Friday, 16 March 2018

Life as it is

Vacation was lovely. I saw new places, enjoyed some sunshine and warmth, and renewed my love of Caribbean coffee. Then I came home to cold and a cold. Still, I love being home, sleeping in my own bed, and being in routine.

Of course, routine was ruined with the changing-of-the-clocks last weekend. I had (mostly) defeated insomnia through a sleep routine, and going to sleep an hour earlier does not seem to be an option. I am waiting until my body adjusts; until then, I'm just tired a lot.

The day after I got home, I had a phone call from my landlord. They want to sell the condo, and they were offering it to me first. After a couple days to think, pray, and talk with my parents, I told them that I am interested in buying if the numbers work and I can get approved for a mortgage. We started the mortgage paperwork, and so far it looks good. I may be a homeowner in the not-too-distant future. The best part is not having to move.

I had friends over on Sunday. We had pizza and the kids played, mostly with Lego. When they build something they really like, I agree to leave it together until the next kids come over, which is why I have a house (with a person lying on a bed, a person at a sink, and a small motorcycle in it), an airplane, and a basketball game on a table. Since the little guy (who wasn't building with Lego) also wanted to leave something until the next people came, there is also a small knight on a horse.

There's not much else going on right now. It's March, so it's busy at work, but so far it's manageable. Spring Break will be crazier, but that's just one week followed by Easter weekend. So it's all good.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Vacation Prep Checklist

Laundry is done.

Suitcase is packed.

Books are selected.

Garbage is taken out.

Dishes are washed.

Library books are renewed.

Phone is charged.

Flights are confirmed.

Paperwork is gathered.

Plants are watered.

I think I'm ready to go.

Monday, 12 February 2018

On Being Thankful

I've been thinking a lot lately about being thankful. There are a couple Scriptures that keep coming to mind:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6

"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It's easy to give thanks when things are going well, and it's easy to give thanks for the good things. What I've been thinking about and praying about is the other stuff: about giving thanks in the bad times and for the bad stuff.

It's not that I like the bad times or the bad stuff, but if I trust God's sovereignty, and if I believe Scripture, then I have to believe that there's a purpose for all of it (even when I can't see it). Romans 8 says that God is working all things for the good of those who love Him, and that this "good" is being conformed to His Son (even when the "good" looks really "bad").

Sometimes I can see the good that is coming from the bad stuff of life. I can see how it's changing me and conforming me to be more like Christ; I can see how down the road it's working out to be better than what I had planned. Sometimes I can't see that right away, but in retrospect it becomes clear.

What I'm working on is giving thanks in the moment for the things that seem bad to me, the things that I don't like or understand. That's harder. It's also what God commands: don't be anxious, but pray with thanksgiving; give thanks in everything.

It doesn't change the circumstances, but I find that it changes me. I get a better perspective on things and remember that God is ultimately in control. I lose that anxiety and worry that would otherwise plague me and I'm more relaxed. Even if I don't understand why things are happening the way they are, I am more able to trust God for the outcome. And when I pray with thanksgiving, I find that there are things in every situation to be thankful for, things that I would have overlooked otherwise.

So I'm trying to be thankful in all circumstances. It isn't always easy, but it is an act of obedience and I have discovered that God blesses even feeble attempts to obey Him.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Just Life

I've been trying to have one of the families from the church over for some time now. We've booked twice, and each time one of the kids got sick. Yesterday we were talking about it and decided that since we were all free they would just come home with me and we would order pizza and spend the afternoon together. It was so much fun! Of course the apartment wasn't quite as tidy as I would have liked it to be, but they have four children; they didn't care about neatness. We just cared about fellowship and food and fun.

It's so cold outside, and it's been so cold for so long! I know, I know: it's winter in central Alberta; it's supposed to be cold. It's not even the cold so much as it is the very, very dry hands. I don't think there's enough lotion in the world to keep my hands moisturized when it's cold out.

It has also been snowing. It's so pretty and peaceful looking. I love the look of snow on evergreen trees.

I will be on vacation in 11 days. Mum and I are heading south on a cruise. For a week, I'll be warm. It's going to be so much fun! Mum and I travel well together; we can hang out together or do our own thing and arrange to meet up later. We have 4 ports of call. In two of them, we're doing an excursion together (although one is a short excursion and we may go our separate ways after since I'm heading for the beach at that point; Mum may or may not join me there). We have separate excursions booked for Puerto Rico: I'm doing a walking tour and learning history; Mum is doing a tour and shopping trip. The fourth port didn't have anything that we really wanted to do, so we're just going to wander around, maybe do some shopping, and just relax.

I know it's not Sunday, but it's been a while since I shared a hymn, so here's one for you:

Friday, 26 January 2018

The Ramblings of an Aunt

Small Nephew is my sister's oldest child. He is 19 years old and towers over me, so I suppose I should have accepted by now that he's not my small nephew. Still...

He was such a nice small nephew. I lived with them for a couple months when he was 2 (and his brother was only a baby). I slept on the pull-out couch in the living room, and he used to come and join me in the early mornings to watch some television on the big comfy couch. After I moved out, he came to church with me; I picked him up in the morning and we took the bus to church. Generally we would get a ride home with the pastor's family (I was living with them at the time). Once his mom asked how he got home and he said, "God gave me a ride in his van."

After I moved to Edmonton, he waited eagerly for my visits home. He tried to come up with plans so that I could stay ("If your boss in Edmonton says you don't have to come to work anymore and your boss here says you can come back to work, then you could live with me."). One evening when I was over he was snuggling with me and sighed deeply. I asked if he was sleepy, and he said, "No. I've just been waiting so long for this moment."

We had fun together, with or without his siblings. He was so much fun and interesting and always my small nephew, even as he got taller and taller.

Today, Small Nephew is grown up. He has planned to join the Air Force for years, and today he was sworn in as a member of the Canadian Forces. He looks so happy and proud and young in the pictures, and somehow at the same time so grown up. 

I'm very, very proud of Small Nephew. I'm also a bit teary-eyed at the thought of him being old enough to defend his country. I prayed for him a bit longer this morning.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

First Lines

Here are the first lines of the books that I've been reading lately (side note: I've looked at some of the older "first lines" posts and while I can remember most of the books, I can't remember all of them):

"You can ask my family and co-workers and all of them will tell you that I hate surprises."

"The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home."

"I flipped through the CT scan images, the diagnosis obvious: the lungs were mated with innumerable tumors, the spine deformed, a full lobe of the liver obliterated."

"There were no other survivors."

"Christianity is the only major religion to have as its central event the humiliation of its God."

"The problem of defining what produces laughter involves a degree of wrestling with language."

"After arriving at the port city of Alexandrian Troas on the western coast of the province of Asia, the apostle Paul saw a night vision."

"The saga of Paul's Thessalonian experience and the continuing spread of the gospel from Asia to Europe begins in Acts 17, after Paul has traveled from Philippi on his second missionary journey."

"At first I was impressed."

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

I Thought I'd Share This....

I was listening to a playlist on YouTube. It was one of those "based on this song that you like" lists that started with "Highland Hymn: Glory to the Holy One Concert" at St.Andrew's (R.C. Sproul's church). Suddenly I was listening to this:

According to Wikipedia, Tacurong is a "4th class city in the province of Sultan Kudarat, Philippines" and it has a population of 98, 316 people (or at least it did in 2015). It has 9 private schools, 48 public schools, and 1 university. Further research indicates that it has good food and inexpensive accommodations (in case the hymn inspires you to visit).