Friday, November 30, 2007

Stop! <--- (also a hint)

[Last day of NaBloPoMo! Woohoo! I made it! It was way easier than last year. I guess I'm getting more verbose in my old age? Ha! Ok, obligatory NaBloPoMo comment over. Back to our regularly scheduled programming...]

I was never very sporty when I was growing up. My ginger-haired sister and baby brother always seemed to have more fire in them - more competitive spirit. They were always more into sports than I was. Frankly, I found organized sports just plain scary. I never felt very good at them, and was often intimidated by what I saw as the posh, cliquey societies that surrounded them.

But times are a-changing. I'm still not hugely into team sports, but I am doing things I ever thought I'd do. Backpacking in the mountains. Travelling on my own. Dancing! I guess this Sunday night is just another way I'm trying to spice up my life by doing things I never thought I would. I'm getting so excited!

And by the way? Eighty six of you saw my blog yesterday. Eighty-six different people. And I love you all. But for my three commenters? Jean, Heather, and Melissa, you're the bestest! Sooooo.... you get another day to guess! (Yeah yeah, I realize that that's because nobody really cares, but I'm having fun, so humour me! :P )

Thursday, November 29, 2007

NEVER would I have expected this in a million years.

It has to do with somewhere I'm going/something I'm doing on Sunday night. And nope, it doesn't have to do with dancing (well, it does, kinda, but not with my dancing obsession!). And NO, I'm not a wannabe, I'm really gonna have fun!

So I'll tell you what I want... I want you to guess! What am I doing on Sunday night?
I'll reveal the answer tomorrow! (and if you saw it briefly on Facebook, no cheating! ;) )

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Quatchi Miga Sumi

Nope, it's not another language. Rather it's Japanese anime meets mythical forest creature meets First Nations artwork. Quatchi, Miga, and Sumi are the new mascots for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. I can't figure out if I like them or not. They're cute, for sure. Miga is a sea bear (what? part orca whale, part Kermode spirit bear) who loves to surf and snowboard. Quatchi is a sasquatch who dreams of being a famous goalie. And Sumi is what? A Thunderbird, I think? With an orca hat? Drawn in Japanese anime?

It's definitely a mish mash of styles. But on the other hand, it probably represents Canada and the west coast better than I would first think. There IS a huge Asian influence here in Vancouver, and it is important to recognize First Nations cultures, too. It's kind of too bad that it's not a little bit more representative of more of the British Columbian population (as people also said about the Olympic Logo - which I like, by the way: it's friendly, fun, welcoming), but then again, how exactly would they do that? BC is so diverse already, they'd have to have a dozen or more mascots to do that.

I think I like them. They're a little over-the-top cutsie, but then they're marketed towards kids. They've each got personalities that have been created along with them - likes, dislikes, stories, dreams. You can click on any of the pictures to learn more about them. We'll be seeing much more of them in the years to come. May as well get to know them!


And let's not forget the mascot's sidekick Mukmuk the marmot!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

One Day For AIDS

December 1 is World AIDS Day, and once again my friend John Andru is working tirelessly to raise awareness and financial support to go towards AIDS relief. This is a guy with a passion for raising awareness about this awful, awful disease. Not one to sit around and say, "Wow, isn't it terrible that all these people are dying," he is giving up hour and hours of his own time running the third annual One Day For AIDS campaign. His goal, from the website, is to have 365 people donate $30 towards AIDS relief, with proceeds going to your choice of recipient organizations: The Mennonite Central Committee, The Canadian Red Cross, or the Dr Peter AIDS Foundation.

Would you consider going to the website and donating? Or if you can't give, at least go to the website and read up a little? Raise awareness by maybe taking in an AIDS-related movie over the weekend, reading up about AIDS in books like Stephanie Nolen's 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa, or even by purchasing a red AIDS ribbon to remind yourself and others of the gravity of this disease.

John is organizing a number of different events around Vancouver this weekend if you'd like to come out. One of them is a showing of My brother...Nikhil (scroll down when you click the link) at the Pacific Cinémathèque (1131 Howe St @ Helmcken St) at 2pm. Alternatively, if you're not in the Vancouver area, why not rent a film like Dear Francis, an excellent documentary about college students who go to Africa to educate students about AIDS and end up learning far more than they bargained for. I saw it last year, and it was phenomenal. The trailer is below.

As John says in his November ODFA newsletter, "There are lots of things that you can do. But above all - please don't do nothing. Please don't tune out, or become apathetic or indifferent. My question and challenge to you for World AIDS Day 2007 is: Do you care?"

Dear Francis

One Day For AIDS 2005 * One Day For AIDS 2006

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rebirth, part three: On Staff

It was Spring Break, 1995, and I was finally old enough to go the Leadership Training up at camp. I was going to work on staff at Kawkawa that summer, and I could hardly wait.

Leadership itself was a great week - seminars, training, lots of work, and so much information I thought my head was going to pop. Bertski, Professor, and Prem (the director at the time) poured their hearts into us that week. It was intense and loads of fun.

Summer finally arrived, and I had been given three weeks to work - the first two weeks of July and the very last week of August. I was a junior counsellor for one week and taught some activities and helped run a Bible study the next. I was so sad to leave at the end of my first two weeks. At the end of the summer, I came back as a camper for my last year then stayed the weekend before the last week of camp. It was then that Prem asked me if I would like my own cabin for the last week. I was beyond thrilled that he thought I was ready for the challenge of going it alone.

And so I got my very first group of girls: Ellen, Ashleigh, and Kandace. It didn't matter to me that it was only three girls, I was going to be the best counsellor there ever was! It was such a great week, and solidified my desire to work at camp for many more years to come.

And many more years there were. I continued to work at camp for another seven years after that, anywhere from one to nine weeks each summer. If I thought I had grown as a camper, my years there on staff would blow me away.

It was on staff at Kawkawa that I had the honour of praying with someone as they decided to become a Christian for the first time. It was on the back steps of Chalet 401. I will never forget how I felt God niggling at me all day to ask this girl if she wanted to become a Christian. About how scared I was to actually bring it up, and about how eagerly she said yes. I was so excited that I thought I was going to pop. I ran back down to the campfire where the non-counselling staff were still praying and told Bertski about it because I just couldn't contain my joy. She gave me a hug and then told me to go get back to my cabin of girls. Oh yeah! Whoops! (Good thing I was a junior counsellor and there was still someone with them!)

It was on staff where I first saw how much the Bible is a living book. It was the hardest week of camp I had ever experienced. I had a really challenging group of girls, and I was having some conflicts with some other staff, too. I was at the end of my rope. About halfway through the week (um, DUH! Why did it take me so long???), I opened my Bible randomly and had never had something jump out at me in such a vivid, life-giving way. It spoke directly to what I was dealing with and was exactly what I needed to hear. It went so far beyond coincidence. The passage I read encouraged me, chastised me, and gave me comfort and hope. I came to see that God was (and is!) in that book, alive and well, and oh so relevant.

It was on staff that I saw God work in SO many different ways. Big, small, ordinary and extraordinary. It was amazing to get to see him work through me, in me, and often despite me, and in and through so many other people, too. Camp is not the only place I've experienced this, but the thing about camp is that all the rest of life's pressures and messiness just isn't there, so it's much easier to see things more clearly. And seeing God work and answer prayer at camp was training for seeing Him work in the 'real world,' where sometimes it's not so recognizable amidst the stress and business of regular life.

It was on staff that I had one of my most humbling moments - where God began teaching me to back off on my own plan, cause his is so much better. (Oh how I wish it only took that once to learn that lesson! It's gonna be a lifetime before I get that one down!) It was a particularly hot week, and I had wanted to surprise my girls by sleeping down on the dock. I had gotten permission, and waited till they were all ready for bed before I surprised them. They were so excited to get to sleep outside, and I'm sure one of the reasons was that it was about a kajilion degrees in our cabin. We bundled up our sleeping bags and pillows and made our trek down the giant hill to the beach, only to find that some of the junior counsellors were swimming and the dock was soaking wet.

It was definitely not one of my proudest moments when I told off the junior staff leader and made it perfectly clear how annoyed I was that now we couldn't sleep on the dock. I was disappointed for my girls, too, who were really looking forward to this. So, up we trekked back to our cabin - waaay up the hill - and had to go back into our sweltering cabin to sleep after being out in the cool breezy summer air down at the beach. *grumble grumble grumble* At staff meeting the next morning, I made sure that EVERYBODY knew that I'd like my girls to sleep on the dock, so puh-leeeease don't go swimming after campfire.

Take two. It wasn't a surprise, but the girls were still looking forward to sleeping out. After we all got settled on the dock, we began looking up at the stars. "Hey! There's a shooting star!" "And another one!" "Look! I just saw one, too!" It turns out that that night, and not the night before, was the night of the huge August meteor shower. We lay awake for hours watching falling stars and talking about God's creation, reading Psalms and praising God for his creativity and beauty. Ok, God, I get it. You've got a better plan! :P

And it was on staff that I made one of the biggest discoveries about myself I've made so far. For a year or so, I had been plagued with the question of "What's my passion?" I saw people with a passion for scuba diving, or a passion for missions, or a passion for sports and on and on... But what was mine? Sure, I liked a lot of different things, but I couldn't call any of them "my passion." I guess in some ways it was a quest for purpose: what is my purpose, my calling - where that place where my great love and the world's great need intersected?

Well, it was the last night of the second to last week of camp in 2001. I had had the most incredible week - I had the best cabin I've ever had, and witnessed some extremely meaningful changes in the lives of every single girl in my cabin. It was a particularly impacting week for many, many campers, not to mention staff. We were at campfire on the last night, and I found myself looking around. The kids - many who had never once set foot in a church in their lives - were singing with all their hearts, arms raised to heaven, knowing what it felt like to experience the love of God. They were deciding to trust him, choosing to accept the gift he offers.

It was at that moment that I knew. What's my passion? It's here. It's this. It's helping kids come to a greater understanding of who God is and what he's done for them. It's seeing lives changed. I've struggled since then to understand how that translates to the 'real world,' as sadly, camp is not a year round event. But it's trying to see how that works into my daily life - in whatever role I'm in - that will be the lifelong lesson. It was on staff at Kawkawa where I realized that nothing gets to my heart quicker than a child in love with God. And to have God allow me to help that happen? That's my passion.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My guesses!

Whoops, I just realized I never wrote out my guesses for the little game I played last week.

1. Shelli! The "Saved by the Bell" theme threw me off for a bit, cause I knew I had JUST seen that somewhere - facebook? another blog? Yarg, I couldn't find it. But it was the "la la la" that gave it away. (And then it turns out it was Sarah Cool who had posted the Saved by the Bell lyrics. So either it was a co-incidence, or Shelli, you found a genious way to try and throw me off... unsuccessfully! Buah haha!)

2. Sarah D! This one took me a while, and I totally confused my friend Brent by asking him what vegetable he shared a name with. I figured the 'wearing colourful underwear' could have been him! It certainly would have been a secret! HA! But then, while Brent was too confused about me asking him what kind of vegetable he was to speak, I got to thinking... famous vegetable, famous vegetable... veggie tales... at first I thought "Power Pickle!" but then it hit me: BOB! The "I'm innocent" was a nice touch! Input from the hubby, I'm assuming?

3. Anne! Flock of goats. I feel so special! ;) hehehe! And yep, your hint was what gave it way for sure! Nice way of telling me you figured mine out! I really do like your blueberry pie, especially when it's extra sweet! ;)

4. Ashley! Yours was easy to guess, but only because you left a non-anonymous comment shortly before or after posting that one. Otherwise I would have been totally stumped - good one, girl! Beautiful love note, m'darlin! I like the way you think!

Have no idea what the heck I'm talking about? Go read this - and feel free to play along! It's not too late!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Diary of a Worm

from a cute kid's book I have in my classroom...

April 10
It rained all night and the ground was soaked. We spent the entire day on the sidewalk.
Hopscotch is a very dangerous game.

May 1
Grandpa taught us that good manners are very important. So today I said "good morning" to the first ant I saw.
There were 600 more of them in line.
I stood there all day.

May 28
Last night I went to the school dance. You put your head in. You put your head out. You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself about.
That's all we could do.

June 15
My older sister thinks she's so pretty. I told her no matter how much time she spends looking in the mirror, her face will always look just like her rear end.
Spider thought that was really funny.
Mom did not.

What would YOUR diary entry look like if YOU were a worm???


Friday, November 23, 2007

Tis the season

Report cards due tomorrow.
Crazy busy with that and...what else?
Dunno. But feel overwhelmed and house is a disaster area.
Sleep is whacked out. Big time.
Reports will be late (again.) (sigh.)
Still doing the "I am's" but no time to post them in the AM's.
7:59 pm and still at work.
On a Friday.
The kids left at noon.
I spent ONE FULL HOUR sharpening pencils.
Meant to get the kids to do it, but this week was too much of a zoo.
Still have no voice.
It ran away a week before Halloween and I haven't seen it since.
Really should have taken time off Halloween week.
Gonna do it next week. Monday, Tuesday Wednesday.
Five days without talking.
HA! If you believed that, you clearly don't know me.
Five days without talking all day every day.
And lots of hot lemon.
Dang day plans for subs. They're so much work.
Darnit if I'm gonna miss one day of NaBloPoMo.
Even if post sucks.
Ok. Going now.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"You have no friends online recently"

Oh, right. That's because it's THREE SEVENTEEN IN THE MORNING and I'm up doing report cards.

Not still up. Just up. I fell asleep around 9:30 last night watching the Deal or No Deal Thanksgiving special (anyone know how much that totally awesome lady in the green shiny shirt won at the end? And anyone love her momma as much as me? "You've got to do something you've never done to get something you've never had. Honey, you've never said no to $45,000, but you've never won a half a million, either! No deal!"). And because my body is programmed, apparently, to wake up after about 5.5 or 6 hours of sleep, I pinged awake at about 2:45am. Good thing, cause I've got a lot of work to do.

Update: It's 7:37am now. The effects of my first hot chocolate have come and gone. I'm nodding off. Time for another shot and then off to work.

Good golly this is gonna be an interesting day...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I am a minister of reconcilliation for God

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God.

As God's fellow workers, we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For he says, "In the time of my favour, I heard you, in the day of my salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favour, now is the day of salvation!

~ 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

This passage overwhelmes me. It speaks of identity. It speaks of the core message of the entire Bible. It speaks of my overwhelmingly huge yet blissfully simple purpose as a Christian. It speaks of my heart's desire for people to know and understand the depth of what God has done for them. This passage speaks. This passage is life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oh wow.

And as for NaBloPoMo... I'm cutting it a little close, don't ya think?

Yaarg! In my delirium last night I posted at nearly the last minute, then hit save instead of publish and collapsed like the sleep-depraved zombie I was on my bed couch. So I posted. Kinda. I'm counting it. You'd better, too! :P

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rebirth, part two: Campfire

It's summertime, and the sun has slipped behind the mountains, bathing the lake in orange as it set. The sky is turning a deep blue now, and campers are making their way up the path to the campfire, their feet crunching the dry gravel beneath them. Their voices are hushed after a twilight discussion, the shouts of the day's activities now subdued and calmed.

Two trees mark the entrance to the campfire area. Rows of rough benches - nothing more than heavy planks on wooden supports - are arranged in a semi circle around this sacred place. Moss-covered boulders, ferns, and scraggly trees rise up the side of the mountain behind them, while the patio lights of the cabins further up the hill pierce through the dark branches. There is a fence closing off the open side of the semi-circle - tall wooden boards painted green, all different lengths, their pointed tops drawing your eyes skyward. Perhaps they were intended to look like the evergreens that surround them. Perhaps they are a reminder to just look up.

Those who like the heat of the fire sit up front, while others scurry to the back row or make sure to sit beside their new-found friend or favourite counsellor. Near or far, everybody is mesmerized by the flames at some point, staring into the blazing, dancing, brightness; lost in the worship, lost in the story, lost in their own thoughts.

As the campfire flickers it sends sparks soaring upwards. My eyes follow them until they disappear, but by then it is not the sparks that have my attention. I crane my neck upwards and stare at the towering trees that surround this little circle of heaven. There is an open patch of now-dark sky directly above the flames. A handful of stars are visible in the opening, and I am in awe.

This is a cathedral. This is where God dwells, where he draws near, where his presence is felt. This is where lives are changed.

This is where my life was changed, over and over again. This is my "God place."

I am never separated from the love of Christ

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, now any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 8:35, 37-39

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That he should give his only son
To make a wretch his treasure

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Rebirth, part one

When I was eight years old, my nana and papa gave me a birthday present. I still remember where I was when I got it: the atrium section of the old White Spot in West Vancouver. The gift wasn't much to look at, but it would be one that would change my life. It was a card telling me that they had registered me for summer camp. I would be heading off to Camp Kawkawa for one week once school was out.

The time finally came (it's a long wait for a little kid from the beginning of February till summer!) and my parents drove me out to Surrey to catch the camp bus bound for Hope, the little town where the camp was located. Fearless little monkey that I was, I hopped on a bus full of kids I'd never met before in my life, and waved goodbye to my parents, who were definitely having a harder time saying goodbye than I was. I was off for an adventure!

Little did I know then what an adventure I'd be in for.

I don't remember much of that first week of camp, except vague pictures in my mind of my counsellors - Sudsy and Coke - and one of the crafts we did: leather bookmarks that we decorated with leather stamps... They were so cool!

The next year, of course, I wanted to go back. And the next, and the next. I didn't miss a summer - from kids camps to junior then senior teens. I loved the counsellors there - Bunta, Dewey, Squeak, Bertski, Prem, Link, Chunk, Gump, Squab, Lucy, Derby, Crocket, Festus... the list could go on and on. So many of them made such lasting impacts on my life.

And I met lots of great friends there, too. Every summer my address book would be full of new addresses - people I'd write to every now and then, maybe call on the phone once in a while (back in the days when it was a big deal to call long distance to the next suburb. Definitely no email or facebook to keep in touch back then!). They were all people I couldn't wait to see again the following summer.

The location was beautiful, the water was warm, the food was great (oh Georgy Porgy, you were the best cook!), the skits were hilarious, the activities were always fun. It was there I learned how to have a camera war, how to paddle -and tip! - a canoe, how to shoot a bow and arrow, how to watch the counsellor at the table like a hawk so I wasn't the last one to put my thumb up and be stuck scraping the dishes with "Mr. Scrapey." I learned goofy songs and ridiculous wide games, and I learned that sleeping out on the beach was an amazing experience - unless of course the counsellors woke you up early and told you that you were all going to play a trick on the director and sneak over to the provincial park across the lake via canoe. Let me tell you, 80 kids trying to hide behind two outhouse buildings just doesn't work. Grizzly was M-A-D when he got in the camp boat and came looking for us. Kids were in tears, the lifeguard threw down his whistle and quit, stomping off into the forest. Counsellors were mad, we were terrified of our punishment, and it all blew up... until Grizzly finally told us all that it was all a big joke, he'd planned it all, and YAY! We were going to have a pancake breakfast in the park.

Man, that all sounds so awful written out. It was pretty funny at the time, and I have only warm memories of the famous "Sneak." Maybe that's also because that was also the day I found out that my very first cousin was born (he's in grade 12 now!).

I learned all kinds of things at Camp Kawkawa, but the biggest impact that camp made on me was on my faith. It was there where I felt that my faith really grew the most - where I learned the most about God and about what it meant to be a Christian. It was all around me at home, too, but it somehow seemed that there, between the mountains and at the edge of the lake, away from "normal life" and school and parents and pressures, I could really experience God in ways I never had before.

Every year I left camp on a high. I felt like a new person every time I got home. The thrill would subside, but the lessons remained. It was at camp that I remember Gump sitting with me on the back bench of the campfire, ignoring what was going on around us and stopping to pray for my friend April, who was at camp with me and had just gotten called away to take a phone call about her mom who was very sick. I learned that I can pray any time, anywhere, for anything, regardless of what's going on around me.

I remember Bunta telling me straight up that I had a bad attitude when I kept complaining about the girls in my cabin practicing their cheerleading routines every night. I remember telling her, "You know what? You're right," and being so grateful she called me out on it. Those girls stopped annoying me from that moment on, cause I realized it was really me being the twit. (And funnily enough, one of those girls now is a fairly regular sub at my school!)

I remember Matilda's Bible study sessions one week when I was fourteen. She challenged us to make ourselves available for God. I did, and recommitted my life to Jesus that week. I would say that that was the week when my faith really became my own and I became a Christian because I knew it was what I wanted to do, not becuase my parents told me so.

I remember the campfires - the songs, the stories, the testimonies kids told on the last night of camp about how God had impacted their lives that week at camp. I can see their faces lit with an orange glow as they stood by the fire and told their story - of their life back at home - good, bad, or otherwise, of their struggle with friends, of new commitments they wanted to make, of what God was teaching them. I remember how they impacted me. I shared my stories, too, at the edge of that campfire. Of how God had challenged me, of who I was, who I wanted to be. Of renewed commitments and a refreshed soul.

I remember knowing that I wanted to keep going to camp as long as I could, and when I was too old to be a camper, that I wanted to work there. So when I was sixteen, I applied to work as a Leader In Training...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Your turn!

So I totally thieved this off of Anne, who ripped it off of Heather Anne (holy cow, go read her blog of November 16. Like, NOW. Nearly made me cry!), who in turn stole it from someone else (whose name does not include the name Anne). But it's fun (and you all know how much I like fun! And parenthetical statements, apparently).

So, here's the drill, if you brain didn't just explode from that last paragraph. (Too! Many! Thoughts! At! Once!) Leave your answers to the following questions in the comments. Be sure to comment ANONYMOUSLY (don't forget and click enter automatically!). Then I'll try to guess who you are. Won't that be fun? :)

Here we go (are you ready?):

1. One secret.
2. One compliment.
3. One non-compliment.
4. One love note, but it does not have to be for me.
5. Lyrics to a song.
6. How old you are.
7. How long we've been friends.
8. And a hint to who you are.

(And no, I won't use statcounter to help me figure it out!)

That's it. No more parentheses (I promise!).

Friday, November 16, 2007

I am a citizen of heaven

But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a saviour who comes from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Philipians 3:20

I am a stanger here, I don't fit in, I'm out of place
I am a citizen of heaven and it's obvious to see
That I belong with you

Don't want to settle or get too aquanted with this life
Got to keep on looking up, cause He's coming soon
And then I will be



Thursday, November 15, 2007

I am...

... tired, grumpy, getting sick, completely fed up, nearly burned out, and absolutely amazed I didn't walk out of my job right smack dab in the middle of the day today.

No, seriously.

I have had e-nough. ENOUGH! I would REALLY REALLY REALLY like a day - just ONE! -where I'm not dealing with kids (ok, that kid) dumping sand in someone's hair, pouring milk on their head, throwing blocks at other children, splashing water in people's faces, breaking kid's lego creations, pushing/shoving/kicking, stealing other kid's belongings, lying about what's been done, blaming other kids... shall I go on? Here's to a better day tomorrow. Man, not even nearly four hours of dancing - two lessons and a dance - got me out of this mood, and that's sayin' something.

So no, no real "I am" post today. I am... really glad God's not keeping track.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Because I'm tired of hearing myself talk about school and dancing

I have a life, really! I do!

In bold is what's happened in 2007 so far:

*Updated to clarify: I have NOT done everything on this list! The bolded ones are ones I've done in 2007. The ones in italics I've done, but not in 2007. Them plain ol' list items? Never done. Is that clearer? ;)

- lost a friend
- stayed single the whole year
- kissed someone new
- kissed in a car
- kissed in the snow
- kissed in the rain
- fell in love
- had your heart broken
- broke someone else's heart
- had a stalker
- questioned your sexual orientation
- came out of the closet
- got married
- had a divorce
- dated someone you'll never forget
- done something you've regretted (why are these listed so close together?)
- lost your first love
- lost faith in love
- kissed under mistletoe
- shoplifted
- caught a shoplifter
- got a promotion
- got a pay raise
- changed jobs
- lost your job
- quit your job
- applied for a job
- dated a co-worker
- dated your boss
- got fired from your job
- did something you were proud of
- discovered a new talent
- were involved in something you'll never forget
- painted a picture
- wrote a poem
- ran a mile
- listened to music you couln't stand
- double dipped
- skinny-dipped
- went to a sleepover
- went camping
- threw a surprise party
- had a party thrown for you (there's still time! It's not too late!)
- laughed till you cried
- laughed till you peed in your pants
- slept the whole day
- flirted with a boy/girl/boyfriend/girlfriend
- visited a different country
- cooked a disastrous meal
- lost something important to you
- got a gift you adore
- realized something new about yourself
- tripped over a coffee table
- dyed your hair
- came close to losing your life
- someone close to you died
- went to a party
- drank alcohol
- drank alcohol underage
- did drug(s)
- got drunk (well, close, anyway. I've still never been full out drunk)
- got arrested
- read a great book
- saw a great movie
- pretended to like someone (isn't that called 'sales'? :)
- saw a movie so scary that it made you cry
- saw one of your favorite band/artist live
- saw someone famous in person
- did something you want to tell everyone
- enjoyed this year overall

I am free forever from condemnation

Therefore there is now no conemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and of death. ~ Romand 8:1-2

Paraphrased from Rob Bell's "The Gods Aren't Angry" tour:

So what is repentance? In the Old Testament it was always paired with joy, with celebration. It was realizing that, "I've missed it... until NOW! And of course I'll rearrange my life accordingly!" Repentance is realizing that what's required has ALREADY BEEN DONE. Any ritual or any belief that doesn't tap you into the celebration of the reconcilliation of all things is simply not Christian. ANYTHING that creates guilt in us or tells us we are not enough is not from God.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sea to Sky pics!

Click any picture to enlarge it. See the full set here.

Sea To Sky 000 375 Sea To Sky 000 357 Sea To Sky 000 347
The first night saw lots of dancing and lots of goofing around.
I'm dancing here with Chris, Jason, and JR, respectively.

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Competition time! I particularly like the shot of me appearing to sniff my armpit right in front of Jordan Frisbee, the best WCS dancer there IS
(and not a bad looking one at that! D'oh!)

Sea To Sky 167 Sea To Sky 164
Lots of open dancing. I love the photo of the girl spinning!

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Nooooo, we're not having fun at ALL!

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Watching the pros blew my mind! Here's Myles and Tessa, performing their 2007 routine. I've linked to that video a few times before. Seeing it in person was phenomenal! The next one is Tessa and Kyle Redd. How I captured that moment I have no idea, but I'm sure glad I did! :)

Sea To Sky 000 355 Sea To Sky 115
Jordan Frisbee and Tatiana Mollman - the top westies in the world.
Kyle Redd and Sarah VannDrake - my favourite workshop presenters for sure. I really love their style, too! And they're so gosh darn SWEET!

Sea To Sky 302 Sea To Sky 123
Jessica Cox and Myles Munroe
More spinning from Jordan and Tatiana (Tatiana is known for her awesome spins)

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We stayed out till 4am on Saturday night. Wacky things go on at 4am. Like dance fighting. Wade and Ken had a smackdown. Michael's already nearly asleep, Ruth is just very, very, happy, and Chris has already asked me about 16 times if we could stop taking pictures and GO ALREADY! so I'm very grateful he's smiling in this picture!

Sea To Sky 207
Three thirty am. We then kept dancing for another half an hour.
If you can call it that...

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Lots of eating out, lots of workshops!

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As if the weekend wasn't enough, Jason, Ruth, Michael, and I each did a private lesson with Kyle Redd (center) on Monday. We went out for dessert afterwards, and just had to keep dancing. So we did. In the restaurant. The bartenders clapped for us! :D

Sea To Sky 086Sea To Sky 092Sea To Sky 060Sea To Sky 093Sea To Sky 215_editedSea To Sky 000 334_edited
Ian, Stephanie, Jason, Ruth, Chris, Ken, Wade, Yvonne, and more!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dance nerd

... and proud of it!

One great thing about going to Sea to Sky - the dance convention I attended a few weeks ago - was that I got to know a bunch of people that I see at dances around town a lot better. In particular I got to know some of the girls, which I haven't had as much of a chance to do because, well, I don't dance with the girls!

The weekend - my oh my, I haven't posted pictures, have I? - had large groups of us out for lunch or dinner discussing the various workshops and things we had learned. I think my favourite point was our dinner on the last day. There were maybe eight of us, all ridiculously exhausted and buzzing like crazy (buzzING, not buzzED! :P ) after such an intense, awesome weekend. We were sitting around the table at the Cactus Club and enjoying the groove of the music, all with only half an ear on the conversation because we were all counting "one, two, three and four, five and six" in our heads. Almost simultaneously, we all started raising our hands, pulsing them to the beat, mapping out the phrases of the music as we had done in one of our musicology workshops. When we got to the top of the phrase and dropped our hands to start again, we all kinda realized what we were doing, and probably how we looked to everybody else around us. Everybody busted out laughing, realizing we had spent the whole meal making ridiculous dance jokes and waving our hands around in the air in unison.


Friday night I had another "dance nerd" moment. One of my friends just had knee surgery about two and a half weeks ago, so she's at home on the couch day in and day out feeling pretty bored. (Hi, Ruth!) I went over with a big bag-o-fun stuff to do - movies, games, ice cream - and it ended up being three of us as our friend Chris came over to hang out, too. We spent a good chunk of the evening talking about the pros and their style, discussing footwork variations and the totally gutsy move Chris tried on Tessa (the best westie dancer there IS in Canada), and watching west coast swing videos on YouTube.

It was the ultimate in dance nerdiness, and I loved it!

I'll post some pics of Sea To Sky later this week. Gotta spread out the posts, don'tcha know! ;)

I am part of the body of Christ

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and although all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ... Now [all of] you are part of the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:12, 27

This whole passage talks about how each part of the body has its own role, it's own job, each important to the functionning of the body. I can't help but wonder sometimes what my role is. As I was thinking of this, the following song came to mind, taken directly from Micah 6:8.

He has shown thee, O [wo]man
What is good and what the Lord requires of thee:
But to do justly
and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with thy God.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

I am the salt and light of the world

You are the salt of the Earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer useful for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, nobody lights a lamp and hides it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to the whole house. Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
~ Matthew 5:13-17

Christian or not, I dare you to watch this and NOT be grinning from ear to ear by the end! :D

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Opinions of others

I like to think that I really don't care what other people think. But that's a lie, plain and simple. That's something that's become even more apparent over the last six days as I've started this "I am" series.

I've wondered if I should post it. I've considered setting up a separate blog for it. I've wondered if people will stay away from my blog becuase it's "just a bunch of religious crap" all of a sudden (to quote someone talking about a different blog they were reading).

I care what people will think. I know I shouldn't, but I do. I know there are many of you who read my blog who don't share my beliefs - friends, co-workers, fellow bloggers... I keep thinking that you must think I'm crazy. But why? (Both why would you think that, and why would I think that you think that... I think I think too much, you think? :P )

A big reason that I am doing this series (see how I feel the need to justify?) is not to toot my own horn cause "look at me, aren't I great!" Honestly, it's because I am sick and tired of not acting like the person I want to be, the person I was created to be. I've forgotten who I am. Reminding myself of how God sees me helps me act more consistently with that identity. Not to mention that posting every day keeps me on track, helps me to be sure that I do it. (So if I miss a day, give me heck!!!) Cause I'm just THAT disciplined! Heh. *groan*

It's funny that today's "I am" statement is "I am a witness.*" I guess that's some pretty good confirmation that I should keep doing these posts, hey? :)

But also, it's got me thinking. It's really easy to write up a verse, type out a few lines of a song. Letting my life speak is a whole other ball game. Having a clear view of who I am, of who I want to be, will help.

* I get the statements and the scripture from a list a friend gave me. There always seems to be a song that pops into my head as I'm thinking and praying about the verse, so I post that, too. Just in case you were wondering! :P

I am a witness for Christ

But you will receive power when the holy spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. ~ Acts 1:8

I will shout to the North and the South
Sing to the East and the West
Jesus is Saviour to all
Lord of heaven and earth

Friday, November 09, 2007

I am a saint

This makes me guffaw out loud. Stick with me here...

To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Jesus Christ, grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ... ~Ephesians 1:1
To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints... ~Romans 1:7
To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy/called to be saints... ~1 Corinthians 1:2

I've gotta say, I have trouble with this one. Saint? Holy? Even knowing that it means "set apart for God," still I can't get away from the notion of some perfect, sinless being with a halo over her head, fluttering around on a cloud. But over and over in the Bible, not just in the openings of letters like I've quoted here, people who have put their faith in God are referred to as saints, are referred to as holy.

I struggle with it, too, because of how self-righteous it sounds to call myself a saint. I feel that I am quite the opposite. But it's a different definition of saint. Being a saint is to be set apart for God's purpose. It's giving up what I want for my life, knowing that God's plan has so much more, is so much more reflective of who I really am.

I guess that's the beauty of learning who I am according to God. To call ME a saint? Yeah right. But He names me far before I am worthy of the name. He calls me out to be the person I was created to be, and won't give up until I truly AM that person. Wow. That's grace for you.

... be confident of this, the He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 1:6

Refiner's fire
My heart's one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord.
I long to be holy,
Set apart for You my master,
Ready to do Your will.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Getting into these kids heads is always an adventure, but I made a discovery today.

Most times when we do any writing, we brainstorm first and we write the kids ideas or keywords on the chart paper for them to refer to. The rule is that they have to be able to read what they write, so they're not supposed to choose something if they can't read it. Well one of my grade ones is ALWAYS choosing to write things she can't read. I've been trying to figure it out - can she not read ANYthing? That's not it. Does she forget the rule? Nope, she can tell it back to me.

Today I was looking at her writing and decided to look on the chart to see what she had copied. That's when I made my discovery. Everything she had written was written in red on the chart paper. Red is her favourite colour, so she's been copying everything in that colour.


I'll be running interference starting tomorrow. Heeheehee!

I am bought with a price

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore, honour God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

King of all days, oh, so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly You came to the earth You created
All for love's sake became poor...

I'll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross
I'll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross.

~ Chris Tomlin

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It's just like Christmas!!!

Oh Scholastic Book Clubs, how I love thee!

Anyone else know what I'm talking about? There is a publishing company here in Canada (are they in the States, too?) that publishes all kinds of kids books, teacher resources, classroom supplies, and so on and so forth. Every month they send out fliers to participating teachers to send home with their students. The kids look through the fliers and, should they so desire, order books. Filling out the forms, collecting the money, and ordering is kind of a pain - just one more thing I've got to fiddle with - BUT! With every order I get free picks depending on how much the total is. I get to pick a book or two for free! Who doesn't love free stuff???

But the even bigger jackpot are the bonus coupons. Again, depending on the size of the order and how many orders have been placed in the school year, I get bonus coupons when the books arrive. The coupons are good for anything that scholastic puts out - furniture, posters, fancy pencils, software, and BOOKS! Books galore!

Last year I did Scholastic for both my class and another class, so I ended up getting a lot of coupons. I wanted to save them up and do a big order closer the end of the year, but by that time, I didn't know what grade I would be teaching. No point in ordering a bunch of intermediate English books if I was going to be teaching primary French Immersion.

So I held off. Till now. I just received my just-over FIVE HUNDRED DOLLAR order of books.

I! AM! SO! EXCITED!!!!!!!

I have nearly 100 books and CDs to go along with 20 of them for listening centers - picture books, non-fiction books, counting books, alphabet books, Caldecott Medal books, Robert Munsch books. Twenty-five books in a series called "The Best Me I Can Be" books - all with titles like "I am a good friend," or "I make good choices," or "I am respectful," or "I am creative." (heh, sound familiar?) I'm SO excited to teach social responsibility through these books! I have a 16 book series on holidays and special days, with posters to go with them. Halloween, Ramadan, Diwali, Easter, Earth Day, 100 Day, Hanukkah, Chinese New Year...

Books! Books! Beautiful books! Oh how I can't wait to dive into them!

Now if only I could find a place in my classroom to KEEP them all!

I am one in spirit with the Lord

But [she] who unites [her]self with the Lord is one with Him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:17

One in spirit. What exactly does that mean? I will love the things God loves, weep over the things he weeps over, be angered as he is over injustice, then be moved to action. I will love the people around me no matter who they are, show mercy, be generous. I will be quick to forgive, for heaven only knows I am forgiven for failing at all of these.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I am Christ's Friend

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his father's business. Instead I have called you friends, for everything I have learned from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:15

Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate
I feel I'm moving to the rhythm of Your grace
Your fragrance is intoxicating in the secret place
Cause Your love is extravagant

Spread wide in the arms of Christ
is the love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known;
You considered me a friend

Capture my heart again

~ Casting Crowns

Monday, November 05, 2007

A question of identity

Life is insane. It rattles along at breakneck speeds, and is so unforgiving in a lot of ways. There's no way to go back, no pause button, no end to the messages it throws at us. There's no end to the messages I create about myself, either. Fact or fiction, I tell myself who I am every second of every day.

Accomplished a goal? I feel great. "I am successful."
I say something I regret? I am ashamed. "I am cruel."
Somebody thanks me for something I did? "I am making a difference."
I lay on the couch for 'just one more show' when I know I should get up and move my body? "I am undisciplined."
Do something I never thought I could? "I am strong."
See someone who's got it all together (or seems to!)? "I am never going to measure up."

And on and on it goes... "I am not good enough. I am good at what I do. I am better than her. I am lazy. I am trying my best."

And I am told who I am countless times in a day, too. Sometimes it builds me up, sometimes it tears me down. But the voices - from inside or out - are loud. Deafening, almost. And they drown out the one voice who tells me who I really am - God's.

I'm constantly looking for comfort, looking for identity, looking for validation in all kinds of places. It's a very human thing to do. But I've been neglecting to go back to the One who tells me who I was created to be - my creator Himself.

So I've decided to take this month (and a bit) to remember who God says I am. To hear His voice over all the others. I'll be doing some journaling on my own, but each day I'll post the statement and the scripture I'm looking at, and maybe a thought or two, a song, or anything else that might be relevant. (And yes, that's above the NaBloPoMo challenge! Gee, I sure know how to over commit myself, hey? :P )

Join me, won't you? Because after all, God created you to be all these things, too.

I am a child of God

"Yet to those who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12

With every breath,
with every thought
From what is seen,
to the deepest part
I offer all that I've come to be
to know Your love fathering me

Father You're all I need
my soul's sufficiency
My strength when I am weak
the love that carries me

Your arms enfold me,
till I am only
a child of God

~Kathryn Scott

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Oh sweet happy day of joyfulness!

Ok, losing things really sucks. Especially when you KNOW that they are around somewhere, but you just can't seem to find them ANYWHERE. Especially when they are kinda rather important things, like, oh, I don't know, your KEYS. Or things that you just can't get back, like the memory card full of super crazy awesome pictures of the Emerson Drive concert you went to in the summer, pics of your friends from Australia attempting to ride a tandem bike around the seawall in Stanley Park, or of your new classroom all set up and ready to go before the kids came in and destroyed began using it.

The keys have been lost for about a week and a half, and I've been using my spare set, hoping and praying that my original set is in the house somewhere (and not in the hands of some ne'er do well who is waiting for just the right time to come on in and ROB ME BLIND). I've looked through all the pockets in my jackets, all over my table and desk, and all manner of other weird places where my keys might possibly be. I've gone through my purse at least a dozen times.

And the memory card? I've looked in every camera case pocket, both cameras, all over my desk and shelf, and among all the stuff on my kitchen table. It's been missing for at least six weeks. I've even gone and bought a replacement card.

You're probably getting the idea right now that my house is not exactly perfectly tidy and clutter-free, and that if I kept it neater, gee, maybe I wouldn't lose things so often. Well, normally I DON'T lose things, and, well... SHADDUP!!! :P


Last night as I was digging around in my purse for my spare set of car keys, I grabbed a key and pulled it out. Lo and behold, THERE WERE MY ORIGINAL SET OF KEYS! What the??? SCORE! How I managed to miss them the 55 billion times I looked through my purse is beyond me.

My theory? They went on a secret vacation to Mexico and only just got back. They didn't want to get in trouble for running away without so much as a note, so they slipped back stealthily into my purse when I wasn't looking. Yep. That's DEFINITELY what happened.

And then, just now, as I was checking email, a wee little corner of blue plastic caught my eye on my desk. Could it be? I lifted off the papers it was hiding underneath, and VOILA! My memory card! Apparently the paper monsters on my desk decided to eat it, but were unable to digest it, so kindly spat it back up for me, pictures intact and everything.

Woohoo! I'm doing a wee little dance of joy!

Now, as all things happen in threes... I'm gonna start looking for that million dollars I'm SURE I lost around here SOMEWHERE!

~ This post has been brought to you by the EXCESSIVE USE OF CAPITAL LETTERS.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Welcome to Melissa!

She's been commenting on my blog for a while now - often with wise words, encouragement, or humour, always with kindness. She's emailed me about some posts, and I've enjoyed talking with ehr back and forth that way, too. You've never seen her blog, though, because she didn't have one.

Apparently a few people have been harassing - er, I mean encouraging - her to start up her own blog, but she's been holding out on us...

Until now!

The newest blogger on the block has taken up the NaBloPoMo challenge to begin her new blogging career, and not only is she trying to post once a day, noooo. That would be too simple. She's aiming for TWICE! She's posting about something she's thankful for in the morning (FABULOUS idea, no?), then posting something else in the evening.

So there will be no shortage of things to read on her blog, let me tell you! And? This girl can write, and is FUNNY!

Go check out her blog, and be sure to leave a comment for her - comments make us happy!

Melissa's Place: Part of Everything. Go say hello!

(and I was totally gonna post about this BEFORE she wrote that awesome post, really! (even if she DOES call me freakish! ;) Hee hee hee! Just teasin, Melissa!)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Colour for a dreary day

Remember this day? When I drove all the way down to Stanley Park to take pictures, only to discover that my camera wasn't actually in my camera case? Well, I decided to go back and get it after all, and I had a very relaxing afternoon playing around with my camera, capturing some of fall's splendor. These are a few samples; click here to see the rest of the set or click any image to see a larger version.

Stanley Park 10-14-07 022 082_editedStanley Park 10-14-07 057 208_editedStanley Park 10-14-07 058 158_edited
Stanley Park 10-14-07 050 136 best_editedStanley Park 10-14-07 028 117_edited02 Stanley Park 10-14-07 002 005
Stanley Park 10-14-07 024 100_editedStanley Park 10-14-07 034 170_editedStanley Park 10-14-07 041 188_edited

How to have an awesome day

Step one: Go to a professional development conference that is totally inspiring and get some renewed enthusiasm and refreshed sense of purpose, and be delighted with a musical group that pretty much solidifies the desire to go to Africa. Soon.

Step two: Go back to work and put on the new CD of said musical group and clean the heck out of your classroom. Clean and uncluttered (ok, LESS cluttered) is SUCH a good feeling.

Step three: Take not one, but TWO hours of dance classes. (Rhonda! I missed you there!)

Step four: Head out with some friends to a coffee house to see two friends play a gig. Tap your foot, laugh, and enjoy the casual atmosphere.

Step five: Join said friends and other various cool people at a dessert house and have Belgian chocolate tea. Chocolate tea!

Step six: Arrive home to a warm, cozy house, do a wee bit 'o bloggin, and fall asleep.

Oh yes. This is livin'!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Well maybe if you slapped a bikini on it...

Monday morning was the pumpkin patch day at school. Every year, the parent advisory committee brings in 800 pumkins and scatters them all over our back field. The kids all then go out and pick their pumpkin, to be used to all manner of activities in the classroom.

In our room, we wrote about our pumpkins, we measured our pumpkins, we weighed our pumpkins, we drew our pumpkins, and we drew ON our pumpkins. No carving. Nooooo carving. Twenty 6 and 7 year olds with knives? Nuh-uh, not gonna happen. We did, however, have a carving demonstration hosted my moi with our class pumpkin. SO FUN! I got to totally gross the kids out with 'pumkin brains.' Heeheehee!

So one lesson, we were brainstorming describing words to complete the sentence "My pumpkin is..." and the kids were coming up qll kinds of creative words. We then completed the sentece "My pumkin is not..." and one kid said "alive."

"Well, that's true. Our pumpkins aren't alive anymore."
"They were alive before?"
"Well yes..." at which point I launched into a teachable moment about where pumkins come from, that they are a plant, and that all plants are alive until you pick them. "Just like flowers."

So of course, you can tell the wheels are turning and one boy looks up with wide eyes and asks, "So we killed our pumkins?!?"


"Well, yes, but that's what they're for!" Killing. Pumpkins are for killing. Good one, Hillary.

You can bet that every kid wrote, "My pumpkin is DEAD." in their descriptions. My pumpkin is big, orange, and DEAD." Well, ok, not EVERY kid. There was that one grade two girl who put her hand up to ask, "Miss Hillary, how do you spell 'sexy?' "


"Sweetie, your pumpkin isn't sexy. Choose a different word."