May 31, 2012

To Love is to Look

Today's wisdom comes from my roommate. 

I recently had my upper ear pierced. It may seem like a rash decision to many, because all of a sudden while on vacation I decided to get it done, without consulting anyone, but it really wasn't that rash. For a few years now I've wanted to get something done at a Tattoo Shop, but I don't want ink on my body, so that was a bit of a conundrum. I'm also trying to work on the spontaneity aspect (or lack there of) in my life. I promise that my future adventures won't be quite so harmful/painful/permanent, but if this is the most rebellious thing I've done while at university, I think I'm still on the right road. Plus when it comes to pain,  if you can't smile through it, it might be something to reconsider.

After returning home, I didn't get many comments on the new addition to my ear, maybe it is because people are unobservant, or disappointed. Either way, I'm content with my decision. There was one person who noticed at church. A friend of mine who I hadn't seen since Christmas came over and gave me a huge hug, and instantly noticed my earring. 

During a conversation with my roommate, I mentioned that someone had noticed and complimented me on my earring. She said it's because they love me. I think she's onto something. I think when you love someone you do your best to know them well, and if you really love them, you keep getting to know them well. Part of knowing someone is noticing the changes they make. 

I was impressed that my friend knows that I have 5 holes in my ears, so you can imagine how astonished I am with the fact that God knows how many hairs are on my head (Luke 12:7).

I am so happy to be loved by my friend and by God. I'm going to challenge myself this week to be more observant of my loved ones. Feel free to join me :)

It was only a 3 on a Pain Scale. Still smile-able. :) 

May 29, 2012

Level Up!

Our solutions often fail, because what we are fixing isn't a problem at all.
That's what I learned this week.

When a mechanic asks you to describe the problem you are having with your car, you're not going to answer "red". The question is not what color the car is, so the answer "red" is neither helpful, nor efficient. It is really important to ask the right question in order to get the right answer. This goes for small, and significant things in life.

This past Sunday I was spending some time in the sound booth at my church. Please know that I am in no way a sound techie, I was just visiting the people there and while I was there, it seemed that the piano line was not coming through the speakers or the monitors. The techie there was trying all of the complicated knobs and raising the levels, but nothing seemed to work. I looked over and noticed that the piano line was muted.

Before we try to solve a major issue, let's make sure we're not overcomplicating things. Take a step back. There just might be a red blinking light to let us know that we just have to do one simple thing for everything to work out fine. 

"A problem well stated is a problem half solved." -John Dewey

May 27, 2012

Passionate Prayer

This has been proven to me SO much in the past few weeks. 

~I've been praying really hard for a friend of mine to have a fellow Christian to help her witness at the restaurant she works at. It is a really negative environment and she is having a hard time being a shining light.

~I've been praying for a male friend of mine to get the job he applied for.

After a lot of passionate prayer I found out that:
1. he got the job and
2. the job he applied for was for a position at the same restaurant my other friend works at.

2 Birds. 1 Stone Prayer

Little did I know that my two prayers were really one! And it sure did get answered!
That's just ONE example of how my tiny prayer is changing the world, through others and through me. Nothing is ever to small to be prayed over/for/about. Prayer is just one way we can change the world.

May 25, 2012

Joy Comes with the "Mourning"?

Pregnant relative at the funeral for my Great-Grandmother. Is it the appropriate time and place for a big ol' "Congratulations!!!"? It's the first time you've seen your relative in a long time, but at the same time, you're not exactly happy, nor are you full of sincere excitement. Well let me tell you, it's not exactly easy being the "good news" either.

This summer will be my fourth summer working in a protestant church. My first two summers fresh out of high school I spent in a local Anglican church, and the next two, a Baptist one. Three out of the Four congregation announcements were difficult times for my heart. 

  • The first time my employment was announced it was right after a death announcement. I was trying so very hard to say goodbye when everyone around me was trying to welcome me by saying hello. 
  • My third employment announcement was made as the congregation was saying goodbye to a well loved youth pastor of 8 years who was transferring churches. I was trying to make my way to say goodbye, but there were too many "hellos" in the way. (Is that a bad thing?)
  • My fourth and most recent employment announcement came directly after a very special family in the church announced that they will be moving and transferring membership. "We will miss your family very much, but we have good news to bring Annie will be working here for the summer." People didn't know whether to clap or cry. Heck! I didn't know whether to wave hello to the congregation or goodbye to the family. (Is that a bad thing?)
It is really hard being the "Good News Bandaid". I don't have time to soak up the reality of the sad occasion, before having to greet people with smiles, and hugs, and words of thanks. 

Buttttttttt as with all things, I can see the blessing behind the speed bump. There are many people that no matter what, just seem to need a dessert, especially after a not-so-delicious meal, and if my good news can be that for somebody, and if my employment news can help them to focus on the positive aspects that remain at the church then by golly I'll be it, and I'll be glad. 

And really, it is a blessing to receive a bunch of hugs after you hear bad news that touches your heart. The motivation (congratulation) behind the hug doesn't matter, because it's a hug, and after all, it can be the best medicine for sad news. 

To answer my questions: NOT AT ALL! It is a MARVELLOUS thing when the "hellos" are lounder than the "goodbyes". Clearly I am still saying hello. I am saying hello to reflection, and wisdom.

May we always save our fork in hopes of pie.
May we always welcome "hellos",
and may they always be louder than the "goodbyes". 


May 23, 2012

Never too: old

You're never too old
to peek through trees.
You're never too old to enjoy a ring pop, and snap pictures.

You're never too old to be impressed by a beaver dam.

And best of all...

  we're never too old to appreciate what's around us. 

May we make time to look around us,
because we just might find exactly what we're looking for.

peace ~ joy ~ love

May 21, 2012

Move it to Morning

I love mornings!

One of my goals for 2012 was to read scripture each day, I haven't slipped up yet, but I have made an observation. For me, it matters "when". In the past month I found myself treading carrying out this daily goal and I've finally pinned down why. Instead of reading as soon as I woke up, I left the text until right before I settled in for the night. It became a chore instead of a lifestyle. Instead of being able to reflect all day on what I read that morning, I had to cram a lot of words into my brain before quickly drifting to sleep. I still journal every night, and write about my day, but I've moved my reading time to morning. If I find myself running late, I'll read it at the gym, but I've made sure to look at it as part of a lifestyle instead of a chore that must be checked off. By changing the time and my definition of my daily routine, I am seeing myself being slowly transformed. 

Timing really is key.

So if you've got a task that becomes a chore because of where it is in your schedule, why not move it to a different time in your day? You can spend the whole day knowing you've already accomplished something, and if you're not a morning person, why not move it to evening? Either way, your task will become more of a lifestyle habit and less of a dreaded chore to check off.

May 19, 2012

Random Play

The past two weeks I've spent on a mini vacation, and it was exactly what I needed. 

There have been graduations, a wedding, and MANY random blessings/adventures; more random than the hair clips in my fellow bus passengers's hair. 

Here are just a few!

~The traffic lights of a very popular intersection were frozen. 
That made for a scary adventure across the street. 

~There was a pro life protest, which to me seemed a bit random, 
because I think there are many more receptive ways
to express your feelings about abortion.

~I went on a random adventure to a tattoo shop,
and even got a little something done! (Blog-to-come)

~I attended a fundraiser for Camp Rotary by myself
and witnessed the musical talents of a few friends! 

~I randomly walked to the mall, 
went into Starbucks and ordered a drink NOT on the menu!
Hello Chai Cream Frappuccino.

~Today I spent over two hours at the gym, 
and just because it was Friday I set the machines to
 "Random Play". 

I should also note that I didn't plan on staying that long at the gym, 
but my favourite show came on the tv, 
so I plunked down on a bike and watched Gilmore Girls for 12 kilometers. 

~A random walk through campus greeted me
 with a short conversation with a kind professor. 

I hope you make time for some Random Play! 

May 17, 2012

Going Good Blues

This has been the first year that I did not apply to another school.
This has been the first year that I've conquered the "Going Good Blues". 

The "Going Good Blues" is a term used by Reba on her show. Her daughter Cheyenne is concerned, because her pregnancy is going extremely well and she feels that something bad is going to happen. She asks her mother if she has ever had that feeling, to which Reba replies, "Honey, I think the feeling that you're talking about 'going good blues?'" 

The truth is I am very content with my life. 
I have been blessed beyond belief, but the more blessings I realize I have, 
the more I see potential for things to go wrong. 

Reba reminds us, "The key is not to worry about what could go wrong, 
                             but just enjoy all the things that are going right."

As a student I find it difficult not to worry about finances, 
getting into my next degree program, 
if I am on the right career path,
and if there will be a job opening once I am done school.

What I have learned, however, 
is that somedays you just have to 
play with Lego in Subway.... 
go to Toys R Us, 
Roommate snapped this pic :)
and play-doh in the mall.
Remember to breathe,
because it's okay when things are going right. 

May 15, 2012

Blessings in the Boring

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" -John Lennon

"That might sound boring,
but I think the boring stuff
is the stuff I remember the most."-Russell, Up

These two quotes have been floating around in my thought boat. As a relatively busy human being, who usually has a few things each day on the calendar, it's important to remember to live.
I like the boring.

The time on the road is my favourite part of a roadtrip.
I like the boring.

The very long graduation ceremony.
I LIKE the boring!

The sitting in a parking lot while waiting for someone.
I like the boring.

The reading the newspaper.
I like the boring.

The research, the walk to the library, the searching for quotes, the writing the essay, the editing!
I LIKE the boring!

There are blessings in the boring. The quiet time, the observing time, the nap time, ALL blessings. When I look back on my life in 30 years I HOPE it is the boring that I remember, because, truth be told: I like the boring.

May 13, 2012

Signs of Summer

Here are a few Signs of Summer that I've found so far on Vacation #1. 

Spending hours in a bookstore is a sign of summer.
Buying books for pleasure is a sign of summer.
Finding things is a sign of summer. 
Outdoor concerts are a sign of summer. 
Beautiful, warm sunsets are a sign of summer. 
Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day is a sign of summer.
New flags are a sign of summer.
Open restaurants and cafe patios are a sign of summer.
Home repaires, and outdoor work are signs of summer.
BBQ is a sign of summer.
Seeing many people walk to church is a sign of summer.

What signs of summer have you seen so far? 

May 11, 2012

Badge of Honour

The movie Up is still on my mind. In the movie when Ellie and Carl first become friends, she pins a homemade bottle cap badge on him.  At the end of the movie he pins the "Ellie" badge on his new friend Russell who has gone to great lengths to get his last badge for the Wilderness Explorer. I have two very special badges in my life. I spent 13 years of my life going through the Girl Guides of Canada program, and I was awarded every badge available, but my two special badges came from two of my friends. 

Though I have not blogged about it yet, giving blood has been one of the greatest accomplishments in the past few years. I have ALWAYS wanted to do it, and after months of training, I was finally able to give. I was so excited to receive my "1st time" pin, because donating blood was such a big deal. My mom even framed my letter that came with my blood donor card! The sad news was that the clinic I went to did not give out the pins, or stickers, and the third time I gave blood I had to be rushed home, so I did not get my "3rd Time" zipper pull. Even though I was very satisfied with my donation, I was still a little sad that I did not get these little tokens that represented (what I consider) a lot of training and a large ordeal.

The good news? I have two Carls in my life. A while after my first donation, my neighbour surprised me with a gift. It was HER "1st Time Donor" pin. It meant SO much to me, not only because I didn't get one, but because she knew the work I put into donating and she gave me her pin, the pin I'm sure that meant a lot to her. 

My other Carl recently donated blood for his third time, and surprised me with HIS "3rd Time Donor" zipper pull. It was so wonderful. To many these little badges mean very little, but to me they mean a lot. 

I keep both of my badges on my favourite jacket, which I wear whenever I can. This is just a reminder of how powerful small actions can be.

I wonder what badges I have given,
but more importantly I wonder what ones I CAN give. 

May 9, 2012

5 Seconds Flat

Time of Life: 4:28pm May 3, 2012

My mother had just arrived home from work. After we exchanged greetings I got in the car to take an early birthday present up to the grandmother. Seeing as my grandmother wasn't home, I had a wonderful visit with my grandfather. The visit included a walk through his vegetable gardens, talking about school, my plans for summer, and a plan to return the next day. I said my goodbyes and got in the car to go home to supper that my Mom was preparing. Just like routine I got in the car, buckled my seatbelt, started the car, turned on the lights, and shifted into reverse. I turned around in the drive way, pulled forward, and looked both ways. 

It's not a very busy street, no intersections, a few houses, and a slight hill. After checking to my left, my right, my left, my right, and my left again, I went to move my right foot off of the break and accelerate. My foot was stuck. It was like a huge wad of bubblegum was holding my foot on the break. My knee was locked in one position and I couldn't move it. I was frustrated, but in the middle of my frustration the following sentence flashed through my mind, "Grandfather witnesses death of granddaughter at home." Before I could even think "that was weird", a HUGE red gravel truck came speeding over the hill, and I was left breathless. There is no doubt that I would have been killed instantly. In those 5 seconds, I would have been flat. 
google image
I was too shocked to cry, move, or breathe. I just kept seeing a flash of red and the white letters: "M", "A", "C", and "K"stamped in my vision. I collected myself, looked both ways, and pulled out of the driveway, taking the same path that I would have taken seconds earlier. I am here writing this today by the grace of God and his invisible bubblegum that kept my foot on that darn break peddle. 

I guess my work here isn't done.

May 7, 2012

A Vision Unclouded


Recently I witnessed a wonderful graduation and after it was all over, I realized that graduations are  clouds with silver linings. Though not even my graduation, it has been a very sad week. The more friends of mine that go through this ritual, the more I think about how my time is coming soon. I'm sad that my time is coming to a close, but I am confident in saying that I have made the most of each day, established wonderful relationships, and tried my best to be a shining light in every aspect of my life.

After sharing a "Congratulations" with a 2012 grad, 
I asked her how she felt. 
She did her best to express to me
that she was both happy and sad, 
because it's all over. 
To which I replied, "
or just beginning".

The whole way home it rained and cleared and rained and cleared, and I couldn't help thinking, "this is life". Sometimes the roads we choose take us under rain clouds, and sometimes we drive under sunny skies, but as long as we are driving, it doesn't matter. We know the sun is still shining even if we can't see it, we know from experience that the rain never lasts as long as we think it will. Rain is good. Rain refreshes us, it helps us turn to the sun, and rain reminds us of just how great the sunny skies really are.

May we be thankful for the rain clouds in our life, and may we keep on driving towards sunny skies, no matter where they take us. 

May 5, 2012

Boxes Bespeak Beginnings


There have been a lot of boxes in my life lately,
and I have decided that boxes are best when they are empty.

It was difficult to pack up my room of my first apartment and put it all into boxes.
It was difficult to walk into a good friend's house and see many filled boxes.
It was difficult to walk into sections of my church and see filled boxes.

Boxes Bespeak Beginnings,
and all three of these examples are packed with the fact that boxes can be beginnings.

It is important to remember that good things come in boxes.

Sets of Books,
Jr. Mints,

I've always been a fan of boxes, because they mean possibilites. Whether they are used to pack things to be taken on an adventure, used as gift boxes, or used to create new things, I like boxes. Growing up I would have a dresser that I would store all of my boxes in, I would make televisions, video cameras, spaceships, and more. Sadly, I admit that there is a homevideo of a certain 3 yr old with a box on her head, expressing her fondness for boxes. As I grew older, I used boxes to create endless wrapping material for small gifts. And now? Just look at what boxes can be!

Boxes can be the beginning of inspiration. 
Boxes can be the beginning of adventures. 
Boxes can be the beginning of a blast of creativity.

So why boxes? 
Boxes mean surprises, 
and I LOVE surprises. 
Imagine giving a gift that is not wrapped? 
Where is the fun in that? Boxes say that someone took the time to find a box that would fit, a box that would disguise, and a box that would be the perfect container for something great! Boxes are the bonus gift! Once you have unpacked a gift, a recent purchase, or a bunch of things, you then can reward yourself by playing with the box! To the right is my Homework Hut. While walking home from dance class one night I saw three beautiful boxes sitting on the side of the road. I called my roommate and she came to meet me to help me lug home my find! The mini fridge box became a Homework Hut! 

May 3, 2012

Compliment in the Condescension

I like grocery shopping,
I like shopping with a budget,
I like using my Air miles card,
I like making my grocery list,
I like flipping through flyers,
but I don't like condescension.

Tuesday has become the most common day for university/college students to buy groceries, because of the student discount offered at both Sobeys and that other leading grocery store. I will admit I am a Sobeys shopper through and through, but once in while I'll find myself at the (not so) Super Store, and this past Tuesday evening was one of those times. 

My mother and I had made our way around the renovation sites, and waited in a very long line just to purchase a few items. Once at the cash we got talking about how it was a coincidence that we were getting groceries on a Tuesday, and how great the student discount is, she jokingly said to me, "it's too bad you don't have your Student ID with you." 
When all of a sudden....
the cashier butts into our conversation to voice, 
(in a rather harsh and demeaning tone) 
"it's only for college and university students...NOT high school." 

I was not pleased with what she had to say, the sentence structure or the content. 
Instead of shooting back a glare (which I was very tempted to do) I simply smiled at her and told her I was in fact in university, and told her what year I am in. To which she responded, "well you need a valid student ID." I collected our bags and shared a fun look with my mom, and we left. 

I realize I do not give off the "University-look", or the typical university lifestyle, but I know I don't give off the "please-talk-to-me-in-a-demeaning-mannor" look. Perhaps a proper response from the cashier would have been, "yeah the discount is great for university students." (That way it would be made clear to which age bracket it is aimed, without completely insulting the customer.) Another option could have been asking me which school I attended, to which my response would have included an ending of                                                                 either "high school", "college", or "university". 

Even though I was very put off by the tone of the cashier, I will take her prejudice as a compliment. It means that I look youthful. It also means that the cashier thought that my mother looks too young to have a daughter past the age of 18, and I completely agree. It's always good to find a compliment in the condescension, but it's always best not to be rude in the first place. 

Sobeys Shopper.

May 1, 2012

May Day! May Day!

May is my favourite month!*

May means Mother's Day (I LOVE my Mom)
May means graduations
May means my grandmother's birthday
May means Spring
May means a month of no employment
May means a month of visiting
May means a month of crafting
May means barbecuing  ----->
May means setting up my room for Summer
May means wearing hoodies and jeans
May means wearing summer dresses + flats
May means praying for Spring Forth
May means planting seeds
May means final meetings
May means more time at home

May you enjoy everyday of May!

*I have 12 favourite months and 4 favourite seasons, and 7 favourite days. My favourite of each depends upon which one I'm in. Today is May, today is Spring, and today is Tuesday, so today my favourites are Tuesday, May, and Spring!