Monday, April 28

A Paradoxical Day

Today I slept in. I didn't get out of bed 'till 9. It was lovely. Then I had a nice quiet, slow morning with God, my Bible, notebook, and cat. It was so good; I hadn't done that in far too long.

And, in the afternoon, I bought a costco membership. And shopped at Costco. And $400 later, I'm not sure how I feel about it. I didn't buy anything frivolous, just stocked up on some food and bathroom stuff that we will use anyway, and I'm sure it's a cheaper way to buy that stuff, but it just doesn't seem to line up with some of my other priorities about doing things local, and slowly, and with less packaging.


Saturday, April 26

really freaking mad

I don't swear very often. But I am really angry right now, and profanities are really the only words I can think of that communicate how I'm feeling. Basically, I'd say, this is really sh**ty, and I feel like I'm f***ed. And I'm understanding the verse in James 4:13-15 That says
"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow...Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'"

Many of you will know I've been "saying" I am going to Prague this July to study. My school program requires an international exchange of some sort, and I was planning on doing two courses at an institution in Prague, which would fulfill this requirement, and mean I only have three courses to take in the fall before I graduate.

I just got an email from the director saying they have chosen not to run the program this year. A good reminder that I "do not even know what will happen tomorrow."

This has all sorts of potential ramifications on how I complete my degree, when I graduate, how heavy my course load is in the fall, etc, etc. Not to mention that my summer job is only guaranteed until the end of June.

So, I'm pretty bummed about that. Not the greatest news to receive a few hours before writing an exam.

But, as I was reminded recently in the cheesy words of a line from the Sound of Music, "When God closes a door he always opens a window." Just yesterday my current employer posted a job for a summer student position in their corporate office, which could be a good opportunity for me, as they are in the midst of developing a global operations arm, and I will need a job after I graduate with my global studies degree...see the connection? Maybe this is all a good thing.

Ok. So. I need to get myself ready for this exam.

Tuesday, April 22

Savouring the Slowness

*sigh of contentment*

It has been so nice to not have school or work demands this week, the first time in ages that has happened. My school year job ended last Friday, and my spring greenhouse job begins this Friday. I have one more exam that I'll need to spend a bit of time prepping for, but for the most part, this week is a holiday, and for that I am very glad!

Mom and I went to my aunt and uncle's house on Saturday night to join them for their Passover celebration, which I really enjoyed. I think often as Christians we overlook some of the important aspects of our faith heritage, and Passover is such a fantastic time of remembering God's powerful act on behalf of his people, the Israelites, and the way it looks forward to the coming of our Messiah. The exciting part of this year's Passover dinner was that, because of my Hebrew studies this year, I was able to participate in the asking of the questions by the youngest in Hebrew! It was slow and choppy, but I got through it. It was nice to be able to go and with Mom and not worry about what I should have been doing for school.

Yesterday I spent some much anticipated (and needed) time in the yard, raking and cleaning up the flower beds. I'm not so sure I'm a gardener though...especially when I have no idea what's in those beds, since this is our first spring here. I haven't a clue what's weed and what's not, and after a (short) while I didn't really want to be weeding anymore. Today I planted pansies in the hanging baskets we bought last fall, something I've been wanting to do since the moment we bought the house. They look pretty!

I have been thoroughly enjoying the slower pace of this week. Today Charlie and I sat on the porch with a coffee, and read my Bible, the newspaper, and just sat and watched my world. It was good. I was also able to make a nice lunch for James and I, and supper for James to take to work. These are small things, but it's so nice to just be able to do them!

Tomorrow we're going to do the big basement clean out. I'm looking forward to it - it's still full of things (many, many, many things) that belonged to the previous owner. It will be nice to have them out, be able to clean the space, and then organize it to store our stuff. Hopefully it's not rainy!

Thursday, April 17

live from the backyard

Yep, that's right. In my backyard there is a bedsheet covered with study materials, one large sun-warmed dog, and one girl warming her feet on the large sun-warmed dog. It is almost impossible to see my computer screen, even on the shady side of my bedsheet, but, I don't care. I am willing to strain if that's what it takes to be outside on this glorious day. And I really wish I could post a picture of me spread out on my tummy typing, with Charlie at my feet, perendicular to me, on his back, head back, mouth hanging open, while I rub his tummy with my feet. Studying Hebrew can't get much better than this. Oh, and I'm wearing sunscreen, as my three hour bikeride on Tuesday without sunscreen taught me a lesson.

This is a blessing.

Wednesday, April 16

getting there!

I always wish I had a catchy title on the tip of my tongue, and try to think of one, and then realize that by the time I do that I could be done writing and on to other worthwhile endeavours, and move on. Like now.
So, yesterday, I did something very exciting and uncharacteristic. I decided I wanted to go see my parents (exciting, but not uncharacteristic). Then decided that it was very foolish with gas prices the way they are to drive James to Burlington for work, drive to Brantford, then go back to Burlington to pick him up. So, I asked him to call his parents to see if they had a free car. No answer. So. I got changed, packed up my stuff, and hopped on my bike. Yep, I biked to Brantford. Which, isn't really THAT big of a deal, it's about 30km, there are much larger feats, but, considering I am not all that fit, and hadn't gone on a bike ride in a long time, it was pretty ambitious. It took my almost three hours, which was slightly embarassing, but, I did it. I'm not even sore today (which means tomorrow could be awful)! It was pretty rewarding.

(sidenote - I think it's really strange that the spellchecker on here picks up Brantford, but Burlington is ok)

Also rewarding - I handed in my last assignments today! And got back an essay that I did really well on. Now I'm only two exams away from freedom. It feels sooooo good.

I kind of wish I had a plan for when I'm done (which is in December). People keep asking me what I want to do when I graduate and I really have no clue. There are lots of things I want to do, but I don't really have a timeline for any of them. There is a dreamjob opening up, but I have no idea if I would be considered for it. I would like to go to seminary and do a master's, but I don't know if I want to do it right away, or if it's financially an option, or if it would work if James was in school at the same time (it is his turn, after all). I would like to complete my RCM piano stuff, and maybe teach music lessons. I would like to have kids. I wouldn't mind maybe working in the field I've been studying in...but I have no idea which of these things are dreams, and which are worth acting on; or, if all of them are worthwhile, in which order I should go about attaining them.

On the seminary topic, I've been kind of worried what would happen if I academically pursued my passion for the Bible. See, I've encountered a few people over the course of my university career who I really respect, who started their academic careers as Christians, and spent time in seminary, and got to the other end of it and couldn't honestly be believers. I really don't want that to happen to me. On the other hand, I know a lot of people, probably more, who have spent a lot of time academically pursuing the study of scripture and have very deep faith, but there's still this lingering worry that if I really look closely at things, I might have to let go of things that are really important to me. Anyway, I was listening to some music while driving to school today, and one of the songs said "The voice of truth tells me a different story; the voice of truth says 'do not be afraid.' The voice of truth says 'this is for my glory.' I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth." And it just really resonated with me regarding this issue. It was an encouragement.

Well. The sun is shining, my windchimes are clanging, my flowers are budding, my cat is sitting in the window looking rather picturesque, my dog is sitting at my feet. All very good.
On the other hand, my laundry needs folding, my table needs to be cleared of the ridiculous amounts of paper and books covering it, my floor needs vacuuming, and my husband will need feeding. I should probably get to it!

Monday, April 14


My house is a chaotic mess. I have schoolwork to do. I would like to nap. Those things don't mix well.

What I want to know, is how it got to be a chaotic mess. I was working this weekend, 2-10, Saturday and Sunday. Before I went to work on Saturday, I cleaned and tidied the whole house. It was a beautiful and relaxing place to be. And then from Saturday at 2 until, pretty much right now, I have been home for about 20 hours, the majority of which I spent sleeping. Which doesn't answer my question of how my house got this way. Sigh.

I have a really hard time getting assignments done during exam period. It seems like I have all the time in the world to do whatever I want, because my time isn't scheduled. Which leads me to end up spending lots of time doing things that are fun and healthy, but not necessarily productive in the school realm. I have to get two major assignments in for Wednesday, then write an exam on Friday, then I'm done until the next Saturday. It will be really nice to be allllll done, and working more. I'm looking forward to that!

Tuesday, April 8

Oh happy day!

Yesterday was my last day of classes! Hurrah! I came home, finished up some last minute work since the strike at school ended (only to get a snarky email back from the prof saying that the strike was a separate issue from my deadlines :S I hope I don't get docked a ton of marks), and then walked Charlie, had supper with James, and had a whole evening to do whatever I wanted. So I grabbed my rake and got outside. It was SO nice. Especially because I was starting to feel embarrassed about how gross our front patch was looking. So I raked, and I got my hands dirty pulling dead leaves and stuff out of the flower beds, only to find crocuses, daffodils and tulips!!! Yay! The crocuses have started to bloom, the daffodils are almost there. Very exciting.
I still have a fair bit to do for year end projects and exams, which is going to be very tricky, as the sunshine and backyard are seeming pretty seductive...

Friday, April 4

Secular Sacred

That was the title of the massey lectures in 2006 (I think...maybe 2005), by Margaret Sommerville. They were great. I don't remember specifically what she had to say about that, but something along the lines of recognizing the sacred in everyday life - not necessarily things we ordinarily consider sacred in the organized religion sense of the term.

Anyway, I was reading a segment from the Blueprint, a student publication at Laurier, and that phrase - secular sacred - popped into my head. I thought I'd share it.

"Being happy can be hard work. When we make a commitment to social justice, to change, to awareness, it often stems from a simmering anger at the oppression, injustice, and pain that we see all around us. How many of us have read or seen something that opened up our eyes and come away feeling overwhelmed instead of empowered? How many times have we seen friends open their own eyes, only to shut them even tighter a moment later? Is it wrong to empathize like this? Of course not. Is it productive? Not in the long term.
Anger is strong. Hate is stronger. Embracing them as a motivation for social change is easy, and it's seductive. I've sat in many, many rooms being dominated by whoever had the biggest chip on their shoulder about an issue. More than once, I've done the dominating. It certainly gets things done, but it also lights a fire that burns people out incredibly quickly. This is no foundation for sustainable change. Continuous sadness destroys more than it saves. We certainly do our movements no favours by talking about guilt without talking about hope.
Buddha made famous a truism about human life - that the only things we can predict at the moment of birth are suffering and death. What does this mean? Perhaps that sorrow will find us, but we must go looking for joy. Thankfully, it's not hard to find. Indeed, I'd argue that it's impossible to miss. Look around for just one moment at the world we wake up to. It's filled with more beauty, more inspiration, more harmony than any of us can possibly wrap our minds around. By all rights, tears of elation should greatly outnumber tears of frustration.
Laugh. Sing. Smile. Learn. Struggle. Find your joy wherever you can. We must not be afraid of admitting that sometimes, progress actually gets made. When we go out into the world to try and change it, we try to give a voice to the voiceless. Making that a voice of hatred does them all a disservice. There's lots to do - let it be done with joy."

Josh Smyth, Editor-in-Chief, Blueprint Magazine

Thursday, April 3

Counting my blessings

I'm having a thankful day today. I'm thankful for the sunshine, and that it's getting warm. I'm thankful for my house, and that I had the time to clean it today. I'm thankful for the farmer's market, and that I am healthy and was able to walk there for my food today. I'm thankful for my job, and that I had money to buy food and flowers. God is so good to us.

also...I'm thankful that there are only 2 school days left and a few little things to wrap up. VERY thankful!

I am also really thankful this week for the Christian community that I am a part of. I have been really blessed this week by spending time talking and praying with people who really share God's heart for the poor and marginalized, and want to figure out what it looks like to respond to those issues. I am just so excited and encouraged after I have spent time with these people.

God is good.
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