Monday, October 19, 2009

Making Friends

Life is good so let me give a little review - a bit of summary.

Trout Revisited - I took a personal day to take one of my Trout students to the airport so that he could start his adventure with Katimavik - a canada youth volunteer program. It was his first time in an airplane - didn't realize that it would be a big jet. Actually, it was his first time in a real airport. He asked me if the Edmonton airport was opened everyday. He never realized that an airport can be a hub, a portal to many different places. I explained to him that Edmonton airport was actually small compared to other places. Oh the things that he will learn.

Thanksgiving - I went to a Friend's farm in Unity SK. It was so nice not to have to drive 7 plus hours for family turkey dinner. We played games, watched the Riders win, ate, ate some more, explored Unity and took the combine for a joy ride. Yep, I drove a combine from the middle of the field to the edge. I have never had such an expense piece of equipment under my control.

In General - Life is really good right now. I have some stress but in general I also have a feeling of hope, joy and contentment that I had gradually lost over the past few years. I feel that slowly my soul and spirit are being built up again. I joined choir. I am trying yoga. I am coaching junior volleyball. I have people inviting me for outings with other people. I was even double booked on Saturday night and had to decide which event I wanted to attend - movie with small group, or dinner and movie with teachers. I feel like I am back after a long Trout Lake slumber.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I never realized how difficult moving to a new town could be. I am finding it very difficult right now to choose a church to attend on a regular basis. Maybe this is because choosing a church is an unnatural task. It means I am choosing one group of believers over another, one style over another, when maybe they should be blended rather than seperated.

One church that interests me is more spirit led. They love prayer. It is very multicultural. Services are very free flowing with laughter, a coffee break between singing and preaching, people standing up to tell what is on their hearts. Today the service was 2.5 hours long. A little out of my comfort zone by appreciate their enthusiasm and love for the community and for each other. It has many things going for it.

Yet it is a little out of my element. The preaching isn't as solid as I would like it to be. There are no small groups. Another church in the community offers that possibility.

How great it would be if these churches were combined? It would definitely cause some discomfort on both sides but also great love. THe Baptist church could use a little bit more spirit infusion. The Community church could use a little bit more solidity in the teaching.

Choosing between the two feels like an act against the body of Christ.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Gone but will not forget

Trout Lake is finished or at least on hiatus for now. The stress though is not gone. It is sitting at the back of my neck treatening a headache. The mixed feelings are not gone either. There is excitement that I am having a new start, new life. Yet I am full of sorrow and worry about those that I left behind. Will M be able to battle his depression and resist the temptation of suicide without me? Will T make it to Katimavik? He is so excited to be accepted to Canada's volunteer program for next year but leaving Trout is always a scary proposition. Will C grow closer to God or will alcohol and other stresses continue to pull her away from the one who adores her? Then there are all the others that I am going to miss. I have not escaped the heart ache but rather have taken it with me.

The morning that I left Trout Lake, I found out that one of my students - a grade 9 student - stabbed someone from the neighbouring town and that that person died. He is now charged with second degree murder. So much pain summed up in a short news article. What the article doesn't tell you is that this is the second homicide in a year. That since December, there has been 6 funerals between Trout and Peerless. Two of those elders were brothers and passed away with in weeks of each other. This first stabbing (by another youth) started this death trend. The article doesn't tell you that the young man involved has been crying out for help all year and that I was helpless in helping him, that he considers himself "the man" of the family and feels that he needs to protect his mom and siblings, that the first stabbing was committed by a relative that he idolized, that he recieved no support to deal with the first incident, that he is very smart but has been in and out of school all year. The community has not had time to heal and so the scars get thicker and thicker.

I am still stressed and worried so I commit these people into the hands of Christ who loves them and suffers with them. The tears at the back of my eyes do not help the ever looming headache.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I wanted change but . . .

. . . this just seems like the same old same old. Once again I am principal until the end of the year. Long story. I am unsure of all the details myself. This is pretty much the third year in a row where I have had to do a prolonged principalship.

Stress levels are ever increasing with a direct relationship to fatigue, illness and zits.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The change

So my New Year's resolutions were to be grateful and to look forward to change. Or something like that. So now is time to announce the big change. It won't be a shock to many of you.

I am moving. Next year I will not be teaching in Trout Lake. I am going to be teaching Bonneyville - a "regular school". A middle school with 3 classes at each grade. I am going to be teaching Grade 5 or 6 instead of Junior or Senior High. I am going to have one class at a time and students who attend school on a regular basis. I am going to have a church to go to and a grocery store in the same town. Change is good.

But change is stressful. I have SO much to do before I leave Trout Lake. I need to find a place to live. I need to pack and clean my house. I need to finish all of this years paperwork and stuff. AHH!!!! The stress has made me very sick this week.

By the way, I am still waiting anxiously for green on our trees. Spring is taking for ever to turn into summer.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

At long last

It has been awhile. I have been avoiding the world for addressing the world means to make decisions that I would rather put off and facing the God who created the world. But alas decisions must be made and God must be faced. Why am I so scared to face the one whose presence I can boldly enter?

Anyways, I am awaiting the arrival of spring and summer. Yes I know that it is May and spring should be here but it is snowing today. A day for soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Good thing I am not camping.

I have been keeping busy. I spend a lot of time at school on the computer (like now) and a lot of time in front of the TV. I think that I should get rid of that thing. I have been spending a lot of time comtemplating the future: applying for jobs, wondering where I will be, questioning my motives and decisions, wondering how much it will hurt to leave.

This morning though I was reminded that God will never leave me. Even if I make the "wrong" decision, God will still be with me. WHy do I forget that? I mean it is only mentioned in the Bible about 1000 times. Why do I think that I have to continually try to please God?

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Jennifer is upset because Division office decided to block Facebook at school. Jennifer is wondering how she is ever going to see pictures of nieces, nephews, friends etc. without facebook. Jennifer is especially wanting to see the picture of her new nephew, born early this morning. Jennifer is even contemplating trying Facebook on dial up - she is that desperate. Jennifer is tired of the actions of one or two affecting the lives of others. Jennifer thinks it is because some teacher some place had some incriminating pictures posted by some students suring some field trip but is really unsure of the whole situation. Jennifer hopes division office realizes that students do have access to Facebook elsewhere and that banning it at school will not stop this from happening again. Jennifer feels better now because she got all of her Facebook updates out of her system.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Return from the roller coaster

I obviously have not updated for awhile. I couldn't tear my fingers off of the sides of my roller coaster life long enough to type. I was holding on, trying to hold in the screams. I am at a flatter section right now. Time to inhale, exhale and loosen my grip (or maybe get a grip). I know that I was looking for change in my new years wishes but this in not the change that I was looking for. Maybe something more permanant and less up, down, twisty turvy, upside down.

But lets continue on the path of gratitude because I do have much to be grateful for. For a few weeks, I needed to surround myself with people that believed in me and that loved me. It was such a privelege to be in the middle of the flood of support that came my way - phone calls, e-mails, facebook messages (is there a word for that yet), presents, time. In an effort to surround myself with support, I also discovered the joys of ROCK BAND. Oh yeah!!! So thank you all of those who love me. I love you too.

I also went on a bit of an Alberta ramble. I was presenting at a conference in Calgary and the amazing planners put it on a Monday and Tuesday. So I left the middle of nowhere on Friday and was able to spend many days in civilization. I rediscovered the joys of shopping and coffee shops and conversation with friends. Thanks cousin for letting me crash at your place.

I even wandered down to Lethbridge. Made it to church on Sunday morning to the delight of my nieces. Their delight, delights me. Sunday brunch with the family delights me.

Then there was the conference in Calgary. First I was staying at the Hilton and then I was wined and dined by my employer and a publiching company. It was so nice to feel appreciated. I did feel a little out of my element. I thought someone had stolen my suitcase at the Hilton as I was arranging my valet parking. But no!! The staff had taken it up to my room for me. Well la ti da. I didn't have to shovel out my parking space before I parked.

Then was the Alberta room mate tour. Stayed with a Bible college friend and her family on Tueday night and on Wednesday night I visited my Bible college room mate and then my university room mate. It was so nice to reaquaint with long lost friends.

The ramble culminated with a three night stay in Edmonton with another friend for teacher's convention. Again I rediscovered shopping and movie theaters and restaurants.

So here is to friends spread near and far who are and will continue to be a part of my life. Thanks for all your love and support even when I ignore you for days, years, months, decades. Here is to God, who keeps us all together and gives us continual common ground and connection.

As for the rollercoaster. I am not sure if I am off it yet. The track is smooth for now. I am sure that there will be more ups and more downs to come.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Irons in the Fire

This week I had too many irons in the fire. Monday I was acting principal for half the day. Tuesday and Wednesday I was still acting principal. Tuesday I had to drive to Cadotte to pick up diploma exams so that our students could write them and hopefully pass Grade 12 this year. For some reason, they were never sent to our school so I had to arrange them to be sent to Peace and then I had to arrange for a rendezvous in Cadotte with my principal to recieve them. So I was on the road for a good 4 and 1/2 hours. The things that I do for my students.

Thursday I was in Slave for math meetings and Friday I was presenting our math program to other teachers. Yes me presenting. It was great fun.

So in an effort of celebration, here are some things to celebrate.
1. My students did awesome on the written part of the diploma exam. They got things out of the picture that I missed. They all wrote something in all 3 essays. I am SOOO proud of those 5 students. I wanted to hug and kiss them all but that would have got wierd.

2. I had a really nice time in Slave Lake reflecting on the progress that some of my students are making in math. The first year of the program, I had 2 students pass a diagnostic test. Now I have only two students not pass the same task. It is very good.

3. I had a really nice time in Slave Lake hanging out with my fellow presenters. We went out for a liesurely dinner, we laughed, we planned.

4. I loved presenting to other teachers. It was fun sharing my "expertise".

There now I feel better. My anger at other situations has dissipated slightly. However, looking at my celebrations, I need a change. Everything in my lifeis school related right now and I find that very tiring.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Plus ca change

It was the first week back at school. Or was it. It didn't seem like it. I shouldn't complain though because the chaos of this week has been caused by the pain of others. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there was a death in the community prior to Christmas holidays. They had the funeral the first day after Christmas break.

When I returned to Trout, there was another funeral on the Saturday. An elder that passed away on Christmas eve. On Monday I returned to school and had very few students. The students that I did have were exhausted. Not surprising after Christmas holidays. Then they informed me that they were up all night at the wake. "The wake!!" I exclaimed, "The funeral already happened." But no, there was another death on New Years Eve as well. Both of these deaths were elders of the community but still the pain of three funerals in three weeks in a community of 400 . . . My heart aches.

So Monday was the wake. Tuesday was the funeral. Wednesday all of the students went home at 11:00 because of propane smells in the school. Thursday was a staff meeting (all the students left at 2:00). Friday was the typical half day. It feels like school hasn't really started.

So . . . in the effort of celebration . . .
I took down my Christmas decorations and saw that my house looked very barren. So I sorted through for stars and hearts and red and made a Valentine's display. Me celebrating Valentine's Day. Things are dire indeed. I normally wear black on that day.
I invited myself to another teachers for supper last night and then pulled out the Wii. Guitar Hero and Winter Sports equals a good time. It was good to laugh with fellow teachers and not talk about school at all.
It looks like I will be celebrating my next birthday in New York City. I find that VERY exciting.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Past and Future

It is that time of year again to reflect on the past and plan for the future. I don't know if it is my mood now but I don't really feel that this year was really spectacular in terms of excitement and new things learned. I feel like it has been rather ho-hum, same old same old. Regardless, here are some things that stand out:

1. Travelling to Regina with my cousin, Sara, to see Grandma. It was a very fun trip - about as fun as Regina can get.

2. Living with my sister and her family for the summer. Never a dull moment.

3. Travelling to Ottawa spur of the moment to attend my grand father's funeral. Bittersweet time. It was sweet to see family but sad to go on such an occasion.

4. Learning about wine in the Okagnagan Valley with former Trout Lake cronies. We camped, we played games and I lost at Trivial Pursuit again.

I want this year to stand out more than last year. I want it to be more exciting. So here are some random goals for the year.

1. Change. It is time to move on, to find a new direction, to take another step in the path of my life. God grant me wisdom.

2. To learn how to smile with my eyes again. I seem to have forgotten how.

3. Celebrate. Celebrate the small, the large, the joyous, the ordinary. Cultivate gratitude and contentment.

I am not sure if there is a way to measure these goals quantitatively but really the question will become:
1. Am I still in Trout Lake?
2. Can I smile both inside and out?