Sunday, December 26, 2010

.O Holy Night.

This is my favourite Christmas carol.  The third verse, especially, gets me excited.  This is the Christ whose birth we are celebrating!  The one whose law is love, whose gospel is peace, who is setting slaves free, and who causes all oppression to cease, who calls his people to follow this example.

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


my car just turned 100,000!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

.cookie fiasco.

A little while ago I promised some students I'd bake them cookies for the next day.  They requested that they be nut free (one of them had an allergy) and flour-free (which I said I was unable to accommodate).
That evening I debated between chocolate chip cookies and molasses cookies, but decided on chocolate chip, because everyone loves those, right?
I turned the oven on to preheat while i mixed the dough.  Halfway through, I discovered that I'd run out of vanilla.  I debated over what to do, and decided that almond extract would probably be a suitable substitute.  Right after I added it, I remembered: nut allergy!
I decided I'd end up having make the molasses cookies too, after all.
I went to put the first tray of cookies in the oven and discovered that it was still cold.  My oven doesn't work.  So, I turned on my toaster oven, transferred some of the cookies to the toaster oven tray, and began the slow process of baking cookies in a small space.  It takes a long time to bake cookies when you can only put 9 in at a time.
While those trays were baking, I made the molasses cookies.
In the end, they all turned out pretty well and disaster was averted.  In any case, they were all gone by the end of the next day.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

.invisible people.

In recent years I've spent a lot of time talking about and attempting to live out a core value of mine: that human life is valuable.
In Amsterdam our cleaner ministry provided us with many opportunities to connect with people who may otherwise have had nowhere else to sleep and no food to eat. It was a joy to get to know their stories and hear how they came to be part of the Shelter community, and also to provide a place for them to get back on their feet.  My heart began to be transformed to love those to whom I previously paid little attention.
In my time at the CPCC we showed that we valued life with our goal of making abortions unnecessary, valuing the life of the unborn.  At the same time, we valued the lives of the women and men who came into our Centre, helping them as best we could.
At Awaken, my small group was part of a community supper in Bowness, and we had the opportunity to get to know a number of people in the neighbourhood over dinner.  It was wonderful to connect with these people there, but to also bump into them outside of this context and develop some friendships.  These are people who are largely ignored (let's be honest; how often do you really take the time to stop and chat with whoever you pass on the street? it just doesn't happen, no matter who it is.) but who have valuable stories to share.
It's interesting, not to mention heartbreaking, to read studies that show that homeless people and drug addicts don't even register as people in our brains; we recognize them as objects.  And yet these are people who deserve to be treated with care and love, the same as anyone else, if not more-so.  I can imagine how desperately they would long for a kind human touch, to be looked upon as someone who is valued.  Instead they're spat upon, beaten, ignored.
As a Christian, I need to check myself.  Am I noticing the "invisible" people around me?  Am I sharing a kind word with them, offering them a cup of coffee, a chance to chat.  Or am I too busy to take the time to do more than smile and say hello.
Jesus reminds us that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for him.
One of the ways I'm trying to help the least of these is by writing my MP to encourage the government to stop taking legal action against InSite, Vancouver's safe injection site.  I believe that it is a fundamental right of Canadians to receive healthcare, and at InSite they receive care, kindness, and are given dignity as humans.  Additionally, there are many benefits to InSite on financial and harm-reduction levels that our government should appreciate, rather than waste our money trying to shut down a program that is a positive addition to many otherwise dark and hopeless lives.
If you want to read some research, or hear from the perspective of a Christian nurse working at InSite, check out my friend Meera's blog, as well as this site.
Please write your MP and help change our government's mind.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

.faith journey.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
~Hebrews 11:1

The timeline on this story probably goes back before December, but that's where I'm choosing to begin.

When I was home for Christmas, I started telling people I was interested in a job at Eden in their Spiritual Life Department.  This was an odd thing for me to do for a few reasons.  One: I was already settled at a great job in Calgary.  Two: there was no posting for a job at Eden in the SLD.  But as I prayed, I sensed great confirmation that this was where I should (at the very least) apply.

So, in March I sent in my resume and a cover letter, only to be informed that there were no positions available at that time.

As I continued to pray, I still sensed that my time at the Centre would be coming to a close and I should pursue other possibilities.  I began to look for jobs that were similar to the SLD, and one by one, every door was slammed shut.

I prayed more.  I believe that in life there are many choices we can make and God will bless us with either one.  I believe that if I had stayed at the Centre, God would have continued to bless me there (not that he would have to...just that in this particular situation it wasn't a clear "right or wrong").  But I also felt somewhat discontent about staying there, and believe that God was challenging me to trust him, to take a step of faith and see what would happen.

So I did.

I notified my bosses and coworkers that I would be leaving the Centre at the end of the school year.  They responded so positively; they weren't angry at me for leaving them, they were thankful for the large amount of notice I gave, they encouraged me in my search for new work, and, most importantly, they prayed that God would provide a job that would be the right fit for me.

As my time in Calgary began to draw to a close and doors were repeatedly slammed in my face, I began to dread the inevitable questions: "Where are you moving to? What will you be doing?"

I had no answers.  I didn't know where I'd end up.  I didn't know what I'd end up doing.  But I always rested assured of who God is.  I reminded myself frequently that God has shown himself to be kind and loving; he is not mean.  He would not tear me out of one place of ministry and then not provide another and then laugh at my misfortune.  He is a provider.  And I chose to trust that he would provide for me in this situation too.

I won't lie.  There were moments in days when my faith would waver.  When the reality of moving across the country to end up who-knows-where doing who-knows-what seemed a bit overwhelming.  But I continued to take it to God in prayer and let it go.  I refused to let myself be bogged down for long.  (Though I'm sure my friends can attest to a few "freak out" moments.)

Not too long after I was back in Ontario, I was enjoying a beautiful afternoon at the beach.  That day, I kind of gave up.  I told God that I felt like I had exhausted every possibility of finding a job that seemed to fit with the gifts he's given me and the calling I've felt on my life.  I told him that I was giving up on looking for work; I didn't know what else to do, where else to apply.  When I got back later that afternoon there was an email waiting for me inviting me to interview for the position at Eden.

I hadn't even realized that a position had become available, but as soon as I read that email I laughed.  I thought, 'Ok, God.  I get it.  Thank you.'  I knew that this was my answer, and he was being faithful to my obedience in following him into the mystery.

I am so blessed.

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
~Hebrews 11:6

Friday, July 23, 2010

.road trip!.

During the Canada Day long weekend, Kim had a few days off and agreed to accompany me on my cross-country move back to Ontario.  We crossed through 4 provinces and 4 states in 3 days, and have some stories and pictures to prove it.
Day 1:
We left Calgary for Winnipeg.  Thankfully, although we saw evidence of the flooding, the highway had reopened by the time we needed to go through.
We discovered that Swift Current may possibly be one of the last places in Canada that we'd actually want to live.  We grabbed some lunch at their local "Wheatland Mall" and realized that we did not fit in.  (That was a common theme of much of the trip.)
The drivers in Saskatchewan were exceptionally bad.  5 or 6 times various transport truck drivers decided to cross over a few lanes of oncoming traffic travelling at 120 km/hr and then stop and simply block the lanes before turning left.  Seriously?  The first time we just thought it was a random incident of a bad driver, but it kept happening again and again and again!
The best part about Saskatchewan was we stopped for a few minutes in Regina and I got to see Mel!  YAY!  Miss you, Mel.
From the little I've seen of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, I like Manitoba better.  It's a bit more interesting to look at.  More trees.  More lakes.  MORE MOSQUITOES.  Ok, that part, I'm not such a huge fan.
We stayed just outside of Winnipeg the first time, with Kim's friend Kurtis who just bought a farm.  And some goats.
Day 2:
We headed to Otterburne before crossing the border, because I couldn't imagine coming so close and then not seeing the school from which I graduated.  (Seeing the entire campus took less than a minute, with the foot hovering the brakes.)
On our way there, we were caught in the middle of a wicked storm.  I do mean wicked.  I slowed down significantly because the rain was so heavy it was difficult to see far ahead.  At one point we saw headlights coming towards us, then lightning strike, and the headlights go out.  We pulled over.  When we continued, we wanted to see if the people in the car were ok, but when we passed where the car had been...there was no car!  So we might have witnessed a car being incinerated by lightning.  (Or, truthfully, we don't have a clue what actually happened.)
By the time we got to Otterburne we had passed the storm, and the rest of our drive was sunny, hot, and much less buggy.

 We breezed through the border into North Dakota, where we also did not fit, then continued on to Minnesota.  Guess what?  We didn't fit in there either.

But we did meet a giant roadside fish!
When we were in Duluth we were looking for a restaurant.  Kim had been telling me about an American chain where they have a cheap salad buffet, and you can get all kinds of all-you-can-eat salads, and it sounded so delicious, and we were quite disappointed when the guy at the gas station had never even heard of it.  I then asked a ridiculous question: do you have any restaurants with salad buffets?  Kim almost died choking back her laughter.  Note to self: never ask a vegetarian question in Minnesota.  We ended up going to a local restaurant whose owners buy local food, and it was both affordable and delicious. 
Continuing on to Wisconsin we took photos at a cheese store, which sadly wasn't open, and drove until we reached some random town along Lake Superior and found a cheap motel.
Day 3:
Head out early!  Crossed into Michigan.  We went through a town called Christmas.  It had a giant Santa.

It was a pretty drive.  We discovered a lot of Michigonians(?) are Lutheran.  Or at least, Lutheran churches are most prevalent in the midwest.  It felt like we were in Michigan for a long time, but the lakes and trees and winding road kept it interesting.
And then finally we were at the border! 

A rude shock upon arriving in Sault St. Marie: gas was $1.10/L!  We pressed on, hoping to reach South Baymouth before the last ferry took off for Tobermory.  We also discovered a town called Spanish, and then shortly thereafter, a town called Espanola.  (I am told that because it doesn't have the ~ over the n, you don't pronounce it the Spanish way, but still. Kind of funny.)
Someday I may go back to Manitoulin Island and explore or go for a day hike or something (except the ferry is rather expensive, so maybe for more than a day.  Or not drive over.) because it was pretty, but we were rushing to make the ferry.  Kim had doubts.  I was determined.  And.  We made it!  Barely.  But we made it.
We got some supper on the Chi Cheemaun and tried to nap a bit.  But it was COLD.  When we got off the boat, my gas tank was hovering on empty, but every gas station we passed was closed; I guess pay-at-the-pump hasn't made it that far.  But, we made it home (whew) and my parents did not wake up with our arrival (around 1:30am).  Which means, they shrieked (read: mom shrieked) upon discovering me the next morning.
Day 4:
The next day we (mostly just Kim, actually) slept in and then I took her around town and to Sauble Beach.  Oh, how I had missed that beach!

We also stopped by Inglis Falls briefly, and headed to the drive-in for a couple of shows, since Kim hadn't been to a drive-in movie before.
Day 5:
We went to church, had lunch, then I drove Kim to the airport to fly back to Calgary.  I went to my sister's for a bit, and then drove back to my parents' place.
And the sadness hit me and I cried.
Thankfully, Meera called me and cheered me up with talk of home.  (I say "home" very loosely, because I don't really know where "home" is...but at that moment, "home" was Calgary.)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

.water valley rodeo.

As my time in Calgary is drawing to a close (eek!) I'm trying to cram in all the things I never got around to in the past 4 years.  (I know, it's so wise to procrastinate on life, right? oops!)
Yesterday, Amy and I went out to the Water Valley Rodeo.

Getting to Water Valley was easy, since it's right down the road from Amy's camp and she could get there "in her sleep," but finding the rodeo grounds was a bit of a different story.  We drove for a while on the road that turned into gravel and dirt, but there was really no traffic so we became concerned that we were way off the map.  We turned around, and immediately noticed a truck towing a horse trailer going to where we'd just left.  Since there was only one, we shrugged it off, assuming it was heading to a nearby ranch, and continued back from whence we'd come.  After passing a few more vehicles, a few with families inside, and a few more horse trailers, we turned back around again.  If we'd kept going for literally 20 more seconds before turning around the first time, we would have arrived at the rodeo.  Oh well, we paid our money, parked, and claimed some great seats at the top of the covered bleachers (so we had a back rest).

Wisely, we brought a blanket and umbrellas with us as well.  When the sun was shining and the wind wasn't blowing, it was quite warm.  Unfortunately, those moments were few and far between.
We stayed for almost the entire show, leaving just before the last team calf roping and last bull rides.
My favourite part was the wild horse race.  So crazy!  Men being dragged across the arena barely holding on to a rope attached to a horse's neck, desperately trying to calm the horse down enough to put a saddle and rider on it.  I don't think any of the teams actually made it to the end of the course (they had to ride around a barrel and back to the other end) but there were a few teams who came close (they rode around the barrel but couldn't quite make it to the other end).  It was chaotic, but fun.  And dangerous.  Every once in a while when a galloping horse passed, a bunch of the men frantically climbed the fence to get out of the way.
The steer riding was cool too --except one kid got his hand stepped on.  And at one point another guy had to be taken away by stretcher.  The rodeo may be kind of cool to watch, but it also seems quite dangerous.  Maybe you have to be slightly crazy (or else have a dopamine addiction) to do it.
The cutest part of the day were the little kids mutton busting.  Apparently the best technique for staying on a sheep is to grab on to the side.

I didn't end up taking many photos, mostly because I didn't feel like moving (I was huddled in a blanket) but enjoy these few.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


My favourite Community Supper moment happened tonight.

It began a few months ago, when Christina and Nicholas and Victoria moved and then had a housewarming party.  Unfortunately I had to work and was unable to attend, but other members of my small group, including Evan, were able to check it out.  While they were there, Nicholas played Dance Mix '95 and taught Evan and Nadia some sweet dance moves, making them promise to dance at community supper with him sometime.

Last month Nick didn't bring the CD, so Nadia and Evan got out of it.

Tonight, Nick brought the CD.

After dinner he and Evan provided a show, as they danced to Whigfield's Saturday Night.  There were some high stars, low stars, high arm rolls, low arm rolls, the classic 80's dance moves.  And then, to make the moment that much more glorious, 6 little boys joined in.  They added straight arm pumps, the disco move, and they even brought out the sprinkler.


Monday, May 31, 2010

.job hunt.

In the past, I've been blessed to have had jobs offered to me, with very little effort on my behalf in finding them.  Having given in notice at my job, I am faced for the first time with the difficult task of applying for jobs and facing rejection.

  • having been actively recruited in the past, I have higher confidence that people will want to hire me
  • I have great work experience and excellent references
  • I have little to no interview experience
  • I don't really know how to "brag subtly" about myself, or advertise myself as a desirable candidate
Mostly so far I have struggled to find posted positions that I would love, and even after applying I have been rejected (for lacking male genitalia, and for various unknown reasons) and have only actually gotten one interview.  I keep trying not to get my hopes up too high, but with each application, I picture myself in the job, and some of them I would really love.

Anyhow, at this point I just have to wait and keep putting myself out there.  I am certain that something great will work out.  God is faithful.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I can't believe April is almost gone already.
I started off well for me --in Cuba!
I've been enjoying spring (but not so much the random spring storms) and have been spending more time outside.
Janet and I even revisited the stop-by one Saturday night. She had just gotten her motorcycle back from the shop and we rode around visiting I think about 10 different places (although a few people weren't home). So lovely.
It has recently hit me that I'm only here for 2 more months, so I'm trying to spend as much time with my friends as I can. I'm really going to miss them.
Why am I moving again? Why am I leaving a stable job? To move to Ontario where there are no jobs? (I just looked through over 1,000 postings and NONE of them interested me in the slightest, or was in my area of expertise. I'm still praying that I'll get one that I've already applied for.)
Oh right, I'm learning to trust. Life is a journey...and sometimes it's dark and the road bends and you haven't a clue what's ahead.
Might as well just keep going forward, cuz there's no sense stopping and hoping the darkness will just pass and the road will somehow straighten.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

.welcoming in spring.

This weekend was so pleasant!
The weather was great, and I spent some time with friends.
I got to meet my friend Jen's new baby, Caris. It was lovely to catch up with Jen a bit too.
Then I went to my friend Dustin's art show. He has this one art piece that's a bunch of crushed coloured Christmas lights, and we kept overhearing people commenting that the artist must hate Christmas, which amused us both greatly.
Then I went to an Awaken games night at Amy's where an exciting game of apples to apples lasted long through the night.
I also watched a bit of the Paralympics, which is just incredible to me. (Especially the seeing-impaired skiers!!)
And then Steve, Amy, Ed and I went to an Irish pub and then the CPO. It's nice to feel cultured every once in a while.
Today I did 3 loads of laundry, and then I was planning on walking to an art gallery to see if anyone had out-bid me on a few items, and Amy wanted to come along too. She suggested that I dress up as a 50s housewife for a photo shoot at the laundromat, which was a grand idea. There was a man there who looked at us awkwardly the whole time (PLUS, he had just dumped all my clean laundry out of the dryer, when there were over a dozen other dryers available, which I found rather annoying). And, randomly, Amy knows the owner of the store/gallery we went to, so that was kind of fun too.
The sun is shining. The air is warm. It's officially spring. What more can you ask for?

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I know that we'll probably get another blast of winter still, but I have been thoroughly enjoying our mild winter and recent spring-like conditions.

Also, I received spring flowers this week, which helps to excite me about the approaching spring.

This weekend I went for a few walks (I am so blessed to live in such a great area of Calgary!) and also a bike ride. I may or may not have run into dancing roller blade man again today.
I spent part of today reading outside as well. I've picked up Don Miller's "Searching for God Knows What" again. My problem with reading books is that I often forget what they say, but then it's good because I can get "new" insights when I read them again.

It was lovely to finally have a weekend free of plans (and work!) because I was able to relax and just enjoy spring. I can't wait for trees to begin to turn lacy...I love the budding rebirth. I think that I, too, am being refreshed and renewed. I look forward to leaving winter behind.

Friday, February 26, 2010

.self-esteem boost.

Sometimes being a guest speaker is really great for my self-esteem.

At the end our our presentations, we pass around evaluations for the students to fill out (and separate ones for the teachers). It's a way for us to see what the kids are learning/picking up and how effective we're being.

Yesterday a student in gr. 7 learned that he should "not try to be someone else." What a great lesson for him to have learned!

There's also a spot on the paper where they are asked "would you recommend this presenter" and can circle yes or no. This week in responses I not only got almost all yes's (3 boys said no, which isn't a bad ratio out of 220 students), I got a bit extra from some students. One student circled yes, then drew an arrow and wrote "totally!" and circled it. Another student circled "yes" and wrote "x10!" and another guy said "yes x2." A bunch of people circled "yes" multiple times. One girl put stars next to her very circled "yes" and wrote "so great!" Another heavily circled yes had a note underneath saying "She's awesome! (and pretty)"

Also, one student told me that I gave the BEST sex ed talk ever! I'll take that!

I haven't recently had any students tell me I deserve a raise, but those comments always make me smile.

It's great that there's always a silver lining that can be found in the midst of a really crazy week.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

.stories from a sex ed presenter.

As a guest speaker for human sexuality, I often have amusing things happen in my classrooms. Here are a few recent anecdotes. (I need to start writing them down more often, because I tend to forget them because I'm just so used to random comments and funny things happening.)

The other day as he was leaving the room, a boy in grade 7 commented, "You make learning about sex fun!" which I took as a great compliment.

I had a girl ask me, in all seriousness, "Can you get pregnant by swimming in a pool?" I assured her that although sperm are good swimmers, they're not that good. They don't have radar that helps them find vaginas.

While discussing reproduction, a student asked me how the X-men got their powers.

When I talk about condoms, I mention that although they reduce risk of pregnancy and STIs, they're not perfect. Especially because some STIs are transferred by skin to skin contact, and condoms aren't a fully body wet suit. After saying this one time, I had a high school boy say, "Well, what if I wrapped myself up in seran wrap?" I looked at him and said, "Do you really think some girl is gonna wanna get with you when you're covered in seran wrap?" and he thought about it for a second and said, "You're right. How about tin foil?"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

.God doesn't should on me.

I'm embracing the freedom of his love.