Sunday, April 30, 2006

And the church came a-tumbling down

There's nothing like watching a big machine tear apart a building.

Finally, after about five years of the original wing of my church being condemned (it's still funny to say that my church was condemned!), it was torn down on Friday. I left for work early to watch some of the demolition.

I watched with mixed emotions. All four of my grandparents went there and my parents grew up going there. The part of the building they tore down used to be the sanctuary, but they have long since built a newer wing and turned the old part into a hall. I went to Sunday School in the basement there, and spent many Sunday afternoons running around on the stage in Fellowship Hall waiting for dad to finish up an elders meeting. I remember going to Pioneer Girls a few times while my mom was a leader, and having big family reunions there... I remember my great aunt and her crew bringing trays and trays of those little triangle snadwiches out of the teensie tiny kitchen off in the corner. Ha! I even remember the slightly musty smell the building had in its later years.

On the other hand, I'm so excited for what's to come. There's gonig to be a new wing built there with a much mroe welcoming and open feel, and a waaaay better use of the space. It's going to be great!

Here are a few of the pictures I took before, during, and after...

The old Tabernacle/Fellowship Hall

I love the beams of light and how you can see all three levels of the building - sunday school rooms below, old sanctuary/hall, and the balcony above.

I would think that this would be a really fun job!

It's gone!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Confession Time

Waaaaaay back in February (February 16, to be specific) my wallet was stolen out of my classroom. What a pain. I went about canceling everything and getting all my cards and documentation back. That stuff has all been replaced. The wallet itself, however, well, that's another story.

I have been carrying around my cards, receipts, frequent buyer cards, and general wallet stuff in a ziploc baggie for over two months now. My friends have been mocking me for over a month. I try not to bring it out anymore, I just dig around with it still in my purse and pull out the right cards. If I must bring it out, I always feel the need to explain myself. "My wallet was stolen... " I have even repaired a little hole with scotch tape. I know. Don't even say it. Why didn't you just use another ziploc bag??? Because whenever I was in close proximity of my ziploc bags, I wasn't thinking of it. But mostly because I'm lazy.

See, I'm picky about my wallets. It has to be just right. My last one was great. I was used to it. I had a system. It worked. Finding a new one was just gonna be a pain. Hmm... I seemed to have this issue with my hairdresser, too. She moved away and it took me two years to get my hair cut. Apparently me and change don't like each other too much! Dag nummit. Plus, I'm cheap. I wanted to just go to Bentley to get an el-cheapo wallet that would last me well like my old one did. Forget this $50 for a wallet business. Pshaw! BUT all the Bentley stores are far away from my house - totally out of the way.

Until today. I was actually downtown, and so FINALLY replaced my wallet! Woohoo! It's cute, it was cheap, and it has everything I want.

Now I can lay my trusty ziploc to rest and stop being mocked by pretty much everyone I know. For the ziploc, anyway! ;-)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's quiet out there in blogland

Everybody seems to be slowing down on the posting these days... myself included. Here's just a quick update.

I've been sick-ish - just a cold, but my how that can knock a person out. I've been sucking back the DayQuil to get me through. DayQuil, how I love thy orange syruppy goodness. I have NO voice at. all. so teaching was pretty amusing today. Most classes I just took outside, the rest I pulled pity trips on and they were pretty good. In a whisper/wheeze: "Now, I can only talk as loud as this, so I'm reeeeeally gonna need your cooperation today.... Remember, I'm sick, and can't talk over you.... *throws a coughing fit, in part for show*" Ah, if only that worked all the time.

I had a fun weekend - despite said cold. Saturday I went for a hike to Norvan Falls in North Vancouver. It was hike numero uno for the season, yippee! Ok, ok, so it was mostly flat, but it was long-ish (14km return) so I feel justified in calling it a hike. Barely, but I do! :-)

I did announcements in both services on Sunday. I'm not sure if I'm gonna do them again once this schedule is done. After countless requests to use "guests" and not "visitors" (ok! I KNOW already, and have always done that!), THREE reminders to not forget the guest card announcement after I had already assured Pastor S that yes, I had done it last time, and Pastor S constantly nodding in the front row after each announcement, it's makin' me kinda paranoid! I love Pastor S, don't get me wrong, but he's freakin' me out! LOL!

I also got to help smash a hole in the wall of my church with a hammer on Sunday (heh heh, it helped get out some announcement frustration!). The original part of the building has been condemned for nearly 5 years now, and FINALLY we've done the initial rebuild fundraiser campaign, gotten all the permits, and are ready to demolish it. We had a little ceremony between services to say goodbye and to start off the demolition/construction project. Anyone who wanted to could take a swing at the wall. It seemed kinda wrong at first, seeing as this was the building where both sets of my grandparents and my parents went to church, and where I went to Sunday school. But I got over that pretty quick and took a few good swings. Hee hee! (photo courtesy of Brian)

I went (indoor) rock climbing for a friend's birthday Sunday evening. So fun! I haven't done that since grade nine, and I'm wondering why the heck not? Mental note: go rock climbing more often. But maybe not for so long next time. Trying to drive afterwards proved difficult as I had ZERO strength in my hands to grip the steering wheel. It's only my relative distaste for ramming into things with my new car that allowed me to muster up the strength to turn the wheel. (Don't I look like a pro in that photo? Ok, ok... so it's not me ;) That was one of our belayers)

Hmmm... what else?

OH! I went to a TUPPERWARE party last week. I know, I know, not that exciting, but it felt totally house-wifey (which is not a bad thing). There were babies everywhere! I totally didn't fit in, but it was fun anyway! I swore high and low I wasn't gonna buy anything... I ended up ordering almost a hundred bucks worth of stuff. And that "forget-me-not" onion holder thingy. I pretty much HAD to have one of those. It keeps onion stink out of the rest of your veggies and hangs on the shelf of the fridge so you don' forget about it. Hence the name. Aren't they clever. Darn Tupperware and their new designer colours and atendee specials!

Well, this is probably the most boring post ever, but meh, what are ya gonna do. I'm off for a run in the beautiful sunshine. Later!

Friday, April 21, 2006

That's one talented baby!

My friends Brent and Adina have a very cute little baby girl. Hannah is just over 5 months old, and boy does she have spunk! She's recently started her own blog. If you've ever wondered what goes through the mind of a baby, go check our her site. Go on, scat! Say a friendly hello from me!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

On marriage, divorce, and the like

Marriage is something I am looking forward to one day, if/when (hopefully 'when!') the right person comes along. But lately, I've had some sobering reminders that it's not easy, and nothing makes us invincible when it comes to keeping that relationship together.

I guess I've been thinking about it because recently I have heard of a slew of couples who have either gotten divorced or separated, or whose marriages have very nearly broken up. Some are friends of my parents who have divorced after 25+ years of marriage or who have nearly split up but are together again after counseling. But some are people my own age: friends, acquaintances, friends of friends. Two couples I've learned about in the last two weeks. I think that's what's really making me look at this.

None of these couples are really close friends (though they're friends nonetheless), so I don't know any details of what happened, really - nor is it any of my business. But the two I've learned of in the past two weeks have really tugged at my heart. There is such pain in the words "My spouse left me." I can't even imagine going through something like that, or especially of hearing a spouse say, "I don't love you anymore. Maybe I never did." One of these freinds wrote his reflections here. I ache at the pain in his words.

How do we really know what love is? And isn't it an action, anyway? How can things go so wrong and get to a point where the damage is irreparable? How do you guard against it? I know there are no guarantees, but as someone who wants very much to be married someday, how do people make marriages last? I do have faith in marriage, and I know that it can and does work, and can be the best (not easiest, but best) experience a person can have. I also know that sometimes it doesn't turn out that way.

Man, thinking about my friends and what I can only imagine they are going through makes me feel so immature. I flit around, go to work, hang out with friends, have crushes, whatever. Sometimes I feel like I'm just a silly little teeny bopper. I have nobody else I have to take into consideration, I do whatever I feel like pretty much, and haven't really had to face any major trials in my life. Don't get me wrong, I'm so grateful for that, but sometimes I just feel like a little kid in a grown-up world.

I guess the other thing I'm thinking about is the whole "religious" aspect of divorce. I've heard people say, "Well, the Bible says divorce is wrong," but what kind of a slap in the face is that to those who are going through that kind of pain? Obviously in a perfect world marriages would last "till death do us part," but we are not perfect people. Sometimes a relationship gets so damaged that it can not be put back together the way it was. Can God bring reconciliation? Of course. Will he always bring it? I don't know. And the more I think about it, the more I feel that it's not my job to know. I think that it's more my job as a friend and as a Christian to love my friends, to pray for them, and to be there when they need an ear or a shoulder or a hug.

I think of my friends - and anyone, for that matter - who are going through or have gone through the breakup of their marriages. All I can do is pray for them and their spouses - that there would be reconciliation between them, whether inside or outside of their marriages. I pray that they know peace and have solid, supportive friends to surround them, and that they experience the closeness of Jesus in a way they've never experienced it before. I really believe that their pain is His pain, and that He weeps along with them. I also pray that He will be their strength and their joy, and that they'd know they are held close in His love.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Keepin' up with them Irish

My calves just aren't up to the challenge.

I went to a Ceili (pronounced "kay-lee") on Saturday night. My friend Trudy harassed invited me to go, and it was a blast. The Vancouver Irish Ceili Society puts on a dance once a month with live Irish music and lessons and everything in this little community hall in East Vancouver.

Ceilis are kind of like square dances, but way more fun and are free of the traumatic junior high memories most of us harbour deep within our souls. (I always ended up having to dance with the teacher - how messed up is that?) Sometimes they're done in a great big cirle, somtimes in a line, and even in a triangle. Come to think of it, never once were we in a square. Ok, so they're not really like square dances. But you have a caller and a partner and a "corner." That's about it.

One-two-three-four-five-six-seven, one-two-three, one-two-three! I still can't get that step out of my head!

I went with about four friends, but ended up bumping into a ton of people I knew from elsewhere there, too. Who'da thunk it? The very first person I saw there, other than the lady at the registration table, was one of my students! She's about the cutest thing you ever saw. She's in grade one, has got a GREAT big smile, red hair, is always dressed super colourfully, and LOVES to sing and dance. Last year she sang "I will survive" in front of the whole school for the talent show (680 kids, plus teachers, parents, etc). I heard this bright little voice saying hi to me and I looked down to see Robin's little face grinning at me. She was waving, too, and was kind of excitedly hopping back and forth! Ah! It was SO cute! I offered to be her partner for one of the dances, it was great! All evening she kept pointing me out to her mom and waving at me. Tee hee!

As I looked around the hall, I saw another one of my students there, too! Holy smokes! This was a grade 6 boy, and he saw me too, but I think he was pretty horrified to see me there! As I danced by him I considered teasing him about him being my volunteer to teach these dances to his class on Friday, but I thought I'd spare him the mortification. Muah ha ha!

After the first dance, I also bumped into a friend of mine from high school. What the heck! Apparently these ceilis are the place to be!

I have to say, I thought I wasn't going to like it, but I'm really glad Trudy dragged invited me out!

My calves, on the other hand, are shaking their... um... fists... at her! I guess that's what happens when you spend a whole evening dancing on your tip-toes! Yeowch!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Amazing Love

Nail pierced hands, A wounded side. This is love. This is love.


I’m forgiven because You were forsaken
I’m accepted, You were condemned
I’m alive and well, Your Spirit is within me
Because You died and rose again

Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
Amazing love, I know it’s true
It’s my joy to honour You
In all I do, let me honour You

You are my King
You are my King
Jesus You are my King
You are my King

I’m forgiven because You were forsaken
I’m accepted, You were condemned
I’m alive and well, Your Spirit is within me
Because You died and rose again

Lyrics by T. Butler & M. Young; B.J. Foote

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It's official...

I handed in the paper to my pricipal today.

She knows I've been trying to decide for a long time, so when I walked into her office with form in hand, I told her, "I have a piece of paper here that if I give to you right now, now, will be the final step in this process. Eeeeeee!"

Yes, I actually said, "eeeeeeee!" in a high squeaky voice with one eye closed and my face all screwed up to my principal. HA!

I handed her the form and recieved a great big smile and a big, "Welcome to intermediate!" (And then about a thousand requests: "You like coaching, right? And I'd really like for you to be on the committee for the later literacy project. And.. and ... and... " AHHH! One step at a time, here people!)

The timing is right, I'm SOOO thankful that God keeps blessing me with the perfect opportunitites at the perfect time, and I'm excited!!!

*does a little happy dance*

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

That's it. I'm DONE.

Today was terrible. I woke up and I felt like I had a giant fireball in my throat. I should have just called a sub like any sane person would do, but I wasn't ready for the day, and blah blah blah... So I somehow decided that going for a whole day of teaching MUSIC - you know, singing all day - would be a good plan with a throat that makes me wince when I swallow. Someone should have smacked me. I should know from experience that if I think I shouldn't go in and then do anyway, bad things happen. The last time I did that was when I had my car accident that totalled my car.

Well, today wasn't quite THAT bad, but it WAS one of those days when I was SO frustrated with the kids that I was jsut at a loss as to what to do. At one point I even walked over to one of the shelves, slammed my elbows down on it, and let my head fall into my hands. Not terribly professional, but YIKES. That was the calmest thing I could have done at that point.

The only thing that got me through the day was the chocolate fountain at lunch time. Chocolate. Fountain, people. Cascading chocolate you dip fruit and cake into. It's like a fondue but about a million times better. Oh fountain of sweet creamy goodness, where have you BEEN all my life? It was our once-every-two-months staff luncheon today and one of the teachers brought that peice of beautiful splendor for dessert. Mmmmm...

Uh, where was I? Sorry, I got a little sidetracked. :P

Oh yes... bratty kids... So yeah, the afternoon was worse than the morning, and in a perhaps knee-jerk reaction, I made my decision (you may recall all my agonizing over it here and here).

I am moving to the classroom next year. I want the grade five class.

I have been leaning that way for a while, and someone pointed out to me yesterday that there are two jobs available becuase one teacher is transferring to another school, and one is retiring. That being the case, obviously the teacher who is transferring is taking all his materials and everything with him, BUT the teacher who is retiring won't have need for all that stuff anymore, and may be willing to leave some (a lot?) of it for me. I also realized today that I have spent way too many days being frustrated this year - more days by far than I have spend enjoying my job. I don't want to feel like that anymore.

I think the combination of the grade I want, an available job, the possibility of being set up with a bunch of resources, and the crappy day today all factored into my decision. And I feel pretty good about it, actually. I've already been attending workshops with the possibility in mind of being in the classroom, and I'm starting to think through how I want to structure my class and what my expectations and goals are. I'm feeling more and more ok with it.

I told the retiring teacher today, so he's going to start keeping me in mind as he's going through his stuff. I haven't told my principal yet, but I think I'm going to suck it up and do it tomorrow. (So I can have a four day weekend now to start freaking out!) But I'm already starting to look forward to my own class next year. This is the right thing to do.

Now watch, all those kids that were annoying the heck out of me today? I bet they'll all be in my class next year.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Catching up...

Wow, I really haven't been blogging much lately. Life has been whipping by ay lightning speed. I've often thought about an idea for a post, but I've either been far from my computer at the time or too bleary-eyed tired to actually do anything coherent. So here's the run-down of the last little while:

- This is the first night in 10 nights that I have had free. It's all been great stuff, but I'm sooooo tired! (Well, I guess technically I had last Wednesday night free, but only cause I had a mini break down and bailed on my small group - the night I was supposed to lead, no less! Thank you to my wonderful understanding friends who took over for me at the very last minute.

- 'Member how I got all crazy about taking an improv class? Well, I did, it was great, and now I'm on to another obsession: AFRICAN DRUMMING! As a music teacher, I have taken a few workshops as a music teacher on the djembe and I've really enjoyed it. On a whim last summer at a county fair in Washinton, I bought my very own djembe. I rearely play it, cause well, I don't really know how to, and it's really loud. I SOOO want to go down to Spanish Banks (a beach here in Vancouver) and play in the drumming circle they have there every Sunday night in the summers. I just don't think I can handle all the pot smoke. Blah. BUT, my friend Dave and I went to an African evening at a local high school - complete with a Kenyan meal - YUM!!! - African dance and story telling, and drumming. Oh, the drumming. That was it. I'm on the hunt for a class.

- Most people who know me know that I LOVE taking pictures. I take kajillions of them (and about three of them are even good!). I just have an automatic digital camera, and I've wanted to take a photography course to learn more about compostion and how to use an SLR camera. But recently I've been totally inspired by a friend's FAN-TASTIC online photo gallery. This guy has talent. I want to learn to take shots like that! So. Drumming and photography courses are in my near future. Not sure where I'm going to find the time, but I'm sure gonna try.

- I had a super busy weekend playing tour guide to a friend from out of town - beaches, Victoria, and a Vancouver city tour were all part of the package. It was fun getting to show off my little corner of the world. And I learned that sometimes things can be even better than you expected them to be.

- I went to a mind-blowing seminar on Sunday night called "Holy Week: The week that changed the world," given by Darrell Johnson. Darrell is a former missionary and pastor who now teaches preaching at Regent College. I am blown away every time he preaches. His understanding of the Bible and his totally fresh look at who Jesus is just blows my mind. I usually end up weeping after I hear him speak becasue of the new insight I gain into my saviour. Wow. If at all possible, I'm going to post this seminar somewhere so you can hear it. For now, I would highly reccommend going here and listening to his 3 part series called The Main Thing: "The Lamb of God," "The Son of Man," and "The Great I AM" from July 2005. *low wistle* Wow.

I think that's it for now... my tummy is rumbling! :)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Not Your Buddy

A friend of mine recently passed along this article. I read the first paragraph and thought, "WOW. Every single girl (and single guy!) I know needs to read this." Go check it out... I'll wait... really... go read it...


OK, so I know only about 0.2% of you actually read the whole thing, so here are the first few paragraphs just to give you a taste:

The other day I was having lunch with a friend and she began to pour out an all-too-familiar story. The guy she'd been hanging out with four nights a week, the one who'd made her a jazz mix CD and asked her to be his date to his office Christmas party, the one who'd gone to late-night movies with her and made her pasta -- that guy -- had crushed her hopes (again) with a single, nonchalant statement: "I don't see myself in a relationship anytime soon." ...

I felt anger well up. This was not the first time I'd heard this story. I could count nearly half a dozen friends who found themselves in this same frustrating situation. After investing months in late night talks, meals together and flirty e-mails, each woman faced the sad reality that the guy actually wasn't planning to upgrade their friendship...

The author goes on to talk about how she asked a guy friend if he thought it was wrong to initiate one on one friendships with a girl, and particularly why he'd continue to act in a way that signaled a relationship when he had no intentions of carrying through on that. The guy's response was basically, "Well, she's going to read into things whatever I do, so if she doesn't say anything, it's ok."

Personally, I have been in a similar situation before (not recently), and have seen very similar things happening with various girlfriends. The girl is interested in the guy, they hang out one on one, have deep conversations, do things that are clearly "date-ish" and the girl is treated differently than other female friends. Then when the girl can't stand it anymore and finally says something, she gets a comment like, "Oh, yeah, don't't feel that way about you, I just see you as a friend."

I can understand how that can feel good - a guy gets an ego boost, gets to hang out with soneone who they (usually) know is into them, and gets all, or most of, the benefits or a relationship without the commitment of a relationship.

Now before you start yelling at me, I am not saying ALL guys are like this. They're absolutely not. And I think the kind of situation described above is tempting for both guys and for girls. BUT... guy or girl, I don't think it's right to act in a way that makes the other person think that you are intending more than you actually are. What is each person's responsibility in that kind of situation? (I'm talking about when one person has a pretty good idea that the other is into him/her. If they're clueless, well, that's a slightly different situation.) For example, if a guy sings to a girl while staring into her eyes, feeds her dessert, rubs her feet, takes her to the symphony, spends hours talking late into the night, etc etc etc, AND he doesn't do that with other girls, what is the girl SUPPOSED to think?

And of course, that leads to the age-old question of can guys and girls be "just friends?" The article proposes three levels of opposite-sex friendship: acquaintances, companions, and intimate friends. The author suggests that if a guy and a girl get to an "intimate friends" level (and I'm not talking physical stuff - I mean more like one on one time together, emotional connection, that kind of thing) it's usually impossible for one or the other not to develop romantic feelings for one another. Do you think that's true? Can guys and girls be just friends? To what extent?

Have you ever been in this kind of situation before where you've felt that you were getting special treatment and then realized that the other person isn't interested "in that way?" What happened? Or do you disagree that this happens or is a problem?

What are your thoughts???

Monday, April 03, 2006

Some good ol' fashioned silliness

I had an April Fool's/Poisson D'Avril party on Saturday night. My stomach hurt I was laughing so much. I have such great, up-for-whatever-I-throw-at-them friends who came over and helped me be a total wing nut for an evening (I'm only a partial wing nut other times).

The instructions? Come dressed inside out/backwards/wacky/all of the above, and be prepared for a zany evening. We played a number of games, one of which was a balloon stomp that ended with my coat tree tipping over, sending my two stacking shoe shelves (and all the shoes on it) flying. We had a backwards spelling bee, and a game where you had to tie your body into knots around a broomstick and then try to untangle yourself. Ouch. We also ended up having a silly string war of sorts in my living room. There may have been a gong, whoopie cushions, and a clapper involved. Weeehaaaw! It was so great to release that inner wacky.

Click here for more pictures.


Why is it that the option that seems to make the most sense is also the one that seems farthest from any sort of possibility???

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Decision 2006 - update

Last week I wrote about a big decision that's coming up - whether to continue teaching music or to move to the classroom. (The post was loooong. Thank you SO much to everyone who waded through it, and especially to all those who left such encouraging, kind comments! It was much appreciated.).

"Wait a second... 'coming up'?" you ask... Yep. My principal asked me on Wednesday what I was thinking of for next year, and I told her I was still trying to decide, etc, but that not to worry, I would tell her by Friday. She then told me that the form that was supposed to be in by Friday is only really for those wanting to increase or decrease their time, and that I only really had to tell her what I wanted for next year before she sends out the job postings, which is in like MAY. Aaauurrgggghhh!

By the end of last week, I was leaning towards the classroom. Intances like those I had last week with Johnny made me realize that I want to be a safe haven for kids like that - to get to know them - and of course other kids, too - better and to be able to have a deeper impact on them that what I can do as a music teacher. I've also been doing a lot of thinking about passion, and what mine is and how that works into my job (don't worry, GP, it's coming, I promise, though I'll probably be able to tell you before I type it out!). I had a moment of clarity on Thursday, too, when I asked myself, "Could you see yourself doing a whole 'nother year of this?" It was sssllllooow getting started this year, and I felt right out of ideas and inspiration. I couldn't see myeslf doing it again for another year.

But then I went to a music teacher's workshop on Saturday. These workshops are always so fabulous, and I get so many great ideas and get inspired by all the clinicians and even the other teachers there. I know that what I really need to do is to take the Orff courses (a method of teaching music to children) so that I feel more equipped to do this job. But they're in the summer and are expensive. I have to work in July to pay the bills, and that's when the course is offered. I met another music teacher, too, who is going through exactly the same debate. She added another point to my thought process - I've spent three years building up not only the music program, but also a portfolio of sorts AND a whole network of professional contacts. If I go to the classroom, am I throwing that all away?

And so the proverbial pendulum was heading on it's way to one side, but is now back stuck in the middle, and I no longer have an imminent deadline. Time to keep praying.....