Sunday, February 26, 2012


This weekend I unearthed a piece of paper from one of our staff devotions earlier this year.  A colleague had put up all kinds of pictures and asked us to go around the room, finding one that spoke to us.  There was so much variety in the pictures that it was difficult to choose.  But I did find one.  It was a photograph of a woman pointing.  It struck me that I wanted to be that woman.  I want to be a woman who points to God.  I want to show where I see God in my life.  I want to be a woman who points out the gifts God has given to others and one who points out the goodness in situations.  Sometimes I also need to have others pointing for me.  I need to have my eyes opened to see and to look for God.

The woman in the photograph had a calm, and yet excited, look on her face.  I want/need that.  I am continuing to strive to BE STILL, so that I can become more like that woman.  The challenge continues to be balancing the BEING and the DOING.

My list of gifts continues......

887) popcorn
888) long weekends
889) observing a wise colleague dealing with student issues
890) encouragement from colleagues
891) technicians who can set up wireless internet
892) wireless and secure internet
893) word games
894) being able to bless someone else the way I have been blessed by others
895) the generosity of others in giving time
896) the generosity of others in thinking of my needs (Thanks, B.K.)
897) being inspired at convention
898) the pleasant surprise of creating a pleasing piece of art
899) learning a simply art technique to use with students
900) the huge heartfelt hug meeting up with a friend I hadn't seen since summer time (Thanks, J.R.)
901) experiencing complete confusion during an activity during a workshop - which will help me understand anew when children feel lost
902) lunch with colleagues
903) rides with colleagues
904) successfully taking public transit home (something I do extremely rarely)
905) the passion of others - coming through in their presentations
906) walking through the exhibits and realizing how muchI already have and that I don't need anything more
907) Skyping with two of my sisters
908) figuring out how to download an e-book from the library (although I'm not so sure I like reading that way, to be honest)
909) a colleague/friend gently reminding me of the gift of my life (Thanks, G.E.)
910) Saturday morning - still in pyjamas, chai tea in hand, listening to Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe
911) the prospect of a day with no demands or "to do" lists (or at least the prospect of ignoring these)
912) the excitement of students for things they're working one - so much so that several took the work home to work on
913) the gift of rest
914) walking down the hall, or across the field and having a small hand slip into my hand
915) hugs in the hall from former students
916) growing relationships with students, the relationships becoming stronger as we spend more time together
917) great news a colleague received about her dad's health
918) roaming the crowds of teachers at convention and periodically seeing familiar face and exchanging smiles and greetings as we passed each other
919) finishing a bag for my computer
920) the sound of silence
921) peanut butter on toast
922) the satisfaction of having fresh homemade lunches (pizza rolls) in the freezer, ready to get me through report card season

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Big Picture

I saw an amazing play this afternoon.  It was called "The Big Picture."  This play tells the gospel story - from creation to Revelations.  It was done beautifully - truly showing God's amazing love, faithfulness, and forgiveness.  If there was a DVD of the play, I would have bought it as it would be amazing to watch again.

Throughout the play, several lines were repeated many times.  Simple yet powerful lines and reminders.  

1)  Are we there?  Not yet.  Quite the statement for our lives.  Are we there?  Not yet.  But we'll get there.  During the play, I thought that the line would change at the end of the play - during Revelations.  Are we there?  YES!  But that was not the case.  And, in retrospect, that makes sense.  We aren't there yet.  But we will get there.

2)  Trust me.  God spoke those words many times during the play.  Reminding us that we can trust Him.  Unfortunately there were also times during the play that the words were uttered by those we cannot trust.  Reminding us that we need to be discerning and listen carefully to the voices so that we know who is speaking to us.

3) I cannot help but love you.  How powerful to see the actor portraying God speaking these words to people from the Biblical story.  And then to realize that He speaks the words to me as well.  Wow.

4) Abba will provide.  God, our Father, will always provide.  Seeing that again through the stories from the Old Testament was powerful.  

5) Go. The people in the Bible were repeatedly commissioned to do the work God had for them.  He sent them out.  He sends us out.  The words were also used when the people were banished (albeit temporarily).  At one point during the play, the disciples were being sent out, told to go, to teach and heal.  The words teach and heal were repeated several times.  That got me thinking that those words are a great summary of what our job as disciples is.  To teach and to heal.  Pretty simple.  And pretty difficult!

6) With me, nothing is impossible.  A reminder that God is all-powerful and that we must not let our doubts limit possibilities.  

There were a couple of other aspects of the play that touched me.  When God spoke to people, He physically breathed His spirit into them.  Powerful to see.  When the prophets spoke, the actor portraying the prophet and the actor portraying God both spoke in synchronization, symbolizing how God speaks through the prophets.  Again, powerful to see this done visually.  

Throughout the play a stone was used as a symbol of the covenant God has made with His people.  It was passed from person to person.  It was amazing to see that kind of physical representation of God's covenant.  Made it all the more real and powerful, that's for sure.  At the end, the actors all stood at the front of the stage, reaching out towards the people, each with a smaller stone in their hands.  The covenant goes on with us.  What a gift!

If I had the opportunity to see this play again, I would go in a heartbeat!

And now it's time to update the list of 1000 gifts.  

854) the way my new coat feels, wrapping me gently nd richly
855) spontaneous dinner out and trip to the fabric store
856) curling up under a fleece blanket
857 - 860) - Saturday mornings, chai tea, reading the paper, listening to Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe
861) opportunity to chat and encourage a friend after church
862) laughing with my students
863) opportunity to connect with individual students
864) a bright full moon rising
865) bright planets in the night sky
866) the constellation Orion (well, knowing a specific constellation and recognizing it in the night sky)
867) visiting a dear colleague
868) chatting with two of my siblings in one night
869) marvelling with my brother over the possibilities for vision - miracles in the making
870) observing students as they organize themselves and discuss a novel together
871) soup lunch at school - yum!
872) freshly cut hair
873) sewing time with friends
874) hearing that a book I gave a friend is blessing her
875) church dinner and fellowship around the table
876) gentle chiming wind chimes
877) lunch and a play with a friend
878) creative gifts of playwrights and actors
879) a play which tells the story of God and His love for His people (see post above)
880 - 885) repeated lines in the play - Trust me.  I cannot help but love you.  Abba, forgive me.  With me, nothing is impossible.  Abba will provide.  Are we there?  Not yet.
886) the symbolism of a stone and God's faithful promise throughout generations

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Light and Dark

I've been thinking about light and dark a lot lately. Partly because that's the science unit we just finished. Partly because it was just Christmas and light is a huge part of that time. Partly because it's winter, and the light is starting to come back. One of my colleagues made a thought-provoking statement on Monday (although she is prone to those and does so on a regular basis). She commented that darkness is most often looked at negatively and she thinks that there is a lot of good in the shadows. It's not all bad in the shadows. I think she's right. After all we wouldn't see the stars if not for the dark. We wouldn't see the moon and its changes if not for the dark. Darkness makes the light seem brighter. And that's a good thing.

Some of the good things I see - in the light of day and in the dark of night when I slow down and try to be still.....more gifts...

802) the insights of children
803) the gift of the written word
804) phrases that evoke emotion
805) dinners out with special people (J.S. and K.M.)
806) hugs and cuddles with dear girls
807) dinner with family (after being forgiven for forgetting to come for tea after work - oops!)
808) sunlight sparkling on the snow, looking like a carpet of diamonds
809) successful lessons - students working and learning
810) a bus so we didn't have to walk to the arena in frigid weather
811) fog on a winter morning, resulting in lacy dusts of frost on trees and plants
812) weather " warming up" enough that running errands isn't such a chore
813) being able to help a friend forget her anger and frustration for a few hours
814) energy to do a few things
815) talking on the phone with my mom and one of my sisters
816) encouragement from colleagues
817) nights of good, deep sleep
818) the sense of community I feel when I run into people I know when running errands
819) the feeling of satisfaction after tidying things up
820) a parent who offered to teach the skating lesson when I was nervous about being on the ice in my boots
821) coming home after a brisk winter walk and curling up in my favourite chair with a magazine and a cup of chai tea
822) sunny blue Alberta skies
823) yummy new recipe - and it's incredibly easy
824) my rotary cutter and cutting mat
825) having fabric scraps to use to make an iPad case
826) delighting in a new book to read -STATE OF WONDER
827) a new sweater for a ridiculously low price
828) hugs and laughter with children after church
829) celebrating communion
830) conversations at church
831) hugs from young and "less young" after church
832) the way prayer can settle my heart and calm my nerves
833) completing a very challenging quilt challenge (yes, I know I used the word challenge twice - deliberately so
834) dinner with colleagues - spontaneous plans (thanks C.V., K.G., and S.B.)
835) completing some marking and recording
836) students demonstrating confidence with a skill they didn't think they'd learn
837) the surprise of enjoying a book I didn't think I would like (Yes, I judged a book by its cover.)
838) finishing making an iPad cover - and loving it!
839) online tutorials
840) the joy of creating and the interplay of colour
841) coming home to a clean house
842) cards and e-mails from friends
843) my microwave rice cooker that cooks yummy brown rice in 18 minutes
844) gift cards
845) finding a new winter coat for an AMAZING deal - and it's even sort of dressy
846) browsing through my quilting magazines
847) completing some household chores that had been waiting for me
848) a weekend with time to be still
849) tea with friends and catching up on life
850) clean laundry
851) cozy blankets comforting me when I'm awake and can't sleep
852) a spontaneous hug from a student I wouldn't have expected one from
853) positive meetings with parents