if you don’t have one the correct cooking time for poultry is 15 minutes per pound of fresh or defrosted meat, adding up to 50% the time if frozen. My bird’s core remained slightly frozen still (0 degrees C in the centre, 1 degree near the surface), even 48 hours later taking only 1 extra hour to reach safe eating temperature}. This brought us to 1430 which was too early for dinner so I wrapped the bird in tin foil, and then covered with dish towels to retain the heat-she was still PIPPING hot by dinner time.


I know what you are thinking “Turkeys are so much work! You have to baste, and brine and BLAH BLAH BLAH….”

Nope, I don’t baste. I’ve heard it doesn’t actually make a difference [from food¬†TV and personal experience]. Brining scares me with a 20-something pound bird and keeping correct storage temps so I didn’t do that either. The turkey was moist, and flavourful despite all of this.

Turkey Gravy– A total flop in my opinion. No one complained, but I think they were just being polite. I used the drippings from the bird, and just combined them with a gluten free mix (clubhouse). HUGE mistake.
Traditionally I would use a bit of corn starch, the drippings, garlic, salt, and the good old fashioned bubble until thick method….but I decided not to due to the amount of people at my house and felt I would get distracted from it with visiting and it would be lumpy. Next year, back to old faithful. The mix was gross in my opinion.
** Note: all gluten free gravies will become jello as leftovers due to the corn starch. Just heat it up and it will melt just wonderfully**

Mashed Potatoes– peeling optional (I usually don’t for added vitamin content, but know your audience, I peeled them this time) boil them up until soft, drain, add a huge spoon of vegan butter- I would approximate 1 tbsp for every two potatoes, dried parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper and throw into the kitchen aid mixer until smooth. I made such a huge batch this year I had to do many batches in the mixer-became impatient, and thus some of the taters are lumpy.
Patience. My husband always tells me I have none of that…. whatever that is….

Balsamic Shaved Brussel Sprouts– I bought a few bags of¬†pre shaved brussel sprouts for ease on cooking day, drizzled them in honey garlic balsamic and olive oil and baked at 325F until they were slightly crispy. Meh. I’ll slice my own sprouts next time. These were too fine for baking.

Corn– frozen, boiled, bam!

Roast Carrots– local farm carrots, sliced up (left the skins on, vitamins people!), mixed with EVOO and salt and then spread thinly on an oven tray and baked at 325F for one hour (until the edges are becoming caramelized. Had I not made the turkey so early, I would have thrown these into the turkey pan in the last two hours of roasting for a better flavour.

Stuffing– 1 bag of vegan gluten free bean bread cubes from The Griffin takeaway + 1 half cubed loaf of The Northern Bakehouse bread + aprox. 1/3 cup melted vegan butter, 1 boullion chunk (not all are made equal, Knorr Homestyle Boullion is the only GF one at my grocery store) ¬†+1 cup water, poultry seasoning and garlic to taste, 5 stalks of celery sliced thinly, one apple diced finely, one carrot diced finely and then mixed up with your hands in a big bowl, packed into a pan, covered with tin foil ¬†and baked at 325F for 40 minutes. Next time I would add 1/2 cup more broth water as some bits of bean bread weren’t as soft as I would have liked. Otherwise I think this one was a success.

Cranberries– from a can, good ol’ Ocean’s Spray brand. I was expecting up to 14 guests, and the nostalgia from my childhood makes me prefer these to home made anyways. Maybe one day I’ll make them again… [if you want to: cook up fresh cranberries + white sugar + lemon juice + chia seeds+ only enough water to keep the bottom of the pot wet until it resembles jam. All to taste of course-thanksgiving is about cooking from your soul, not a book. Been there, done that. It tastes good…but nothing beats the gelatinous can-shaped ones. HA!]

Rolls– Gluten-full from the grocery store [which no one ate, so I will just skip next time and be 100% GF], and gluten free from The Northern Bakehouse brand.

Sparkling Juice and Cranberry¬†Gingerale¬†provided by our guests [most of whom don’t drink alcohol]

Vegan Pumpkin Pie and Spiced Whip Topping [ordered from The Griffin Takeaway; an amazing gluten free bakery in Saskatoon, and brought by some of our guests] + Vegan Ice-cream by So Delicious brand (and regular vanilla for non-dairy free guests)


***Take caution, The Griffen Takeaway is NOT nut free, but they take allergies and cross contamination seriously. I have never had any reactions ordering their food. Buy at your own risk…. But also…:) Live a little. ***

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

I am thankful for: a job which challenges me, a supportive family, my loving husband, the oodles of caring supportive wonderful friends in my life, and you sweet sweet blog readers! 



Here I am. Awake at 0700 on a Sunday morning, having worked some of the most difficult shifts of my career thus far in the last seven days; and yet…img_1537

The world is beautiful.

The leaves are freshly fallen, colours of burnt auburn, pumpkin and yellow canary.

Sunshine glistens through the trees; a new day, a fresh start.

Tea billowing, flowing with steam.

Flannel pyjamas against my skin; soft, warm, seasonal.

Acoustic covers play list catching the melodies of my soul.

There is so much beauty in this world.

Hold whom you love tight, take risks, love recklessly, dance like no one is watching.

Live passionately.

As the song says;

This is your life, what are you waiting for?

Today I am grateful for:

Incredibly supportive, hard-working, kick-butt, passionate friend-workers [co-worker friends].

I have everything I NEED.

The gateway music opens in my soul.



Moving On From Self Doubt

Yesterday I ran the EY River Run Classic Half Marathon.

This was my first ever half marathon, back in August of 2011. (above)
I had just finished nursing school, just started my dream job as an emergency RN, just got married, and was in the best shape I had ever been in up to that point. I was able to train with three friends who through running became some of my best friends.
The race kicked my butt. It was painful, it was hot, it was hard. I left feeling more accomplished than any other day in my life. Non-athletic Sarah just did something few complete. She ran a half-marathon. Running was an outlet, a way to prove to myself I was capable of anything I set my mind to.

Flash forward to July 10, 2011: it was a humid, overcast day. One of my best friends and mentors signed up, and paid the $70 just to pace me. I was full of expectations. There was no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t achieve my 6-year goal of running a half marathon in two hours and thirty minutes-just one month ago I ran a 2:34 with digestive issues.

By 8km my ¬†mind started to collapse. I started trailing behind, loosing time. I started thinking about how stupid I was for trying to conquer such a lofty goal (4 minutes faster in less than a month). My toe went numb, and then incredible pain. I was nauseated, my hands were swollen. I started working myself up so much I couldn’t breath because I was fighting back tears.
This is pretty much how the rest of the race went. I beat myself up emotionally. “You can’t do it”, “Just quit now”, “Why did you ever think you could do this? You aren’t an athlete!”, “What a bad friend, wasting Rebecca’s time”…. and on and on it went.

I knew my goal was gone….and then a few minutes later, a PR was also gone. I basically whined, and cried on and off from 8km all the way to 20km. I was ready to pull out my debit card and call a cab. I threatened to hitch hike home. I didn’t fuel properly, because I had already given up in my head. I drank way too much water, not enough salt…and hardly any carbs. Becky wouldn’t leave me. She encouraged me. She pushed me to work harder, and she pulled back when she saw emotionally I couldn’t push harder. She tried to remind me, just ONE MONTH ago, this would be a GREAT time.

At 2:42, 3rd to last, with tears streaming down my face, I crossed the finish line.


Today, after almost a full 24 hours of sulking, it brings tears to my eyes. Not because I am upset with myself for the time anymore-but because I was my own enemy. My own self-though process destroyed me. The race was over in my head after it had barely just started physically.

I took my time to sulk. I am now surpassing those demons that told me I wasn’t good enough on race day. I am good enough. I am MORE than ENOUGH.

I am pulling out of the full marathon in September, not because I think I can’t do it…I know I can. I want to love running. The best part of running is the self awareness, and confidence it gives me…. I lost that somewhere in this race.

I have two more half marathons this summer, one in august and September (switched down from the full). My biggest goal being to show myself love, and the love of running again. Run for enjoyment. Run to prove to myself I am ENOUGH.

…Because I am.ūüôā On to bigger, better things. SEE YA LATER SELF DOUBT.

Saskatchewan Marathon

Sunday was the Saskatchewan Marathon in which I was running the half marathon. Having only gotten out of a boot cast for a bad sprain two months prior, I started the day with my only goal to get close to my old PR.


My HEART was a different story. I wanted to break 2:30 for the first time. One of my best friends was pacing the group, and I knew with her encouragement I could do it.

The first 5 km of the race was through residential area. At first I was dreading this as I find residential BORING. However the first 5 km everyone was still close together, it doubled back on itself and there were tons of people cheering. By the time we got to the river trail I thought, oh wow! Its just like starting a regular run, I just have to go a shorter distance now!

Running a 7min/km pace felt hard, but do-able. Around 12km I realized I had to use the washroom and use my inhaler, but didn’t want to stop and risk loosing my pacer. I ate two gels-pretty much forcing them down on Becky’s advice knowing I would need the energy later. By 14km, I NEEDED to stop [I was majorly regretting cutting my digestion time pre-race by half an hour]. I picked up my pace to PAST comfortably hard, hard as I could go to get to the washroom for…

SOME SPECTATOR KID TO SWIPE THE ONLY BATHROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ¬†I couldn’t wait. I knew if my pacer passed me, I would have a really hard time getting back to her.

I slowed for a mini-tantrum. HA! My eyes were watering, I had rage inside me [yes, I know, kids can’t hold their bladders…rationally, I’m not mad….irrationally in my “IM GOING TO KILL A 6 YEAR DREAM” head I was RAGING. It was all I could do not to scream at the mother as I ran by. There were literally public bathrooms 300 meters away.] Becky caught up to me and I am sure she could tell I was defeated. She pointed out the bathrooms up ahead and I went for the sprint. I knew if she got more than 30 seconds ahead of me I wouldn’t be able to catch her.

I sprinted along the course to the public bathrooms. I went faster than ever in my life, one minute.  I sprinted back out. I saw Becky in the distance. I ran as hard as I possibly could. Possibly harder than I ever had to try to get back with her and the group. I could see her in the distance for a full 2-2.5km. She was SO close, but I was burning every ounce of extra energy I had to try and catch her. TMI alert: I was running so hard, I vomited in my mouth, and swallowed again in an attempt to KEEP GOING.

I approached the south bridge which has a slow incline. She was at the end of the bridge [thanks to a bright orange tank I could find her]. I tried as hard as I have ever tried for anything. The incline started, and I just knew, I couldn’t keep this pace any longer. I would have to push myself to try my best, and PR as close to 2:30 as I could.

I slowed my pace back to my goal pace and kept going. Within another 2-3 km my pace slowed dramatically. I was 1 minute slower per KM. I downed almost an entire pack of gel dummies desperate for energy. All of that sprinting wore me out early.

I knew that if I didn’t PR at least, I would never forgive myself for giving up.
I pressed on at 90% effort. The hardest I have ever worked in a race, EVER.
In my head I kept calculating how many minutes behind I was. FINALLY I was on the final stretch. I could see the finish line.
400 meters left, I had plenty of time to PR. Becky ¬†ran back for me. All I could say was “I tried so hard to catch you” through tears. I was so emotional I could barely breath. I had to beg her, and a few seconds later, my husband, not to talk to me so I could at least breath and finish strong. Becky took my camel back to lighten the zone and I ran the last 300 meters at a pace around 5:28 according to my watch. If you saw me dragging it in, you probably would have thought I was a robot. I wasn’t smiling. My eyes were on the prize.


I finished in 2:34:59. 11 whole minutes off my previous personal best. Almost 5 minutes off of the dream I had been chasing for 6 years….and while I didn’t believe I could achieve until mid race, had my heart set on.

Now, I am selfishly bummed. Im trying to be so happy with my accomplishment. I PR’d by such a large amount. I ran the hardest emotional and physical race I have ever run. I all out sprinted 2.5km…..and I can’t stop thinking about 2:30.

I could have done it. I COULD HAVE DONE IT.
The fire is inside me. Now to find a race….

PS. Don’t ask me about aid stations or any of that jazz- the only ones I really remember were at 4km and 14km[with the dang kid], but I was so zoned in and focused I can’t remember. I DO know 14km only had ONE porta potty. I know they were often, I was just trying to run my hardest and zone them out. I wore a camel back with my energy and water.


1. the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.
2. a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

It is incredible how as humans, we have such ability to change our perspectives based on experiences.
I find it so interesting when you actually look at the definitions of perspective, you find at first a description which does not seem to fit with emoting. Two dimensional surfaces, ¬†drawn in a way to so you can see them differently. How mechanical…but isn’t that really all the second definition is too? Our attitudes are so two dimensional, until we add our experiences and emotions giving them a three dimensional meaning.
Have I lost you?
Where are you getting with this Sarah?

My perspective has once again shifted. Having blurred my outlook, and lived in my own grief for a little while, I have had new experiences to shift my attitude, and give me a new perspective.

I find myself so INSPIRED.
I am LUCKY. I have been surrounded in a tribe of STRONG WOMEN. In my saddest, most selfish moments I have never been far from someone who is ready to pick me up, ask how I am feeling, share their story, allow me to open my mind and heart to the world and let beautiful things in again.

In so many ways my infertility has blessed me. I have become rooted in deep friendships and bonds which I doubt I would have found without a little struggle….

You see, we are all a little bit broken. Thats what makes this life journey so beautiful. That is what BONDS us. Our ability to change our PERSPECTIVES and see; the world is beautiful. The brokenness allows for such beautiful GROWTH, LOVE, SUPPORT, PERSEVERANCE. 

People die, hearts get broken, trust gets destroyed, dreams get shattered.
But isn’t this¬†why¬†we¬†DREAM? Isn’t this¬†why¬†we¬†HOPE? So we can take one step further away from the things that slay us, and into the light and beauty of this world.

I have a little saying that I now ¬†find myself uttering ¬†as my mantra. When I want to complain about how tired or broken I am, how my legs can’t run a step further, my heart can’t break again, how I want to GIVE UP; I find myself saying :

Everything worth having is HARD. The best things require HARD WORK. PUSH HARDER.

As we head in to¬†Infertility Awareness Week¬†in Canada, I just want you to know.¬†You are not alone.¬†WE¬†(that 1 in 6 couples…and every single person who didn’t get married and have 2.3 children by 34 like society told them to)¬†are not alone.

Dream. Hope. Want. Work for…. because even if you get a little broken along the way…
There is so much beauty in the broken, and WE have your back.

The One That Almost Went Unpublished

Change is hard. Grief is unpredictable.


Last month we moved into a new house. We left behind our first home, the place we started our fertility journey, and the place we ended it in so many senses.

I discovered in the moving process how bad I am at change. I also discovered that little apartment  which I had so many fond memories in, I also held so closely tied to our fertility journey.
I had no idea really STARTING OVER would be so hard.
We didn’t tell very many people, but immediately before we moved, we did some fertility re-testing to find our tests were much worse than previous. This was the end game. The final determinant. While we had already proclaimed we were done with fertility treatments, this was the nail in the coffin. It is over.

I pushed thoughts of fertility out to get the move done. I was perhaps the most stressed I have ever felt in my life. I blamed it on the move of course.
Now things have calmed. The boxes are unpacked, we are settled in.

Here I find myself in this house. Lots of space, perfect for a FAMILY.
There is a children’s bike left behind in the backyard from the previous tenants.
For the most part, I am me. Hopeful, excited, happy….but then these moments that I never saw coming come. My soul breaks open and the pain feels so sharp it is as though someone is squeezing my heart.

In those moments, I become that person I hate, that I won’t allow myself to be. The bitter one. The one who avoids pregnant friends. The one who allows strangers “You’ve been married for 5 years? No kids? What are you waiting for?!” questions to penetrate and hurt them. The one who sometimes has to fake a smile when people talk about their families. The one who cries in her husbands chest because she can’t shake that pain as quickly as she scheduled. The one who wants to go kick that damn bike and tell it to stop reminding her of what she doesn’t have.

It feels so selfish and overwhelming.

But then I pick myself back up…and trudge upward, searching for peace.

So friends, please excuse me while I am selfish for a while. Be soft for me when my heart is hard.

We will have a beautiful life, with or without children…
We will have a beautiful life, with or without children…
We will have a beautiful life, with to without children…

Today I am choosing joy, but pardon me if tomorrow I can’t.