Saturday, January 11, 2014

Pushing Through Sickness

My BFF gets annoyed when people mistakenly indicate they have the flu, but actually they have a stomach bug.  When you are vomiting and have diarrhea, you have a stomach bug.  When you have a fever, cough, cant breathe very well and ache all over, that is the flu.

I have the flu.

The night before last, I had a bit of a raw feeling in my throat. It didnt hurt, but I knew Id be getting a sore throat within a day or so, unless I was lucky and it didnt turn into anything worse.  By the next afternoon my throat hurt a little more, but it still wasnt bad.  I went to coffee with K, little K, and J after work, and I mentioned it to them.  We had a discussion about the flu and how its making its way around Alberta.  Thereve also been several cases of H1N1 in Alberta (as well as one case of H5N1 – the bird flu, and sadly, the lady who had that died).  K asked me if Id heard that and was now thinking I had that (H1N1). I said no, but another friend and I had talked about it in the morning as well and hoped I was only getting a cold.

Well, this morning I woke up with a cough (I sound like a smoker at times, but I dont smoke, and neither do any of my friends), a headache, and the chills.  I was up for about 45 minutes, did my Bible reading and devotions, and decided to go back to sleep. I feel exhausted even though Id had enough sleep.

When I woke up from that nap, I was sweating and hotter than I dont know what.  I think that might have been from having a warm housecoat and two blankets over me while I slept, and I had put the heat up to try and get warm.  I checked my temperature, and found that it was getting higher and higher.  So far today, the highest its been was 38.7C (which is 101.66F).  It seems to be going down now, though as I have taken some Buckleys Cough, Cold, and Flu pills.  Ive taken these twice now today, and will take more again in about an hour.  Hopefully these will help me feel better by tomorrow.

The last two days at work, Ive been alone in the class, and my one E.A. (the second one has been off work since before Christmas) was out both those days.  I wonder if this is what she had (I was never told the reason for her being out).

I talked to K about half an hour ago, and she said she now has a cough and fever as well. So, it sounds like she has what I have.  I would imagine we both got it from work (we both teach at the same school).  Hopefully, well both be over this before we have to go back to work on Monday!

I had hoped to get a lot of writing done today, but since Ive been sick and sleeping most of the day, that didnt happen.  I debated not doing anything for the My 500 Word Challenge, but since Im feeling a little better now, I thought Id see if I could get anything done up.  And this post is it!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Feeling Homesick

Lately Ive been feeling like Id like to move back home, and often feel the homesickness erupt when I get this way.  In fact, Im kind of feeling that way tonight.  I wonder how long it takes for homesickness to go away after you move elsewhere.

Its only been nearly two and a half years since I moved out here to British Columbia, but I often find myself desiring to go back home because I feel homesick.  That could be for a number of reasons – anything from not having a car, or access to a car, and not being able to get around and come and go as I please (I have to depend on others if I want to go somewhere else, like shopping or visiting someone who doesnt live near my location. The bus system here also isnt the best, and while I might be able to get places in the evening – providing I leave after supper – the buses stop around six or seven oclock, so I wouldnt be able to get home), to feeling alone – and lonely.

In 2007, I moved to South Korea to teach, and lived there for a year.  There were times when I felt homesick, particularly after finding out my father had cancer – and especially when I found out he was getting worse.  I also find that when I end up in a situation where I feel sad, upset, angry, etc. I often feel like I want to be back home – not that doing that would solve any problems, or that I wouldnt have any bad times there, because I would.

I think part of my homesickness came from the fact that I was so far away from my home and my family, and I couldnt just hop a bus or take a taxi, or even rent a car to go and visit them.  It also could have been caused by being in a different culture and not having access to foods/brands, English TV shows, etc., that I am used to from living in North America.

In 2009, I went to Australia for two months (doing my teaching practicum) and I really enjoyed it there. Actually, I loved it there and I didnt feel homesick, but that might have been just because I knew Id only be there for two months and then be heading home again.  When I did come home, I found that I felt homesick for Melbourne and could picture myself actually living there.  Even now, five years later, I find there are times when I feel homesick for that area.  It seems weird that I would feel that way for a place I only visited for two months, but Melbourne must have had a hold on me or something.  Someday Id like to get back there again.

I really dont like feeling homesick, but then does anybody?  I find it difficult, when I feel this way, to get out of the slump it puts me in.  Ive had nights where I would wake up and while Im still half asleep and my eyes are closed, have such a strong feeling that I was back home in my bed there.  It even seemed that when Id open my eyes, Id see my room the way it is set up back home. 

When Id open my eyes and see that I wasnt there, but I was in my room here, Id give my head a shake and feel a little stupid, but it seemed so real.  And then Id want to go back home again.  Ive mostly had that feeling after being home during the summer.  At any rate, Id start to feel little bits of homesickness creep up at those times.  Thankfully, though, the homesickness doesnt usually last for more than a day or two at a time.

Have you ever moved away, across the country or to a different country or continent, and felt homesick? How did/do you deal with it?

Thursday, January 09, 2014

The 9th Day

So today marks the 9th day of the My 500 Words challenge.  So far it hasnt been too bad, and Ive been able to get over 500 words each day.  Today it seems a little more difficult.  Part of it is not knowing what to write (though I suppose I could look at some of the prompts and ideas Ive written down), and part of it is that Im finding it difficult to write when I get up in the morning (after Ive gotten ready for work), and when I get home from work Im tired.  So, I end up putting it off until later in the evening (much like Im doing now) and feel like I have to push myself to write something.

On the positive side, this little challenge is helping to develop discipline in writing.  I havent been focusing so much on the novel or any story, but Ive been writing on my blogs.  And even though it might not be quality stuff, I am writing.
 Mostly my posts have been written on the fly, without much thought as to what Id write.  I think that is because Im quite tired by that time and Im just doing the assignment to get it completed.  I hope that when I have more time (like on the weekends), I can sit down and write a better quality post, or add to my novel or short stories.

Maybe what I could do this coming weekend, is take the writing prompts Ive got and outline what I could say about each topic (or take a couple of them at a time and do this), or jot a few ideas downs to remind myself of what I could include.  Then I might have some direction, and could write a better quality post, rather than rambling on.

I think right now with this challenge, Im just trying to focus on the discipline and getting in the habit of writing each day.  Once this habit forms (or after the challenge, even weaning it down to once every other day until I have more time to be able to write each day – like on holidays and vacations from teaching), then I could focus on doing more research for topics, more editing, or more significant passages.

I just hope its this is not a case of Im doing this because Ive been issued a challenge and I dont want to fail at it, and then give up for whatever reason and not write for large chunks of time.  Otherwise, Ill never get anything written – well, except for some blog posts.

Well, it looks like Im going to finish todays quota, thought it certainly wont be nearly as long as any of the previous posts (or at least the majority of them).  Ive only got another couple of sentences to write and then I can call it a night.  Hopefully, since tomorrow is Friday, and providing I take a little nap in the early evening to take the edge off, I can get more writing done (or at least create a few blog posts that I can schedule for later dates).

For the first week back to work after Christmas vacation, its seemed long and tiring. Im looking forward to hopefully sleeping in on the weekend, but for now, I need to get to bed so I can try and get rested for tomorrow, otherwise Ill need an IV of coffee!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Oh So Tired

Well, this is only the second day of the week, the second day of the work week after Christmas vacation and I am already looking forward to Friday – or at the least, the weekend.

I am tired, soooo tired.  Yesterday, Monday, was find. I wasnt tired during the day, but a couple of hours before I went to Bible study; I had to lie down for a bit.  I ended up falling asleep for about 40 minutes. Had set the alarm so I could sleep for a little over an hour, but I woke up about half an hour before the alarm went off.  I felt better, and was confident I wouldnt be yawning or almost falling asleep during Bible study.  And, I was also able to get to bed around midnight (I could have gone before, but I wanted to read a little before bed – and I also had to read my Bible for the day as well), which allowed me about five hours of sleep (pretty typical for me).

I made it through work today and didnt do any yawning or feeling tired, which is good.  But, once I got home and sitting down, relaxing, etc. I soon began to feel my eyes drooping, and that general Im so tired I want to go to bed feeling.
Unfortunately, its too early for that.  If I go to bed now (or a littler earlier like I wanted to), I would either do one of two things: end up sleeping for 30-60 minutes and then not be able to get to sleep until 2:00 in the morning, or Id sleep until 3:00 and be awake for the rest of the night.

So, Im pushing on, trying to stay awake for another hour or so.

Another reason I had for staying awake longer, was the fact I needed to do my 500 words for today.  Im seven days into this, and I didnt want to miss a day of it.  I knew I wouldnt be writing anything spectacular (not that anything else Ive written has been that great), but I still needed, and wanted, to do this.  If it will help build a habit of doing daily writing (or at least a decent amount of words each day), and even help me blog more frequently – like I used to a few years ago – then I cant be missing days here and there.  I know for me, its far too easy to just dismiss it because Im tired, or I just dont feel like it. But if I do that one day, it will lead to another, and pretty soon Im not getting anything written for great amounts of time.  So, to develop that kind of behaviour this early on into the challenge would just spell disaster for me. 

As I pause at this particular moment to check my word count and think of something else to say to bring me closer to my minimum challenge requirement, I am realizing that I seem to have developed a bit of a second wind.  Hopefully I will be able to keep this up for at least another hour or two, and then Ill head to bed at a decent time. Hopefully.

And with that, Ive now exceeded the 500 words – not that many, but still. I made it.  And, hopefully Ill be more creative with future posts, rather than just rambling on about the day to day boring things like this one.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Rise and Shine!

Today is the first day back to work after a two week Christmas Break.  I had been dreading getting up at 5:30, but I knew it must be done.  And I had to be sure not to hit the snooze button for half an hour.  I honestly dont feel tired at the moment (its now nearly 7:00), but I know that will change as the day goes on. 

And since today is Monday, I wont be getting home until around 5:00 p.m. because I have drama practise after school and I have to wait around until one of the students gets picked up (the child is in my class, and her mom made special arrangements).  I dont mind staying, but there are times when I really dont want to stay that late.  Also, on Monday evenings, I have one of the Bible studies that I go to (I only go to two of them), which I am enjoying.  I wont have a chance to even think about taking a nap when I get home.  Ill probably have to go to bed early tonight, but I wont even think about that right now.

Im kind of looking forward to getting back into my routine and going to work.  While I always enjoy days off, vacations, and holidays, there are times I want to get back to work – simply to get back into my routine.
I am supposed to have one less student now, as one little boy informed us, on the last day before Christmas vacation, that his mom wants to home school him and his sister.  Well see how it goes.  I dont think she realises all that is involved in teaching/home schooling, and she was always talking about how busy they were.  The only thing that it will probably save her, is travelling (they live outside of town).  She could surprise everyone and do a great job with home schooling, but it wouldnt surprise me if the kids end up coming back to the school – even if it isnt until next fall.  And, now that her son wont be in my class, Ill have to find someone else to help with Bible memory, as she would come in to test the kids for me (it was a big help).  Hopefully there is someone else willing to step up to the plate.

Ive also got a few things that I want to try this term, such as a novel study with my language arts students (I have eight ESL kids who have a separate language arts class with another teacher, so they arent in my class). I dont know if they can handle this, but well see.  I hope it works out well and doesnt end up causing me grief.  Ive already warned them that the second half of the year is going to be more difficult and more will be required of them.  It will probably be difficult for the first little while with them testing to see if they can get away with less effort, etc.  So, I will definitely be needing prayer for a little while!

Anyway, I hope you all have a great day, and if this is also your first day back to work after a long break, I pray that you have a great one!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

A Conversation With The Building Manager

This morning I had to go see the manager of my apartment building (unfortunately I wrote the wrong date on my rent cheque and had to bring her a replacement).  She invited me in for a few minutes, which turned into an hour.
        This is a woman who likes to talk, and while there are times you cant shut me up, there are also times when Im not really in the mood to hold a conversation with people.  I had hoped this would be a quick visit – Id drop my cheque off, get the receipt, make a bit of casual conversation, and then leave.  It didnt turn out that way.
        The building manager (Ill call her P) proceeded to tell me how she had hurt her knee and arm recently, and I mentioned about my sciatica bothering me over the Christmas break.  This then led to a discussion on how she (and her husband) ended up coming back to manage this apartment building (and another one or two). 
        During the time I had mentioned about my sciatica, I had told her about being in Australia a few years ago and having done something to cause it to flare up.  Our conversation then turned to her mentioning a cousin from Australia that she was going to be meeting for the first time in May, and how she had discovered this cousin.
        For the rest of the time I was there (the conversation about our injuries might have taken about five minutes), we discussed genealogy.  I have been interested in genealogy (researching your family tree) since I was about 16. 
        P told me about all the research she had done (she is legitimately related to royalty, and both Princess Di and Camilla, and has aristocracy in her roots as well), especially after being in contact with a distant relative from Australia (a different cousin).  Shes done loads of research, contacted various archives from different countries, been put into contact with people who could help, and has been given lots of information from others.  It sure sounded like she has done extensive research!  She also told me that she helps other people with research and shed be willing to help me (or point me in the right direction) if I wanted it.  Im not totally sure, but I would think shed charge a fee for her research services.
        P and I discussed how important it is to remember our past – who and where we came from – and the details.  She had told me how her mother had always wanted to write a book about her life story (and from what I was told, it would definitely be an interesting read), and now P is thinking about writing it – or some about her mother, but more so about her grandmother or great-grandmother.
        P mentioned that she has been trying to write things down in the evenings (stories and research), but she finds that she gets tired very easily and ends up not accomplishing much.  She wants to record everything for her children and grandchildren, and thought making a book out of all her information would probably be wise.  I suggested that maybe she could record things on one of those little hand held tape recorders and then when shes not feeling tired or has the time, she could then transcribe it, or have someone do it for her.  She said she hadnt thought about that, but it was a great idea and she might just try it.
        Since talking with P a couple of hours ago, I have also been thinking about doing more research on my own family tree.  I have a lot, but its all back home in New Brunswick.  My ancestors dont have an exciting background, or as interesting stories as the ones P told me about her relatives, but that doesnt matter.  Just because one of my ancestors was the first shoemaker on Prince Edward Island and not a duke or lord, doesnt make him any less significant. Everyone is important; every story is important, and I want to have a record of them.
        The Bible does say in Titus to “…avoid foolish controversies and genealogies…” (3:9), but I dont think its meaning that we shouldnt be involved in working on our family tree (after all, Jesus own genealogy is recorded in the New Testament twice).  I think this verse is dealing with deception.  My study Bible has a cross-reference to 2 Timothy 3:13 which talks about evil men and impostors deceiving people.  So, maybe these men, the impostors, were showing genealogies to try and make people think they were important, or someone they were not.  So, I dont think it goes against Scripture when you do your family tree.
        Anyway, I think its important to record information (names, dates) and stories about ourselves, our ancestors, and family members, for future generations.  Unfortunately, I dont have any kids of my own (which makes me sad, but thats another story), but I do have a nephew.  I do have cousins who have children.  And one day, one (or more) of them may have an interest and would like to read about their family history.

        Right now, Im in the mood to work on my family tree.  I sure wish I had my information here now.  Oh well, it will probably have to wait until the summer.  Ill have to look for it when I go back as Im not sure where it got placed – especially the computer program I had used to record the bulk of my information!  I just hope it hasnt been lost.  Id hate to have to start from scratch again.

Friday, January 03, 2014

One Word 365

Last year (or was that the year before?) I had decided to join in the One Word 365 challenge where you choose one word and work on that for the year. For example, someone might choose the word relaxed and that was what they would strive to work on for 365 days – becoming relaxed in certain situations, learning how to relax in the midst of chaos, etc.

I had worked on my word, and I honestly cant remember what it was, for a few (or even several) months and then promptly forgot all about it.  After recently seeing others around the blogsphere begin sharing their words for 2014, I decided to attempt it again this year.

Ive chosen to focus on the word motivation.

Why motivation? Because I find that I can lose it quite quickly as well as over time.  It can start in January after I make some kind of resolutions (though I tend to not make any resolutions because I end up not sticking with them) or promises to myself of changing eating habits, exercising, reading my Bible every day, praying more, etc.  Before I know it, those resolutions or promises have been thrown out the window – sometimes I just forget that Im working on changing a habit, and sometimes I get frustrated because I dont see immediate results (Im an instant gratification sort of gal, and I get easily discouraged if I dont see the results of doing something right away – but thats a story for another time).

This year, Im going to work on keeping my motivation or finding new and/or improved ways to motivate myself in whatever it is Im attempting to do or make.
And while Im definitely no expert in motivation (which I seem to prove over and over again), I think I need to work on changing a couple areas in my life that could help me get and keep motivated in other areas of my life.

1.        Eat properly – I need to change up my eating habits. I need to eat healthier       foods, I need to eat properly balanced meals, and I need to cut down on the junk food.”  While this will also benefit other areas in my life (i.e. weight loss), Im sure eating better, and getting the vitamins my body needs, will help me feel better physically and contribute to keeping motivated in other areas as well.

     2.      Exercising – that dreaded 10-letter evil word.  Yes, I definitely need to be exercising.  It has its own benefits, naturally, but if I exercise I will start to feel better physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (at least Im hoping it helps with that).  Feeling better in these areas, which will then help me feel better about myself in general, should also help lead to keeping me motivated.

    3.     Getting Enough Sleep this is an area I can often struggle with.  I am a natural born night owl.  I function better later in the day, the evening, and at night. This has been an issue Ive dealt with (or struggled with) all my life.  I can try to adjust things by going to bed earlier, getting up earlier, etc. but its torture at times, and I find myself falling back into the night owl routine. I end up needing naps when I come home from work because Im so tired (which will then affect my sleep pattern for the night), I need more coffee, I can get a little cranky at times, and this is something that DEFINITELY sucks the motivation for anything right out of me!

So, these are three areas that I am going to work on to help me with motivation.  Of course, there are also areas that will be beneficial in the long run with my overall health, so it should be a win-win situation, right?

Now, to just keep motivated at these thingsits not going to be an easy task!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Where Is Your Faith?

And He said to them, Where is your faith?  They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?
Luke 8:25

The background of the above verse is when Jesus and His disciples were in the boat, heading to the other side of Lake Gennesaret (in my NASB Bible, the study notes indicate Luke is the only one to call it a lake. It is also known in the Gospels as the Sea of Galilee, and John calls it the Sea of Tiberias). This story is when Jesus calms the sea, and it follows the parables of the sower and the lamp.

As they were sailing, a storm came up. The wind began to blow, the waves began to be tossed about and slam up against the boat. Im sure it was a pretty frightening place to be in the midst of a storm.  No doubt the disciples thought they were going to die if something didnt happen quickly!
Now, they obviously knew that Jesus could save them, but they seemed to think that He had to be awake in order to do something about their situation.  Jesus, in my opinion, rebuked the men when he asked them, Where is your faith?  It seems to me as though Jesus was hinting at the fact that his disciples didnt need Him to be awake in order for them to be saved.  He was right there, in their midst, after all.

Hindsight, for us reading it a couple thousand years later, would tell us it wasnt Jesus time – it wasnt time for Him to die, so there was no way theyd perish in this storm (though Im sure at that particular time, the disciples didnt know what Jesus was going to have to go through, and therefore wouldnt know that it wasnt His time yet.

We are a lot like those disciples.  At least I know I am.  I get into situations where I am afraid.  It doesnt matter what the situation is.  It doesnt matter if we are in an actual situation in which we could die if something isnt done (such as being in a boat on open water during a storm like the disciples were).  It doesnt matter if we are in a situation that could cause us to potentially lose our job (such as a company downsizing) and we wonder how well pay our bills or feed our families.  The point is, we (or at least I) get scared.  We become afraid.  We wonder what is going to happen.

Sure, we may call out to the Lord.  We may pray for Jesus to save us, or we ask Him to prevent the situation from happening so that we dont have to go through it or be in such a bind because of it.  But do you know what?  Jesus is right there with us!

We are not showing faith if we dont believe that Jesus will get us through our particular situation.  We are not showing faith if we worry and fret about the results (or potential results) of whatever it is we are going through, or possibly facing.

Im not saying that our faith (blind or otherwise) will prevent us from ever worrying about anything ever again.  Its not like that.  We are still human, we still make mistakes, we still fail, and we have lessons to learn.  But the point is, that when we are faced with situations that could result in disastrous outcomes, we need to have faith that Jesus is with us the entire way.  He is there if we are able to avoid a disastrous outcome; He is there if we get the outcome we desire; He is there if we have to struggle through a storm for a significant amount of time before we get to the other side.  HE IS THERE WITH US.

So, when you are faced with any situation – be it good or bad – Jesus is with you.  If you have asked Him into your heart, if He is your Lord and Savior, His Holy Spirit (the third person of the Trinity) is with you.  We have nothing to fear.  We need to have faith.

Where is your faith?

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year!

Well, 2014 is  now upon us and we have been in the new year for a little over 12 1/2 hours - at least for my time zone.

Normally I don't do anything for New Year's Eve, and I am totally OK with that.  This year, however, I got together with my BFF (I'll call her K), a newish great friend of about eight or nine months (I'll call her J), and K's daughter (whom I'll call Little K) for supper.  K and I had talked about the fact that we hadn't had a typical meal we often had back when we lived in New Brunswick - meatballs and roasties (which is simply roasted potato pieces).  Almost every week, before I moved to British Columbia (she moved here a year later), we would get together, often with another friend of ours, F, and catch up on our weeks.  We would have meatballs and roasties, knit or cross-stitch, and watch movies - or sometimes play the Wii.

So, we decided to get together for New Year's Eve and have a meal of roasties and meatballs, and we wanted to invite J as well.  We also thought that since there were a few others from work who had not gone home to their families in other provinces for the Christmas break, we'd invite them over for a games night and ring in the new year.  So, four others joined up later in the evening (a fifth was invited but didn't show up and never responded to the texts that were sent to all of them).  We played some really great games - some of which were new to me. I'll have to get the names of them from the others and see about getting those for myself as well.  We had a lot of laughs, ate a lot of yummy snacks and at midnight, we blew our noise makers, toasted each other, and attempted to sing Auld Lang Syne.  That was quite unsuccessful as none of us really knew the words to the song.  But, we had a good laugh over it.

The only downside to it all (at least for me), was the fact that my back has been bothering me somewhat over the break.  It had felt fine most of the day, but then at one point during the evening I moved a certain way and it began to act up again.  I also think I may have eaten something that didn't agree with me as I began to not feel so great.  And before you can ask, no it wasn't from drinking too much.  I don't drink alcohol at all, so it had nothing to do with that.  Today I've felt mostly better, but there are times that I'm still feeling a little queasy.  I've taken some non-drowsy, herbal, Gravol, so hopefully that will help.  I hope I'm not coming down with a stomach bug.  But, if I am, I hope it passes quickly as I have to head back to work (teaching) this coming Monday.

My plan for today is to just take it easy, relax, get some more knitting done, and possibly make some bread or rolls (I've not made rolls before, and have only made bread once - and that is by hand with no bread maker, which I don't have anyway).  In the next few days I'll have to get on to some lesson planning and do some housework as I plan on having J, K, and Little K over for supper before we head back to work - maybe on Sunday.

So, I will end for now and wish you all the best for a happy and healthy 2014.  May God's blessings freely flow upon you.