Saturday, April 25, 2009

Time To Laugh

It was exciting when the new baby arrived. He was tiny and soft and smelled like morning after the rain. His name was Katsumi and everybody loved him. But now there were fewer walks with mother. And now father had less time to play. Yoshiko was afraid she wasn't special any more. She was sure her parents wouldn't even notice if she went away.

After she feels rejected by her parents, Yoshiko begs the cranes to transform her into one of them so she can fly away.

As I was looking through Jianna's recent grade 2 school work, I found questions and answers diagramming and dissecting the above mentioned story.

Here are some of the answers according to my very matter-of-fact 7 year old:

Q: What feeling does the author create by using the words: "He was tiny and soft and smelled like morning after the rain" 
A: The author makes me feel excited because Yoshiko gets a baby brother.
(she then corrected herself to answer how the actual phrase made her feel)
A:  "The author makes me feel wet because he said rain".

Q: What lesson does Yoshiko learn in this story?
A: Yoshiko learned that her parents never stopped loving her.

Q: How could this lesson be helpful to you in your life?
A: In my life, I had never needed that lesson in my life.

I think I would very much enjoy being a grade 2 teacher!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Very Tough Day

There was a tragic farming accident in our community last night.
A 17 year old young man was using a tractor to pull a truck out of the mud on his family farm. The tractor flipped and the young man was pinned. He succumbed to his injuries.

This was the news that greeted me amongst the many tear streaked faces as I arrived at work this morning. He was a grade 12 student at our high school.
Another one of our students was with this young man when the accident occurred.
As you can imagine, the grief was wide spread and deep.

I did not know this young man and unfortunately most of the students did not know me well enough to allow me to be much of a support to them...but I can say as a whole, the staff were very compassionate and caring with the students, despite many suffering their own grief.

Grief in a small community like a school is so all encompassing. Whether or not you knew the student directly, you were affected, because someone you did know, knew him and was heartbroken.

Add in the spiritual dynamic and by lunch time, it was becoming difficult to even breathe in the school. I spoke with a mom who called to allow her girls to go home. I met with the girls to make sure they were safe and would not be alone...for one it was triggering some very recent losses in her own life and the other just couldn't stand how she felt being there, (they didn't personally know the young man either). I myself, felt nauseous and on the verge of tears and understood what this girl was describing.
 I emailed and enlisted a few friends to pray at that point...THANK YOU!!!

Prayer makes a world of difference and I FELT it today.
I was not expecting anyone to serve detentions over lunch, but 7 students came and we talked openly about what was going on and why it was so hard.
Then we were able to move on to lighter topics and as I walked through the halls to go to my office, I noticed that the atmosphere had changed. Yes many students had left already so there was less crying, but the all encompassing blanket of grief that had begun to oppress had lifted. 

Please continue to pray, first for the family and loved ones of this young man. 
It is so senseless and unfair to have to bury your child.
Then for the student body, there are whispers and declarations of pain numbing through alcohol and drugs and after tomorrow we are heading in to a three day weekend. 
Pray for safety and intervention so there would be no secondary casualties as a result of the choices made in deep grief.

You may feel removed from the situation but know that your prayers are extremely effective and with them, I know the Lord will cause good to come from what the enemy is trying to use to destroy these young people.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's All About the View

In my day to day life I get to make choices....continuously.
How will I react to what is going on in and around me?
Is my mood or disposition going to be controlled by the happenings in my life or by the way I choose to react ....or better yet NOT react to them?

If you ask me how I am and I say "I am well". It is not because everything in my life is going perfectly  according to plan at that moment. It isn't because all the people I know and who know me, love me and are treating me well.

The things in my life may or may not be going well, but they are not me. 
They aren't!
I made that choice many many years ago.
I am separate from the things, people and situations around me.

Maybe I really do see through rose colored glasses....or maybe I see very clearly but have chosen to embrace the good in life and refused to let the "Stuff" get to me. 
The happenings around me and the people will change from one day to the next.
Will I allow my moods be as varied as these comings and goings?
Hopefully, not very often.

Hebrews 13:8
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever"...therefore I choose to base my disposition on that solid rock and He says I am well.

In a good heart to heart, I will not deny the circumstances that may be unfavorable surrounding me in a given season...but I will do my best to base my happiness on the good that is also surrounding me. 
The good that always out weighs the bad, it's just that sometimes the bad can crowd in so close that it is all we see.
 It is then that we must get a little higher up and look a little closer, because the view is incredible from that position.
Try getting right up cheek to cheek with God...look at what He is looking at.
Now what do you see?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Love My Country!!

Happy Easter!!!

...And THAT is what makes all the difference.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Thank You...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Do You Want a Revolution?

With Michael, you just never know.

I've posted before about the Harvest School of the Arts, run by a local church who's vision is to provide free HipHop and voice lessons to kids from the area. The girls got involved last year and loved it. This fall, they added guitar, drums and keyboard to the program; so, Mike decided to join guitar and is absolutely amazing!
That boy is full of natural talent, he hears something once and knows it, then he spends hours and hours weekly mastering it. He will actually be performing on guitar at the Spring show at the Empire Theatre, (Free, I might add, to anyone who wants to come and watch).

Mike has a few (female) friends from school that are part of the Hip Hop group and Brenda (who runs the program) was so wishing for some boys to join in. Mike had no intention of dancing, but got sucked in while he waited for his guitar lessons every Thursday night. 
He caught on so well, that he and the one other guy (there are about 40 girls in the school), ended up in the most senior group dancing a song called Revolution.

What's really neat, is the whole school entered a float and dance in the Christmas parade. They were positioned right in front of the Belleville Bulls (our local hockey team), and they asked who this group was and what they represented. They then asked them to dance during one of their intermissions. Recently the Revolution Team performed at a playoff game and did such a great job.
Michael is on the right front row in the above picture, and the very back far left in the video, (behind the girl with the black braids).
Not great quality video, but it was fun to watch them, I was a proud mama!
By the way, Revolution is a Christian based song complete with scripture quoted at the beginning...performed in public in a packed out Hockey stadium...How Cool is that?!?!?

Friday, April 3, 2009

It's Not What You Know...It's What they THINK You Know!

Those of you who know me, know I have never hidden the fact that I am somewhat computer illiterate.
I am by no means a techy girl.

I was asked about my computer skills in my interview. I was honest, letting them know I was not a techy, what I used my computer for at home and that I had used computers in my banking career; but that everything has changed since then. I also let them know that I was confident that I could be taught the programs that I would need to use in my new job.

It seems I am very convincing, as yesterday the VP that happens to be our computer whiz guy as well, came to show me a few new programs he was developing.
He was explaining why the system was set up the way that it is for those not very comfortable with computers, but was going to show me some other ways to do things because I "seemed to be VERY comfortable with computers and really knew my way around".

I have to say, I kept my poise and only giggled a little and said I did not feel very knowledgeable.

When he left, I busted up though, and immediately text ed my hubby to give him a good laugh.

I will let you in on a little secret...but you have to promise not to let this get back to my employers, who are oh so impressed at the moment.

Come on, promise me!

On my first day of work, I was finishing up and had a huge panic.

I thought and thought, I knew I could go across the hall and have my question answered, but there was NO WAY I was going to let them in on just how blond I could really be. I did the only thing I could,  called my hubby up and in very hushed tones asked him..
" How do I shut down the PC?"

Seriously! I did!
I have a MAC Notebook, no modem...oh never mind, there is really no way to make this sound like a justifiable question.
He's already had a good laugh more than once over my first day, but NOW, he is totally blackmailing me.

So the moral of the story ladies is, it really is not how smart you are. Here are some simple pointers:  carry around a notebook and write EVERYTHING down, 
 have a good friend or hubby on speed dial,
 keep your poise and smile knowledgeably 
and you'll even fool the smart ones!!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My New Job

I am officially, no longer a "Charger"...but I am a "Saint",
(at least, I try to convince my hubby of that!)

Have you ever been in a situation that seemed "ideal"? You were happy, full filled, loved the people around was good.
Suddenly, a new door opens...maybe one you'd considered, but maybe not in the way or place you'd considered it.

Now the dilemma, leave the security of what you know and are happy with or take a flying leap through the open door into the great unknown.

In a nut shell, that was my dilemma right before March Break.
I loved my job at Centennial, loved the students, the impact God was making through me, felt I worked for the ideal administration etc etc.
I had thought it would be nice to work a few more hours a day, though I'd need some variety in my day.

The door opened, everything I thought would be great, 30 hours a week, still have all my Holidays and breaks with my kids, I'd be off just before the first of my kids got home..... wasn't at Centennial, in fact, it was at their rival school!

It was the first position to be posted that I didn't have a "check" in my spirit on.
Mark felt the schedule would fit in with his work day better and wanted me to apply. We prayed that God would only have me get the job if I was to take it.

I spoke with my principal about it. He was amazing!
He was shocked and disappointed...but made it very clear that his disappointment was not IN me, it was that he didn't want to lose me.(that was HUGE for me, it made it a whole lot easier to pursue what seemed right for me).
In the next breath, he was convincing me that he appreciated my loyalty, but that I needed to do what was best for me and my family and he would put in a good word for me.

The close was on Friday, I was brought in for an interview Tuesday morning before work, found out I had the job Tuesday after work and had to tell my principal the next day so he would have all of three days to find a replacement. I was to start the Monday before March Break!
Oh my nerves!!!!

The really neat part was that I gave my principal a recommendation for my replacement. A Pastor's wife and old friend here in town, (I knew the impact a Christian can have in this position). He called her immediately and brought her in to job shadow with me the next day.
She still wanted the job and was hired on the spot!

Saying goodbye was the hardest part, the kids were sweet, (only one cried thankfully), but when they found out where I was going....I was called a few choice names, most frequently "Trader".
It was hard to walk away from something so great, not knowing what my new environment would be like.

God is so very faithful!
Although, on my first day, my new administration all but admitted to tricking me into my new position, it really is a good fit for me. At the moment, it is more of an office job than I had anticipated...actually I have my very own office to decorate and work in as I see fit.
Most of my student interaction is with the tougher cases as I deal with attendance and detention issues but they were the kids I had some of the greatest influence with in my last position.
I will say it is nice to see a much bigger deposit on pay days and the amazing benefit package saves our family over $260.00 a month alone!

Pretty much all of the first week, I felt over my head and was waiting for them to realize they had hired the wrong person, but slowly I began to realize that God knew what He was doing and therefore I could do this.

He has given me tremendous favor with the VP I work most closely with, who I might add, happens to lead the choir at her church in the county...A Christian I wonder? Hmmm, very interesting.

As I have settled in, I have had some great talks with students, but also with parents and even crying on the phone as she relayed her story.
I have tried to help, encourage and support these parents....some very desperate I must say.
I am once again, pausing to say, "Thank You Father! If it were not for your Grace and the filling of my many gaps, I could be one of these desperate parents".
I am overcome with the contrast between our lives/children and so completely in AWE of a God and Father who can work that kind of a miracle.
I am very aware that I am not "Just lucky", I am not an awesome parent, or highly skilled, I don't simply have better kids and I certainly did not learn any of this from my own upbringing...
BUT, the ONE who parents THROUGH HE is AWESOME!

To sum up this whirl wind of transition in my life, I still have good and bad days...(today was a frustrating one),
my last admin and co-workers were amazing...My new ones appear to be as well.
Is one job or school better than the other? I have come to believe the answer is "no". They are very different, but I believe I am where I am to be for this season...and I am happy.

(I miss getting to greet that one special secretary over at Centennial every day though)