Monday, August 27, 2012

Conversation on a Plane

If you read my last blog, you know that I was recently visiting family in the big city of Toronto. To get there, I had to take two flights. My first flight was only an hour long, but it was noteworthy. I usually just pull out a book or put on my headphones and see what's playing on the TV, but I felt obligated to start a conversation with my seatmate. So I started with a simple question: "Are you going home or going to visit?" And then she started to talk. She was going home, but really, she was just going to visit. Well, really she was going there to pick up her kids cause she had just moved to the valley and they were coming to live with her...well, really, they were her grandkids because her daughter had died. Well, really her two daughters had both died and now she was just left with one son and his family. He lived in her old home community and she was looking forward to seeing him and her grandbabies.  She showed me pictures. She talked. It was quite the story and so sad, and yet, she herself wasn't sad. She had hope in the future. She had a good new marriage. She loved her grandchildren and could hardly wait to bring them home with her. She was looking forward to registering them in school and finding a new community and joining some pow wows. Before I knew it, the hour was done and she was getting off to get a different connecting flight. I gave her my phone number, saying that I knew how hard it could be to be in a new community and I had really enjoyed connecting with her and wished her well. I don't know if she will ever contact me; I doubt I would if I were her, but even the possibility would help me to not feel completely alone in a new community. So that was my experiment in being deliberate about relationships on a day when I thought I would be travelling "alone."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sisters and Marriage

I just came back from a delightful weekend with my two sisters and my parents. We were all in Toronto to celebrate my youngest sister's marriage earlier this year to a fine fellow. It was interesting to be celebrating the beginning of marriage with her while staying in a hotel room with my other sister, a relatively recent widow. One at the beginning of matrimony, the other's has ended. So we laughed and we cried. It's interesting what marriage does to a are no longer a single entity. You become one with another and things change. People change. And now the older sister is trying to begin a new life without the love of her life and we watch with joy and laughter as the younger sister who has been single for many years learns to share her life. We also watch with amazement, wonder and great thankfulness our parents who have been married 63 years! Imagine, 63 years with the same person! 63 years of deliberately being kind to the same person. 63 years of experiencing life together. My older sister thought that that's what would happen to her. But instead, her husband was taken at age 63. To end my weekend in the big city, we went to see the movie Hope Springs, a fun, explicit movie about marriage. I was glad to hurry home to my hubby after seeing that. And I am thankful that I have a good marriage, my younger sister has started a happy marriage, and I am also thankful that my older sister had a good marriage that we now mourn the end of. And all 3 of us girls look at our parents and are thankful for the model they provide.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16

I can't believe it's been 9 days since I last posted. I think it's because I didn't want to write about living deliberately because it hasn't been very successful for the past week or so. I haven't been careful in my eating, computer time or done anything greatly inspiring. I shouldn't be surprised. I have always been more motivated by extrinsic deadlines and expectations than intrinsic. But here's a brief summary of the ups and downs..

Let's start with the downers: Computer games are a great time-waster. I can sit here for hours and not think, but feel successful because I win -- a lot! But how stupid! It hasn't done anything for anyone, other than giving me eye strain.
I've eaten whatever I want, whenever I want. Granted, we don't buy junk food regularly and just because we bought some to have while camping I shouldn't feel too bad. But it was much too easy to slip into the habit of eating poorly. I've also eaten copious amounts of blueberries....maybe to overcompensate for the junk?

Good things: Gareth and I have now been married for 27 years! We are happily married and work hard at our relationship. We have had numerous conversations lately about how we want to maintain and grow our relationship. As we watch dumbfounded as friends' marriages crumble around us, we are more determined than ever to keep ours up. We are also trying to reach out to others and build a community of people to keep each other accountable.

This year we spent our anniversary attending the Creative World Festival in Mission. What a great way to challenge us in our faith and relationships. We listened to great speakers and musicians. We had stimulating conversations with people intent on living out their faith in tangible ways. It was intimidating, and as we look at possible repercussions of following through, it can be frightening. And yet, Christ did not call us to a live of ease in suburbia, but rather we are called to a life of radical submission to him and in service to those marginalized in society. On one hand, I wish I had taken notes as Peter Rollins, Joyce Rees, Joel McKerrow, Derek Webb and others spoke about what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. And yet, if I had taken notes, I would have missed what they said in the next sentence. Each one of those speakers did not say "This is the way, walk ye in it." Instead, they all shared their experiences and ideas about what it has meant to them to pursue living a Jesus-filled life. In fact, Pete was adamant that we not take his word for it and instead examine our own beliefs. He said he sometimes realizes after he has said something that really, he didn't believe that either! (ie...don't take him or yourself too seriously!)  I look forward to reading and exploring further. I do hope to share some of those explorations in this blog at a further date.

Another good thing has been deliberately encouraging Micah with his friendships. He's had two significant Christian friends this past year and both of them won't be with him in Grade 6. One is moving to Calgary; the other just going to another school in town. Micah asked whether we would be willing to take them camping with us, and so we did. What a great time we had! They had fun and we had fun. I don't know if their parents would ever allow them to come again as we let them do some adventerous things, but hey, no one ended up in hospital! And now they have some bragging rights. :) They have all experienced the "BC Moment" on the Rolley Lake waterfall trail. Don't know what I'm referring to? Guess you'll have to do the trail yourself to find out (or check out my facebook page, I do hope to post pictures!) The boys had so much fun, they continued the campout even after we came home and spent another night together. We will definitely encourage these friendships in the future, and also pray that Micah will again find friends at school that can fill this void now there.

Another good thing is that I will see my daughter on Tuesday! She has been gone since July 3rd and it has been a struggle for me to watch her struggle with her camp ministry this summer. We have skyped a few times, talked on the phone and e-mailed back and forth, but what we both need is a long hug together. And so, on Tuesday in the Calgary airport as I will be flying back from Toronto and she will be flying back from Wpg, we meet in Calgary and will hug and then fly home together from there. :)

Well, that's enough for today. Thanks for listening...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I thought it would be easier...

Honestly, I knew it would be hard, but I thought it would be easier than this. It is SO easy just to slip back into old habits...wasting time, being unmotivated and all that. I even thought watching the Olympics would help with motivation, but I guess I've finally realized that I will never be an Olympic athlete, so I shouldn't even bother trying. (For the longest time I wanted to be an Olympian... gymnastics first, then trampolining when that came out!)

The other day I said to Gareth that I would be ready to get back to work. I think I need the routine and to be busy. That helps with not wasting don't have time to waste! But this year I won't be working full-time, at least not at first. (I guess it's bad to hope the other teacher goes back on complete stress leave, huh?) So how will I spend the 1 or 2 days of not working? I used to do that all the time and loved it. I cleaned house, I visited, I read, I cooked, I volunteered....but somehow with working full-time the last few years, those things have sort of disappeared. I want to get them back.

What motivates you? How do you stick with a plan?

Today my plan is to go work out, and then I have some cleaning jobs I want to do: cleaning the screen doors, taking care of the receipts, bills, and bank statements that sort of pile up after I do the accounting (somehow they just never end up filed!) and then I should call my great Aunt. She's lonely and reprimanded me rather severely last time I saw her about not calling enough. I also have a great new book to read (at least I'm hoping it's great...I haven't read it yet!).

Have a good day...look forward...stay strong!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A few days in...

I'm discovering it's not so easy to just put aside old habits and take up new ones. I had hoped it would be, but knew inside that it wouldn't be. Shucks!

Good things: I deliberately drove by Starbucks without stopping for my new favourite drink (double chocolately chip frappe) yesterday as it was just before supper time and I shouldn't spoil my appetite! (Remember telling that line to your kids??)
I came home from working out today and saw Micah on the computer. Rather than just going up for a shower, I instead asked him if he wanted to play a game of badminton out on our lawn. He did! And my workout continued for another hour, including both on court play and off court searching for the birdie in the fauna and flora that surrounds our lawn.
I have gone to work out every day so far! I wish it would result in some pounds or inches lost...but I guess I need to combine that with discipline in the eating area...
I've started making a list of jobs to do. On there go the things I should do, but I only think of them when I can't do them. Like, looking at the light fixture during dinner and realizing it really needs to be cleaned. So I put it on my list and now I'm trying to refer to that list during the day.

Not so good: I still find it too easy to spend time in front of the computer screen. I love playing computer games (good thing we don't have a game system in the house!), and can easily spend an hour playing a mindless solitaire game of some sort. I can also spend lots of time checking facebook, email, and all the other blogs I'm following....All of these can be good things, but done so frequently, it has become a simple time waster.

So that's my report in for August 1. :) Thanks for coming along and encouraging me in this journey.