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 movements...in 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 it...it'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!