March 31, 2013

Y'all come back now...

Boy would we like to. Spending the last week of March in southeast Texas is like fast forwarding to a beautiful Albertan June. We celebrated some firsts on this trip; first time away for spring break, first trip to Texas, first time seeing my brother and sis in law's new house, first whole-family holiday, and first time I ever saw so much green in March.

It is heavenly to spend a few hours on a plane, kiss the snow goodbye and bathe in sun and Texas forest (a forest which reminds me of the Limberlost). Such forest hosts a variety of creatures, and I was a little intimidated by the possibility of snakes hiding in the grass. Volunteering to mow the back lawn helped me get over the snake threat though, and the only one we saw was a little scared one at the side of a walking path. We also saw little geckos, turtles and some crazy leaf-cutter ants!

We toured the neighbourhood and gawked at beautiful brick homes surrounded by palms and flowers. My brother and his wife found a gorgeous new home in a quiet subdivision, backing onto thick forest. It was so good to see the home we had heard about and see how they are settling in to their new surroundings.

We toured the busy freeways of Houston, sprawling beaches of Galveston and quaint shops of Old Town Spring. Meghan had us dining on fabulous veggie chili and home-made cornbread, jalapeno poppers, lots of fresh fruit, and the best key lime pie ever tasted. 

Texas is far, but feels a little closer after being there. We can't wait to visit again!

more posts on our adventures to come...

March 21, 2013

This Is

quite the week...

Report cards sent out - check
Two Parent-Teacher Interview nights (resulting in two 13hr work days) - check
Speaking about the fire at an all-school chapel (K-6 plus parents, yikes!)- check
Forgetting to set the alarm one morning - check
Driving white-knuckled on icy roads to work - check

How I have depended on a greater strength and grace this week. There is no way I made it through on my own strength, no way I could have spoken coherently about the fire after two interview nights, no way I could have made it to and from work safely if it weren't for one person, 


I love him.

I love him because He gives peace in nervous moments, just the right song on the radio in the morning, and little encouragements throughout the day. I'm adding to my Thankful List;

hugs from an old friend

reading 'I'm glad you're my teacher' scrawled across the top of a spelling test

prayer with a colleague

He's there in the hard moments. There when I come to the picture of my Slave Lake school hallway in the chapel presentation, and look at the bright "Hope Is In Our Hands" mural, and I choke up and can't speak for a moment (well, more like a few moments).

This is Jesus, the Lamb of God.

He's there in the significant moments, those times where He uses my mouth and actions, though I am not worthy, to strengthen and encourage children's knowledge of Him, to build them up in faith.

This is Jesus, the Lion of Judah.

This is no 'universe', or 'zen' or 'karma' or 'mother nature'. 

This is Jesus.

"See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has triumphed... Worthy is the lamb who was slain... To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!"

March 20, 2013

Digging in

So often I find myself thinking, "if only x,y,z was removed from my life, I could function like a human being instead of a robot! I could live a balanced life". I crave times of solitude, creativity, and freedom from daily demands.

Truth is, we all enter seasons that are kind of unbalanced, seasons which do not fit our ideal juggling act of work, family, home and play. 

After taking a few months of rest and then returning to a rather hectic teaching pace, I am discovering rest in the strangest of places. 

I am discovering rest in the hectic, in a busy classroom. Have I begun to put my feet up while students work silently, angels at their desks - hardly! Somehow though, this strange sense of calm, of peace in the busy comes over my heart and I find it... rest

It is tempting to wish the circumstances causing all the demands away, but right now I can't. I'm in it and in it good. 

I am learning that sometimes I need to dig in instead of bail out. Hold on to those moments of heart-rest and drink up all the grace I can.

Thank goodness His grace is an ocean.

March 17, 2013

Painting Bison

A handy tray of watercolour paint now rests on the table, and so does a shaggy little bison (at least, my attempt at a shaggy little bison). Armed with inspiration from Pinterest, and with this photo in mind, I set out to create my own little piece of the prairies.

I cruised through Wal Mart Saturday afternoon, hunting for watercolour paints and brushes. The watercolours I had in mind were the last type I had ever used; those little hard cakes of colour sometimes adorning the kitchen table, or perched carefully on school desks during art class. Most-loved colours developed gaping holes in the middle, eventually flaking into moveable icebergs of colour. Brushes swished and scraped round and round the cakes, then scratched paper and spread pigment. This was the art-therapy I was in search of. However, there were no cakes of colour at Wal Mart. When I saw tubes of watercolour I was intrigued, and decided to give them a try. Although your brush does not swish and scrape so much in a smooth plastic palette, the simple act of painting was quite therapeutic, just the right thing for a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Have a wonderful week friends, and don't be afraid to try something new!

March 15, 2013

tucked-away thoughts

a quick little list of uplifting inspiration, drawing me out of the mounds of new fallen snow, icy roads, work demands and daily grind. i'm thankful for a weekend, thankful for the refreshing work of art and inspiration.

- something to inspire
- something to try
- something to eat 
- something to rest in
- something to read to kids
- something to listen to
- something else to listen to (love this band!)
- something to chuckle about

signing off with a favourite quote, first discovered as a wide-eyed first year student in a university English class...

"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams, wandering by lone sea breakers, and sitting by desolate streams - world losers and world forsakers on whom the pale moon gleams, yet we are movers and shakers of the world forever it seems"
'Ode' by Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy

p.s. Had I time or brain-power, I could write an entire post on my current level of functioning (or lack of), but I happened to find a well-written version of exactly how I feel over at Whiney Dawn Photography - pop over and check it out! You will laugh, smile and nod, and certainly enjoy Whitney's gorgeous photos...

Happy Weekend,

March 3, 2013

the Slave Lake Fire book, and an interview

One of these days it all comes together...

and it has,

in some ways.

"The Sky Was On Fire" Slave Lake's story of disaster, exodus and new beginnings, is now in print. My story fills pages, along with hundreds of others. 

They are pieces to a puzzle, for a heart that still grieves. Yet this brings some healing; sharing our story. It is not just mine, it is the beautiful coming together of many stories. A collective hope rising from the ashes.

You can listen to the interview with myself, Sarah Hoyles from CKUA and Len Ramsey, who along with his wife Nicola and several other contributers, had the monumental task of story gathering and publishing.

It was a long time in coming.

And now it is here.

Click here to listen to the interview and read more about the book.