Posts Tagged ‘god’

  1. The Seasons of Life

    February 10, 2015 by Melanie Faris

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    Looking outside right now, it’s hard to imagine what summer looks and feels like. It’s so cold I dread the thought of getting dressed for the day and walking out the front door. Brrr! I am much more comfortable staying inside, wrapped in a blanket and watching the news. Yes, I watch the news. I am a bit of an old soul they say…

    Today I want to talk to you about the seasons. I’m not talking about the weather outside, I’m talking about the seasons of your life. Have you ever thought about your life this way? A lot of people think life comes down to luck or chance. You roll the dice and you get what you get. Everyone’s different and there’s no making sense of it. But wait – that’s not how it works at all. Sure everyone has a unique story with different circumstances, but I came to the realization that we are all similar and on this road together! I mean – I think we all can relate on a deeper level, especially when it comes to the seasons of our lives. Some people feel one season stronger than another, but we all go through them. Let me explain…

    There are many seasons of life, and here’s my take on it.

     

    Let’s start with winter (we are all familiar with this one):

    It’s so cold!!!! When does it end?! That’s the only thought on everyone’s mind. Okay, maybe not for everyone in the world, but definitely here in Canada. hehe.

    But in all seriousness, the winter season of life sometimes feels long. It feels like we could all use a little more sunshine and a lot less storm in our life. There are glimpses of beauty, but sometimes you need to squint to see it. Often you realize that you need help digging out of this mess, but don’t know where to turn. You are snowed in and it’s not always easy. As the tears flow, you might find yourself praying to a God you aren’t sure exists, or holding onto your loved ones a little tighter. Or maybe you are secluding yourself from the world, staying inside with a hope to keep warm, not wanting to face the world outside. Usually I don’t anticipate the winter to feel so cold and heartless. I don’t expect to be hit so hard all at once like a snowball in the face. You ever been there? This is a trying and difficult time in your life, and sometimes it’s hard to even imagine that spring is going to come.

     

    There is spring:

    The beautiful time where you rest after the storms of winter, knowing that all the hardships you went through before have brought you a new outlook on life. You see the sun rising and suddenly 10 degress feels SO nice. You now realize that without the cold winter, spring wouldn’t feel as nice as it does right now. It’s a transition phase. You are coming out of the storm and finally feel the warmth on your face again. There is a peace and hope for your future. A sense of contentment and optimism for what’s ahead. You aren’t sure if you are at the place you want to be yet, but you know that there’s good things coming and you are ready to start walking the path laid before you.

     

    There is summer:

    This is a time where you are reaping the rewards of handwork and dedication. Sometimes life feels almost “too good to be true” during this time. You are on fire! Think of the time when you tried on those old jeans that haven’t fit in years, only to discover your hard work at the gym has finally paid off! YES! You feel on top of the world, fired up and ready to take on whatever comes your way. You sometime worry that this season can’t last for too long, almost “searching” for something bad in your life, unable to locate it. You lie out and sunbath soaking it all in, praying for this season to last the rest of your life.

     

    There is fall:

    You have come down off your high and are realizing things aren’t exactly what you thought they would be. Maybe that new job means more hours at the office and less time with your family. Or the jeans are getting tight again, and motivation is starting to diminish. Things aren’t so perfect anymore. I find in this season I get a bit confused. I just don’t know what step to take next. You may ask yourself, where do I go from here? I can remember when I was in college feeling as if my world was crumbling around me. This isn’t what I signed up for, I thought. I just couldn’t find peace in my life. Although everything was still OK, inside there was a war going on. I felt like I needed a change, but I just didn’t know what to do or where I was heading. You might feel like you are walking without a map, lost and  unsure of who to ask for directions.

     

    You ever been in one of these seasons of life? I know you have! But what season are you in now? Sure we all know the seasons of the year, it’s pretty obvious if you are sweating from the heat, or trying to avoid frostbite from the cold. But do you know and recognize what season your life is in at any given moment? It’s possible you have a bit of a mixed bag and feel like you are in two seasons at once. But really think about it for a minute. For a lot of us, it won’t take very long to recognize where we are…

    Sometimes I can go through all of the seasons in a week, or even a day! It’s crazy how fast the weather can change. I’m not here to tell you that all good things come to an end, because I hate when someone says that to me. I also don’t think it’s true. However, there will disruptions and challenges that put us off our path in some way, at some time in our life. Don’t “expect the worse”, gosh that bugs me when someone says that, especially when you are feeling so darn great about life. My advice would be this – next time you find yourself at the grocery store with some extra cash in your pocket (i.e., it’s your summer), it’s never a bad idea to grab some canned food to put in the pantry in case you need it! Use your summer to prepare for the winter. Read, study, learn, grow – even if everything you read doesn’t apply to you right now. It will build you up and prepare you for what’s ahead. Whatever that may be!

    If you happen to be stuck in a winter season (even if you don’t live in good ol’ Canada), I want you to know that there is hope. Spring is coming. Do NOT lose sight of it. Sometimes you need to rest for a while, and just seek comfort during this time. Let the storm pass. I would encourage you to seek the best comforter I know – the Holy Spirit. God is the only one who can bring you true peace during the storms. I’m not trying to get all religious on you, I’m just speaking from experience. When I put my trust in God and a storm comes my way, all the emotions are still there and it’s still freakin cold, but I just don’t feel the weight of it. That’s what He does for me. He takes the weight of the hardship and puts it on Himself. I may still cry myself to sleep, but He is standing with the kleenex box saying, let it all out, let me wipe your tears. A good friend of mine once told me to put my worries on God, because His shoulders are much bigger than mine. It’s like trying to walk through 5′ of snow with bricks in your boots. It’s just not an easy road. Might be possible to get to the other side, but it’s not easy!! However, if you put on some snowshoes, you still have to walk through the snow, it’s just a heck of a lot easier because you just don’t have to carry so much weight. Make sense? Sort of?

    I wanted to write this post to give you hope and comfort, no matter what season you are in. If you are in summer right now, ENJOY IT. Don’t fret or anticipate something to go wrong. Just lie in the sun and tan for a while. It is OKAY for things to feel so great. You aren’t a bad person for being happy and content. I encourage you to use this time to refuel yourself and encourage others who may feel like winter just won’t end for them. If you are going through winter, or a transition season, remember that summer WILL come around, and with the right road map, you will get there a lot quicker.

    Enjoy whatever season you may be in! I for one am READY and looking forward to spring.

    Bye for now.

    Love, Melanie.

     

     

     

     

     

     


  2. My Balanced Approach to Weight Loss – Step 2

    May 24, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    This is one of those days I just want to sit on my cozy couch, cuddle up in a blanket and find something inspiring to write about. So here I am, sitting on my couch with my laptop & a pillow on my lap, pondering on what to share with you today. First things first, it just hit me that the word laptop literally means LAP-TOP. A.K.A- to sit on your lap. Ha! Silly me, I have been using this as a “tabletop” for far too long. Now I have a good reason to do my work from the couch. =).
    Okay, so now that I’m cozy and ready to write, I find myself going to my favourite place for inspiration: The Word. I love opening my Bible or typing in “daily verse” on the web to see what comes up. Looks like God has food on his mind too. Here is what popped up:

    “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 NIV

    Looks like God is hungry too. Phew, I’m not the only one! But seriously, it’s too funny that this verse popped up right as I am ready to type about my 2nd step to my balanced approach to weight loss. I love when that happens!

    Find more on this verse under Food for Thought near the bottom of this post…

    Step #1 Recap…

     

    In Step #1, we discovered the importance of loving ourselves today, imperfections and all. It’s not about reaching a goal in order to be happy with our body –  it’s about being happy with who we are now so we can love our self along the journey.

    Our next step…

     

    Remember that diet you stuck to 100%? How good did you feel about yourself? Awesome I bet! We all feel so fantastic when we stick to our diet, but usually it is pretty short-lived. When you decide to go on a diet vacation (when you are sick of dieting), you find yourself swimming in a pool of guilt wondering how to get back on track again and find your focus.

    You go through seasons of highs and lows, but seldom do you find a happy medium when you are on a diet

    Too many times we are on a yo-yo diet that takes us no where. Actually, I think it does take us somewhere: one step ahead and then two steps behind. We go on these diets and do so well, but then we fall so hard (with good intentions of course). No one goes on a diet with a hope to fail miserably when all is done and dandy. Some of us make it through 30 days, and others pack it in and call it quits after the first week. So what’s the point if it’s not going to bring us to our goal of being happy in our own body (for longer than a few weeks)?

    I have been on far too many diets. I am the type of person who likes to have a plan and stick to it. I will print out my meal plan and follow it to a “T.” Unfortunately, when my diet is over, I also un-fall from it to a “T.” I like diets – when I am on them and doing well that is. It’s the coming off of them part that I don’t like. Some people have been blessed with more self control than me, but I for one do not plan on sticking to a diet for the rest of my life. I want my waffle cone on a hot sunny day…but I also want a hot summer body. So what is a girl to do?!

    I’m not going to tell you to keep your eating habits the same as always if you are looking to change your body. Diet is the most important key in transformation! I’m just telling you to stop dieting. That’s right, you heard me…

    Step #2: It’s time to stop dieting

    For me, going on a diet means: I feel restricted, I am counting everything I eat, cutting out the food I love, not filling my plate, feeling sorry for myself and digging a hole far in the ground so I can hide myself from everyone and everything…seriously, try going to a dinner party on a “diet.” It sucks. That hole in the ground sounds a lot better to me! I mean, common, no one feels happy on a diet…am I right?! At least that is the case for me. The only time I feel happy is when I see the diet is working and begin to think, “the end is near!!”…

    We can’t possibly think that a diet is our lifelong strategy to weight loss and staying fit. Sure, a diet can certainly be helpful, especially for short term results, but I don’t think it is practical if it is something you want to maintain long-term. I’m not knockin’ em – I’ve done my fair share of diets. But today, I’m ready to have, pursue, and KEEP the body I feel best in. Who’s with me?

    So you’re probably wondering,

    If I’m not dieting, how am I going to transform?

    Back to my first concept of this approach…you have heard me say it before, but I’m going to say it anyways:

    Balance & Harmony

    Let’s be realistic here. If you can’t possibly live without chocolate for the rest of your life, eat your darn chocolate. I do! I have chocolate almost every day of my life. I break off a piece of my 85% dark chocolate after dinner and enjoy every last bit. Sure, it’s only a small piece, but I look forward to it and I have no guilt when eating it. Here’s why: I have allowed this food to be part of my lifestyle.

    Allow the food you can’t see your future without to be part of your lifestyle

    If you want to be happy, you can’t possibly remove all of the things you love & enjoy. Now obviously there are things we shouldn’t be eating every day. Forget the donuts, McDonald’s, and even those waffle cones. Those probably aren’t the healthiest daily treat. You need to make some changes if you want to see change, but you don’t need to restrict yourself entirely. If you are serious about loving your body, the emotional and physical aspect, you need to develop a healthy relationship with food and eat your un-healthy food occasionally.

    *Side note – If you ENJOY eating healthy 100% of the time, kudos to you! That is seriously awesome – keep it up. I will be the girl at that dinner party wishing I had the same self control while I taste a bit of everything on the table. I just can’t help myself.

    This brings me to my next and final point. We are all at different phases of health. Remember hearing this before? This is a journey. YOUR journey. It’s not about what other people are doing to achieve their own results. Stop comparing yourself. I’m not going to criticize how everyone else eats, because honestly, that’s a personal choice and we are all at different places when it comes to how we live and eat. You are unique – what she does or he does does not apply to you. You need to figure it out for yourself. Even if you need to have a “structured diet” to get a kick start, go for it. I’m just saying, be realistic and honest with yourself.

    I want everyone to pause and ask yourself these three questions:

    1. Am I on a diet? Be honest with yourself. *You probably ARE if you think like this when you eat: A- I just had a successful snack or meal. B-That meal/snack was a fail and I need to work that off later.

    2. Do I enjoy when I eat healthy? (If you don’t, this needs to change! Otherwise, you will do something that you will regret – like eating that entire bag of chips in the cupboard…). Then starts the guilt and your bright idea to cut everything you crave out of your diet the next day. It’s a vicious cycle!  *Tip –  Start small and introduce things slowly. I used to drink cream and sugar in my coffee every day. I now LOVE my coffee with almond milk and coconut sugar. Over time, this was a personal change I decided to make, and now I am healthier because of it. If you simply can’t give up your cream and sugar, then don’t…or don’t for now at least :).

    3. Can I reach and maintain my “body goal” with what I am currently doing?

    This week I want you to think about those questions. Wrestle with them and really see where you are at. Be honest with yourself and make simple changes you want to make! It’s not a race, it’s a journey. Enjoy it too, whoever you are, whatever you do. =)

    For those who want a little extra “food for thought”, scroll down and you will find a little more…if you have had enough reading for one day, no prob! Enjoy your weekend and I’m excited to share with you the 3rd step next week. So come back ya hear?

    Love always,

    ♥Melanie.

     

    Food for Thought

     

    Here is an interesting thought…What would you do if Jesus was coming for dinner? For me, I’d probably start by cleaning the entire house so there wasn’t even a crumb on the floor that a mouse would find. Next, I would make sure I had the best ingredients and use one of my favourite recipes I am confident in making. It would be the most exciting day in my house. Want to know something funny though? He IS coming for dinner. He is also with you at breakfast. He is your passenger as you drive to work, your lunch buddy, your gym partner & your guest at every moment of every day.

    Isn’t it funny how we forget? Or maybe you didn’t realize this at all! But I can tell you this – He certainly wouldn’t care how dirty your house is, especially since He has seen it in every state. He’d also be happy with a boring dinner, as long as you can hang out, have a good chat and enjoy each other’s company. If only we would take the time to answer the door more often when we hear a little knock, because then we would we realize:

    He hasn’t just come for dinner. He has come to be part of our home.

     

     


  3. The most difficult time in my life

    February 24, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Not many people know about the most difficult time in my life. In fact, I hid myself from the world as much as possible so that no one would know what I was going through. It was in the year 2012 that it began. I spent many sleepless nights wondering what to do, crying on my Momma’s shoulder and desperately searching for an answer to my problem. Why me?! I often asked. I’m sure many of you can relate to what I went through. Most people deal with this at some point in their life, but for me, I never imaged it happening, especially at my age. It came later than most, and full force to top it off. I avoided mirrors, hated pictures, and as horrible as this sounds, I couldn’t stand myself. I felt like a monster roaming this earth without a clue about why I was going through this. It was as if my world came crashing down on me all at once. I had severe acne at the age of 20 and it was the most difficult time in my life.

    What’s written below is background on my life and some personal information and pictures. I ask that you read this with a kind heart and non-judgmental thoughts.

    From the delicate age of 8 years old, I decided to pursue a dream. I wanted to be on the big screen, and God willing, I ended up there. I was a performer from birth (or at least that’s what I like to think), and nothing was holding me back from making my dream a reality. I found an agent and began my acting career at 8 years old. No, I was never forced to do this – in fact, it was quite the opposite. My parents gave me their support and allowed me to experience some of the greatest years of my life. Boy, if only I knew what excitement and joy this new career was going to bring to my life.

    Here are some of my first headshots:

    Melanie Tonello

    This post is not going to go into great detail about my acting career, but I’d like to share with you some of my experiences as a young actress.

    I can still remember the day I got the phone call from my agent when I booked a life changing role, and the best experience in my acting career. I was in Toronto, sitting in the lobby of a voice recording studio, waiting patiently for my name to be called. I don’t recall the role I was recording for that day, (I was in Toronto 3 or 4 times a week sometimes for auditions or bookings), but I do remember when the phone rang. It was for me. I answered it and heard my agents voice on the other end. My heart started thumping. I knew she had good news.

    “Melanie, do you want to be Becky Murtaugh?” She asked. Tears began to run down my cheeks.

    “Because you got the role!”

    The excitement and disbelief of this moment filled my entire being. I was going to play Becky in the movie Cheaper By The Dozen 2. Although this wasn’t my first role on the big screen, it was definitely one of the most exciting. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with Hillary Duff, Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Eugene Levy, Carmen Electra, and all the amazing cast and crew from Cheaper By The Dozen?! The names were not few of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars in this film. I was about to make memories that would last a lifetime and experience a reality that was only once a dream.

    Life Point: Do you have a dream that seems unreachable? I certainly never imaged to be able to watch myself on tv one day, but anything is possible. You are the person another person is looking for. You are the best one for the job. You are the only one who can fulfill your purpose. Don’t live someone else’s dream, go out and live your own.

    Some pictures on set of Cheaper By The Dozen 2:

    the murtaughs 107_0736 chairs Picture 033

    Ever since that movie, most people saw (and/or see) me in the spotlight. They envision me having it all and wonder how much money I make… I never liked that question, “how much money do you make?”. It was one I would avoid answering, and the only question that really bothered me. Money was never something we talked a lot about growing up. I was always under the impression that it didn’t matter how much money you make, as long as you are happy and doing what you love, that’s all that matters. For the most part, I know that people would only ask out of curiosity, and this is totally understandable. It was the ones who poked and prodded for an answer that really bothered me. Momma always taught me it’s rude to ask others how much money they make or have, and I wasn’t going to hang out with people who cared more about my bank account than me as a person. I would politely tell them, “I don’t share that with others” and then find my real friends, who were few.

    True friendship was hard for me to come by. I always admired the “groups of friends” in high school, and secretly wished to be part of them. I always felt a bit like a ping-pong ball, bouncing back and forth from person to person. It was hard for me to find friends, and to this day I still have very few. I never really understood why, but I have an inclination it has to do with the fact that I really am not a dramatic person. I avoid drama at all cost, and in high school, drama seems to be the focus of everyone’s conversations. Besides having few close friends, I was and still am very content with my friendships. I have discovered in time that it is better to have a few true friends than many friends who are only there when they want something from you. What a great gift it is to have even only one friend you can share your heart with, who listens and cares for the person you are inside. Momma always taught me that true friendship is hard to come by. Boy was Momma ever right.

    By the time I was in high school, my acting career was slowing down, and I began to enjoy my life as a normal teenager. My skin was never an issue for me at this time in my life. In my younger years, I started to develop a bit of acne, and this wasn’t good for the “screen.” To be blatantly honest, I saw a dermatologist at a young age and he had me on antibiotics and then birth control to keep me from having acne. I wasn’t into “health” then, and didn’t realize the effects of these kind of pills. All I wanted was to have clear skin, and clear skin is what I had! I didn’t realize how bad it could have been, until I decided my health is more important than my appearance and I no longer wanted to be on the pill.

    I was really getting into health during my high school years and began to learn about (and feel) the negative effects of birth control. Besides the fact I was a hormonal mess, depressed and gaining weight from the pill, I hated pumping my body with synthetic hormones and just wanted to be me. I wanted to be the real me – not some crazy person who always felt like she was riding a roller coaster with her emotions. No one could have prepared me for the pain that was soon to come after the pill. It wasn’t long before I discovered the pill was only working as a band-aide, covering up a problem that eventually would find its way out.

     

    My clear skin

     

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    This is probably going to be one of the most difficult things for me to share. My hope is that you will see that life is not always perfect, even for people who have been in the spotlight. But I do have to say this – as difficult as this was for me, it taught me some wonderful lessons, not to mention it brought me closer to my now-husband who loved me more the uglier I got (or at least felt about myself). He never saw my skin issues, and comforted me when I was at my lowest point. I really would not change a thing about what I went through, because it really made me realize that life is not about how you look, or how other people see you on the outside. You begin to realize the people who love you the most through these difficult times in life. It is so important to see the beauty in even the most difficult times in your life, because there is reason we go through them. Part of the reason I feel that I experienced this is to share my story with you. I hope you find it helps you in some way…

     

    When it all began…

     

    It was my first year of college –  a time when girls wants to feel beautiful, mature and a woman (not a little girl going through “puberty”). I was not feeling any of these things that I so desperately wanted. I felt horrible. I can’t even say how many hours I spent on the computer trying to figure out what to do. I tried no dairy, no sugar, cleanses, homeopathic doctors, herbs, vitamins, allergy testing, changing my pillow cases nightly, not wearing any makeup (even when I wanted to cover up so bad). I seriously was at my wits end trying to heal my body. I finally realized that God has allowed this to happen for a reason, and I need to stop stressing because everything will be okay. Although I knew it would not last forever, it certainly felt that way at the time. I can remember sitting in the walk-in clinic for hours one night because I decided I was going back on birth control. I couldn’t take it anymore and I wasn’t waiting one more week to see my doctor. After seeing the walk-in clinic doctor, who really didn’t even know what to do or what pill to give me, I eventually threw the pills in the garbage and decided I was going to tough it out, no matter how bad my skin got or how ugly I felt.

    Most people don’t know I suffered through this because I would avoid seeing people from my past. The only ones who really knew were my college friends who only knew me this way (without wearing a speck of makeup every day). I was so scared of what the people who knew me from before would think; Poor Melanie, she can’t be an actress with that skin. Or, what happened to her?! Silly, I know. But that’s how I felt and I am not going to lie about it.

    I eventually decided to try some products I found online. It was my last hope. The products I tried started to work (although I don’t believe they “cured” me). There was so much more going on inside of me that I believe was causing my body to react on the outside. It wasn’t the food I was eating or the way I was sleeping. I believe it was coming from within (spiritual if you may), and a way for God to show me “something isn’t right in my life.” Once I turned to Him to show me the way, He really healed me – from the inside out. Once I really starting seeking Him and let go of all the other things, I found clarity and peace…

    1 Corinthians 14:33 (KJV)

    For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…

    My acne was still there for a while, but I didn’t care anymore. That is when it started to go away. I stopped caring about what I looked like and what people thought, and started to see myself the way God sees me; I am beautiful, loved and adored by the creator of the universe. What is better than that?

    With all of that being said, I know that there is a reason I went through this. I know I have a story to tell and a way to relate to so many more people than I ever could have before going through this. So now I ask you, please, when you look at someone going through an apparent issue, try to see them the way God sees them, and look beyond appearance. Love them for who they really are, not who they appear to be. Oh, and most importantly, love yourself the same way.

    Below is a link to the pictures from the most difficult time in my life. Thanks to God I no longer suffer with this, although I still have the scars to remind me and the occasional breakout. I am so grateful He brought me out of it, and with more beauty than I could have had before it all. By my wedding day in June 2013, my skin was so clear it was a miracle. I wasn’t doing anything different than before when I had severe acne, or using any products anymore for my skin. I felt better than I have in my entire life, and it’s all because of the grace of God. I continue to place my faith in Jesus Christ, no matter what life may throw at me. Remember this:

     1 Corinthians 10:13 (The Message)

    13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.

    God Bless,

    Melanie Faris.

    Click Here to see the pictures from my acne journey and the regimen I used.

     

     

     

     


  4. Meeting Thomas. Part Three.

    November 24, 2013 by Melanie Faris

    Thomas and I spent almost everyday together after our first date. We simply could not get enough of each other. I’ll never forget the time, not long after our first date, when I went over to the Faris residence. It was around my third time visiting, and I was still getting to know everyone. Thomas’ Mom, Connie, asked us to come into the kitchen to talk to us about something. Both Connie and John (Thomas’ Dad) were in the kitchen together. I was feeling a bit nervous, thinking maybe they don’t like me.

    Connie looked at us both and said, “What are you waiting for? Why don’t you just get married already?!” I was a bit caught off guard, and we all laughed, but Connie was dead serious. To my relief, I guess this meant she does like me! What she saw was how God brought us together, and the love we had for each other. It was not unusual for her to wonder when the wedding bells would be ringing, especially since quick marriages were common in the Faris family. Might I add – long lasting, beautiful marriages too!

    Thomas and I started talking about marriage within the first month of being together. We both wanted to get married and start our lives together. When you know you know, so they say. We both thought we were on the right path, and to be honest, life could not get any better! We were happy and in love. At this point, I was so caught up in Thomas that I put God on the back burner. Who really needs God’s help when things are great? He’s only there when we are stuck, right? Well, I sure am glad that He is always there, regardless of when we think we need Him or not. As perfect as everything was, we were about to hit a valley; a time when we were grateful that God was there, just waiting for our call.

    Unfortunately, Morgan Freeman did not return our phone call,  so we left a message and will wait to hear back. (hehe, just kidding).

    gods_telephone_quentin_nicholas

    All jokes aside, I want to pause and mention that I am not going to go into detail about our valley. This is personal and something we both keep close to our heart. I can say that if it weren’t for the valley, we would not be as strong together as we are now. If it weren’t for the valley, I would not have the same faith I have now. I believe the valley we went through was meant to destroy us, but it actually made us stronger. During this time, Thomas and I both turned to God for answers. Once we asked for His help, he blessed us beyond our imagination. We both realized that even through the good times, God was only someone we were “talking about”, not “talking with.” It was during the valley that we prayed and asked for HIS plan for our life, not our own; whether that meant being together or not. To this day, I still am in awe of how clearly He answered our prayers. 

    1 Peter 1:6-7

    So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

     

    Thomas and I took time apart during our valley. I can tell you, this time apart felt like a lifetime, but it was necessary to bring us both closer to God. Sometimes taking a little break can do wonderful things. I came to a crossroad at this time, and had to make the hardest decision of my life; either I was to be with Thomas forever, or turn away and never look back. I got down on my knees and prayed for a sign from above. I wanted to be with Thomas, but I wanted it to be God’s plan. I wanted to be sure that Thomas was the only one. I didn’t want to play games, and I didn’t want to play with anyone’s heart. I wanted love. True love. The kind of love you see when you look at a couple who have been together for 50 years, and they’re still holding hands and have that light in their eyes.

    9G1F

    I wanted that kind of love. So I decided that I would only be with Thomas if God showed me he was the one that I would spend the rest of my life with. Period.

    You know when people do a cleanse to clean out all the junk in their body? Call it a cleanse or a fast, I decided to try it. I think cleansing brings a sense of closeness to one’s self. A feeling of control over one’s body and will. Fasting brings a closeness to God, or so they say. I knew that I needed a clear mind and an open heart to hear from God. I was willing to give up something I deeply enjoyed, for a clear answer to my prayers. Maybe it sounds a bit wacky or religious, but to be honest, I was desperate and willing to try anything. Haven’t you ever found yourself in a place where you feel so alone? A place where if God really does exist, He is the only one who can help you?  “What is the point of that?” you may be wondering…”You seriously believe that can bring you closer to God?” To be honest, I wasn’t sure if it would make a difference, heck, I didn’t really care. The way I saw it was – if it works, great! If it doesn’t, then I practiced self-control for a day (Some days, I need a little more practice with this…)

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    “Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Please!”

    Just Kidding…Double chocolate chip is way better.

    But I did feel this whole cleanse was something worth trying, even if it turned out to be nothing.

    It was only one day, and I think I stayed in bed for most of it. My head stayed buried deep in my pillow and my room pitch black. If you can believe it, I, yes me, the girl who loves food, did not feel hungry. That’s how you know when I’m in a tough place. I seriously just wanted to sleep and wake up with the answers to all of my problems. Little did I know, sleeping was just what I needed; I had a dream.  One of the most vivid dreams I have ever had. It did not involve cupcakes, I swear.

    When I woke up from this dream, I immediately grabbed the notebook sitting on my nightstand and I wrote down the dream, right down to every little detail. It was one of those absurd dreams, the kind you can’t seem to shake or forget about. Even to this day, I remember that dream so vividly, but more importantly, I remember what the dream began to reveal to me. Maybe you think this was subconscious trying to tell me something, or maybe just a wild dream. But to me, this dream was beginning to reveal the answer to my prayers.

    The Dream

    I was walking down the streets of Los Angeles, the place I have always wanted to live since I was a little girl. The streets were dirty, not like I envisioned them being, and walking beside me was a man. I felt safe with this man. As we were walking, suddenly a gang of bikers pulled out in front of us. I became fearful, knowing that something was wrong. The man in my dream saw the danger in this gang, and turned and said to me, “Turn around, we need to go the other way.” So we did.

    We were suddenly at the ocean, standing by the water’s edge. Swimming on top of the water was a beautiful baby duckling. It was cute and fluffy.

    cute-duck  <—–Isn’t He Cute?!

    It began to walk out of the water and onto the sandy shore. Suddenly this cute duckling grew into the size of a dinosaur.

    991_MonsterDuck_610 <——–Not cute!

    It was massive and stood over me. I fell down on my back and threw my hands over my face. I could hear voices around me saying, “Do not be afraid, he won’t hurt you. He brings treasure!”

    14029418-illustration-of-treasure-chest-full-of-gold <—–Ooooo…Ahhhh…

    The duck bent over me and pecked me with his beak. It did not hurt; in fact, I realized that he was not scary at all! Then people started shouting, “Look! The duck is digging treasure out of the sand!” I was so excited and happy that the duck was there. I felt the urge to find Thomas and tell him what happened! Off I ran to find him. I told him the great news about the duck and the treasures it dug up, and we both were filled with joy and excitement.

    I awoke from my dream and immediately knew that this dream meant something. Looking back on this now, I know it meant something. (*Do dreams really have a deeper meaning? I don’t know… I certainly don’t believe all of them do. Otherwise I’d probably be hanging out with Barney by now or travelling the world in a circus. But I do believe some of our dreams really do mean something. I wouldn’t use your dreams as a fortune-teller by all means, but I do believe God can use our dreams to say something to us.) Here is what I believe my dream meant:

    I was walking in the place that I always wanted to be, but something was not right. There was danger.  I needed to turn away from what I wanted for now, and let God guide my path. Sometimes life is great when we go at it on our own (cute and fuzzy like a baby duck), but sometimes it can become scary and not what you expect (not so cute). But remember, God uses ALL THINGS for good for those who love him (Romans 8:28). When you put your trust in Him, He will bring you great rewards! He can use even the scary terrible times in our life to bring even greater blessings. Instead of being afraid during the trials in life, see it as an opportunity to grow. With every deep valley you may end up in, there come greater blessings and even bigger mountains to climb.  

    I didn’t know the answers to all of my questions from this dream; in fact, I think I was even more confused. I’ll be honest, I was probably trying to figure out too much from a simple dream. I wasn’t sure at this point if I ever would know the right thing to do. What I did feel was encouragement and hope. I knew that good things were to come no matter what happens next.

    Every valley in life can be a blessing.

    I closed my eyes and said in my heart one last time, “God, please show me if Thomas is the one. I will not make a move unless you tell me to.” I kept my eyes closed tightly and envisioned a beautiful rose. I decided in my heart at that moment that a rose would be my sign from God. “Send me a rose in a way that is a clear symbol to me. Then I will know that he is the one.” If God can move mountains, He certainly can show me a rose, I thought. I took a leap of faith with this one.

    Sometimes when you want something to happen, you immediately begin looking for the “sign” everywhere you go. I swear when you go on a diet, chocolate cookies show up everywhere!!! Why is that?!

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    But for once in my life, I wasn’t looking for a sign. I didn’t have to go looking, because it showed up at my doorstep…the very next day.

    To Be Continued…


  5. Meeting Thomas. Part Two.

    November 18, 2013 by Melanie Faris

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    The story of “Thomas and I” is not your average story. We did not settle for each other, and we did not discover on our own that we were meant to be. It is the kind of thing that only could have been planned by God. Our story has made me realize the power and reality of God. Weird…I know. But if you hang in there through my upcoming blog posts, hopefully you will see for yourself that this was not something we could have orchestrated on our own. There is no way it was coincidence. I know this personally because I asked God for proof. That’s right. I got down on my knees and prayed asking God for a sign. But that’s another blog post to come…You will begin to see through my blog posts, how God revealed to me why I should marry Thomas, and that Thomas is the only one made for me. That’s right, out of the billions of people walking this planet, Thomas Faris is the one person God made for me.

    The details of the story of Thomas and I are absurd, and quite frankly, incredible. It still seems surreal to me too. If you think this kind of love story may not be possible for “someone like you”, I promise you, it most definitely is. In fact, I believe there is someone out there made for someone just like you. Exactly like you. Right down to every little detail. God didn’t create you and send you off into this crazy world with a “good luck!” and a “hope you find what you want in life.” Nope. What loving Father would do that?! There have been many times in my life where I struggled to find what I wanted. I remember trying to find my purpose in life as I sat in school, thinking to myself: what am I doing here? Is this really where God wants me? It just doesn’t seem right… I realized quickly that if I am struggling, hurting and not at peace with where I am, I probably am doing things my way, not God’s.

    I am not telling you my story to make you feel discouraged about your life or to question the person you may be with. In fact, I am telling my story for the opposite reason. Feel encouraged about exactly where you are right now. Please know that you did not mess up God’s plan by the decisions of your past or where you ended up. Let me remind you, God can step into any situation and use it for good; it is never too late. It’s quite a simple thing for Him to do. I think that WE are the ones who make things more difficult. I would encourage you to do what I did, ask God for help and guidance if you simply don’t know what to do. He will answer you, just as clear as He answered me…

    Our First Date

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    The night before our official first date, Thomas and I went to the gym and saw each other again. We said hi to each other, but it was one of those moments where you don’t know exactly what to say. We both did our own workout, but near the end, Thomas approached me. He leaned against the machine next to me and smiled. “So where do you want to go on our date tomorrow?” he asked. I shrugged, trying to hide my nerves and excitement. “Pack a t-shirt, shorts, running shoes and a bathing suit,” he said.  “You never know where we may end up!”

    Our date couldn’t come fast enough. I probably tried on every pair of shorts I owned that night to find the “right one.” I also gave a lot of thought into what we would talk about on our drive to wherever he was taking me to. I don’t know why, but that was probably the part I was most nervous about. No one likes to sit in that awkward silence, trying to think of a conversation sparker that doesn’t include the weather…

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    I received a text on Friday from Thomas saying that he was running late. I have to say, I was a little concerned about this. I am the type of person who panics at even the thought of being late, especially if I am meeting someone for the first time! Maybe he isn’t that interested in me, I began to think. So I waited by the front window to see when he would pull in. I let out a deep breath and said, “here I go” as he pulled in and I walked out the front door. I had no idea where we were going on our date; all I knew was that he was handsome, and I was flipping nervous!

    “So, where to?” he asked as he backed out of the driveway. He smiled at me and said, “How about north? Lets go up north.” So north we went. I noticed he didn’t turn on the radio as we started to drive. He was more interested in getting to know me, and get to know me he did. We talked about everything imaginable on our date. (Date hint: Talk about the most important things to you on your FIRST date. Don’t be with someone who is headed in the opposite direction than you.)

    It wasn’t long before Jesus came up in our conversation. A weird and awkward conversation to many people, but to me, this was a big part of my life. It meant more to me than how smart, handsome or kind he was. I quickly discovered that we had the most important thing in common; we shared the same core values. These values have shaped the people we are to this day, and will continue to do so. If we didn’t share the same core values and beliefs, it would be like trying to bake without baking soda. You= Ingredients. God= Baking Soda. When you mix two totally different people together, it can look good at first! Heck, it can seem absolutely perfect. Before you know it, the oven is ready and everything you mixed together starts to stand the test in the heat…will this really work? We all know everyone is different and there will be tests no matter whom you end up with, but finding a person who shares the same beliefs is like adding baking soda to a recipe – you will rise to new levels together. Did I mention baking soda helps in so many other areas of your life too?!

    baking soda

    As we approached the on-ramp of Highway 400 North, traffic was coming to a near stop. It then hit us that it was a long weekend! There was no way that we could drive up north, unless we wanted to sit in traffic for hours. Thomas looked at me and said, “this is okay, we can go west! Yes, we will go west.” I giggled a little bit, knowing that this date was going to be quite an adventure. So we began our journey west, unsure of where we would end up.

    Thomas reached behind the seat and pulled out an old map. He told me to pick any place on that map and we would go there. I didn’t think anyone carried maps in their car anymore! I liked that about Thomas; he was a bit old-fashioned and knew exactly how to treat a girl. To be honest, it scared the crap out of me. This all seemed too perfect. We drove to the spot that I picked on the map, and we just so happened to end up at a private beach in Collingwood. No one was around and it was the most beautiful place. It was as if God planned this day for us, everything from the traffic on the 400, which pointed us west, to the magnificent sunshine and lighthouse in the distance. Signs were posted “No Trespassing”, but we ignored them and put the car in park. We both got out of the car, and walked barefoot out in the shallow water. We followed along the rocks that stuck out through the water, and picked a spot to sit and talk. As we were talking, a man walked out from the house at the water’s edge to investigate us sitting on his cottage’s rocks. He walked towards the water, saw us sitting there together, and simply turned back to the house. Even his dog determined that we weren’t a threat after sniffing us out.

    IMG_0563 IMG_0560

    Time was flying by, and the sunburn on Thomas’ back was getting redder by the minute. “Let’s go get ice cream,” Thomas said. So we got in his car and drove into town. The ice cream stores were not scarce, but Thomas kept on driving. I asked him, “Where are we going?” He said, “I want to take you to the best ice cream place I know.” He drove 45 minutes to take me to his favourite ice cream shop in the small town of Thornton, where he always went as a kid. We sat out on the bench outside of the small shop and watched the cars drive by. It was the best ice cream I ever had, and also the best company.

    Once we finished our ice cream cones, we got back into his car and drove some more. He turned down a country road in Cookstown, near his family farm, and then drove into a field. The wheat, and growing plants pushed up against his SUV as he continued down the overgrown trail. He pulled up behind a tree and turned off the engine. Now I knew why he asked me to bring shoes instead of flip-flops.

    “Come on!” He said as he hopped out of the car. I jumped out and followed him. He grabbed my hand and we walked together through the field. It was summer, and the leaves on the trees were a beautiful deep green. I’ll never forget when he said, “I can’t wait to bring you here in the fall to see the leaves change.” He looked at me, and then began to blush as he realized what he said. “I mean, if you and I are still…” He didn’t need to say anything more. I already knew that we would see the seasons change together. I already knew that he was the one. I smiled and said, “I’d love to see the leaves change in the fall.”

    Our date ended after we sat in Thomas’ car and watched the sun set over the field in the distance. We sat there, completely comfortable in the “not so” awkward silence. The entire day was more perfect than any movie I have ever seen. “The Notebook” should have taken notes from our date! Hehe. I never believed that there was someone I could connect with on such a deep level. I also didn’t believe in love at first sight. I always imaged the perfect man out there for me, but it just seemed impossible and unrealistic to wait around for him. Waiting is a hard thing to do! I was worried that he would never come, and that I would end up alone. In the past, I always felt that I needed to be in relationships. I hated being alone. I was always trying to find someone, or something, that would fill this deep desire to be loved exactly for who I am. Isn’t that what everyone desires? I have felt love before, and I do not regret my past; every event and person from my past brought me to where I am now, and I am so thankful for that. But with every relationship, you give a piece of your heart away. I only wish I didn’t give part of my heart away so many times, but more importantly, I wish I didn’t take the hearts of others. I believe God has put the pieces back in my heart, but without God, I don’t think it would be possible.

    images mathsymbolslessthanbnw MT - one2photography.com - 221

    Everything happens in perfect timing when you let God take control. Often, we just get impatient and decide to be in a relationship with someone, even if you know it isn’t the right one. We look for the good in people, and ignore, or try to change the things we don’t like about them. The truth is, you can’t change someone, only God can do that. Let’s not forget, we are all people and aren’t perfect. We all have our flaws and imperfections. In the mean time, if you are waiting for that special someone, “become the person the person you are looking for is looking for,” As quoted by Andy Stanley. Start with the “Man in the mirror” and love the person staring back at you.

    To Be Continued …
    I came to a crossroad and the hardest decision of my life; to be with Thomas forever, or turn away and never look back. I got down on my knees and prayed for a sign from above. I simply would not be with Thomas unless God showed me he was the one I would spend the rest of my life with. Find out how God answered my prayer, so clearly that I could not deny it even if I wanted to. 

     


  6. Meeting Thomas. Part One.

    November 14, 2013 by Melanie Faris

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    Thomas Faris is his name. He is tall, handsome, smart, loving, honourable, and boy is he attractive inside and out. He is the type of boy that you dream about marrying, but don’t believe he actually exists. When our paths met one year ago, I knew that it wasn’t just coincidence; he was the answer to my prayers. Since the very first date, I knew that he was the one for me. He was raised in a loving home in the country with the most amazing Christian family. One of nine kids, and each one of them gentle, kind, sincere and loving. Thomas knew what family meant, and he was the kind of man I could picture raising my children. I always wanted a boy who had a little country in him, but more importantly, someone who shared the same beliefs as me. He was everything I ever could have asked for in a man. Now I no longer have to say was, he IS that man to me, and so much more.

    I wouldn’t say that it was love at first sight with Thomas…If it were, I would have loved him since I was eight years old when my oldest brother played hockey with Thomas. They were on the same team, and I was always the little cheerleader up in the stands. I can still remember singing “turn on the radio listen to the news, we’re gonna win and you’re gonna lose!” I would recruit all of my girlfriends at the hockey games and we would shout and chant while the boys skated down below. Thomas was the fastest one on the rink my Mom always said. I didn’t know it then, but he would also be the fastest one to steal my heart.

    1

    I didn’t talk to Thomas or see him for many years after my brother Tyler stopped playing hockey with him. Tyler remained good friends with him throughout high school, which explains his unpleasant reaction when he found out Thomas and I were dating. “One of my good friends is dating my little sister. Now that’s just weird,” he said to my Mom. Not to mention Tyler caught us saying, “I love you” after only one week of being together. Isn’t that what kindergarteners do?! I can still hear Thomas’ phone call after he realized Tyler was standing in the open garage when we said those 3 words. “AGHH, AAGHHH, AGHHHHH!” he screamed. “I can’t believe Tyler heard that! AGHHH.” Thomas meant what he said to me, but no way in heck would my brother understand, especially after only one week of us being together. We were a bit embarrassed about it all, but we were in love, and it didn’t take Tyler long to see that.

    It was in June of 2012 when Thomas was just beginning his career as a real estate agent. He was working alongside two of his oldest brothers, Mark and Joel. Together, they were all part of “The Mark Faris Team.” It all began for us when Thomas sent a letter with his business card in the mail to my family. I remember seeing his card for the first time and commenting on the attractive picture on the front. Mom smiled and said, “Wow, Thomas sure has grown up! It has been years since we have seen him. He is such a nice boy.” I couldn’t help but smile. Maybe I would see him one day I thought, but I didn’t realize it would happen so soon.

    IMG_0321 IMG_0370

    On June 25th, 2012, I went to the gym in the morning.This was also the same day we received Thomas’ letter in the mail. Going to the gym in the morning was part of my daily routine, and my favourite time to exercise; I love the feeling of starting my day off on the right foot. Mom mentioned to me that she had signed up for a cycling challenge at the gym, and she asked if I wanted to go the gym with her later on again. I don’t like going to the gym in the evening, as it is always too busy and I just don’t enjoy exercising at night. I especially don’t like going twice…once is enough for this girl! But for some reason, I felt inclined to join her this night.  For the second time in one day I was going to the gym. This was not normal for me, and it was not just coincidence.

    Mom set up her bike in the main hallway of the gym to take part in the cycling challenge. As she was cycling, she said that she was suddenly overcome with a strange feeling. She turned around, and in through the doors walked Thomas Faris. Strange, she thought, we haven’t seen him in years, and here he is now after just receiving his letter in the mail. She began to think of me being upstairs, and wondered if maybe this feeling has something to do with Thomas and I. She continued on with her cycling, and Thomas walked up the stairs into the gym… where I was.

    It didn’t take me long to recognize the man who just walked up the stairs. I was sitting on a bench with weights in my hands as I saw Thomas. I watched him in the mirror and had to take a second look to be sure this was the person I thought it was. Yep, he’s the handsome one on the business card! I definitely had my eye on him, and I wondered if he noticed me too. I finished my workout and met Mom downstairs in the hall. The first thing she asked me was, “did you see Thomas?” I smiled and said, “Yes!” Mom gathered her things together as I sat down and pulled out my phone. I went on Facebook while still at the gym waiting for Mom, and tried to see if I could find that handsome man, Thomas Faris.

    I typed Thomas’ name in the search bar on Facebook, but nothing came up. I thought everyone had facebook in this day and age, but apparently I was wrong. Then something strange happened. At the top of my news feed right at that moment pops up a post from an old friend – Daniel Faris…Thomas’ brother. Coincidence? I think not. Especially since I haven’t seen anything from Daniel on Facebook for years. I clicked on Daniel’s name and looked on his Facebook page. On Daniel’s page, Thomas’ name popped up. I couldn’t believe it!

    I didn’t know if Thomas saw me upstairs or not, but I didn’t want that to be the last time I saw him again. I sat there for a while debating whether or not I should add him as a friend on Facebook. I didn’t want him to think I was weird, especially since I was Tyler’s little sister and five years younger than him. Before I could talk myself out of it, I clicked it. It was done. My heart began to beat a bit faster as I thought about what his reaction might be. All that I could do was wait and see.

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    I walked out of the gym and my phone beeped right away. It was Facebook letting me know that my friend request was accepted. I let out a little yelp of excitement as I walked out of the gym. Shortly after, Thomas sends me a message asking how was my workout was. I guess he had his eye on me too. Our conversation began with small talk, but it was obvious that we wanted to get to know each other. It was getting late and time for bed. I can still feel the excitement of that night, sitting up late and getting butterflies, wondering what his next message would be.

    I was sitting at the kitchen table a few days later with Mom, who was laughing at my giddiness as she watched me texting Thomas with a smile smeared across my face. She asked, “So when are you going out on a date?” I laughed, “I don’t know if he is interested in me yet!” Mom laughed harder, “Oh yes he is.” Then, right then and there came the message from Thomas, “So, do I have to get to know you over text and Facebook, or can I take you out on a date?” I let out a huge screech of excitement, and butterflies filled my entire body. So many feelings and emotions ran through my body in one moment. Oh my gosh, he is interested in me. In ME?! Thoughts started running through my head – what do I wear? What will we talk about? What if he doesn’t like me? What if he thinks I am too young? Completely unaware of anything else at the moment, Mom seized the opportunity and caught it all on camera, (which would one day be played at our wedding). Something was different about Thomas, I knew it without even meeting him yet. I sometimes wonder if I knew at this point I would marry him… One thing is for sure, I certainly knew after our first date.

    This is the end of Part 1.

    Part 2 on “the first date” coming soon…