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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trusting change

“…because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” -Romans 5:5

And for that, I have hope to trust I am exactly where I should be. Why does it feel like there is no turning back now?

Hmm..

Cheers… to fully embracing a new adventure!

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being thankful

I don’t know.

It seems easiest to say the things I am most grateful for…starting with family, ending with health. Everything seems to roll into each other when thinking about what I am grateful for – the obvious parts of my life, the people and things in my grasp that I fear living without.

But then, this year – I think what I am even more grateful for are the challenges and unexpected confusions and left turns instead of right ones. I am so thankful for the hardest parts of life, the ones that make me feel vulnerable and unsure and keep me up at night. Those are the places of the heart that remind me of the deeper purpose and ambition I crave in this life, and that if it was always easy, I would simply be bored.

Or honestly, I am grateful for the challenges because they serve to remind me that I am still growing, still learning, and still seeking the very best and real possible outcome for it all. Difficulties show that we are alive — truly alive.

It’s organic and natural to be thankful for the best parts of our lives, but it takes something else to give thanksgiving for the trials that we don’t realize we’re thankful for until we’re reflecting on them after they’ve passed.

With a thankful soul, happy thanksgiving.

leaves become most beautiful when they’re about to die

regina spektor


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vibrant

“…talking about truth and love; you can wield your profession, your craft in a way that hurts people, because you’re so good. And so, when someone can present it in a way that is inviting people into their joy, that’s when the most beautiful things are formed.” – Josh Garrels.

It’s been six weeks. I moved. I am teaching grade 6. I am tired. And I just realized that Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I haven’t caught my breath since… my last blog post? I’ve been thinking about all those things that make life busy and sometimes I think that we actually fill time more than necessary – maybe to feel valuable, as though productivity means we’re doing something right and extraordinary. I doubt the truth of that, even though my intent to do so is probably more accurate than I’ve admitted until now.

Before I get ahead of myself —

I moved to Calgary in August, taking a job at a school where one hundred percent of the students (500+) have some type of learning exceptionality (the current label for learning differences or disabilities). Whether it be ADHD or a varying amount of anxiety or sitting on the Autism spectrum or simply underserved by the public or generalized private school systems, my new school serves to take care of the children who haven’t really been given a chance. Or ran out of their teacher-given-‘chances’ at their last schools and are simply trying to find a way to succeed. Either way – my mind is blown constantly by all that I am learning and all I have yet to learn. Not only are the kids exceptional, but my colleagues and administration all seem to be some of the best as well. As you can imagine, my students (16 in my grade 6 class!) are unique and demand a different type of grace and accommodation from teachers, and as such, the accountability of teachers at this school is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It has to be. It should be like that everywhere else. Anyway. The responsibility is beyond what I ever considered when I became a teacher.

I am teaching my core subjects (language arts and social studies) and I have a partner teacher who is in the room at all times; he teaches our other academic courses. Yes, two teachers and 16 students. I thought it was overkill too but as we’re moving into week four, and the initial overwhelming ‘someone hanging over me’ feeling has dissipated, I like having the comfort of someone to manage the kids while I teach, and alternatively doing the same for him. [I only wish my partner was Lexie instead… ;)]. It’ll be a challenge, this year, but one that I am officially looking forward to; it took a few weeks but it’s not supposed to be perfect or easy to start, is it? I am finding my way, and that’s not always the worse thing.

It’s unnatural, I think, to be comfortable. Maybe it’s just who I am. Or maybe it’s the way of the world or God’s intention for us but I am starting to trust that a lack of comfort simply means being challenged and a restless spirit might just keep me motivated to continue this quest to “wield my profession, my craft in a way that hurts people because” I can do it well…but more than that, remember why I am doing it and that it’s not really for me, at all. I like being a teacher, I am pretty good at it too, but it’s not really about me, either.

Vibrant; vigorous, energetic, vital. Strong. Vivid. I’m trying to commit to that being my adjective for this year. No incredible words or commitments or changes or anything, but simply a desire to be vibrant – to expect vibrance, to trust in vitality and strength of the beauty of the greyest of days and moments where the newness and challenges darken my motivation, or desire to continue – like anything, I am hoping that the vibrancy of these months to come dims all the hesitancy or concerns I have starting a new job, especially because no part of this particular job is going to be easy. Being in this place, in this moment, and of being so good it hurts people.

Not that that is what I am going for, I just think Josh Garrels is wise and I like what he said. And I think it’s important that I am here, as if I should be. And it’s going to be good. Real good.

 

Oh, and I’m back. This little spot on the internet is going to be vibrant, too. More new posts to come.

 

Cheers!


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where’s the [North American] football?


It’s now creeping up to the end of October and I am painfully admitting, I have YET to receive any raging updates about the WARRIORS football team in Calgary. I miss the violently crazy aggressive moments of watching high school boys run around in their man-tights freezing while Megan and I sit in the bleachers, fighting off the violently cold weather with scooby snacks, hot chocolate, mittens, and a blanket, just hoping for the sneak-peek at the coach (well, Megan anyways…I was much too hardcore to be gazing at Steve…) or the intensely aggressive plays. I mean, to the end of those fortunate evenings, I was sacrificing my warm spot on the bench to jumpy up and violently yell cheers (and jeers) for “our” team while aggressively asking my counterparts exactly what was going on. When I used to watch Ken (as a halfback? fullback? running back? goalie? — just kidding Steve) play football in my first year, I lacked in any of the necessary education to really enjoy him in the sport. The Warriors experience is something on an entirely different level… and I cannot believe I haven’t been kept up to date on “our” progress… what the heck.

I am supporting the boys from a province over… and boys they are, because unfortunately, I am borderlining 23 years old and some of those guys are what, 14? I swear, I go for the watching of sport in it’s purest form – accompanied by conversations with Megan and my really cute toque (really cute), I am sure missing ‘home’ today…

So get it together and give me the scoop… I tried googling it and realized that it’s much too late to call to find out how ‘our’ boys are doing. Consider yourself blessed you have such a devoted fan… and they better be kicking Churchill’s butt… my affiliation to that school wishes them to be aggressively and violently slaughtered. GO WARRIORS!..

[disclaimer: my prof wanted us to use the words raging, violently, and aggressively in our diagnostic paragraphs today… hilarious… coupled with some descriptions of football, they can be very effective]


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perks of home

I always kind of know what to expect when it comes to four months at home. However, I forget sometimes that children grow up more in eight months than your average teenager or young adult. The child in question is my 9 year old sister. Jayme’s days start so early that I guess she gets lonely in those morning hours…so lonely that she took an empty shampoo bottle this morning and “blew” it in my face so I could “smell” it. Needless to say, I was very unimpressed…and confused why she felt she had to do that. She’s normally a bright kid but she seemed to miss the boat on this one. Maybe she just missed me.

We arrived uneventfully yesterday. Dad had a couple minor scares, he was pulling the UHaul trailer and I guess the weight of “my life” (my stuff, rather) was trying to get ahead of him in the Tahoe so it seemed to gain on him once in awhile…making for a very slow drive. But it was very, very nice to surrender my keys and say “peace out” to 12 Edgepark Villas, retirement community un-extraordinare, where the youngest person next to me and my roommate was probably 64. I am so so so SO glad it’s over. I can’t emphasize that enough.

Now I am home, back to my makeshift room in my parents downstairs den.. and I can’t wait for the summer to start. It was gorgeous today but Jayme and I are anticipating a thunderstorm (my favourite in the Okanagan). I have come down with a nasty cold and sore throat (thanks, Mark) and am very tired, so I am grateful I don’t start at the RDOS until Monday. It’s just been good to be home…when we got to Armstrong I was just thinking “HURRY UP!!” and see my mom. Dad left early this morn for Duncan.

The only trouble is fitting in again… the adjustment period can be tough but I think the older I get, the better at it I am. Funny how that goes!

The added stress of applications is getting to me… I just looked at my GPA…I can’t believe how low it is … I am genuinely fearful for what happens next. Genuinely. I just want to know why when you put SO much effort into something, didn’t hang out with friends hardly, and basically devoted 8 solid months to school, for there to be zip for reward.

In the words of my boyfriend, Michael Scofield, I guess I “just have to have faith.”

Cheers.


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city sounds

Yep. I am back. My holidays turned into being more enjoyable than I ever dreamed. One solid week of sleeping, eating, and visiting in Penticton then another two weeks up in Smithers, with the same itinerary as Penticton, minus the sleeping. I’ve never felt so at home in the place I consider home. Imagine that, 21 odd years later and I finally felt a washing of peace to be there, where I was truly myself and it was oh-so-wonderful. Once I get pictures, I will post a blog in full dedication to my gallavant up to snowy, beautiful, northern BC… or for a detailed recount of some of it, check out Meg and Steve’s.

However, tonight I come to you from the tiny crevace of my world to tell you that it is good to be back. For three years I have been here in Calgary, mostly wrestling with transit and maps and trying to understand the hustle and bustle of the busy city life. It has been all I can do to not convert to those ways of rushing folks who are speedily trying to reach nowhere in particular. Consider it a silent vow I made which in turn, has overloaded me with unexpected bitterness toward the kind who do. It’s not my fault, but I have come to terms with the phrase “city life is not for me” and applied it to Kate. Until tonight, which found me laying in bed, reading some English theory. I open my window and crank the heat (sorry, energy company) because I like the fresh air but also being warm. And seeping through the windows came the sounds of cars driving by, which caused me to imagine it being me, taking a roadtrip down the dark streets, or remembering those times it actually was me, out until all hours of the night. I heard sirens, and the wind; people on a balcony and barking dogs; a garage door opening and closing and a streetlamp cascading light through the blinds; the silent shudder of the promise of the cold winter air. And it dawned on me, as only these things do.

Inviting, coaxing, deliberately waiting. The city, in its confining, claustrophobic, and smog filled skies told me something that the open fields, sandy beaches, and pear trees never has: There’s a whole world out there. Imagine that?

Now… what noise am I going to make? Contribute? …Awaken?

Calgary Winter


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dave matthews


“What I want is what I’ve not got, and what I need is all around me.” ~Dave Matthews

Someone extremely special to me introduced me to Dave Matthews a few years ago. At first, I thought he was way too mellow, borderline emo laced with an underlying whine. But I find, after two years, one month, and fifteen days (give or take, did you know it as been that long?), I’ve found something unreal. Listening to new music or locating a good band was such a headache for me: how do you know that when you pick up a new cd or download an unknown song, that it is going to be any good? Try it. When I didn’t like the first four songs, what made me hold out for the fifth? Perseverence. What about Dave Matthews made me keep listening to him to find a love for him? Trust. What if I had deleted him from my ipod and never burnt any of his cd’s? I never would’ve thought about it again. How did the song “Number 41” or “Crash” or especially “Christmas Song” play its way into my collection of favourites?

It’s qute simple really: I stuck it out. And so did you. And I am going to keep doing so. Because what does the quote say that we love? “Dont ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” This, and you know what I mean by this, has made me come alive. So if I have to wish it was right beside me or a building over. If it means trying to act like it is. If a lot of time passes before the next time. If I am here. And you are there. Atleast we have Dave Matthews.

“Turns out not where but who you’re with that really matters.”~Dave Matthews