Friday, March 27, 2009


So, I've been out on-site a few days this week at a kindergarten in the Catholic school system. The Catholic school board is not unfamiliar to me; I spent several months in Catholic schools as a TA a few years ago.

In kindergarten, the prayers kids are taught are quite simple. Usually four or five lines at most, and it's usually a rhyming prayer. Perfect for five-year-olds to learn and memorize. And nice for adults because they are generally the same (or similar) from class to class; no awkward re-learning of prayers every time teachers walk into a new group of kids.

I've never thought of kindergarten prayers as much more than simple and child-friendly... until this week. Perhaps it's the craziness that has been my life over the last few weeks, resulting in the need to re-focus, but the kindergarten class' opening prayer really struck me this week. It goes:

Good morning, dear Jesus
This day is for You
In all that I say,
In all that I do.

That's it. The entirety of Christian living in four lines. As adults, we get so elaborate with our prayers sometimes. And even though I've grown up knowing that I can pray to God conversationally (because, after all, I am talking to my Best Friend), even those conversations are often long-winded, containing so much superfluous language.

This is not to say that God doesn't want us to have the long-winded, detailed conversations with Him. He has the time for those, believe me! And He wants to know what's on our hearts--if that takes up three journal pages, then so be it! He wants to work through those prayers, too!

What I think is important, though, is to not forget what we're here for, and to stop making it more complex than it really is. As Christians, we are to live out His will for our lives. When we wake up each morning, it is not to review and try to accomplish what we were not able to cross off our to-do list yesterday. It is not to tackle every problem before the sun goes down again. It is not to figure out what it will take today to better our quality of life for tomorrow. It is not to rush around to a hundred different commitments to convince ourselves of active living. If God has allowed us to wake up this morning, it is to spend the day serving Him where He has placed us. We were put on this earth for His glory. Period.

Good morning, dear Jesus,
This day is for You
In all that I say,
In all that I do.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Loving Me

The last couple weeks have been long. This week currently is proving to be long. (Is it Spring Break yet?) Normally when someone asks, "how's it going?" my reply is, "pretty good!"--and I mean it. If you were to ask me that question right now, however, my response would be, "it's going."

Nevertheless, my little world has been rich in blessing. Here's kinda what I'm talking about:
  • My niece P turned eight today. EIGHT! When I started working with her, she was just five years old; she is growing up so fast! Because my work is with preschoolers and kindergartners, P has become the oldest person with special needs that I have worked with in a significant capacity. Today at work we had a PD workshop on "Inclusion for Life", and the presenter talked about the importance of maintaining social networks and supports in the lives of adults with special needs. And not just service providers who are paid to be with that adult, but natural supports. People who come to hang out with the adult with special needs because they want to. ...I thought of P all afternoon. She will be the first person with special needs that I will see through to adulthood (I hope!), and it's really exciting to think about. I've already told N I want to take her to a Great Big Sea concert. I would love to take her on a day trip somewhere. Go for coffee with her (I feel like she will be a mocha kinda girl). What a blessing to be Aunty Gina for this family!
  • Recently, I kinda stuck my foot in my mouth with some information I presented to some friends and colleagues. The intent was genuine--to be helpful. The information was important to be made known. That being said, some things I didn't consider were brought to light, and I realized that my presentation of information was perhaps not most effectively done. ...This is not the blessing part. That realization sucked big time. The blessing was in the forgiveness. Such pure forgiveness from the people I had impacted. No dwelling, no drawing it out, and definitely no hurting back. That forgiveness feels SO good! The Holy Spirit at work in people is a beautiful thing.
  • I have been given a photo project. A friend from my small group msg-ed me and asked me to come up with something photographically artsy using shoes (more specifically, stilettos) for her apartment decor. Wow! I don't know what the difference is between that request and the request of families who have asked me to do their family photos, but I just feel so honoured and humbled that she trusts me enough to play a role in the decor of her home. What a blessing to use my photography skills to bless others; it's exactly what I wanted from my photography in the first place!
  • My Haiti trip is but two months away (not even!), and donations are starting to come in. The hearts of people are so good.
God designed us to be in relationship with others, and these last few weeks have definitely shown the value of those relationships (even if the hard way), and the blessings they bring.

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.
It has no survival value;
rather, it is one of those things that gives value to survival."
-- C.S. Lewis

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Eisenia foetida

Eisenia foetida--this is apparently what I am breeding in my house. Last year, I purchased a 1/2lb of red wiggler worms to start indoor composting (or, if you want to be fancy, vermicomposting). I was successful till about Christmas, and then they all died. Combination of lack of "food" and lack of moisture, I think.

So I spent another $35 and bought another 1/2lb of worms, determined not to kill these ones off! I was worried for a while, because I am only one person, and I don't put out a lot of compostable waste on my own. Every now and then I can nab an apple core or banana peel or coffee grinds from a friend or coworker. But apparently I am feeding them enough, because for the first time, I crumbled one of the newly created dirt clumps to find lots of teeny little baby wrigglers! What a happy surprise!

Of course, if I get too many worms, I will not be able to sustain their dietary requirements, even with the help of friends. My mother and one of my coworkers has already asked for me to give them some worms when I start getting copious amounts, so that could very well be sooner rather than later!

Anyway, here's a picture of one of the little cuties. Don't be fooled; I used my macro lens on this guy. In reality, he's only about 3-4mm long, and maybe 1/2mm wide. And poor guy. These worms are light sensitive, and I took about five photos, all using my flash, which means I probably blinded him.

...I wonder how long it takes to get them to full size...?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On St. Patrick's Day

Dear Lord,
Give me a few friends
who will love me for what I am,
and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope...
And though I come not within sight
of the castle of my dreams,
teach me to be thankful for life,
and for time's olden memories
that are good and sweet.
And may the evening's twilight
find me gentle still.

-- Irish Prayer

Saturday, March 14, 2009

March-ing Along

Almost half way through March, and Spring is finally starting to peek its head out from under the blankets (that would be blankets of snow, btw). It has been in the 'just above zero' range for the last few days, now, and how wonderful that has felt! Walking around in a spring jacket (or no jacket), being able to keep the patio door open, warm sun upon my face...!

It is supposed to dip down to about -10C for a couple days next week, but I think it's fairly safe to say that we are finished with the deep freeze business. I went skating briefly today, and much of the rink was 'soft'; I'm pretty sure I can pack my skates away until next winter. This, of course, means that it's time to break out the bike! It's due for a major tune-up, which I think I will do over Spring Break, and then hopefully I will be able to start riding in April. Funny to think that my first bike ride last year was in April (actually, there was one day last February, but that was a fluke more than anything); April is only a few weeks away, and there's still so much snow! It is Alberta, though; anything could happen. Just hopefully not -30...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Weary of Winter

I posted this on Facebook yesterday, and I swear I've watched it at least a dozen times! So funny, and SO true!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Come Back, Sunshine

It's March; isn't Spring s'posed to be around the corner? Not really in this province (and I dare say clear across the country?). Last week, we had a full week of -20C to -30C temps. That was something like the fourth or fifth really cold snap this winter (normally we have just one or two). It is supposed to be getting above 0C this week, and I really hope that's true. I am really ready for winter to be over.

These last few days I have been wandering around in a mental no-man's land, and I'm really hoping it's just some winter blahs, because I can't pin point the source otherwise. I'm just so 'meh' about everything. My work, my photos, my travel, my social life. I almost wish I was in a bad mood; at least then I'd know there was some feeling! Instead, my days have been one big 'whatever'. ...And into another week I go.

27 days 'till Spring Break......... whatever.