Saturday, December 19, 2009

Three Ways To Draw Closer To The Lord

In keeping with some of the ways I've been reading about for improving a blog, I've decided to to try one out this morning - the "how to" type of post...

There are many ways we can draw closer to the Lord, but I am going to discuss three of the most common ways.  As you know, by reading previous posts, I had/have been going through a dry spell where I seemed to have strayed of my path with the Lord.  Oh, I still believed and all - didn't lose my faith - but I just couldn't seem to draw close to Him.  These are ways I am using to get back on track and back on the path of my walk with the Lord.

Read the Bible:   The Bible is God's Word.  We read in John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  This is, of course, referring to Jesus.  How do I know this?  In verse 14, we read, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us."

As Christians, the Bible is very important to us; it is about Jesus (and it is Jesus), and it is a way to help guide us and our walk.  God can still speak to us through His Word; therefore, we need to immerse ourselves in the Bible, and we need to set aside time every day to read it. 

While I was struggling in my walk, I had talked with my pastor and he told me that it's OK to just sit and read it for the sake of reading.  Every time we read, it doesn't have to be a time to study the Bible; sometimes we need to get back on track and just simply reading a chapter or two (or more) is enough to jump start our walk again.  This worked for me.  It has been over two months since I got back into reading my Bible every day, and may have only missed a reading once.

Studying the bible is important, but there are times when we find that we can't study it.  At those times, we need to remember to not stop reading, to not get away from His Word.  At those times, simply reading the Bible is OK.  God can still speak to us through the Bible, even if we are just reading it.

Meditate:   I am not talking about the Eastern tradition of meditating whereby one sits with legs crossed in the lotus position, hands turned upright, eyes closed, and saying "ohm" over and over.  No, what I am referring to is simply thinking about what you have read.  Taking our Bible reading a step further, we should meditate on the passages that speak to us, and think how it applies to our lives. 

After reading your chapter(s) take some time to think over what you have read.  How does what you have read speak to you?  If you have been reading about repenting, is there anything you need to repent of?  If you've been reading the Psalms where David is praising God about something, do you need to offer praise to God?  

Pray:   Prayer is key in a Christian's life.  It's how we communicate with God.  The different types of prayers is a whole other post, which I won't get into here.  I just simply want to state that our God is a God with whom we can communicate.  We can lay before Him our cares and concerns, our praises and thanks, and anything else in our hearts.

Prayer is communicating - it's talking with God.  Don't worry if your prayers don't sound fancy; that's not what counts.  What counts is that you talk to the Lord.  Even though He knows everything, He still wants us to talk to Him and tell Him what we desire, what is troubling us, etc.

As with communicating to our family, friends, co-workers, and everyone, during prayer, we need to also listen.  If we pray to God and simply do all the talking, and don't offer Him a chance to speak to us, it is like calling your best friend and spewing out all your news and information without giving him/her a chance to respond, and then hanging up.  That's not communicating.  Communicating is when all parties involved have a chance to speak.

There you have it - three little ways that can help you draw closer to God.  By reading our Bibles, meditating on the Word, and praying, we can, and will, draw closer to the Lord.  It is important to practice these things daily.  It might take a little time to get to a point where we do things things on a daily basis, but don't be discouraged if you miss a day or two or more.  Just start over and keep at it.  And remember, if you are trying to draw closer to the Lord, the enemy will do what he can to prevent that from happening - be on your guard, and make sure to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).

How do you draw closer to the Lord?  Is Bible reading, meditation, and prayer a daily part of your life?  Can you list other ways of drawing closer to the Lord?

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Little Update

Yesterday, Sunday, was our church's Sunday school concert.  It isn't just for the little kids who attend Sunday school, but for the adults as well.  While I thought this year's concert was OK, it wasn't as good as other years. Most of the concert involved singing - the kids up to grade five all sang some songs together, but each class had their own songs as well.  The middle school kids did a bit of a play and sang a song, and the high school kids also did a little play and sang a song.  For both of those, they had the audience sing as well.  There was a husband and wife team who did a "debate" on the Christmas Jesus vs. the Easter Jesus, and three other adult classes performed little skits.

Unfortunately, throughout the entire evening, I was suffering from a headache which turned into a full blown migraine by the time I got home.  Thankfully, I wasn't sick with it - but I nearly was once (I was at home at the time).

Today I was a little out of it.  I find the day after I suffer a migrain I am tired (as though I didn't get enough rest, even though I did) and just not really myself.  Therefore, today wasn't productive at all.  I did go and mail some Christmas cards for my mom, and later on I went and got something for supper.  Other than that I didn't do anything.  I didn't have a migraine, but for most of the day it felt like there was one waiting in the wings to spring forth.  Thankfully that didn't happen.

Last week, I got no calls at all to do any supply teaching.  I also didn't get any calls today, and so far have none for tomorrow.  I was talking (well, messaging on Facebook) with one of the girls who went to Australia when I did, and she said she didn't think that there would be much, if anything, for last week and this week - especially since this is the last week before Christmas holidays.  School finishes on Friday.  I hope and pray that the new year has more work for me.

I might look into teaching some ESL part time during the week, or after school.  That way I could still have a couple of days (or all day if I do it after school) to teach during the day.  I need to do something to get some money coming my way.  I have to start paying my student loan back again in March.  I don't particularly want to teach ESL, but I might have to do that until I can get more supply work, or my own classroom.

Not much in the way of news.  I still haven't got my Christmas shopping started; yes, I'm one of those last minute people.  I do know what I'm getting most everyone though, so it's just a matter of going and getting the stuff.  One of the gifts, for my mom, I am going to chip in with my brothers and we are getting her something she has had her eye on.  For that, all I need to do is get my share of the money over to one of my brothers.  But, there isn't a lot of time left until Christmas.  I should go and get my shopping done on a day when I'm not working, and hopefully the crowds won't be as bad as they would be in the evenings when people are off work, or on the weekends.

My question for you:  Have you started your Christmas shopping?  Have you finished your shopping, and if so, how long have you had it finished?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Change Is In The Air

Lately I've been trying to work on writing the novel I've been working on.  I enjoy writing, but will admit that I have a lot to learn on many different levels.  It's the same with blogging.  There are so many hints, tips, and ideas on creating blog posts that attract not only readers, but also comments.  I am trying to keep these things in mind now as I create my posts.  Like my writing, I have a lot to learn with blogging.

I started out with this blog to be a place to talk about myself - somewhat of an online journal to record my thoughts and feelings and day to day activities.  I decided that I also wanted to create posts that help others learn about Christianity, about Christ, and to learn - a somewhat mini Bible study lesson or what have you.

That worked - for awhile.  Somewhere along the line, I lost focus and created fewer and fewer posts.  I lost the readership I had (which is understandable), and my posts didn't seem to have the content I wanted.  I look back now on some of my earlier posts and wish I were creating the same kinds of posts now.  I guess I need to sit down and write some good quality posts to publish on my blogs.

A new year is within arm's reach, and with it I hope to rearrange the way I post here.  There are lots of topics and ideas that I want to explore in my blog posts, and a few of my goals for posting include:
* Thought provoking posts
* Bible based posts
* Mini Bible studies
* Character studies
* Spiritual growth discussions
* Topics posted on specific days (i.e. Mondays might be a character study, Wednesday might be about praying or Saturday might be about missionaries)
I won't promise that I will post every day, but I will try to post at least two or three times a week (maybe more), to be more consistant.  I will try not to have extremely lengthy posts as I do sometimes now (which could come from big gaps between posts and feeling the need to fill in every detail since the previous post).  And, I will try to have my posts more Christ-centered as opposed to me-centered - though that might creep in from time to time as well.

What do you look for in a blog?  What type(s) of posts do you enjoy reading?  What keeps you coming back to a particular blog you enjoy?

Friday, December 04, 2009

No Pain No Gain

Yesterday, I went and got my H1N1 flu shot.  Thankfully, lines aren't a problem at this point; I only had a total of about 20 minutes waiting, and that included the mandatory 15 minute wait time after getting the needle.  I must have gone at a good time of day (a friend when the evening before and was there for about an hour in total).  And, the actual shot didn't hurt.  The pain came later.

By the time I went to bed last night, my arm was tender, sore, and stiff.  It wasn't as painful as some people have said their arms have been.  Never the less, it was still painful.  I really don't like pain - but then I don't know too many people (if any one) who actually do like pain.

Pain is a part of our lives.  It comes in many forms - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.  No matter what kind of pain we experience, it hurts.  In my walk with the Lord, I have experienced lots of pain as well.  Sometimes it is from something negative I have said or done, sometimes it is what someone else has said or done, and other times it is because I need to go through a particular experience in order to grow.  The pain might not be immediate; sometimes it is delayed, but it will surface at some point.

Without pain in our walk with the Lord, we wouldn't have growth.  We learn from our mistakes (which can often be extremely painful), and we grow.  Most times, these mistakes help us grow closer to God and strive to be more like Jesus.  If we lived pain-free/mistake-free lives, I doubt there would be any growth and we would end up becoming stagnant or worse.

When we are facing pain, struggle, hardship, etc., it is important that we turn to the Lord and rely on Him to bring us through.  We need to trust that He knows what He is doing and use these times to grow in our relationship and walk.  Sometimes we need to learn more trust, sometimes we may need to learn how to depend on Him.  And sometimes, we just might need to learn a particular lesson.

How do you deal with the painful and hurtful situations in your life?  How have you grown, or what have you gained, as the result of those situations?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday Word Wall - Wild Card

Saturday Word Wall - Wild Card


Wordle: Things I like

Here's a new meme starting up over at Momma 'Tudes.  Every Saturday she's going to have a topic for you to create a word wall using any program you want.  The one I used is from Wordle.  Today's topic is Wild Card, and you can choose any words you want.  When done, head back to Momma 'Tudes blog (see previous link) and link up to your word wall on the McLinky she has posted on her blog.

Edited to add:  For some reason I can't get the words to look clear on my blog.  If you click the pic it will take you to a larger, clearer picture over at Wordle.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Trudging Along

Since my last post, I have only worked two half-days.  Originally I was only suppposed to work this past Wednesday morning, but on Tuesday morning, the school I'd be working at on Wednesday called and asked me to come in that afternoon.  Apparently, the teacher I was replacing (I know him from church), had made a verbal agreement with one of the other supply teachers, who frequents his school, for Tuesday afternoon.  However, that morning he asked her about it again, and she said she was going to substitute for one of the other teachers.  Dave quickly had the office call me, and I agreed to come in.

The classes weren't overly bad.  There were behaviour issues, of course, as there is with every supply teacher.  I think with new supply teachers, the kids will tend to press their luck, push the buttons, etc. to see what they can get away with.  Once they know how a supply teacher is, and what is acceptable or not, then I think it might get a little better - though I could be wrong.  So far all the schools I've gone in to have been a one shot deal.  I haven't had any more calls since.

I think tomorrow I will go down to the school district office and have them make a registered copy of my teaching licence for my file.  This way I will now get paid the wages of a teacher who has a license, as opposed to one who only has a permit.  It will also give me more money.  While I'm there, I might get them to change the list of grades and subjects I will supply.  I think I will get them to add high school history, and maybe some English or social studies classes for middle school, as well as possibly teaching some ESL classes (any age/grade).  I must admit, though, I really don't like teaching middle school kids, but right now it might help me to get more work.

Things have been going along pretty well with my walk.  I've been reading the Bible daily now for about a month, and praying for my two friends (this is a daily thing we are doing), and I've kept up with the accountablilty with them as well.  I must say that I've been feeling better about my relationship with the Lord, but I have had a bit of a bump recently which put me in a great spiritual battle.  Thankfully, that seems much better.  I just hope I can overcome it again if it rears its ugly head!

I will admit, however, that I am struggling still with certain areas.  For example, I know all Christians are given spiritual gifts; I just don't know what mine is/are.  I've taken those little tests that tell you what they are according to how you answer the questions, and mine always lists Crafts as being my big one (I know it's not called crafts, but it's along those lines).  See, my problem with that is I see anything craft related (whether it's being able to build a house or knit socks) as being a talent, allbeit God given, rather than a spiritual gift as mentioned in the New Testament.  I really struggle with this (though I don't stop doing my knitting for the Lord).  I know I should pray and ask God to reveal my gift, and I have, but I just don't seem to be getting any answers.

There are other struggles in my walk that I am going through, but I'll hold off discussing those for a later post.  I guess I know that I should take this to the Lord, but it's hard when I feel as though He doesn't hear me.  Maybe this is an issue (as all of them are) that I should keep praying about, and listen for His answer.  I just want to feel as though I have a purpose, which I know I do but again I don't feel as though I do have one, and I want to know what that purpose is right now.  And no, I don't want to pray for patience because then I'll be put through situations that make me need to be

Maybe my walk isn't as good or as smooth as I thought it was...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Good News

Last week was a great week.  It started out pretty normal, but by Thursday, things started happening.  That morning, I got a call from the school district to tell me my info had finally been entered into their system and they had a temporary employee number for me.  From there, I had to log onto the subfinder system (what they use for supply teachers to get their calls for work) and make sure my info was correct, and basically let the system know I was now ready to get calls.  Within 30-45 minutes, I had my first call to supply at one of the local schools!

I ended up getting a little less than four hours of work because I was filling in for a teacher who had just received a call that morning that there had been a death in her family.  I was in a grade one class of about 16 students, and it turns out one of the little boys in the class is also in the Sunday school class I co-teach at church!

Thursday evening around supper time I got a call to supply for a full day at another school.  The school I was at has a bad reputation amongst supply teachers (and teachers and the public in general).  I was informed from Subfinder that I would be doing phys. ed., and so I dressed appropriately for that; however, when I got to the school on Friday, it turns out that they didn't want me for phys. ed., but for a variety of classes (basically I was floating around).  I was in a kindergarten class for two periods, a grade one class for two periods, helped in a grade two class for one period, and then had a grade six class for one period.

After teaching a day and a half, I felt drained.  I haven't felt that tired in so long.  Working with kids all day is definitely takes a lot out of you! 

Oh, I should add that Friday around supper time I got a call to work again for this week.  I had figured they were going to ask for today (Monday), but it is for this coming Thursday.  Here, there is no school for students on Tuesday because of parent-teacher interviews, as well as a PD day for the teachers.  Wednesday is Rememberance Day, so there is no school that day either.

Satuday was my big day.  I finally graduated from the Bachelor of Education program - I am finished with my schooling now, woo hoo!  It really feels great.  However, after I've been working a few years, which I'll need to do in order to get some money, there is an advanced literacy program that I would like to take as well.

As for the graduation, there were only about 38 students at the fall convocation.  There were some who didn't show up, so there were less than that for actual graduates.  For the education program, there were five of us graduating, but only three showed up (including me).  My mom and brother came, and that was nice.  I really wish my dad had lived long enough to see me graduate.  He was proud of me for getting into the program, and I know he would be proud of me for graduating it and getting my first supply jobs last week as well.

This morning I was up bright and early - ok, so it was actually dark when I got up (a little after six), but you know what I mean, hehehe.  Anyway, we can start to get calls at six in the morning until twelve, and then again from about 4:30 until 11:00 PM.  If we are going to work that day, we would get the calls typically between six and seven.  If the calls come later it could be because a teacher needs to leave early.  If we work the next day or later on in the week (or even in the month), we are supposed to get calls starting at 4:30. 

So, because I didn't know if I'd be getting a call this morning, I got up and took a shower and got ready just in case.  With about two and a half hours left to get a call to work today, should I get called to come in during that time, I just have to change and get a lunch (or snack) and leave.  I am finding that I am really tired though - I didn't get a lot of sleep last night from tossing and turning for awhile, and not falling asleep before midnight.  If I don't get a call in the next few hours, I am most definitely going to lay down for a nap!

Well, I've talked long enough for now I think.  I'm going to head off and see if I can get some photography practice in, or maybe do some knitting.  I'll try to get on here again this week (or maybe even tomorrow) and update you on how things are going in my walk with the Lord!

Have a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Light

For some time now I haven't had the best walk with the Lord.  I don't exactly remember when I started to drift, when I stepped off the path to try to find my own way along.  I can tell you that it didn't feel too great - I felt that separation, that isolation.

I think it all started when I went to South Korea and couldn't attend an English speaking church (there were none in my area), and the church I did go to for a few weeks was nice, but it was a Korean service and the English translation was rather poor.  I think that is when I stopped reading my Bible and my prayer life grew less and less.

When I came back home to Canada a year later, I started attending church again.  It didn't feel the same.  I felt disconnected, out of place, disjointed.  I've talked about some of those struggles at that time in previous blog posts over the last year, so I won't go into the details in this post.

I have felt for some time that I need to get regrounded again, rooted back in the Word.  I know my prayer life needs improvement as well, because, let's face it...other than quick little prayers here and there, or falling asleep when I pray at night (maybe need to pray when I'm not lying down), there really isn't much of a fruitful prayer life for me.

I admit that my spiritual life felt dead - or at least comatose.  I still believed in God, still believed that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins, rose from the dead three days later and is now in Heaven preparing a place for His followers.  I know that my sins are forgiven; I know that I have eternal life.  It felt as though the spiritual waters had run dry.

Fast forward to a week ago this past Sunday.  My pastor called those who were in my situation (or similar situations, or those who wanted to renew their walk with the Lord) to come forward for prayer.  I was the only one who went forward.  I felt the Lord nudging me to go, so I went.  Pastor Jonathan prayed for and with me, and had one of the ladies sitting in the front row come and pray for me too.  After the service Pastor Jonathan and I talked for a little bit and he encouraged me greatly.

One of the things he told me to start doing was read my Bible.  He said to just read and not read it to study.  Sometimes that's what we need to do in order to get back into it.  So, for now, I am reading.  If something stands out for me I will underline it and think about it, but I am reading. 

He also said that my best friend and I should get together and pray and just talk things over.  We are both in similar situations and God is working in us.  So, we sat down after I talked with Pastor Jonathan, and we prayed for each other and decided that we were going to begin being accountable to each other.  Every day we must read the Bible (it doesn't matter how much) and pray for the other person.  Then we must email the other one and tell her what we read (we don't have to say what we learned or what we felt God telling us if we don't want to, but we are free to share if we feel like it) and that we prayed for her.  So far we have done this for the past 10 days.

Last night I decided to go to a Bible study.  Pastor Jonathan said I need to get involved in one of those as well.  I chose the one he co-hosts, and I was nervous about going.  About an hour before it started, I was feeling like backing out; however, I decided to just go and see how it was.  If I didn't feel comfortable at this one I would pick another one to try out.  But, since I did feel comfortable at this one, I think this is where I will stay.

The group was doing a character study of Peter, and I think we all learned some great things.  Not only did talk about Peter, but how we are like Peter in our own lives (i.e. what is an area in your life you want to step out of the boat with).  We didn't get this one finished, so we're going to do the rest next week.  From the sounds of it, they have a different leader every week.

I say all this to say that after so long of feeling like I'm spiritually treading water, I feel as though I'm beginning to see the light again.  For nearly two weeks now I have felt much better and more on track in my walk with the Lord.  It's as though I've taken His hand once again, and now he's leading me back to the path that I had strayed from.  I'm still struggling in some areas, but I am working on those with God's help.

I am a continuing work in progress.  But I feel like things are beginning to look up again.  Thank You Jesus!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada.  My mom and I had a sort of Thanksgiving dinner last weekend when we went out to a restaurant.  One of my brothers and his wife was in New York this weekend as they were going to a concert (not sure what one).  My other brother, his significant other, and their son (my nephew) stayed in Halifax and had Thanksgiving with Angela's parents.  Today, I went with someone special out to a Thanksgiving lunch.  It was good, but not quite as good as home made.  My mom had decided that since it was only going to be her and I this year, she didn't want to bother having a big turkey dinner.  That's ok.

We had rain for a few days recently, and on Saturday I waited for it to let up somewhat (so that it was more of a mist), put a plastic bag around my camera and went out to try to capture raindrops on flowers, leaves, etc.  I got a couple of pretty good shots, but most of them didn't turn out all that well.  It's the first time I really tried doing this, so I didn't expect to get anything really good this time around.  It's something to practice though.

Yesterday's church service was good.  The sermon was on being thankful, not only for things on earth, but to also be thankful for things to come in Heaven.  A week or two ago, the pastor had told us the food kitchen in the church (the one they use to help those who don't have enough food) was quite low.  He said Thanksgiving would be a good time to restock the shelves (though really, any time is a good time), and help those less fortunate.  So, what they did yesterday, was have people bring in non-perishable food items for the kitchen and set them up on the front steps.  There was a lot of food, thankfully.  Unfortunately I had totally forgotten about this, so I didn't bring anything in.  I felt bad about it when I walked into the sanctuary and saw the food at the front.  I'll have to bring something in another time and put in the donation barrel they keep.

I talked to my friend Gisele yesterday at church about my elbow.  I've been having problems with it in that it hurts when I bend or straighten it.  I described the feeling to her and showed her where on my arm/elbow the pain was, and she said it sounds like it's what is referred to as being tennis elbow (caused by repetitive my mind I associated it as being like carpal tunnel only in the elbow).  She's an occupational therapist, so I figured she'd have a good idea what the problem might be.  I was concerned that maybe I was getting arthritis or something, but she reassured me that it probably wasn't.  She said arthritis usually affects the hips, knees, ankles/feet, hands and not usually the elbow.  She told me about a band you can get for tennis elbow that you wear when you are doing the things that affect it (for me it would be knitting or being on the computer).  It's supposed to help so that the tendons don't rub together or something like that.  She said the problem won't go away over night, but might take awhile to start feeling better.  So, after church, I went and got one.  Hopefully it will help.

Well, not much news this weekend.  I hope anyone from Canada who reads this has a happy thanksgiving, and that everyone has a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

It's October!

It's hard to believe we are into October already.  The year has flown by!  The autumn colours are in full swing now, but I suspect it won't be too much longer before they are gone.  I went out yesterday to a local park to take some photos of the beautiful scenery and met up with an older lady.  She talked about how amazed she was with God's creativity and how He's done such beautiful work - or words to that effect.  And she's right - God has done some beautiful work with His creation!

It was a great day, though windy, to take pictures yesterday - cloudy!  The colours show up a lot better on a cloudy day than they do on a sunny day.  I was thinking of going to another park to get some more photos today, but it's been raining since around noon.  I might go tomorrow or Friday if it's not raining then.

My back has been a little stiff lately, and today was the second day (not in a row) that I've taken a Robaxacet since I stopped taking them about a week after I came back from Australia.  I don't think my back is totally healed yet; the doctor did say it could take awhile for it to get better.  I think I'll have to start doing some yoga to start strengthening my core muscles.  Also, I should start doing some walking as that will help take the stiffness out too.

I want to start eating better - less fatty and greasy/unhealthy type foods - and start earting healthier things.  I also want to cut down on my portion sizes and start drinking more water and less pop.  I've started drinking caffeine-free Diet Pepsi (though I couldn't get any this week since the grocery store we went to didn't have any cans) because I want to cut back on the caffeine.  I also want to drink less pop and more water, but I struggle to drink more than a glass or two of water a day.  I also need to start exercising, not only to help my back, but for my overall health.  Today I went on my eliptical trainer for a short bit, and will go on for another short bit a couple more times (to work up to longer amounts of time).

I want to loose some weight (maybe 60-70 pounds) and get healthier.  But, to do that I need to get off my butt and just do it instead of just thinking about it.  It all starts with little steps and not denying myself things.  If I deny myself something (like chocolate for example), then I'll end up binging on it in the end.  If I can just have a little bit now and then, it's not so bad.

I am also wanting to improve on my spiritual life - reading my Bible and praying more/better.  I think I've been feeling the Lord pulling me towards Him, wanting me to get back into a better relationship like I had in the past.  I've had some things hold me back, and I'm slowly starting to realize that I instead of dealing with pain/hurt, I stuffed it all inside in a little ball and tried to ignore it.  The result was to start overeating and stop listening to the Lord and be in a constant relationship with Him.  I turned to other things for comfort instead of turning to the Lord.

So, the journey begins with a few little steps today.  I ate breakfast, had a small lunch (though I think I'm going to need a snack because I'm feeling hungry again and it's only been about an hour or hour and a half since I ate; hopefully I can hold out until supper time though), did about 7 minutes on the elipitcal trainer (I know it's not much, but I don't want to overdo things in the beginning, and like I said, I will be going on it again in a little while to get some more time in), and I've been working at drinking some water.  I will be honest though, and say that the water is sparkling water (with fizz and flavour) and it has aspartame in's not the best, but it's a start.

And, on that note, I will head off now and do a little more time on the eliptical, and maybe later this evening I'll pull out my yoga DVDs and do some of that.  Have a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #144

1. I have a history of procrastinating.

2. How to be a really excellent (and professional) photographer is something I wish I knew.

3. I'm eating (or recently ate) Burger King - so not healthy, but oh so good.

4. I saw a dead raccoon recently on the road.

5. So that's it, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

6. Something is better than nothing!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to working on Photoshop Elements to edit another photo, tomorrow my plans include getting together with someone special and Sunday, I want to go, after church, and take some photos of the beautiful leaves!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

There really isn't a whole lot happening in my life right now.  I'm still in limbo as I wait to attend the supply teaching information session that is being held October 26th.  I found out this morning that I have been accepted to attend (this session is by invite only).  I'm excited for this, and yet nervous.  I've heard some of my classmates (some are taking a few classes they have left in order to complete the Education program; some, like me, have finished and are waiting for graduation and teaching licenses) they aren't getting very many calls to supply.  I am hoping (selfishly) that they just didn't renew with the district to keep their name on the list.  I would, after all, like to get enough work to have a steady flow of income coming in.  I still have bills to pay.

I've been dabbling more in my photography.  I still have lots to learn, but I am enjoying taking photos.  I'm also enjoying learning to use Photoshop Elements to edit my shots.  This week I found out a better way to convert colour photos to black & white.  I was doing it one way, but this new way adds more oomph to the photo. 

I'd like to get out soon and take some pictures of different things.  I've focused a lot on flowers, but they are dying now (though my mom still has several dahlias growing in her garden).  I'm thinking of doing a study or focus on one thing in particular for a certain amount of time.  For example, maybe I'd focus on learning about light and taking pictures under different types of light - natural, candle, tungsten, etc.  Or, maybe focus on a different colour for one week for the month (taking pictures of things that are blue, or red, or purple).  I could also focus on landscapes, buildings, people, animals...the list and possibility is endless really.  I just don't know what I should do (aside from taking random pictures).  Maybe I could go on a photo walk and just take pictures of different things I see that capture my interest.  I'll figure something out.  In the meantime, if you want to see some of the shots I've posted on my photo blog, click here.

We had to take our car in again this week due to difficulties starting it.  We'd taken it in last week and thought (and hoped and prayed) everything was fine; but then it happened a few more times - the car had trouble starting again.  Turns out the problem was a sensor that was cracked.  The mechanic also told us this sensor had never been replaced and was an original.  He said the way he could tell was that the new sensors are square on the end, and this one was circular.  So, we got it replaced and the car is working great.  The next thing we have to do is take it in for the safety inspection, and that is toward the middle of the month.

Tomorrow is a busy day.  I'm having breakfast with my mom and some of her friends from the horticulture society (this is a weekly event, and I've been joining in when I'm not busy), getting my hair coloured, and going to pick up a reference letter from the teacher I had done my observation and half of my internship with.  I've asked if I could volunteer one or two mornings a week (it will look good on the resume and keep me in the classroom), and we're going to talk about that and whether or not I just wanted to help in her class, which is small this year, or if I wanted to also help in another class/grade.  Not sure what I want to do just now though.  I'll figure something out by then.

Well, heading off to read a little before bed.  Hope your days are blessed and Christ filled!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #143

I forgot I had followed Friday Fill-Ins, and to be honest I don't remember when.  It might have been before I went to Australia or while I was there.  At any rate, you can find the blog here.  My answers are below:

1. One week ago I was working on editing some photos with my new Photoshop Elements program.

2. I used to eat cheese when I was young.

3. Mama told me when my dad was diagnosed as terminal (esophogeal cancer).

4. Jesus died for you and me.

5. Take your time and leave a comment for me :o).

6. This too will pass!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing and maybe baking some chocolate chip cookies, tomorrow my plans include hopefully meeting up with someone special and Sunday, I want to go to church and then go on a photoshoot!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just Another Day

Not a lot has been happening lately.  This past week my mom's sister-in-law (who was married to mom's second oldest brother) came to visit on Monday.  She stayed until Wednesday when her brother and his wife came to pick her up and take her to their place.  She's staying with them and will come back here sometime on Saturday.  She flies out next Monday morning.

On Sunday after church, I had a problem starting the car - it wouldn't start!  It was fine when I started it on the way to church, so I don't know why it wouldn't on the way back.  I went back in the church and got a couple of the men to come out and take a look at it (thinking maybe I needed a boost or something like that).  They checked and it wasn't the battery or the engine.  While one guy was starting it, the other jiggled one of the wires and it started up.  So, they seemed to think it was either the spark plug or the wire(s).

Yesterday we took the car in to the garage we always go to (it's owned by my mom's cousin), and they checked it over and said it's not the spark plug(s) or the wire(s) but it might be the starter starting to go.  They said it's difficult to know at this point and the car may be fine for a few weeks and then one day it won't start again.  So, from my understanding, it's just something we have to wait and see about.  While we had the car in, we got a service and got them to change the muffler because that was going.

Today I went to the school district and submitted my paper work for the upcoming supply teaching info session.  I won't fine out for close to a couple weeks if I'm accepted or not because they have to wait until the police check comes in (it should take 7-10 days for them to get), plus they need references, and while I have them written down on the application and on my resume, I still need a couple of them to fill out the form the district provides.  I'm waiting for one of the teachers I worked with for my internship to reply to my email so I can go get her reference letter (she said back in June she'd write one up for me in the fall) and get her to fill out the form and fax in to the district.  I also have to take my internship journal and updated portfolio in to my prof and I'm going to get him to fill out the other reference form and send in.  Other than that, I've done my part so all I can do is sit back and wait for a call or email saying whether or not I've been accepted to go to the info session.  I don't see any problem as to why I wouldn't get accepted; the only thing being that the session filled up before the district gets all my info.  If that's the case I'd have to wait until November or December - depending on when the next session is. 

I am really hoping that I get into this session no problem and that I get my name on the supply teaching list.  I need to start working and getting the money coming in again.  I'm enjoying my time "off", but I've got some bills I'll need to start paying and for that I need money.

I had to go and get myself a cell phone (ok, maybe I didn't have to get it) because I don't want to be tied down to the house phone waiting for calls.  The calls come from the States from a company the district hired to do the calls (not sure if real people call or an automated system), and we have not typically been answering the phone lately because of the telemarketers.  We have caller display and screen the calls and if a long distance number comes up that we don't know, we don't answer.  I'd be afraid that that would happen when I'd get a call for work and end up missing out.  Also, I wouldn't want Mom to answer the phone and it be them calling me for a job and I'm not here (they don't call back if you aren't around or if you don't answer the call...they move on to the next person on the l ist), or if she would accept a job for me thinking I needed it but I already had one.  So, I decided the best thing would be to get a cell phone and use that number; that way I'd have the phone with me and I could leave the house and not miss job opportunities.

This past Sunday was the first week for Sunday school starting up again.  We had five kids in the class, and one was absent.  My friend Angela and I teach the class together.  She did last week's lesson on 1 Samuel 1, and I do  next week's lesson on 1 Samuel 2...or part of it at any rate.  We'll be rotating the lessons and she'll do one week and I do the other.  The kids are good, and I know the parents of three of them.  The others I've seen around church, but I don't know them.  I'm looking forward to teaching Sunday school again.  I haven't done this since before I went to Korea.  Last year I took the year off from being involved in any teaching (including the mid week program) because I felt I needed to get regrounded.  I could still use that regrounding (going to have to see about getting involved in a small group Bible study), but I thought I'd give the teaching a go again.

I'm supposed to head out with M ichelle tomorrow to go on a photo shoot.  We had to cancel it twice this past weekend (one due to weather, the other due to my car problems) and have rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon.  Hopefully I'll get some great shots.  I'll be sure to post them to my photography blog, Shutterbug.  Why not head over there and check out the photos I have up so far.  Feel free to comment too!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back To Normal - Whatever That Is

Finally I think I've gotten back on track with my sleeping - the jet lag seems to have passed!  I have always been a night owl, though, so I still can go to bed somewhat late.  But, currently, I'm not up until the sun is about to rise, or sleeping only a couple of hours and being wide awake when I should be sleeping.

My back also seems better.  It still gets quite stiff when I've been sitting or laying down for awhile.  The pain isn't so much now, but sometimes it's sore with the stiffness.  I haven't been taking any Robaxacet for several days (though I did take one the other day), and I've run out of the pills the doctor in Australia prescribed me.  I knew it would just be a matter of time for the healing to take place, simply because this has happened to me before.  My plan now (and I pray I'll stick with it), is to strengthen my core muscles as the doctor said this should help prevent future problems like I just had with my back.  I think, by the weekend, I will pull out my yoga DVDs and do some of that to start with.  The doctor had suggested this and said it would help.

Sunday school starts this coming Sunday, and I'm back co-teaching the grade 1 & 2 class.  The other teacher, my friend Angela, and I will be taking turns each week.  She is taking the lesson this week as she's had a longer time with the book and will be more familiar with it.  Since I just got the book this past Sunday (she had gotten it over the summer while I was in Australia), she wanted to give me some time to get familiar with it and go over the lessons.  We only have a small class so far - about 5 kids I think, but that could change.  I'm looking forward to getting back into teaching Sunday school, and hopefully I can transfer some of what I learning in school this past year into this class - things like classroom managment, etc.

I haven't been doing much this past week, mostly trying to readjust from the jet lag and help my back get better.  I've gone to request a transcript for my marks as well as a letter stating that even though I haven't graduated (that's in November), I have completed my course.  I'll have to send those off to apply for my teaching license, and I will be applying for the October 26 info session for supply teachers.  I also need the copy of my marks for that and need to fill out some forms and get them sent in so I can reserve a spot.  You have to be invited to the info session, you can't just show up.  By sending the paper work in, they'll know I'm interested and can invite me, providing everything is satisfactory on my application.

I've also recently started a photography blog.  I'm just really learning digital photography as well as editing the photos (I got Photoshop Elements 7 last week).  The blog is a place to show some of my photos and the editing I've done.  The pics aren't necessarily the best, nor is the editing, but remember, I'm still learning and that's a process.  I'm enjoying both though.  My friend Michelle and I are going on a photo shoot on Saturday and we're either going to do some macro shots of butterflies or moving water.  We haven't quite decided yet.  If you are interested in viewing my photography blog, it's called Shutterbug and it's located here.

Going to end here for now.  I think I've rambled on more than I had planned.  Have a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Another Early Start

I've been awake again since about 4:00AM, and really hoping the jet lag wears off soon!  I am now having my first cup of coffee (possibly my only cup of coffee, but a second one may be on the horizon), the sun has risen and the day is promising.

It's the first day of school for the kids in this area...for those going to university too.  I'm torn on this...part of me misses not having to go to class today, but there is a bigger part that is excited.  I guess with some of the high school kids, they only start tomorrow; those in grade nine (the first year of high school here) start today, to make things easier on them, and grades ten to twelve will go tomorrow.  Other provinces have already started school last week.  My nephew is in Nova Scotia, and he started last week.

I need to fill out a few forms and take my grad fee to the university today.  I have to do it soon (as in within the next couple of weeks) because I will graduate in November and they are going to begin getting things ready for that soon.  I also have to request a list of my courses and marks so they can be sent to the teacher's association (the registrar will also be sending a letter explaining that graduation is only in November, but I have finished my courses and internship now), so that I can get my teaching license.  I don't know how long that takes, but I hope it is quick.  I still have to wait until October or November before the district has their next supply teaching info session.  I need to take that before I can do any supply teaching.

My brother has been mentioning to his teacher friends that they should call me to fill in for them when they are out (his wife may have done this too), or at least that's what he's told my mom.  That's really nice of him.  Also, yesterday, one of the teachers who goes to my church asked me about supplying.  I told him about needing to wait for that info session, and he said as soon as I take it and get on the supply list to let him know.  He said the schools have a list of preferred supply teachers they call first, and then if they can't get anyone from the list, they go to others.  He said that when I'm on the supply list he'd add me to his (or his school's) preferred list.  I thought that was really nice of him! 

Another teacher friend from church asked my best friend (when I was in Australia) to pass on some advice from her - that if I have to hand out any work that needs to be corrected, to do it and not leave it for the teacher.  They really appreciate that.  Also, she said that I should do any photocopying, etc. that the teacher may need to do (probably would need to check in with the office to see about that, but I'm not totally sure), and ask the office if there is anything I can do to help another teacher (photocopying, correcting, etc.).  She said that really puts you in a good light and the teachers appreciate it, and you would be more apt to get hired on by the school if you show a willingness to work or help out. 

My back is still sore and stiff.  I've been taking Robaxacet because the pills I got in Australia have run out (I have one more left of the anti-inflamatory one).  They've been helping, but when I sit or lay down for a while (such as over night), then my back becomes quite stiff and sore.  Yesterday I went out for awhile and took some pictures.  I had taken some Robaxacet a little while before that and it really helped me to be able to move around and get in and out of the car without any real difficulty.

Speaking of photography, I had mentioned in my preivous post about doing some sort of project to help better my skills and become more creative with the pictures I take.  Well, I haven't particularly started any project, per se, but I did create a photography blog.  It's called Shutterbug, and can be found HERE.  I've put a few of the pictures I've taken from Australia on there so far (I have 3 posts, 2 of which has a few pictures).  I guess the theme seems to be birds and animals, so maybe I'll focus on that a bit.  I was thinking if I do a 52 week or 365 day or even a 30 day project, it might be good to start at the beginning of a month.  However, that's not totally necessary.  I can start it at any time.  I've also joined a couple of photography forums, so hopefully I can pick up some pointers there as well.

  Well, going to head off and finish my coffee (hazelnut, yum!) and read the paper.  Hope you have a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

I Saw The Sunrise - Again

I had hoped that maybe, just maybe, I was beginning to get over the jet lag. The night before last was great - I slept right through (though I did wake up a couple of times, but went right back to sleep) until around 7:00 AM. Last night, I went to bed a little later than the previous night, hoping that might help me sleep a little later in the morning. Sadly, I woke up before 5:00 AM and haven't been able to get back to sleep again.

Part of me wonders if, in fact, my problem stems from a combination of jet lag and the meds I've been taking for my back pain. I wonder if I am waking up after the drowsy effects of the meds have passed and I have no more of the drug in my system. I do know that jet lag plays a big role in my situation, though. I also know that it will take a little while for that to wear off...

In other news, since I've been back I've had a lot of time on my hands - something I'm not too used to. I've been so busy with school work, but now that I'm finished with my B.Ed. (I need to do up necessary paper work and get my internship journal and an updated portfolio into my teacher by the end of this month though), and will graduate in November, I'm not sure what to do with all this time. I've been itching to do some more photography, maybe because I did a lot while I was in Australia. I want to improve, and the only way to do that is to keep practicing.

I was looking through some photography websites the other night, and one had an article suggesting doing things like a 365 day self-portrait project, or focus on shooting only pictures of certain colours (like one day take pictures of things that are only red, or only blue, etc.), a photography scavenger hunt, or an alphabet project (shooting items that begin with a certain letter, beginning with 'A' and go all the way through the alphabet), etc. Those sound interesting, and I'd like to do something like that, but I'm afraid I'd get so far into the project and then lose interest or not have the time to take the shots.

I suppose I could pick a topic or something, do several shots and have them onhand to post at a later date. For example, if I do a 365 day or 52 week colour project, I could pick the colours I want to shoot and then take several pictures for each colour. Then, I'd have pictures for these to post on the days I can't get out (for whatever reason) to take pictures. I don't know if that defeat the purpose of these projects or not.

The idea behind these projects is to help become better at photography, as well as explore your creative side and find new/creative ways to take photos of even every day subjects. I'm not the best at photography, but I enjoy it and I want to become better and more creative with my photos - that's why I have been thinking of taking on something like this. I just don't know which type of project to try. I would also probably have to set up another blog (unless I just incorporate it in with this one or even my knitting/craft/hobby blog) or maybe start a "group" on Facebook or something where I can post my work. I also have to learn how to add watermarks to my shots so people can't steal my pictures and claim them as their own. I guess you can't be too careful in this day and age!

Well, it's nearly 7:00 AM and the sun is up. Maybe I should go see if I can get some early morning pictures of some flowers in the garden, or a spider on its web that I saw on the side of the house yesterday. Have to start practicing some time, and now is just as good a time as any!

Have a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Back Home

I've been back home in Canada since Monday morning. The trip was pretty uneventful, though there was some turbulence, especially for awhile at the beginning of the Sydney to Los Angeles leg of the trip. My back held up fine, and I took the meds the doctor had given me prior to leaving the Gold Coast. I only took one of the Valium, and I felt sleepy. As soon as I felt like I wanted to sleep, we were given our supper. It was actually pretty good for airline food, but unfortunately, I no longer felt tired. After trying for awhile to get to sleep I took a Gravol and that knocked me out pretty good. I slept a good portion of that flight.

The longest we had to wait was in Toronto. We arrived around 11:00 PM and our flight left at 6:30 the next morning. Sarah and I were the only ones to wait at the airport; the others went to a hotel for a few hours to shower and try to get a bit of sleep. From what they said, they didn't get much sleep. They had to wait for the shuttle to take them to their hotel, and by the time they got there and everyone got showered, there wasn't much time to sleep. Sarah and I only slept a bit at the airport and spent the rest of the time watching a couple of movies on her laptop.

It's nice to be home (but I do miss Australia and the wonderful people I met there). Unfortunately, jet lag has set in. I don't have that dizzy sort of feeling, but my sleep pattern is way off - probably still on Australian time! I slept fine the first night, but since then I've been getting up quite early (as early at 5:00 AM), sometimes sleeping in the afternoon, and going to bed late. Last night (Wednesday) was the worst so far. Tuesday I had taken some of my pain pills for my back and they made me sleepy; I laid down around 8:30 in the morning and woke up around 3:30 in the afternoon (I slept pretty good the night before but was up at 6:30). I went to bed around 1:30 or so and dozed for about an hour, maybe a little more than that. I was wide awake between 2:30 and 3:00 and tried to go back to sleep around 5:00. Sadly, I couldn't sleep and I've been awake since.

I'm supposed to help my brother at his bike shop this afternoon, doing a little computer work for him, but I don't know if I'll be able to. I might end up sleeping then instead. I might check with him to see if it would be OK if I come in next Monday instead, and hopefully my sleeping pattern will return more to normal by then.

I haven't done much since I've been home. I've gone with my mom on a few errands she had to run, and I've spent the past two evenings with a male friend, but other than that I've been sleeping and trying to rest my back (which seems to slowly be getting better, though at times it's still sore and stiff).

I need to finish off my journal for my teaching internship, update my portfolio and contact the registrar's department of the university to see what all I need to do (as in paperwork, etc.) to graduate. There are about four or five of us who are finished now and can graduate in November. I talked to my prof about it and he is the one who told me to check with the registrar, and if they don't get things done soon, maybe all four or five of us would have to get together and go to the school to try and get things taken care of all at once.

Well, not much to say right now. I just wanted to update the blog to say that I arrived home safe and sound from Australia.


Friday, August 28, 2009

One More Sleep

It's hard to believe, but my time in Melbourne, Australia is finished. Tomorrow morning we begin our long journey back home to Canada. We've been here nearly two months, and the time has flown by so quickly.

Last week was my last week at the school, with Friday being my last day. Actually, we were there only half a day since we left for Sydney after lunch. Two of the teacher's from Sarah's school took us, and we stayed at the apartment of one of the teacher's brother. That last day of school was sad - I'll definitely miss those kids, as well as my host teacher and the other teacher in the room.

On Wednesday of that week, they had a little Australian party for me. They had the kids bring in some different foods that Aussies eat (and they were allowed to bring in food from other cultures if that is what they eat as well). There were lots of different things to eat, and the kids enjoyed it (I did too). There were several different types of cookies (or biscuits as they call them), some sandwiches, sweets/desserts, and one of the teachers brought in a little BBQ and cooked sausages on it. One of the "sandwiches" that were brought in tasted great - I loved it! It's called Fairy Bread and all you do is butter a piece of bread and put cake sprinkles on it. Sounds gross, but it's not.

I also had my first taste of Vegemite. That was totally disgusting! My host teacher, C, captured the moment on video. I thought she was only going to take a picture, but she taped the experience. She then showed it to some of the teachers, and then on my last day she showed the kids. Everyone thought it was quite funny (so did I). I really don't know how they can eat that stuff! I suppose, though, that if it's something you are brought up on you get used to it and grow a fondness for it.

Back to my last day...the two classes I helped in got me an Aussie kids book and they all signed it and put a picture of the classes in it, as well as a picture of me tasting the Vegemite. It was quite sweet (the book, not the Vegemite). C also got me an Australian kids book as well. The principal gave me a school mug and several different chocolate bars (one or two we have back home, but the others we don't have). When it was time for me to go, the kids all came over and hugged me, and one little boy says to me, "Ms. S, Tom's crying." One of the little boys had tears in his eyes, but just walked away after hugging me. I don't know if he was sad I was leaving, or if it was for some other reason, but I like to think he was sad that I was leaving.

That afternoon we flew to Sydney. We were there until Sunday night, and had a great time seeing the sights. The main reason we wanted to head to Sydney was to see the Opera House. We got to see that, the Sydney Harbour bridge, and several other places.

Early Monday morning we headed for the last leg of our vacation (the internship part wasn't vacation) and flew up to the Gold Coast. We stayed in a cute little town called Coolengata. Our hotel was a two minute walk from the beach. It was a beautiful place, and there was gorgeous weather. Unfortunately, Tuesday morning I wrenched my back and couldn't do much of anything the rest of the day and most of the next day. The girls went to a chemist (the Australian version of a drug store) and got me some meds after talking to the chemist/pharmacist. Those seemed to help as they had codeine in them. Thursday I walked around and took some pictures. I didn't go swimming because I didn't have a bathing suite, and my back was still sore. I was actually trying on a bathing suite when I wrenched my back...go figure.

Thursday evening I went to an after hours clinic to see a doctor for my back. He agreed with me that it was a muscle problem and wrote down two different types of pills to get (over the counter kind) as well as a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and Valium. He said the Valium was for the plane trip (it's a long flight) and that both the prescribed meds would make me drowsy. I have been taking all but the Valium and it's helping. I plan on only using the Valium on the plane ride.

All in all, I had a great time here in Australia. If you ever get the chance to visit this country, you should go - lots to see and do! I don't know if I'll ever have the opportunity to come back here, but if I do, I'll head this way again; I'd like to see the teachers/friends I've made on this trip again.

But for now, I need to get some rest (the pain pills I took a little while ago are kicking in and I'm feeling tired), and then do my packing. I'd like to take my host family out for supper tonight to show them my appreciation for all they have done for me while I was here. They are great people, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to meet and stay with them.

The next time I write, I'll be back home in Canada. See you soon!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I am still going strong here in outskirts of Melbourne. This coming week will be my last in the classroom, the following week I'll be travelling to the Gold Coast, and the weekend after that I head back home.

School has been going well. I've done quite a bit of teaching, mostly maths (here they put an 's' on the end of math) and reading. I've also been doing the roll call and going over the daily time table with the kids. For maths, I had to teach both of the classes in the room, but for reading I only had the one class belonging to the teacher I have been assigned to.

At the end of my last post I had mentioned that we were going to the zoo. It was, in fact, the Melbourne Zoo and it was really great! The zoo is quite big and took us nearly four hours to go through it all (including a stop for something to eat for lunch on zoo grounds, which was terribly expensive). We didn't see many kangaroos, and only one koala bear but that might be because Australians wouldn't want to see them in the zoo when they could see them in the wild, etc. It was a great zoo to visit, though. They even have a butterfly exhibit where you can go in with the butterflies. I got some great close up shots of different butterflies.

The following week we went to the Werribee zoo with Sarah's host teacher. This zoo was an open range zoo. We got on a bus and the tour guide/driver drove us around and told us about all the animals we saw. It was great too, but not nearly as many animals.

We also travelled down the Great Ocean Road. That was amazing. I think we ended up driving something like 700 km (we left around 9:00 am and got back home a little after 10:30 pm). The road is twisty, turny and runs along the ocean (which could be how it got its name). There is such beautiful scenery here and we even saw a couple of whales in two different locations! There were some surfers early in the trip, but the further along we got, the stronger the waves were, and in some locations they had signs up to not go in the water.

The Great Ocean Road is where you'll find the Twelve Apostles. There are only about seven of them left now, with one falling down a couple of months ago I think. These are rock formations that, once upon a time, had been part of the cliffs; erosion from wind, rain, and the water/waves have separated them. These reminds me of the Hopewell Rocks back home. It's definitely worth taking this trip around the coast, even though it takes awhile.

Today was the first Saturday since the first weekend we got here, that I didn't have any excursion planned. It's OK though because it was nice to have some time to myself - especially since I felt a little down today. It's getting closer to the one year anniversary (Aug. 19) of my dad's death. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Sarah and I are going to a place called Science Works tomorrow, and I think we might be meeting a couple of the others there as well. Sarah's hostess (where she's staying) is supposed to take us and drop us off while she goes to visit her grandmother (who lives a few streets over), and then we'll call her when we are ready to go home.

Next weekend we'll be heading to Sydney from Friday until Sunday. The following morning we'll head to the Gold Coast (Monday to Friday). That Saturday we'll probably go to the Victoria Market one last time and then we fly out Sunday to head back home.

It's getting quite windy out now. They are calling for gale force winds tonight I guess, and warning people not to park under trees and to fasten down any outdoor furniture, etc. Hopefully it won't be too bad and there will be little to no damage.

Going to head off for now since this post has gotten quite long. God bless, and have a Christ-filled day!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Melbourne This 'n That

I have now finished up three weeks of my internship at Baden Powell College, Derrimut Heath campus. I am in one of the "prep" classes, which is equivalent to kindergarten back home. I am really enjoying my time at this school - the teachers and staff are all really friendly. The teacher I'm working with, C, is awesome. She's in her fifth or sixth year of teaching and she has some great ideas. I've been writing things down so that I can use them when I get my own classroom. I am also going to see if I can take some pictures of the classroom so that I can have a visual of some things, rather than writing them down.
In the schools here (or most of them it seems), they do team teaching. There is one big classroom and in it there are two classes and two teacher. Basically, the teachers take turns teaching things. Sometimes the teacher would teach both classes together, and sometimes they break off into groups (like for reading) and both teachers are required to teach their own group. I can see a benefit to team teaching, but at the same time there aspects I don't like - such has having to teach such a large class. When these two prep classes are together, there are 40 children to teach; that can be a little difficult, especially with the noise factor.
My professor was in this past Monday to do my first evaluation. I had only received his email saying he'd be in Monday morning (at 10:00am), on Friday evening. Not much time to prepare. I felt very unprepared for that class, but I managed to do well and get things printed out and photocopied on time. Apparently he had sent me an email earlier in the week but I hadn't received it. He'd sent one to Sarah as well and she never got it either. She only found out Sunday afternoon he'd be coming to observe her the next day as well, though I told her when mine was and that he wanted to visit both people at the school (though Sarah is at the other campus) on the same day. Poor Sarah though, she hadn't done any teaching to that point and Monday was her first day for that. I think she did well, though. My evaluation went well also, so that's good!
The last three weekends we've had some excursions. One Saturday the group of us from ABU were taken into the city for a little walking around, a visit to the Victoria Market (got several souvenirs there), and an Australian rules football game that evening. It was a great day, and even though we didn't understand (or know) most of the rules, we still enjoyed the football game (or footy as they call it).
One Monday evening, a couple of the younger teachers from Sarah's school took us to the movies. One of these girls is the daughter to one of the librarians at my school. These two girls, Sarah (the librarian's daughter) and Julie are really great. We went for supper after the movie and had lots of laughs.
Sarah (from Canada) and I went back to the Victorian market last Saturday again because there were some other things we wanted to get there. We were there only for a couple of hours, then went and got some supper (or, as they say in Australia, tea) and headed home. We feel pretty comfortable with taking the train into the city and home; we know which stops we need to get on/off at and we did great taking the tram from Flinder's Street Station to the market. We asked someone to make sure it went to the market, and once we knew it did, there were no problems. We got one back to the station afterwards without having to ask anyone.
On Sunday, a couple of ladies from the schools took us to Lygon Street for lunch. This is Melbourne's Little Italy section. It was really nice. The prices were high, but the food was good.
Yesterday our professor let us have the day off school and took us to the Dandenongs. It's a rain forest and has really big trees, great nature, etc. It was beautiful! We stopped at a restaurant (he made reservations) called the Cuckoo, which is Bavarian. The food (buffet style) was delicious and we all ate lots. There was also a floor show with music, singing, and laughter, which was great.
Today, the girls who took us to the movies the other week are going to take us to the zoo. I think it's the Melbourne Zoo that we are going to. There are a couple of others around here, and one is like a safari. We want to go to those ones as well, but not sure if that is today or we'll do it another day.
Well, I had better go get ready for the day's excursion. Hopefully my next post won't take as long to write!

Friday, July 10, 2009

I Come From A Land Down Under

OK, I don't come from a land down under...but I am currently there! I made it safely to Australia, with uneventful flights. Well, most of the flights were uneventful. In Toronto, our bags were late getting to where they were supposed to be (we had an hour and twenty minutes until our flight to Los Angeles was supposed to leave), and as a result, we missed that flight. It wasn't our fault in the least. They told us we could have gone on and not receive our bags at our destination for three days, but we were told it would be better to get on the next flight. Thankfully it wouldn't involve us missing the flight in L.A. So, instead of a twelve hour wait time, we only had eight.

The five of us (Sarah, Caroline, Adam, Jonathan, and myself) met up with the rest of the crew later on. Our prof, Mr. T. (no, not that Mr. T.) was the first one we met up with. He had been there a couple of hours before we were, and the other three (Maria, Ashley, and Jock) came along an hour and a half (roughly) before our flight was to leave.

The flight to Melbourne was sixteen hours, and that included a stopover, to refuel and change the crew, in Sydney. When we got to Melbourne, our host families were waiting for us. The mom of the house where I'm staying (she has three kids in their twenties) and the principal of the two campuses of the school where Sarah and I teach, were there, and they also picked Sarah up and dropped her off where she is to stay.

The family I'm staying with all seem nice (though I've yet to meet one of their daughters because she's in America right now). Maree had errands and whatnot to do (something every day), and took me along with her. This allowed me to see some of the area where I'm staying. I've not been to Melbourne yet, but Caroline, Sarah, and I are supposed to head in to the aquarium tomorrow (Sunday).

The weather, for the most part, has been quite cool, and I've been cold at night. Thankfully the blankets are nice and warm. The main part of the house has the heat on, so that's nice and toasty, but my room is in the old part and doesn't get much heat. Right now, I feel like I should have some mittens on because my hands are freezing! I guess that's what you get for coming in winter, LOL.

School starts on Monday, and I'm quite looking forward to it - though to be honest, I am a little nervous. Maree went to the school on Friday to look for something and I tagged along. I got to see the library (she's a librarian/teacher) and meet some of the people who work at the school. After that, she took me to the teacher's lounge and I met a few more of the teachers and the vice principal (I think that's who she was...she's definitely someone in charge though). The teacher I'll be with wasn't there, so I couldn't meet her or see the classroom where I'll be teaching.

Well, this post is quite long. I'll try to update soon - maybe after tomorrow's excursion to Melbourne. Sarah and I've decided that even if Caroline changes her mind, we're still going there tomorrow. Please pray for Sarah as she's come down with a bad cold already.

Have a blessed Christ-filled day!

Friday, July 03, 2009

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 40

Once again, it's time for 7 Quick Takes, hosted by Jennifer at Conversion Diary. Here is my installment this week:

1. The time for heading off to Australia is drawing closer - only three more days! I haven't started packing yet. I know, I shouldn't procrastinate. However, I am a last minute packer and I am wearing clothes and using items that I'll need to take anyway, so they can't be packed. I need to do some laundry tonight, also. I've been doing some shopping lately as well, as there were things I needed to pick up. Another reason for not packing is that I am afraid of getting everything packed up and then freaking out because I might have forgotten something, and then having to unpack (or root around) and pack up again to check. I will say this, though...I do have a list made up of things to take.

2. I have no idea what I did, but today my back started acting up (lower back near the top of my butt - I know, T.M.I...). It's not hurting, thankfully, but it does feel lame and stiff. I took some Robaxacet about four hours ago, and in another couple of hours I can take some more. I had a nap this afternoon, about the time I took the pills, and when I woke up my back felt stiff.

This is quite similar to what happened last year just before I left for Korea. The only difference was that I had muscle spasms last year and was in a lot of pain. The 16 hour trip (that's the two flights, not including waiting time at the airports), plus the 2-3 hours on a bus afterwards, didn't do anything to help my back then.

Please pray that my back gets better, and that I don't end up pulling something and/or having muscle spasms. I don't want this trip to be spent in pain like last year!

3. We had quite a downpour today. We've gotten a little too much rain for my liking lately, but there's nothing I can do about that. Anyway, we also had a little thunder storm this afternoon. I HATE thunder storms. Thankfully, this one wasn't too bad; however, at one point there was one really loud clap of thunder and flash of lightning - I think something got hit (hopefully just a tree or something like that).

4. My friend, F, can use your prayers. I hope she doesn't mind my asking on her behalf. I won't mention what her situation is, but the Lord knows just what she needs.

5. Yesterday would have been my parents' 49th wedding anniversary. Dad died 10 months ago. I think my mom handled things pretty well - she's strong and showed no signs of being upset. She's more like me though, in that she waits until she's alone to show her emotions (i.e. crying). When I was around, she didn't look as though she'd been crying or anything. I'm sure she was very much aware of the day and that it was the first anniversary since Dad died.

6. As of yesterday, my prof was still waiting for my police check. I had it done last Friday and they wouldn't let me fax it to him (he had asked me to do that). It had to be sent out in the mail, and I was told it would take about a week. A friend of mine said when he had one done it only took a couple of days. But, since there was a holiday here on Wednesday (Canada Day), that might have affected things. Hopefully he got it today. I should check my email to see if there is anything from him with regard to the police check. He didn't call me today, so hopefully that's a good sign! OK, I just checked - nothing from my prof.

7. I am now addicted to Farm Town on Facebook...I thought I'd check it out since my cousin kept sending invites and whatnot for it. I wanted to see what it was about. Big mistake. I am enjoying the game though. Unfortunately, when I am doing my travelling to the Land of Oz, I'll probably loose my crops. Oh well. C'est la vie!

Anyway, that's about it for now. If you are here from 7 Quick Takes (and anyone else), I hope you'll leave a comment so I can visit your blog, too!

Have a blessed and Christ-filled day!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Past Posts

I installed a new feature on my blogs today. It is the LinkWithin widget (which I saw on someone else's blog) and at the end of every post, it gives a list of about three other posts the reader may be interested in.

I didn't recognize some of the titles (and pictures in some cases) that were being posted, so I checked them out to refresh my memory. Some of them I can't believe I wrote. To me they were really good, thought provoking or inspirational type posts. It's been a long while since I've been able to come up with some really good posts - for any of my blogs.

At any rate, I thought I would share a link to some of those posts I came across today:

1. Being Fed

2. In Other Words

3. Faces - sorry that the pictures that had accompanied this post are no longer there

4. I Will Not Forget You

5. Associating With Sinners and Such

Hope you enjoy reading these previous posts. I've not read them in a long time, so I liked reading them all again - and still can't believe I created half-decent posts! Let me know what you think in the comments here, rather than on the posts themselves.