May 1, 2018

Sometimes the problem isn’t you.

As I was biking home from work today I realized that I didn’t have to stop once for a water break or a walk break. Thinking back to this time last year I was riding my $20 kijiji find bike that had broken gears and a chain that spent as much time off of the bike as it did on. I recently bought myself a brand new bike. It isn’t the prettiest bike, but it rides beautifully. I had been biking with a broken bike for so long I had forgotten just how easy biking can be. I don’t have to stop every five minutes to fix the chain, or take a break. I had gotten so used to my old rickety bike that I had started to believe that I was just really bad at biking. I mean, a 15 minute bike ride would take me 40 minutes.
As I reflected on my new found biking abilities I started to understand a lesson God has been slowly revealing to me: sometimes the problem isn’t you.

This school year has been a really trying year. I have had constant conflict with a set of parents from my class. From day one I have been questioned about everything including, why their child is sitting in a certain seat (we change seats every week), where their child’s possessions are (sometimes they have been in his hand), and even recently I was questioned on the outfit I was wearing. Even though I spend the majority of my life at school or prepping for school, nothing seems to be enough for their child. I have spent the year praying about it, stressing about it, having nightmares about it, but it wasn’t until today on my smooth bike ride that I understood it.

When you are constantly riding a broken bicycle, or going through a negative situation, you start believing you are the problem. Well sometimes you may be part of the problem, but in situations like these, let me tell you, you are not. No matter how good of a cyclist/teacher you are, you are not very effective of you are working with brokeness. Let’s pray for those whose brokeness leads to negativity, and let’s rejoice in knowing that even though our life isn’t always easy, it is always God filled, and it is certain it will become smoother.

“I will go before you and make the rough places smooth”
Isaiah 45:2

March 6, 2014

Welcome Back, Blog

After several months of vacation Humble Beginnings is back!

I have been enjoying so many beginnings that I haven't made time to write about them all. I promise you'll have the chance to read all about them soon enough, but until then, here is a list of what has been filling my bucket lately.

-Education Program at Acadia University
-Teaching grade 1
-A new relationship
-New books on my shelf
-A new job!
-Career fair
-Choir (the kind that wears robes)
-Beginning to take on less to accomplish more 
-New projects and art

and my personal favourite:
-new challenges and struggles. 

I am excited by how my first little blog post has turned into an entire adventure. 
I hope you have been embracing your beginnings, and looking for new ones!

June 19, 2013

I Give Up

"What about your hair?!?!" the girls cried as I sat down in a chair, preparing myself to be covered in slime.

"It's just hair" I said. (The thought of an icky, strange colored substance being in my hair hadn't even crossed my mind.)

Many of you know that I'm trying to grow my hair out to donate  it... it just happens that my hair grows slower than a snail working against gravity. If we're going to give our lives to Jesus, that means all of us, even the physical us. If getting covered in slime is going to make kids smile, and remember the ministry and encourage them to come back....then sign me up. If donating my hair means I can't dye it or chemically treat it, then so be it, and if donating blood means that I have to put on a few pounds... then I am game! I am willing to give up* whatever I can.

This week I took the time to fill out the paper work to become an organ donor. I gave up my organs, because I've already surrendered my heart. These donations seem like such small things to give for God, but I think (and hope) that someday my minor actions will be major blessings in the lives of others. 

Perhaps if we prayerfully work towards giving the physical self it may just be easier to start working on giving the deep stuff that tends to trouble our hearts.

I've added "Become an Organ Donor" to my bucket! 

*"Giving up" for me means presenting my physical self as an offering. Giving up, in the sense of losing, but also in the sense of surrendering, and offering things up to God. 

June 16, 2013

Catch My Drift?

Two weeks ago I bought a brand new kite. 
Tuesday I sat around and waited for wind. 
Wednesday I sat around waiting for wind.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and the next week....I waited for wind.

Yesterday mom woke me up with a "Annie it's SO nice out!"
Followed by a "still no wind though"

Two o'clock came around and I saw a leaf move, and then its friends joined in the dance, so I jumped in the car and raced to the park. (I clearly already had my kite in the car ready to go). 

That little bit of wind was all that I needed to see Lightening McQueen soar. 

I was reminded that sometimes we just have to catch a breeze and have faith it will take us where we need to go. Just when we think we're about to do a nose dive, the wind has a tendency to give a little more, providing we give a little slack too. It's up to us how far we want to put ourselves out there. There's a lot of string to work with, but we'll never reach new heights if we stay neatly tied on the ground. 

Here's to reaching new heights, going above and beyond what we consider to be the zones of our comfort, and having faith that with a little direction we'll end up just where we need to be. 

             "If you wait for perfect conditions, 
                             you will never get anything done." ~Ecclesiastes 11:4
                                                         May you soar this week. 

June 10, 2013

A Perfect 10 (year old)

When I was young, I was fearless. Where did it go? Do we see more dangers as we grow older? Do we become more afraid of death the more we live? 

When I was younger I went on almost every ride at amusement parks, I picked up jelly fish, and I never saw death as a consequence to adventure. 

From the age of 11 to the age of 20 I was a pretty fearful individual. I saw death as a real possibility. Hiking to Memel Falls was terrifying, I rarely did anything without first researching it extensively, and I wasn't brave. 

But did you know that we are meant to be courageous? Yep! It's true. 

When I turned twenty I was tired of holding myself back, and missing out on things that looked so darn fun! That was the age I bought plane tickets and flew across the world all by myself. That was the age I started going on adventures in the wilderness of Fredericton. That was the age that I began to have no fear of death. With a great hope, and a future secure, there is nothing to fear. 

Saturday I was faced with one of those questions of "Am I too scared to do this?" and sadly my initial reaction was yes. You see, at the Canada Games Centre there are some pretty nice water slides, and as I  swam in the pool watching everyone else have fun, I knew I had to give one a try. The memory of Tidal Impact 2009 when I missed out on every water slide at Magic Mountain haunted me. I wasn't going to miss out on the much smaller scale water slides before me. Not this time! I had already driven past these water slides and wished to try them, and I didn't want to continue to drive by them living with missed opportunity hanging over my head. So when begged told encouraged by a ten year old,

     "PLEASE come with me!" (If only she knew I was thinking the same thing towards her)
     "You can do it, Annie!"  (If only she knew that's the voice I was trying to find in myself)

I accepted the challenge, but I also didn't hide my fear from her. It's important to be real with kids. She assured me I'd be fine as we climbed each and every step of the towering platform, and I may have muttered, "if I get hurt...." 

So how did I feel after the water slides? I felt such a sense of sense of accomplishment! And I also felt like I'd experienced the worst wedgie of my life. (Next time I'll stick with just the yellow slide). 

I truly realized how important it is to encourage others and for us to rely on one another...even if there is an age difference! 

If you find yourself holding back from adventure, cling to a ten year old. Kids are the bravest people I know. Don't be afraid to voice your fears! Try one thing that slightly scares you! Take small steps....all the way to the top. Don't over do it. I had the encouragement to try the diving board, but you know what? Two out of three isn't bad. So because of the wonderful ten year old I met, I am able to give myself a Perfect 10 for bravery!   

Photo from the Canada Games Centre Website. 
Be Strong and Courageous, 
do not be terrified or discouraged, 
because the Lord is with you where ever you go! 
-Deut 31:6

May 31, 2013

You Can't Always Get What You Want. Thank Goodness!

You know what I like? I like not getting what I want. 

I like not getting what I want, because there always seems to be something better lined up for me. I was reminded of this on Tuesday night as I headed to the church in my community to help build the new gym. I had been looking forward to this event for over a week, and had even prepared a special ensemble. They had put a call out for anyone with carpentry skills, a passion for carpentry, or people who just want to help. I was the third category. I showed up ready to hold boards, hammer nails, and maybe even use a saw. I didn't get what I wanted. I was wasn't fast enough when it came to hammering, I wasn't strong enough when it came to the moving, and more than anything I was in the way. I wandered over to see if the electrician needed help; he didn't. I walked away and sat on a pile of lumber thinking to myself, "this isn't what I expected at all!" Things started looking up as the electrician called me over to hold a spool of cable, then to pull it and weave it behind the stud beams. Before I knew it I was wiring the new gym! I even helped decide where the outlets should go! How cool is that? There were spaces that the cord needed to be pulled through that only my arm could fit. It would have been really easy for me to think that I was fired from the carpentry side of things, but when the head carpenter asked what I was doing on the other side of the gym I proudly told him that I had been promoted to electrician's apprentice. 

As I reflected on this experience it got me thinking of other times that I haven't gotten what I wanted....and instead got something better!!!

Last summer I was really hoping that a friend of mine would be hired at a very interesting job. When she didn't get the job I was quite disappointed and maybe even frustrated, but I later found out that if she had gotten the job she wouldn't have gotten a better job offer, and I wouldn't have had one of the best summers of my life. 

I also got thinking about a guy that I dated a few years ago, and how perfect I thought the relationship would be. It's funny how things don't always line up with how we idealize imagine them to be. Our imaginations are so limited! Just like my construction project, no matter how I constructed the scenario in my mind, there was something waiting that was far better than I could have ever imagined. We can think up the best person for us, or the best job for a friend, or even how a simple volunteer project should be, but more often than not, by not getting what we want we get something so great that we couldn't even imagine wanting!

I guess I'm just doing my best to remember that the best is yet to come, and to go with the flow, because getting what we need is far better than getting what we thought we wanted any day. 

"Sometimes not getting what you want is a brilliant stroke of luck." -Lorii Myers

May 4, 2013

Marked for Replacement

After one of my last days of school I was walking home from the bus stop and stumbled (quite literally) across this section of pavement. It got me thinking, "why do they have to mark it? Isn't it obvious that it needs replacing? Is it so that the public knows that it is being worked on?" I liked my newly found sidewalk message. It assures me that those in charge have seen that this brick needs caring for, and that soon it will all be better. 

A few days later I started doing some serious weight lifting at the gym. Now, three years ago when I started this whole gym endeavour I was lifting hand weights that weighed 2lbs. My progress has been quite successful as I am up to 15lb weights, and to my surprise I can bench press half of my body weight! As I started pushing myself to do more and more, my body started to make the changes the accommodate the weights I was lifting. I learned that inorder for muscles to grow, they must first break down; the fibers tear due to the pressure, so that they can be made stronger. Being broken is healthy! Being broken means that it is making way for something stronger, and better.  As you can tricep muscle fibers have been marked for replacement.

Being marked for replacement doesn't always mean that we get a super cool looking bruise, some times it means we stumble...sometimes over large chunks of concrete. Sometimes we are broken, sometimes we are those big broken chunks of concrete. But these broken times just mean that we are being made stronger, and built for better things. We just have to remember that we are never given anything we can't handle, and that the best really is yet to come. How are you marked for replacement this week?