Saturday, 30 January 2010

Study Clutter

See, this is why I have to live alone: when I'm in the depths of trying to finish course work, I spread everything out everywhere, and I don't like cleaning it all up until I'm done. I'd rather have everything in place so that when I get home or when I have a few spare moments, I can just get to work. Since my kitchen/dining room/living room is really all one big room (well, there is a counter dividing the kitchen from the living room, but it's still an open area) you can see all the clutter at once!

Right now, my dining room table is covered in World Religions books, including an open binder and textbook, ready for me to return to work. There's also a pencil case spilling pencils and pens out onto the table, a roll of tape, and an open pencil box with pencil crayons. On the wall behind the table is a New Testament timeline that I'm slowly filling in.

The coffee table in the living room has all the books for the two Bible studies I'm involved in, which means there are three notebooks, a Bible study book and study guide, and a commentary on Romans (and usually there's a Bible there as well).

The desk (which is between the dining room table and the couch, in that space I call the office) usually has the laptop on it along with various bits of paper that need my attention; however, often enough the computer ends up on the desk chair (okay, the dining room chair that I use as a desk chair) so that I can use it when I'm sitting on the floor.

The floor is the worst. All the other places you would at least expect to see books (well, you would if you know me at all!). The thing is, I like working on the floor; in fact, that's where I am now as I type this. I was researching feasts in the gospels and Acts for NT Chronology until I decided I'd found enough of them. Anyway, NT Chronology requires a lot of research in a lot of different books to answer the questions (and fill in the timeline), and that's the course I work on in the middle of the floor. I am currently surrounded by: one open binder, 2 stacks of notes printed off the computer, 11 books, one pencil (no wait, that's actually behind my ear right now), one pencil sharpener, and, somewhere in there, I know there's a pen. Oh, and there's a bag of goldfish crackers., if you want to visit, all I ask for is fair warning so I can at least stack up the books and make it look tidier!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

A Round-up of Thoughts

First, thank you to everyone who voted for Emily. She made it into the final 6; from there all we know for sure is that she was the runner-up (she got the gift card for Chapters, not the computer), so I've declared her to have come in second!

I've been exchanging emails with a couple guys in my classes at Masters. Most of our talk is about what courses we're taking this winter and what we want to take in the summer (the winter talk is encouragement and advice; the summer is an attempt to be at the school at the same time). Some of it slips into weather talk, though; one guy is from California, so when it's around freezing there he's adding layers and longing for spring. I'm trying to explain how when it's around freezing here we're shedding layers and it feels like spring!

Life has been busy, with work and school. Work has settled down some, despite losing a teacher to the lure of the south, warmth, and school. I'm actually working fairly normal lengthed days and I can finally take the days off that I'm owed! School just goes on and on and on....

My Bible Study is starting in on Romans this week. I've been asking for Romans for a couple years, whenever we were ready to start a new study, and until now the teachers have said no. I'm very, very happy now; plus, it gave me a reason to buy MacArthur's Romans commentaries! It's a good life.

Finally, may I recommend that you all head over to read Linde's blog. Granted, most of you don't know Linde, but she's one of the college studens in my church and she's studying in Israel for the semester, lucky girl!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

As If They Haven't Been Through Enough

A couple years ago, my brother-in-law Brad was injured, leaving him off work for a long time. My sister Patty eventually had to find a job outside the home (for the first time since she became a mom), leaving the kids in daycare for the first time ever. Eventually Brad was able to go back to work, although not to his old job in a nursing home. Instead, they both work at a call centre. They adjusted and coped and things were getting better.

All through December they had furnace troubles, with the furnace going off regularly and the house getting cold and the company not helping much. And then, just when that seemed fixed, they woke up to the sound of the carbon monoxide alarm going off. They got out of the house and everyone recovered nicely and they got a new furnace. And things seemed to be going well.

And now... they just learned that on March 31 the call centre is closing and both Patty and Brad will be unemployed. Please, pray for them and for new jobs. And for the kids, since this may be another big adjustment for them (it may not; if Patty and Brad get jobs right away, they may not even notice). God is good, always, and He has a plan, always, even if we don't see it, and He will see them through this too. I know that as sure as I know anything. Still, while I sit here far away from them writing this, my heart is hurting for them and I wish I could make it all okay. But all I can do is pray, and ask you to pray too.

And, baby sister, in case you haven't figured it out: I love you, and if I could be there, I would.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

I'm Not Quite Sure How it Happened....

...but it seems I'm hooked on SciFi classics. A co-worker has mentioned that great SciFi Christmas classic: "Santa Conquors the Martians" and I was able to borrow it this year. It came in a set of 50 classic SciFi movies, so I've been watching some of them over the holidays while studying. They combine generally bad acting, impossible story plots, less scientific knowledge than even I possess (although in their defense, most of the movies are 40-50 years old, and the newest are from the '80s), and spaceships and martian outfits that look like a group of high school students made them. It sounds terrible, right? Ah, but they're so bad, they tend to be great viewing! Although the women tend to be either cruel despots or wimps who scream and swoon a lot (or both, in some cases).

Let me give you an example of one of the movie descriptions. This is from "The Sons of Hercules: The Land of Darkness." The sons of Hercules were, according to the theme song, "men as men should be," which I think means that they rescued beautiful damsels, fought lions bare-handed, and defeated entire armies on their own. At no time, however, did they manage to find where they had left their shirts. Anyway, here it is:

"Hercules falls for the daughter of a deposed king whose kingdom is held in thrall by an evil queen. The Queen captures our hero and orders him torn apart like a wishbone by wild elephants. He survives and the queen falls for him, but he is true to his love. The queen's subjects rise up in arms and her realm is engulfed in a volcanic eruption. Somewhere along the way Hercules and his chubby comic companion fight off lions, bears and an angry dragon."

Seriously, people, how could you resist? It's 81 minutes of pure entertainment!

Friday, 1 January 2010

The New Year

And so another year is over. It's been an interesting year all around, and many people are happy it's over. It's funny; January 1st is a rather arbitrary time to start the new year (and as a teacher I always feel that the year starts in September), and today looks much like yesterday, but it for many people it feels like a new start and maybe this year will be different, better somehow. I don't know. The old year wasn't all that bad for me and yet I too was tired and ready for it to be over. Maybe it's just the feeling of starting over, getting another chance to do things right or at least better, combined with the wonder of what this year will bring.

Lately I've been learning about finding more joy in the Lord, about how amazing it is that He has chosen me and forgiven me and that I belong to Him forever. That God looks upon me with love, with mercy and compassion, always. And it makes me want to know Him more and serve Him fully and rejoice.

The Bible study I belong to has been memorizing scripture together and over the holidays we've been learning Psalm 4. I'll leave you with the last 3 verses, the ones that have been bringing me the most amazement and joy lately:

"Many are saying, 'Who will show us any good?'
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, mane me to dwell in safety."