Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: Same Kind of Different as Me. By Ron Hall and Denver Moore

So here is my second attempt at a book review for Thomas Nelson Books...I have been working on reading this book for a while and finally finished it up!!! "Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore is a true story of two very different men who formed a very unique and inspiring relationship. Ron Hall is a successful art dealer, and Denver Moore is a man who grew up in poverty and spent a good number of years in jail and living on the street. Through the love that Ron's wife had for the homeless in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron and Denver are thrown into each others paths. This books was a pleasure to read, although not easy at times. The experiences that Denver recounts in his narratives are, at times, excruciating and you are left with the understanding that he has left out some of the worst bits. "Same kind of Different as Me" is written from the perspective of both authors and switches back and forth between the men. Some parts of the story are told from both perspectives and I was amazed at how different two people can perceive the same situation. I really enjoyed the way each story is told separately at first, but as the book progresses, the two stories begin to intertwine. I must say that this book opened my eyes to a new perspective of homelessness, and the wisdom that can be learned from those who have experienced life in a way that I could never imagine. It was also a reminder to me of how God chooses to work through all sorts of people, in unexpected ways. If you are looking for a challenge in your heart, I highly recommend this book...you will be inspired.

For more information about this story, visit www.samekindofdifferentasme.com.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for sending me a review copy of this book, through their Book Sneeze blogger book review program. I was not obligated to provide a positive review of this book.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas

December has been quite the whirlwind month!! The last few weeks of the trimester seemed jam packed with new info, while my brain capacity seemed to diminish as the month went on. I made it through exams though, and will begin my next trimester mid-January. I've gone on a few trips here and there, and have been busy with a bit of Christmas shopping (here in CR and online for family---I love the interweb!). I've also been able to catch a few Christmas programs, at Sojourn Academy and at my church. I'm finding it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit, since there is no snow (amazing the difference it makes!), but little by little I'm getting excited for the special day. I was walking in the mall last week with the Hieberts and Mackenzie saw that there were snowman decorations all over the mall. He asked me "Why do they decorate with snowmen when they don't have any snow? How do they know what a snowman looks like if they've never seen a real one?" Good question, Mackenzie :D My host mom, "Mami", gave Kristen and I a special project to work on this month as well--sewing our own Christmas stockings!!! By hand!!! It was a bit time consuming, but I think it turned out great. Mom and Dad are heading to New Westminster BC to be with Sean for the holidays, I'll be missing being with my family this Christmas, but I'm so glad they could all be together...here's hoping for mild weather in Vancouver!!! As you each prepare to celebrate this Christmas, may you be reminded of Jesus Christ, the reason we celebrate this holiday, and the author and perfector of each of our lives.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Meet the Hieberts

Hello all, just wanted to share a link with you today. As many of you know, I'm studying Spanish here in Costa Rica for a year in preparation to move to Venezuela next fall. Also planning to go to Venezuela is the Hiebert family. Chris and Angela attend the same school as me, and they have two very fantastic boys named Mackenzie and Lukas. A few weeks ago, Chris had the opportunity to head to Caracas with Murray Derksen, our Regional Developer. You can read his blog post here about his trip and what it was like to meet the people who we will be hopefully working alongside next year. While you're there, why not check out their other blog posts and get to know this family better. They have been such a blessing to me here in C.R. and I really wish that all of you could meet them. Please remember to pray for the Hieberts as well, as I will hopefully be doing ministry with them for many years to come!

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Do you know the way to San Jose....er....I mean...Heredia?"

This has been a crazy week, I am sooooo glad it's the weekend! On Tuesday I got brave and headed to the other side of the city (Heredia) to visit a friend of my aunt's who is in Costa Rica for a few weeks. To cut costs, I decided to take the bus there and then come back in a taxi. Lucky for me, a few friends were heading downtown San Jose so I joined them for that leg of the journey. In San Jose, there is no published bus schedule so once we got downtown, one of my friends began asking people where to catch the bus to Heredia. It's always good to ask 3 or 4 people, because more than likely you'll get a number of different answers! And oh ya, did I mention that in San Jose most of the streets are not named or numbered? And if they are (mostly downtown) people don't really know the names or numbers??? After a bit of a hike through the streets, we found the place and I was on my own the rest of the way. I had no idea where to get off the bus, but once we got to Heredia, I actually saw a sign pointing to the hotel...it was only a few km away! I decided to get off the bus and take a cab the rest of the way. HOWEVER....I couldn't reach the cord to pull to tell the driver to stop at the next bus stop!!! I just love being short! I decided to wait til someone else pulled the cord and luckily someone did a few blocks later. I started walking and saw another sign that the hotel was only a Km away, so since it was such a nice day I walked the rest of the way. If you know me, you know that I was bound to take a wrong turn at some point...and I did. I came to a fork in the road and turned right when I should have turned left, but after asking for directions from a condominium guard, I found the way. I ended up having a great visit with some great Canadians at a beautiful hotel and then came all the way back to San Francisco in a cab. I had an awesome cab driver who didn't wait around in traffic letting the meter (or the "maria" as they say here) rack up a high fare. He zipped around the sidestreets and we ended up chatting the whole way in spanish with a bit of spanglish thrown in on both our parts. Although I'm sure I didn't make alot of sense most of the time, I think I was at least able to get my points across (maybe he was just nodding out of courtesy???) and so I was pretty excited after the trip.

My next adventure coming up is figuring out how to take a bus to Alajuela where the airport is. Pastor Jim and Teresa Rilling are coming to Costa Rica next weekend for a wedding and I get to visit with them! Pastor Jim is one of the pastors at Sylvan Lake Alliance Church and I had the privilege of working with him for my last year in Sylvan Lake...and Teresa is...well... pretty much one of my favourite people in the world! So I'm pretty pumped to see them.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to relaxing this weekend and getting some much needed rest (I was not well on Wed). Hope you have a wonderful "fin de semana"!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

There's a Chill in the Air...

Please don't laugh, but there really is a chill in the air in San Jose right now! The last few days the weather has really taken a turn. After the torrential downpour of last week (and consequent landslides and flooding), the temperature has dropped and the wind has started to blow. In fact the wind was blowing so hard the other night it actually woke me up! Now, I know many of you will laugh at me when I say this but at night the temperature is going below 20. Yes, it's true. That may still seem tropical but it's a damp coolness that chills you right through. I actually put my feather duvet on my bed last night, since concrete walls and a lack of a furnace can make for a chilly night. My Tico hosts say that over the next month it's going to get quite cold, some nights getting down to 14 degrees. This makes for an interesting season here in San Jose...I went shopping at the mall a few weeks ago and we went into 'Zara'...I was shocked to find wool pea coats, winter jackets and vests, toques, mittens, scarves, and boots....I left these things behind in Canada for a reason!!! My phonics teacher was knitting herself a scarf last week, and my pastor told me at church on Sunday that I was 'brave' to come without a jacket on! When you think about Costa Rica, you often think about sunshine and beaches...but there is another side to this country that I had no idea about! Sadly (yes, sadly) I'm going to be missing out on snowmen and skating this winter...but a bright spot is that for a few days at least, I get to wear sweaters!

You may have heard of the difficulties here in C.R. last week. If not, here is an article...and here is a link to a blog of some fellow Canadian students here in Costa Rica who helped this past weekend with some clean-up. It wasn't too long ago that their own house was flooded and they were forced to move. please continue to keep Costa Rica in your prayers, especially those who are recovering from losing their homes and loved ones.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oct already?

Where does the time go? Had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and was able to have 2 turkey dinners here in Costa Rica! Our first one was on the Saturday with other Canadians from the language school, and the second one was with the Canadian contingent of the C&MA here in Costa Rica. (I've posted a photo below of the whole crew).

School is keeping me busy these days, and I am often overwhelmed by the amount of information thrown at us each day. This week we are halfway through the first trimester and so we had our mid-point reviews with each of our teachers. I had great reviews and was really encouraged. However one of my teachers says that I am not bold enough when I speak. I always feel that if I want to say something, I want to say it correctly...or just not say it at all...which is no good when you are trying to learn a language. I'm realizing the difficulties of learning a new language and I think if I went to school for 5 years it still wouldn't be enough!!! But slowly, bit by bit I am understanding and speaking more.

The weekend before last I was able to enjoy a retreat weekend in Tambor with the rest of the Canadian Alliance Team here in Costa Rica. We had a great long weekend of relaxing and connecting and contemplating and worshiping. What a treat to breath the fresh air and enjoy the roar of the ocean. This week is spiritual emphasis week at school (which means no homework! yay!) and we can attend 2 chapels each day. Our speaker is Dr. David Sills and he has been a pleasure to hear from and be challenged by. I'm planning to buy one of his books this week, so I'll let you all know what I think of it!

I'll leave you with 2 photos: the first is the Canadian C&MA international workers here in Costa Rica, and the second is of our beautiful view at Tambor....do I really live here???

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rain, Rain go away!

I have been in San Jose just shy of a month now, and as you may know we are in the middle of the rainy season. If you've never had a "rainy season experience", basically it means that you can expect rain. A lot of rain. Every day. For instance, it has rained every day since I arrived. 25 days of rain. And my Tico family tells me that the worst is yet to come in October! By Christmastime, the rain should be less frequent but for the time being, I shake my fist at the clouds every day around noon. That's right, if the weather is nothing else, it's predictable. The mornings are beautiful and hot, then the clouds roll over around noon and it usually starts raining on me while I walk home from school, or shortly thereafter and lasts most of the afternoon and sometimes into the evening. There are a few things I have learned: Never, ever EVER leave home without your umbrella. Skirts are better in the rain, since they don't suck up all water from the puddles you are sure to step in. If the rain is going sideways, in sheets, with thunder and lightning overhead, wait til the storm is over!

On a more serious note, the rain can cause all sorts of problems in Central and South America. I have already seen a small mudslide while on a bus this past weekend, and rivers can rise up to dangerous levels flowing at a tremendous rate. Yesterday, the house of some new friends flooded when a river close to them overflowed. Barb and Gerry are from Ontario and will be serving in Guatemala with Mano con Mano Health Reach after language school. They managed to get most of their things out of the apartment they were renting, but the Tico family they were renting from (their house is attached to the rental) have lost just about everything. Please pray for Barb and Gerry as they regroup and refocus (they are staying at Chris and Angela's for the moment), and also for their Tico family. I have heard that the Alliance church we have been attending has stepped in to help, but the house is a mess as you can imagine and the rain continues to fall. Thank you all for your prayers!

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Hooray for small victories! Do you remember those cheezy Toyota commercials where they jump at the end? Today I had one of those kind of days...I could have jumped in the air, with a double fist pump! When I was packing for Costa Rica, I ended up leaving behind a lot of things that I thought I would actually take. One item I ended up leaving behind was my daytimer. It was one of those last minute, split decision things where I looked at it and thought "nahhh, what would I need this for? it's just going to add extra weight to my bags and besides, I'd rather take a pair of shoes". Of course I completely forgot that I was going to SCHOOL, where there would be EXAMS and DEADLINES. So, trying to be all tech savvy, I decided to use my computer for more than Facebook stalking and made a beautiful calendar with Microsoft and filled in all my appointments and dates, and even scheduled in my study time etc. But there is just one problem...I don't bring my laptop to school, therefore I can't see my appointments. This problem became apparent yesterday at noon, when I missed a meeting. So this afternoon was spent trying to figure out a way to make my calendar portable without using my laptop. And then I realized my new ipod nano has a calendar function. Long story short, I figured out how to move my calendar to my ipod (which now functions as my voice recorder for my phonics class, sound system, mini-tv, radio, video camera, and DAYTIMER), go it up and running and will hopefully make it to meetings from now on. (Do I hear a chuckle????) In a new culture where crossing the street takes more mental energy than calculus, and at a language level where I can carry on a delightful conversation with a toddler (...maybe), it's small victories like this that make me feel that I can accomplish something!


Saturday, September 04, 2010

Survived My First Week!

I survived my first week of classes! Woohoo! It was a bit of a stressful week, difficult, but still enjoyable as I fall into my new routine of being a student of Spanish. My days begin at 6:00 when I get up, I walk to school at 7:15 and classes begin at 7:30. I do an hour of grammar, have a 5 minute break, and then another hour of grammar. We then have an hour break, which is filled on Tues and Thurs with chapel (in English!). Then an hour of conversation class, and an hour of Phonics. That brings us to noon! I head home for lunch and spend the afternoon studying, or reading....or napping. I have some wonderful teachers which I am so thankful for. I'm starting to get to know some students, and there are a number of single women here as well, so it has been great to begin some friendships with them. Yesterday I joined some friends for a trip downtown by bus, and we visited an artesan market. Lots of stalls set up with all sorts of jewellery, bags, hammocks, wood items, clay etc. One of the girls I went with has been in C.R. for a few months and has been going to the market to practice her Spanish. Already she has made some friends among the people working there. So she introduced us to them and I'm hoping to go back again with her. I am learning about this new culture in small bites (which is the best way for me!). Yesterday after school, there was a "new student fiesta" and we were treated to some traditional Costa Rican dances. Their dances tell stories of their history and culture and are beautiful to watch. I managed to take a video of their dance, and all the dancers in this video are employees of the school, some in administration and I believe some are teachers. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Here is a rather shaky video (360 degree...aren't I talented?) of my school. First is a shot down the long walkway, classrooms on either side, further down the walkway you find Sojourn Academy (elementary, middle school, high school), the Kinder area and the gym. To the left is the chapel, then office building (and John and Bill...who will be famous thanks to this video, I'm sure!), then back around to the classrooms. Not a great picture of the school, but gives you a taste anyway!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

I made it!

Hello! Just a note to let everyone know that I made it safe and sound to San Jose last Saturday night! It has been an interesting week, so full of learning that it seems like I've been here for months! I am with a wonderful host family and they speak Spanish very slowly and clearly, and I'm finding that I'm understanding quite a bit of what they say! Unfortunately, I can't say much back to them! There is another couple who are students at the school staying here as well, and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better. We are very blessed to be with this family as they have been very gracious when we have made social blunders and have promised not to laugh when we make mistakes :) Last Sunday we attended one of the local Alliance Churches, and we will be going there again tomorrow. Orientation started on Wednesday, and after this weekend, we have one more day of orientation then school begins on Tuesday. We wrote a written exam and did an oral exam so that they would know where to place us based on our level of Spanish. I was able to fill out the first page of my written exam (Name, and basic info), flipped through the rest of the pages, filled in a word or two (literally) then handed it back in. I had absolutely no clue. My oral exam was even better!! I think I lasted less than one minute...The teacher asked me what colour a folder was...it was red, and I said it was brown, and then she asked me a few other questions and I shrugged and that was it!! So it should be pretty easy to place me in the beginner's group! I get lots of practice learning words in the home though, and even had my first cooking lesson tonight: fish, plantains, salad, and avocado, and learned how to make juice from "cas". It has been difficult trying to figure out the culture here, what is acceptable etc...that is a lesson that will never end. Thank you everyone for your prayers and thoughts. I am overwhelmed, but feeling good. And I'm excited to begin classes this week. I was hoping to post a few pictures, but have not had a chance to go out and take pictures, since it has been raining every day since I arrived. I will try to snap a few this week and post them here. I will sign off as I hear fireworks down the street...some things don't change whether you're in San Jose or Sylvan Lake!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Savouring the Days

Hello all! Getting ready to head out on Saturday morning for San Jose! Trying to tie up all the loose ends and get things organized to pack...tomorrow is packing day and I am getting the feeling that I'll be using some puzzle skills to make everything fit! The last few months have been busy, but good...and I had some wonderful times connecting with friends and seeing some sights. Thought I'd post a few pictures for you to see....

Dickson Dam (Central Alberta). Had a great time visiting with a very special woman at Glennifer Lake and decided to stop and try out my new camera along the way!

Skaro Shrine near Lamont, AB. Was built almost 100 years ago, and the fact that it was built out of stones makes for some interesting architecture. There are also some really beautiful statues!

Mister Caleb. Sweetest. Face. Ever. Some great visits with friends in Regina!

Visited the family farm near North Battleford SK. Seriously, one of my favourite places.

Treated to some interesting song and dance numbers at the Rayners...these kids sent me off in style! And they only hurt themselves a few times in the process :)

Fun with the Haazen boys. Silliest boys I know!

Sunday, August 01, 2010


For those of you who move on a regular basis, I have a HUGE amount of respect for you! What a crazy amount of work! Just a quick update on life these days, as it seems that I have gone a whole month without blogging! It has been a busy July and life has really zipped by. I have finally moved out of my house (as of last night) and all my earthly possessions are sitting in the garage, waiting to be moved to Cold Lake on Tuesday. If I never climb another stair carrying a box, I'll be happy! Tomorrow I'll be organizing and then taking a load up on Tuesday. I have asked my friends to remind me never to collect that much stuff ever again!

I am getting exciting about heading to Costa Rica, my flight is booked for Aug 21. At the same time, it is an emotional time of saying goodbye to friends and family. I am so thankful for technology today, as it is able to help bridge the distance...being able to talk on Skype kinda makes me feel like I'm living like "The Jetsons"!

Next Sunday I will be heading to Daysland, AB to speak at the Alliance Church, which is exciting since I've never been to Daysland before! (I know, strange things excite me!) I will be spending lots of time on the road in the next couple of weeks as I wrap up my time in Sylvan Lake and I appreciate your prayers for safety on the road.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic long weekend...either in the sun or the rain!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's a Wrap!

Lots happening in my world these days...can hardly keep track of everything to be done (but if you have been reading this blog and know me by now...you know I always complain about that!). Just got back last Friday from Pre-Field Orientation in Calgary. It was a great time, met lots of other international workers being sent this year, was challenged alot and also encouraged. It was held at Ambrose University College (which used to be CBC/CTS where I graduated from) and it was kind of wild to be back living the "dorm life". So many memories of great times in the dorms in Regina. I am so glad they have the dorms available again for students, it's such a great community-builder. All 5 of the single gals got put in 2 adjoining room which was fantastic, except we had to share 1 shower between the 5 of us. As you can imagine, we set to work planning out a shower schedule on the the first night. But we all survived, of course...and it was great to just be taken care of. I've come back to the hustle and bustle of life in Sylvan Lake, and I'm on the countdown until my last day of work at the church: 4 more "working" days. CRAZY!

My commissioning service was this past Sunday and I felt so blessed and full of love from everyone. I got some pretty swanky gifts too, so thank you to everyone....I don't even know what to say.

If you would like to pray for me in these days before I head out, I would apprectiate prayer for my transition (finishing at the church, cleaning out my house, and getting my endless to-do list done). I found out that I need to get some documents signed by the Costa Rican consulate in Ontario, so I'm just waiting to hear back on that as well, and hoping it can be done quickly.

Thanks everyone for your love, prayers and support!

A beautiful Sunday at North Glenmore Park, Calgary

Thursday, June 03, 2010

This is now checked off my to-do list.

May has flown by, and some days I feel like I'm just being dragged along by my ankle! I'm still in the throes of the never-ending paperwork, emails and appointments that go along with moving to Costa Rica but I'm getting through bit by bit. I have never been one to be an excellent time-manager (some of you may remember our all-nighters writing papers in college), so this last month has been a challenge. When everything piles up, I can easily get overwhelmed by it all and just go into my "oblivious" mode. But thankfully, I now know how to recognize that in myself! Someone encouraged me a few weeks ago by saying "just do one thing. then do another..." and I often remember that when the pile of to-do's is weighing me down.

I have now wrapped up/passed on most of my responsibilities at the church, but there are still a few things that need to be tied up in the next few weeks. I am finished at the church as of the end of June...I am thinking that July is going to be a very strange month! If you are into praying, that is a big request for me right now...transition from ministry at the church. If anyone would like to come to my commissioning service, it is taking place at 10:30am on Sunday June 20 at Alliance Community Church in Sylvan Lake.

In amongst the busyness, I have had a few adventures as well...

Great visit with Auntie Stacy (she is currently tour director for the
African Children's Choir -Choir 35)

Hiking near Nordegg, AB with Dayna on the May long weekend
(the snow proved to thwart our efforts)

Fantastic visit at the end of April in Ontario with Cyndi.....


...and Gracie Zimmerman!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

To Do's

I am a list maker. I feel that when I can cross something off a list, I've accomplished something. The problem with being a list maker is that the lists can often get out of hand. Or you have 10 lists on the go...and then you lose one...horror! These days my lists are cropping up everywhere...on the fridge, on the stove, kitchen table, desk at work (many), beside my bed. I'm losing track of my lists, so I'm trying to condense them. But when I do that, I get so discouraged at the length; I could probably take it to a publisher and have it bound as a book! These days my lists are mostly comprised of things I need to do to wrap up here at the church, prepare for Pre-Field Orientation, and prepare for departure in August (how many bars of soap should I take with me?). I am continually praying that I stay focused on what I need to do, as I'm quite easily distracted. I know that everything will come together, I just don't want to leave anything until the last minute (which is what usually happens to me!). A few more details are coming together, but as it looks right now, I'll be finished at the church at the end of June (although away for a large part of June), back and forth between Sylvan Lake and various points in Alberta/Sask for the month of July, and then leaving for Costa Rica mid-August. Some days I'm still in disbelief that this is actually happening...fully relying on God' strength!!!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Book Review: If I Could Ask God Anything by Kathryn Slattery

As a Children's Pastor, I sift through alot of resources for children and families, and along with parents, I strive to present the Bible and theology to kids in a way that is easy for them to understand and enjoyable, not drudgery. If I Could Ask God Anything: Awesome Bible Answers for Curious Kids by Kathryn Slattery is a book that tackles the hard, and sometimes amusing questions that kids have about God, the Bible, church, and personal faith. This is not a small book that regurgitates the same old questions and answers. Slattery answers about 180 questions, including "Why couldn't Jesus just stay on earth forever?", and "Can I believe in science and still believe in God?". Some of the more humorous questions are "Why do some Christians put fish-shaped symbols on their cars?" and "Help! What should I do when I think a church service is boring?". I really liked the fact that each question is answered in a page or less, in a manageable way for kids to read and understand. Slattery consistently brings kids back to the fact of God's love for them personally and encourages kids to read their own bibles to see the answers for themselves. This book is also suitable for a variety of denominations as well as both Catholic and Protestant faiths and it would be a great resource for family discussions. It is full of practical suggestions for bible reading, journalling, prayer, and service. I did find the title of the book slightly deceiving, as it states "for kids". The reading and comprehension level for this book would be best suited for older elementary and "tweens", however younger children would definitely enjoy this book if they read it with a parent. And I must say that even as an adult, I loved this book!

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for sending me a review copy of this book, through their Book Sneeze blogger book review program. I was not obligated to provide a positive review of this book.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Must Good Things Come to an End?

I survived my date with disaster...er...I mean the dentist. I only have a billion cavities, so the next few months will be taken up with repeat visits. Ah well...at least it's getting taken care of. Next I need to get my immunizations figured out and have a visit with my doctor. I need to do my taxes. I need a new battery in my watch. I need to empty out closets. It seems that each day I remember a few more things that I need to do. I try to write everything down, but my memory is terrible so a few things keep slipping. Kids Club wraps up this week with an Earth Day party, and this past Saturday was my last shift as a volunteer at Ten Thousand Villages. It has all of a sudden hit me that some of my favourite things are coming to an end. I am a super-sentimental person so I often find myself already reminiscing about the "good ol' days"! I have the go-ahead to register for school for the fall...I will be attending The Spanish Language Institute in San Jose, Costa Rica beginning the end of August. So I need to get in gear and start that process. And in 4 days I'm leaving to go to Ontario to visit Cyndi, Tony and baby Gracie for a week...so I'm a little overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. Please pray that I will be able to stay focused, manage my time well, and remember to do all the little things that need to be done!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dentist Day

Today is dentist day for me (cue horror music!!). I haven't been to a dentist in...well...I'm to embarrassed to say how long. And I see that I have cavities that need to be filled...and yet I still avoid it. The situation has come to a head though, as I have been feeling a wisdom tooth wanting to come through (I hade the other 3 out about 12 years ago)...plus the fact that I should get my dental work done before I leave for Costa Rica. I am metally preparing myself for a chastising from the dentist (ie: why did you wait so long to come? you're not flossing enough!!!). Is it just me or does anybody else get in trouble for poor flossing?? Here's hoping the list of things wrong with my teeth is not a million miles long...

In other news, I've soared to new levels of self-inflicted pain and punishment. Last night was day 1 of a beginners running club that I've joined. We are meeting Mon/Wed/Fri and this week we are doing walk 2 min, run 2 min. Seriously, I brought up the rear of the group...personally I choose to ignore my poor cardio fitness and instead blame my short legs. And speaking of legs, mine were like jello last night...you know it's bad when you can't even lift your leg to get into your car!!! Actually, the situation was fairly close to the dentist's leg in the video above! Day 2 looms tomorrow...

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Heading North, Before I Head South

Tomorrow I am heading to Cold Lake for a few days...looking forward to spending time with friends and family. Cold Lake was where I was born and raised, before leaving for Bible College...and I haven't lived there permanently since. Still, I consider it "home" and I'm so glad Mom and Dad are still there, as well as a few fantastic friends! I'm going to take a few boxes of books with me, not much...but it's a start. I'm hoping to get home a few more times this spring and summer and just enjoy being there. On another note, I'm obsessed with Google Street View. Here is a view of Cold Lake, thanks to the dude hard at work driving the Google vehicle through every intersection. A thankless job, I'm sure. And seriously, you can click on it and see it in 3-D. I need to find some 3-D glasses stat!!

Notice that unlike Sylvan Lake, there's not a billion people on the beach :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Adventures in Packing...Part 1

Since I'm procrastinating/avoiding other things at the moment, I decided today would be an excellent day to start packing the books in my office. This is actually fairly comical, since for the past 4 years or so, most of my "work" books have been on my office floor or at my house. A few weeks ago, a beautiful new bookshelf was put in my office and I quickly filled it and even brought a few boxes of books from home. Now less than a month later, I'm tearing it all apart again! Because I'll be storing most of my books in my parents' basement, I figured I should catalogue my books as well, for insurance purposes, in case anything happens to them. I've decided on a numbered box system, where I record the Box #, then list the books in the box (title, author, ISBN#). Also, I figured this would be the best way for me to locate a book at a later date, so I can avoid "needle in the haystack" adventures. Today I packed and recorded 88 books and I feel like I have barely made a dent! And guess what? I get to do this all over again with my books at home! Yipee!! I can hardly wait to find out how many books I have...the horror!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Extra! Extra!!

Just heard this afternoon, I have been approved by the Board of Directors!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

On the road again....

Well, for a number of years I have been keeping a blog, and it has been so great to go back over the years and read some of my odd posts...and yes, some are more odd than others! But the time has come to change the blog up a bit and over the next few months I'm going to be changing the look, and probably the title (as I won't be living in Sylvan Lake anymore!). For those of you who haven't heard, I have put in my resignation at the church and will be officially done in June. After that, well, I'm going to go where the wind takes me and begin living a hippie lifestyle. Just kidding...but I would kind of like to live as a hippie...sigh. Anyway, I'll actually be going where God has decided to take me, and that is to Latin America. I have applied with the Christian and Missionary Alliance to be an international worker, and I am hoping this week to get the final "OK" when the board of directors meet in Turkey at General Assembly. Right now, the tentative plan is to head to Costa Rica in August(-ish?) to go to language school and learn Spanish. After that, well...it's still a bit unknown, but I am hoping to go as part of a church planting team, possibly to Venezuela.

I have finally passed the "oh my gosh, what have I done????" phase and I'm now starting to get excited! Mostly I'm excited for the chance to do in ministry what I love most, and that is spending time with people and building relationships. The excitement is bittersweet, as it will be very hard to leave my family, my church family, and my friends and relationships here! Change is never easy and I find myself often on the verge of tears as I savour certain elements of my life here in Canada. But thank goodness for technology and the increasingly "small world" we live in!!

You may be asking, "Kelly, what happens if that door closes, and you end up staying in Canada?" Well, the answer I would give you is quite profound: "I don't know". But I know that God knows, so I will try to be content with that! Perhaps I will try my hand at something new....it's kind of cool to have open possibilities!!!

But basically I just want to do what I feel God is calling me to...maybe you understand that, maybe you don't. It's OK, but I hope that even if you think I'm a crazy maniac, you'll still travel along this journey with me and see where it takes me. I will post again when I find out more in the next week and then the fun really begins!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me anything. Thanks for reading and I will update soon!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Survivor Junkie

Oh how I love Survivor...I have watched every season and I never get tired of it. It's true. I am a people watcher and I think this show fuels my love of observing people (as does Big Brother, sadly...). I remember during the first season, I was working at a Bible Camp during the finale, so we had to wait til the next day and read in the newspaper who the winner was! Hard to believe that was back in the days of limited internet. A lot of people say that it's lost it's appeal, and every season is the same...but I just can't see it...when you throw unique people together you get a unique circumstance. Last season was probably my least favourite, but I have to admit that Russell alone made it worthwhile to watch. And my highlight of the new Heroes vs. villains season? Colby of course...sigh..... Anyway, here is (in my opinion) the best Survivor moment ever...

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Were these boots made for walking?

Alright, so my next challenge is to get rid of all my extra clothes...both of my closets are full right now and the closet in my spare room is blocked by a bunch of stuff stored in there. So it may be a small feat but I am hoping to get my clothes organized into one (small) closet and one (small) dresser with one rubbermaid for summer clothes. Are you shocked yet? A while back I bought this woman's book and it has been super useful and VERY practical for me...making decluttering a lot less ominous a task. I would take some before and after shots of my rooms as I work through them (and my closets!) but alas, I can't find my camera at the moment :( Have any of you seen it???

I've also been dreaming lately of where I would like to travel...you know...your "ultimate vacation". Ever since I was young, the destination I had my heart set on was England. And guess what? I went there this summer! I loved it even more than I thought I would, and even though I just got a very small glimpse (I need to go back!), I have done something that I've wanted to do for many many years...So now what? I am trying to think of where my new destination should be, because it's fun to dream about going somewhere! I have a few places in mind...Ireland, Scotland, Hawaii, the Southern States, and South Africa....hm, I guess the list goes on....just can`t seem to narrow it down to one. Where would you like to go...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Paper Progress

Update on my paper battle: I finished Pride and Prejudice last night but did not quite finish going through my paper and receipts. Right before bed I was looking through some of my rubbermaid tubs and found one full of.....you guessed it....paper. My suspicion is that most of it will have a meeting with the shredder this weekend, but still, I felt that my progress had been set back. I also have a rather large stack of old bills to go through, and either shred or sort in my files...but thankfully my friend Theresa is keeping me accountable to have it done by Sunday. This is huge for me, and I feel that a very heavy weight is being lifted.

On another note, our pastor has been away in Uganda for the past two weeks and he and the team are currently on their way home. I am so looking forward to his stories, seeing pictures and being reminded about the blessing and privilege of assisting others. You can read all about their journey here. As I've read it, I've laughed, I've cried, and I've felt my heart pulled.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Have you hoard?

Now that I have been trying to make a return to blogging, I'm slightly baffled by all the new thingys that Blogger has. I call them thingys cuz really, I have no idea what I'm doing. I am going to have to sit down and figure this all out sometime. But right now I'm drowning in a sea of paper. I have decided to get my filing in order. I literally have three big boxes full of paper, receipts, invoices etc, so I'm trying to do some separating and shredding. In order to make this experience more palatable, I am watching Pride and Prejudice (the BBC/A&E version) so my goal is to be done with the paper by the time the movie is over (about 5 hours). Can it be done? We shall see. I have also realized that I am a bit of a hoarder....I know that I'm not compulsive about it and it has definitely not taken over my house...but still it has it's consequences. I hold onto things for long periods of time. Part of the reason that I have piles of paper is that I cannot throw a receipt out until I know for sure that a) the warranty is over or b) i am definitely not going to be returning it. And then it all just sits in piles, then I "file" it away in a corner. I seem to keep everything, since I have a problem parting with things for sentimental reasons or "just in case...I might need that again". What this amounts to is too much stuff in a very small house. Perhaps I'll keep you posted on my progress. Here is my very favourite hoarding story. I think I would have gotten along quite well with these dudes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Blissfull Slumber

I just commented on Tara's blog, and it got me thinking a bit. What has happened in Haiti has pulled on the hearts of billions of people around the world. Many of us feel helpless because we cannot physically go to help (although many can, and are going!). I think that God's heart is breaking for the people of Haiti, but He is using this to wake up the world to what is happening in some of the poorest countries. I'm frustrated, because why should it take a disaster like this for many of us in the wealthiest countries to stand up and take action? Shouldn't we be generous in sending aid BEFORE a disaster happens, so that if it does happen, a country can be better prepared? There is so much talk about "global community" these days...but do we really act like a community would? I am willing to go down the street and bring food to a struggling neighbour...but am I willing to bring food to my brothers and sisters half way around the world who struggle just to buy a handful of rice? There are so many things that vie for our dollars and time. Am I making the best use of both MY dollars and my time? To balance this out, I have had to remind myself that at this moment, although I am not able to go assist, I must commend and support those who have dropped everything to go, or are in the process of going over the next week. And I need to remember that although I cannot be there, God is. And I can't say that there is nothing I can do. I can pray.

Visit my friend Grace's blog to read about opportunites to give to relief work in Haiti as well as ways that you can pray.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lessons from Villa Villekulla

A few years ago when I was shopping at a second hand store, I picked up a number of books that I enjoyed as a child. I didn't really intend to read them I guess...was just feeling a little nostalgic. This past year, I have actually read a few of them...Island of the Blue Dolphins, Romona the Pest, and 2 Pippi Longstocking books. I have particularly been enjoying reading about the adventures of Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraim's Daughter Longstocking. Some of her characteristics, although a little outrageous for a child, are kind of inspiring. Pippi is a very generous little girl. Her father has left her a chest full of gold coins and when she gets in the mood to spend, it is usually on other people. Two instances stand out to me. She goes to town to shop with Annika and Tommy and at a toy store, she buys a toy for every child in the vicinity. Again, when she goes to the fair, she buys tons of extra tickets and gives them all away to the kids who have no money to go on the merry go round. She gives without even thinking about it.

Interestingly Pippi also has superhuman strength. She carries her horse, and picks up a tiger who is on the prowl and takes him back to his cage. Her strength also comes in handy whe she comes across a "bad guy". She usually ends up picking him up and tossing him up and down in the air, just to give him a bit of his own medicine. But she is never cruel, and when she is finished tossing, she sends the villian on his way with a lesson learned.

She is adventurous, creative, clever and never phazed by a stressful situation. She always keeps her cool. And she always knows just what to say. Astrid Lindgren had such a unique sense of humour and always balanced the sillyness of Pippi with the always polite and responsible Annika and Tommy. Shouldn't we all have a bit of Pippi in us?

"Listen, little Pippi," she [the teacher] said in a friendly voice, "you want to be a really fine lady when you grow up, don't you?"
"You mean the kind with a veil on her nose and three double chins under it?" asked Pippi.
"I mean a lady who always knows how to behave and is always polite and well bred. You want to be that kind of a lady, don't you?"
"It's worth thinking about," said Pippi, "but you see, Teacher, I had just about decided to be a pirate when I grow up." She thought a while. "But don't you think, Teacher, one could be a pirate and a really fine lady too?"
-from Pippi Goes on Board

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm a blogger, I blog?

Once again, back after a lengthy hiatus. Not sure if anyone is reading anymore? The next few months are going to be a bit of a whirlwind for me, and I really would like to be able to get some thoughts down. So here I am back at my blog. I just can't seem to get rid of it. In an effort to streamline my crazy life, I'm getting rid of some other "social networking" sites (goodbye myspace and twitter!) but I still just can't seem to get rid of my blog. Believe you me, I sure wish I could get rid of Facebook, but it seems I've reached the point of no return. It has become a great way for me to stay connected with friends, but I need to figure out how to streamline things there too. Downscaling is currently happening at my house...oh yes it is! The Salvation Army has no idea what's about to hit them!

On another note, I enjoyed a fantastic post-wedding celebration this weekend for friends from Sylvan. There was great food, a candy bar, some fantastic (read:questionable) dance moves and a LOT of laughter...I even got to dance with one of my little friends who is 6 years old. When we hit the dance floor his mom gave him very strict instructions: "do NOT spin Miss Kelly around and make her dizzy". I'm including a photo that was taken at the wedding back in November. Shown in the photo are just 7 of the many reasons why I love living in Sylvan Lake.