that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.


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hope

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First Sunday of Advent.

The first candle symbolizes hope.

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Hope Breeds Hope is my classroom theme this year; a maxim that adorns our eastern wall, above the boards, staring at the children each and every day. We’ve woven its meaning into every aspect of our time together, desiring hope to be in the forefront of what they do.  As I teach my students about how hope can – and needs – to inform them, the choices they make and the ways of their being, we challenge this hope to be contagious…breeding willful hope in others.

Some say it’s fleeting (or reaching), the quiet moments of accessing such a higher order understanding amongst eleven and twelve year olds. But as we teach these children about hope, their awareness of all they’ve been entrusted with is transcending the words on the wall. Slowly, and ever so simply, I am seeing the impressions of their hope in others. People enter our classroom and sense the quiet community that is growing within a common faith. Though their faith might look different from the person sitting beside them, I am certain that there is a new, existing belief… even if somedays, it’s only a belief in themselves.

Hope breeds hope. Three words that mean everything today; a day that begins the journey we embark on each winter seasons. To use my own words from a few years ago, I don’t know where you’re at, who you’re with, what you’re struggling with, but I encourage you during this advent season. Hope is the greatest thing we can put into this life, and you can always have hope when it feels like you have nothing left. If you’re struggling to find the hope of this season, through the lights and candles and chaos and busyness and the oh-so-apparent, but sometimes too subtle, reminders of the simple beauty of what we’re doing here…why we’re here, let me hope a little for you. Sometimes we need encouragement as we wait in joy for the things that are promised to us.

I see that hope breeds hope, every day. If not only by the explicit words that are guiding me, and our class, but in the gentle ways that we do and need to risk hoping a little more for each other.

Have a blessed 1st Sunday of Advent.

grace and peace,

Kate

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happy birthday

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Merry Christmas my dear friends and family… I am so blessed by each one of you, I wish I could tell you all individually, and in person, how much I adore you…and how much Christmas is not only about celebrating Jesus’ and His life but celebrating my own life and all that YOU ALL bring into it. I can’t put into words what I truly feel and think of all of you, but I hope that this season and today and tomorrow is filled with quiet awe and wonder and overwelmingly beautiful and fun moments with your own family and friends.

Be blessed… if even a fraction of how blessed I am by you, then I think you’re doing pretty good.

 

grace and peace,

 

Kate


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love

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Fourth Sunday of Advent.

The fourth candle symbolizes love.

This is so great. Today is the very first time in my 20 odd years that it has just been my mom and I alone doing the Christmas baking. Quite entertaining, I’ve so far made two close calls: nanaimo bars and eat more bars that “don’t look quite right.” Either way, I’ve stolen away from the fiesta while mom is brushing up on her chocolate tempering to talk to you about love.

Someone I used to be close to once said to me “you don’t know anything about love” when we were 14 and my other close friend had just broken up with her. Needless to say, I couldn’t console her worth the change in my wallet.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve learnt more about love… how to do it more often, how to wait for it to be real, how it can hurt…but the coolest thing I’ve learnt about love are the different types of it. I am watching my Mom today and how she’s carefully telling me what to do and why while I make chocolate turtles for the first time, and I am just overwhelmed by how much I love her. Then watching my Dad take about an hour to wrap one package for Smithers, making all the corners line up and tight, taping every loose piece, and while this tedium and meticulous motion bores me to tears, I have to laugh at how much I love my Dad for his attention to detail and perfectionist way of doing things. I don’t know how he could ever be any different.

I love my siblings, each in their quirky and interesting way, I love my brother-in-law for being quirky and interesting in an often ridiculous way, my closest friends and my oldest friends, my extended family, my cutest roommates, my coworkers, my job, my second chance at life, and the brilliance of wintertime. I don’t love not being in love but I think that time will come soon enough.

Although, today I remember the love that I want to scream off the roof tops and whisper into everyone’s ear, it’s the love for my Saviour, the one that if all those other loves in my life fade away, He will remain and that is and forever will be enough. I am so so so excited today, not just to bake with my mom or make fun of my dad, but I am in anticipation, filled with hope, peace, joy and love waiting for Jesus to come.

I am the child of a Saviour; the daughter of a KING. And if that’s not enough to be proud of, to love, then I don’t know what else there is? Princess Kate. I like the sound of that. I am celebrating the glorious birth of the love of my life. I am so excited!

The timer went off though, I don’t want to burn His sugar cookies!

 

grace and peace,

your Kate


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joy

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Third Sunday of Advent.

The third candle symbolizes joy.

Anybody have any grand ideas for this one? Pastor Nathan explained this morning that joy comes internally, externally, and always from God. Yet what about those moments, like this moment, where joy is a little harder to come by? Harder to find? Sometimes it is just more of a struggle, and we feel like we spend so much time looking for and grasping at hope and peace that seeking joy just feels more like a chore. I have written several times on this blog about actively trying to live my life one of joy. And how hard it is. When joy, the beautiful return for waiting for and the gift of Jesus, should be so simple. Do you have any ideas? I don’t really know what to think about joy today because I am waiting, it feels like everyone is waiting, for the joyous part of this season. And waiting is not very much fun. And just as I’ve offered to pray and keep you in my prayers, please keep my family in yours. Pray for healing and hope and peace and that the suffocating, intoxicating, brilliant thing of joy comes to overwhelm them all. Us all.

Victoria, by miracle of all miracles, is covered in a pretty blanket of snow. And it’s so very quiet out in the world of white, perhaps here to settle us in for the last full week of anticipating You.

grace and peace,

Kate


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peace

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Second Sunday of Advent.

The second candle symbolizes peace.

Peace is so fitting right now, I find (as I am sure you all do too) that Christmas season, which should be the most peaceful of all, often isn’t. I spent a lot of time at the mall this week, waiting for my car to be inspected, waiting for class to start, waiting for my coffee to be made, waiting with abated breath for people to stop moving. And stop rushing from everywhere to everywhere else. It’s as if Christmas is the ticket to speed up, get out of control, and be justified doing so.

But lack of peace is so much more than the busyness of the season. I’ve found this week there have been some really hard circumstances that make it hard to find the peace of this second week of Christmas. Not just final exams or ICBC claims or fears of the future, and certainly not just things that are about me, but a number of times this week, someone shared how he or she is simply not at peace. I find I am not the most equipped person to deal with other people’s hurts or concerns very eloquently or even say things that directly reflect my heart… I mean, I am hardly comfortable hugging people so it is hard when someone is struggling for peace because it so mirrors my own soul. So I just pray… because our hurts pale in comparison to how huge Jesus’ love for us is. We’re such an instant-gratification, impatient society and I find that that invades the peace that should be resting inside.

The dictionary defines peace as the separation or distance from anything that causes strife or pain; it’s serenity and silence. Silence. Maybe that’s why it is so hard to hold onto, peace, because it only takes a drop of water or a gust of wind to break the silence. If that’s all it takes, that I can see why school or health or family or fear can take over and replace the peace in our hearts. But I pray, and will pray (just ask!), that we all spend a little more time in silence. In peace. The longer it’s quiet, the more we get used to it…and I assure you, the more we’ll miss it when it’s gone. The better acquainted we may get with this peace, the more real it becomes. And like our hope, we need to share it. I have a deep and persistent yearning for that peace… not just for myself but those whom I love who need that peace right now… the settling of hearts and silencing of fear.

The quiet surrender of our souls.

I posted this verse before but I just wanted to put it up again (and I love how in the disarray of my car after it was stolen, my little index card with it written on it remained intact..:)) because it fits:

“Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.” -Psalm 116:2

Can you feel it? I promise He’s holding you, walking with you, wondering how long you’ll wait before knowing He’s enough… stepping into that silence… embracing that peace.


Either way, I am waiting here with you. I promise.

grace and peace,

Kate


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hope

90_20_2-advent-candle_web

First Sunday of Advent.

The first candle symbolizes hope.

It was last year sometime at church when our Pastor was talking about the ‘Trinity of Prayer’. His recipe for prayer is comprised of three parts:

1. Asking the Lord to have mercy.
2. Telling Him how much I adore Him.
3. Putting it into His hands.

As I have put this into practice, I am continually filled with joy and hope in the simple fact that it is not about what I, me, can or cannot do, but it’s about giving all over to God and He can handle it. With this joy comes an unexplainable hope; a hope to believe in when things are confusing or curious or hard. It always gets a little harder to maintain hope when things are going awry or it’s the end of a semester or I start worrying about things — “borrowing trouble” as my mom would say. Today I was reminded of the sweet irony of the end of the semester is during the happiest time of all… hope for the Saviour, the King, and it makes everything pale in comparison.

I don’t know where you’re at, who you’re with, what you’re struggling with, but I encourage you during this advent season. Hope is the greatest thing we can put into this life, and you can always have hope when it feels like you have nothing left. Sound cheesy? It’s totally true. And if you’re struggling to find the hope of this season, through the lights and candles and the oh-so-apparent reminders of the birth of a Jesus who loves you ever so much, let me hope a little for you. (You can e-mail me… blog comments are hardly private kate5253 at gmail dot com…I want to be there for you) I will pray for you and encourage you and wait in joy for the things that are promised to you. I am convinced that someone out there is lacking a little hope and I am further convinced that we should be spreading our own.

I am so excited about Christmas, the quiet anticipation as the days go by. Not for presents or exams to end or to go home, but the peace and wonder at the most amazing gifts that we’ve been given. Answered prayers or coffee with a friend or the simple reminders of what is possible when we ask for God’s help and mercy; love him deeply; and place our worries and sorrows into His hands.

We all need a little hope sometimes, so please, let me share mine with you if you need.

Have a blessed 1st Sunday of Advent. I promise there are exciting things to come.

grace and peace,

Kate