Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Children’s Musical: The Greatest Gift

The Children's Christmas musical has become an annual event at New Hope, this was my fourth year directing the production (is that the right word for the event? Someone took issues with my use of it two years ago and now I hesitate to use it at all, but what else fits?). The only difference was this year, for the first time ever, we did the whole thing twice in two back-to-back morning services on December 13th. It was a long day.


I forgot to have my camera ready so I had no pictures. Thankfully there were moms watching who eternally captured the children on digital cameras and loaded the images and videos onto facebook. I can't figure out how to show the videos here. But you can see three of the songs on my page.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry


Boxing Day!
The Christmas season has been wonderful.

I flew from Halifax to Ottawa on the 20th. There was a small delay due to weather but not a big setback.


The 21st we did some family Christmas shopping. I had everyone's gift but was still spending.


The 22nd Lee-Ann and I saw The Princess and the Frog (I'll give a review in the new year if anyone is interested).


The 23rd I had a lunch reunion with one of my dearest high school friends. It was wonderful!


The 24th was a mix of more shopping, picking up Aunt Beth, a beautiful Christmas Eve service, and late night gift wrapping (and the discovery that I had left some gifts at home in NS).


The 25th we did the morning Christmas thing, ate breakfast, packed in a rush, and was driving to Hamilton 30 minutes earlier than planned. After checking in to the hotel we joined the whole Stewart family for a wonderful restaurant Christmas meal.


And that's been my Christmas. Hope yours has been as joyful.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ten Days Later

I find getting back into a routine after the slightest disturbance difficult. Organization is not my strength to begin with. Add an all-nighter, youth event, or even a simple weekend away and my already poorly organized life spinning out of control. I cannot begin to explain the havoc NaNoWriMo has on order and routine.

Therefore Post-November is all about recovery. Taking a break from writing and breaking bad habits. This was my third year participating and I developed new bad habits 1)drinking too much caffeine 2) eating out/fast food or only buying microwavable meals 3) clutter. That is the bad side of nanowrimo.

The good side: I’m ready to write again. Other than work related writing this is the first writing I’ve done since NaNoWriMo ended. But I am ready to start working on my story, more than that I want to work on it. This is the first time in my nano experience that I still liked my story idea post-event. My 2010 plan…actually edit “Across Eldamar.”

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

NaNo WINNER!


I did it! Now for a happy dance and than sleep.
December 14 the editing starts.

NaNoWriMo Song

While avoiding writing the conclusion I found this…there was a link on the nano home page.
The lyrics totally follow the emotional highs and lows of the past month, especially the plot holes, lack of a social life, and the huge amounts of consumed caffeine.

Lyrics:
Did you ever want to write a novel
A lot of people want to write a book
So sit down and focus cause it's November
and I'm gonna write a freaking book

Verse 1:
It's only sixteen-sixty seven words a day
given up your social life and stay indoors
and forget about your grades, your boyfriend, and your job
Do it later, 'cause now I need to write a thousand words

Hit twenty thousand words and I'm feeling awesome
Man I should make writing my career
My main characters have chemistry, my setting is believable
Think I'm going to win this year
Really think I'm going to win this year

Chorus
Verse 2:
I just passed thirty thousand words - I'm feeling pretty lowneed inspiration but I really just have none
I just realized I have plot holes and my writing really sucks
Can you remind me why I thought this would be fun
I powered through to forty and I'm nearing the end
I'm at the climax and this part is really radit's mixture of relief, perseverance. and caffeine
and just little touch of going mad
and just little touch of going mad

Bridge:
Wanna go see a movie?
I can't, I'm writing
There's this really sweet party
I can't, I'm writing
You've been in your room all day
Don't care, I'm writing
Girl this can't be healthy
Shhh. I'm writing.

Not There...Yet

But some of my friends are:
I still have 2,770 words to write before midnight.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Knit Day

After seeing the Advent Conspiracy video last year I made a personal commitment to make most of my Christmas presents this year. I've been knitting most of them. Some of the girls at Kidsworld saw what I was doing and asked if I could teach them to knit so today we had a knitting class.

Today was our "knit day" I taught some basics that would enable them to make a dish cloth. It was a lot of fun. I had one experienced knitter to help with the instructions, three adults and three younger girls all wanting to learn to knit. Everyone seemed to enjoyed it and some even asked if I would have a follow up knit day in January. The best line was:

“Rome wasn’t built in a day; neither was a dish cloth.”
–Knit Day Participant

Thursday, November 26, 2009

On This Day

This year, I’ve been really nervous about the word count. I’ve felt behind the daily word count goals since the first weekend. At times I’ve been as much as 16,000 words behind. So today I did some comparing.

November 26, 2007 -45,116 words
November 26, 2008 -29,945 words
November 26, 2009 -36,822 words

My word count isn’t as great as my first year but it is definite better than last year. I feel hopeful about winning and I am just 13,178 words away from reaching the 50,000 with four more days to write.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thought of the Week

My church sends out a weekly eBulletin that includes a thought of the week. It was my turn to wrote it so this is what I said:

Life doesn’t always go the way we expect or plan. We have all had moments when the world came crashing in around us or it felt like the darkness had taken over. For the past eight weeks we have been looking at choices that bring healing in these struggles. We’ve discovered the importance of friends and community. That God has created us for relationships and interaction with others. This is the idea and vision behind our church’s Life Groups, that people connect, share needs, and support each.

We need people but people also need us. God’s plan for showing the world his love is us, the body of Christ. We are to “be Jesus to a hurting world.” Not just the church as an organization but you and me as people. Today, right now, you know people in need. God cares about them and their needs. He wants to use you to be Jesus to them through action. He might be nudging you to give, to share, or to listen. Are you listening or are you too busy to notice?

During my five month internship in Swaziland, Africa I attempted to learn the siSwati. One of my language tutors told me that siSwati does not have a word for “busy.” He had explained that culturally there was no need because no one was ever “too busy” for another person. People and their needs are never considered an interruption but an opportunity to connect. People matter before everything else.

That is how I want to live, as if the word “busy” does not exist in my language. There are so many things that distract and keep me busy especially with Christmas approaching. I want to put people first, to make them a priority, and show them Christ’s love with my actions. Being Jesus in this hurting world is going to look different for each of us. It may mean putting off making house renovation in order to meet a neighbour’s financial need. It could mean missing the hockey game in order give your time to someone. It may mean giving up your plans to be there for a friend. It could be send a card, pick up the phone, or making a batch of cookies. It could be giving a hug or lending a shoulder to cry on. Or it might mean that you share your story and speak the truth of what Jesus has done in your life. Being Jesus will look different for each of us but it will all communicate love.

Today ask God to show you who you can be Jesus to and how you can meet their needs.
Pastor Liz

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Writing, Radio, Video

I hate writing. Hates a strong word, I dislike writing. Writing brings up negative past emotions inadequate and failure. Over time, I’ve nurtured a habit of avoiding writing even when I need or want to. Then why am I participating in this insane monthly challenge known as NaNoWriMo? I like to tell stories and I enjoy sharing. Writing have become a great avenue for me communicate stories. I’ve even learned to enjoy it. I might even love it which sounds paradoxical to me. This love/hate relationship has really hurting my word count but I am back on track and NaNoVideo has helped:

I miss wrimoradio. It was my favourite way to procrastinate the previous two nano experiences. They were neat podcasts that included tips, songs, funny quotes, and sound bites from writers around the world. I miss wrimoradio but have accepted the new nanovideo.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Joyful Re-Finding

A few years ago I stumbled upon Liana’s Journal, where she would post beautiful colour outfits for a paper dolls she designed. Not as weird as it sounds. Only I found the site after she stopped updating it. I enjoyed the designs and creativity but was sad that there was nothing new. I even checked back a few times to see if she had added anything. It was always the same till I just stopped looking.

Then today when I was searching for something else I found her new paper doll project. The drawings are amazing! I love them. I also love all the different things that inspire her. There are outfits inspired by Dollhouse, Firefly, Battlestar Galatica, Twilight, Ponyo, and Harry Potter (all things I love/enjoy). There are 1800s dress and some with fairy and mermaid themes. Then there is a whole section of outfits designed from red carpet evetns, books, and her everyday life. I am so happy with my re-find. It is a good day.

Plus I’m at 27,124 words (only 22,876 to go in 8 days...it's possible, right?!)!

The dress you see is one of Liana's many designs. The dress based off of Goldberry’s initial description in the Fellowship of the Ring.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

20,000


Happy Dance...and then back to writing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Space Cowboy" (Small Joy for Firefly/Serenity Fans)

Last night after Rally in the Valley Andy Scott and I were catching up, he had been the guest speaker and did an awesome job. When I got a text from a friend saying Serenity was on SyFy (Thanks Aaron!). I love and still miss Firefly. So Andy asked if I had seen the recent Halloween episode of Castle. I hadn’t. He recommend I search for “Castle Firefly” on youtube. This is what I found:

For those of you who watched the 35 second clip and just don’t get it, Richard Castle’s (Nathan Fillion) "space cowboy" costume is suspiciously like the one that his character Mal Reynolds wore on the show “Firefly” which aired five years ago. And no it is not time “to move on”.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Half Time Plan

I don’t watch football. I’ve seen one full game once and a few Super Bowl kick offs, and that is it. I know very little about the sport and most of what I do know comes from sports movies like Remember the Titans or Facing the Giants.

But what I have learned is that half time is key. If you’ve ever seen one of these underdog to victor sports movies (my favourite as a kid was the first Mighty Ducks not football but fun) the “loser” team makes it to the big championship and does horrible in the first half. At half time, while the school band does their thing, the coach is in the locker room giving a very inspiring speech and everything changes (plus someone is hurt and the team is "doing it for him").

Sometimes there is a brilliant new play that relies on the teams unique qualities. The second half is nail biting, edge of your seat action, waiting to see how the team will win (Spoiler: Coach Carter is the only exception I’ve seen to this model).


Today is the NaNoWriMo half time. The band is on the field playing classic video game themes and I’m in the locker room feeling defeated.

The word count goals are killing me. I should be at 25,000 and I'm not. I’m down 14,000 words. But I will not be overcome. I will fight back. NaNo Victory is still a possibility. "I've worked to hard to give up now!" It might mean hours spent at coffee shops, new crazy plot twists, having my main character break out in to song causing me to include pages of lyrics, and buckets of coffee and other caffeine enriched drinks. I don’t even like coffee –but I’ll take one for the team.

If you have any encouraging advice on how write 50,000 words before 11:59pm November 30 are possible please leave a comment. This is where I’m at right now:
Word Count: 11,892

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mark Of The Beast and Other Marks

Tonight, while in the editing function of blogger, I realized that my previous post (Dealing With Loss) was my six hundred and sixty-sixth post. That’s right; the last post was number 666 – the mark of the beast. So I have concluded that Matthew was indeed correct in his “Pin The Tail On The Anti-Christ” series (it is from “way back” in 2005, what a fun series).
The Anti-Christ is indeed suspect number 3 –Bill Gates.*

More noteworthy, yesterday was To Write Love On Her Arm Day. I participated:
From the Facebook Page:

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.
To Write Love On Her Arms Day is a day where anyone can write the words love on their arms, to support those who are fighting against depression and those who are trying to recovering. On this day, just write love on your arms,and show it off, other people will ask why you have love written on your arms,and you tell them you are supporting to write love on her arms day, and how its benefiting a nonprofit organization helping stop depression, and make love the movement ♥

Writing the word love on your arm isn’t an earth shaking world change (even when done with a permanent marker) but small acts can have surprising impact. 25,497 pictures have been uploaded to the event page. Not all of them were of arms with “love” but they are the majority are. Participating gave me the opportunity to talk with a number of people mostly parents of adolescences of the struggles many youth face in regards to self-injury, addiction, depression, and suicide.

* For those with no sense of humour or believe me to be without a sense of humour I am kidding and the fact that I feel the need to state that I am kidding may in fact prove that I have no (or little) humour in me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dealing With Loss

It is 3:55am...and I am currently going through the five stages of grief. I am mostly see-sawing between anger and bartering. I've had a bit of them all with the exception of acceptance; I'm expecting that will happen sometime tomorrow (if I hit 18,000 words).

Disclaimer: My deepest apologies to anyone who is dealing with the loss of a loved one, a relationship, or even a beloved goldfish. In the light of your loss mine is much smaller. I do not mean to belittle or mock your sadness. Here is my story:

I am in the middle of week two of NaNoWriMo and all that that means. Week two is the hardest week to write. The energy and exuberance of starting has worn off, so has the caffeine buzz, and the surge high. Week two is when everything crashes. You hate your plot, the main character, and everything you’ve written. All you want to do is delete everything or quit. It is a challenge to push through, ignore the inner-editor, and keep writing. This week had historically also been tough for me because I am recovering from Boos-ounter. Since the weekend I’ve been behind in word count. Today the gap between what I had written and what I should have had grown to more than 6,000 words. Today’s plan was to catch up and I was doing good and I was saving throughout the day.

Tonight I am at the church with Inn From the Cold. I thought it would be a great chance to write. I had good word growth. While I was have a short break (celebrating reaching a word mile stone) my computer randomly decided to update itself. It shut down and all progress I made today is lost. I’ve looked for the auto-saves and backed up files...gone. I was hoping that when I reopened word it would have a “this file was recovered”...nope. All brilliance (and crap) written today is lost to the digital void. 2,000+ words gone. I am in shock...I am angry...I have tried to reason with the computer...I have threatened to throw it out the window...sadly I haven’t found my words. They are just GONE!

Please do not let yourself become a victim. If you are a wrimo, if you are working on a paper or writing a sermon...save your document. Now!



Word Count: was at 13,605 now at 11,563 (look at the word drop)

P.S. In this moment, right now, this is the closest I have ever come to "throwning in the towel" and just stopping. Why bother?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thankful Thursday

1) Words
2) Warm Beds
3) Sleep
4) Inspiration
5) Canned Nestea
6) New families at church
7) Volunteers

Word Count: 6724

Monday, November 02, 2009

I dream in 1,667 words

The wait is over, November is here, and the words have begun to fly. It is time again for NaNoWriMo but what is NaNoWriMo? I am glad you asked:

Every November, tens of thousands of people take on NaNoWriMo’s challenge of writing a 50,000-word novel in thirty days. It’s an anti-contest writing contest, where the judges are missing, the prizes are lousy, and writers and non-writers alike have the time of their lives bashing out surprisingly unhorrible books in an absurdly short amount of time. –A NaNoWriMo Poster
This is my third year participating and first time as a municipal liaisons (which means I organize the local chapter of nano writers, plan writing events, and a post contest party). Hopefully this year will also bring about my third nano win. If you're interested in joining the fun there is still time to sign-up just visit the website.

At the moment I am focusing on meeting the daily word goal of 1667 and attempting a personal daily goal of 2000 words. So far I've meet those goals two days in a row. I did a happy dance to celebrate and then remember there are still 45,998 words to put into some coherent order.

Word Count: 4002

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trunk Help

I had announced there was a prize for the best theme decorated trunk. Last year no one did a think with my offer. This year some went all out (I was happily surprised). These were the top four trunks. Some of them the details aren’t apparent in the pictures but there the best I’ve got:








Which one has your vote?

Meatball Cupcakes


After Heidi helped me with Trunk or Treat, I helped her prepare “meatball cupcakes” to go with her weather woman “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs” costume. I loved her creativity.

Dropping her off at her shine dig I meet the Kool-Aid Man.


Trunk or Treat Underwater

Tonight was our annual trunk or treat with an underwater twist. It was awesome this year. Outside were the cars ready with candy. Inside we had a bounce castle (it was actually a monster truck bouncer) in the foyer, a giant dark maze in the sanctuary, and downstairs a number of theme related games. At least 20 families participated (a few choose not to register/have their picture taken) and tons of fun.

Oh and I was an octopus –with blue hair. Thank you to Heidi who spent most of the day making the costume.

The Octopus


Blue Hair




Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday

1) Sleep
2) Medical Clinics
3) Meds
4) Good Health –easy to forget how wonderful a normal day is until you’re too sick to get out of bed for two or three
5) Friends support
6) My mom

Attack of the New Meds

Cold, flu, and general sickness is in the air. Everyone I know is either sick, getting sick, or getting over being sick. I’ve had a slow progressing cough for two weeks but Monday all memories of good health disappeared. Wednesday, I visited a local clinic. Good news –not the flu, the fever had broke, and they gave me a new inhaler.

Last night I used it for the first time right before bed. The right before bed part of taking medicine was the mistake. Crazier dreams than if I had pepperoni just before visiting dream land. Weird the things affect sleep.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sad Children's Pastor

Have you ever visited post secrets? It is an ongoing community art project. How it works people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard. Some secrets are funny, some incredibly person, and some just make me want to cry. When I first discovered the site I loved it but I’ve stopped visiting because it was pulling me down.

Today when I was cleaning my blogger drafts I found these secrets I had saved over a year ago because both secrets saddened and concerned me. A year later I have the same reaction.


I'm an agnostic who works it a church nursery every Sunday. I had to sign the application for the job saying that I have been baptized even though I haven't,but I love those kids and I don't regret it one bit. -quoted on post secrets

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Super Mario Awesomeness

While hanging with Gina tonight I wanted to show her the socks I am making so I logged onto Ravelry. Then I tried to re-find a neat project to show her. In the searching in process we found this AMAZING blanket. Knitting and crochet isn't normally considered cool -but this is. It is the best of gaming and knitting combine.


The creator designed the pattern herself and then made the blanket for her husband. Its a huge project, big enough for a queen (king) size bed and so detailed. LOVE it! Its increased my desire to learn to crochet. You can find more here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rate the Fun: Dominion

Dominion is a fast paced card game by Donald X. Vaccarino and published by Rio Grande Games. Players begin with an identical, very small deck of cards. In the middle of the table are "Kingdom” cards that can "bought" depending on the hand drawn. How you use your hand and what you choose to buy effects the deck you build. You are attempting to create the most efficient method of “buying” precious victory points to win the game.

What I love about the game is the possibilities. Every time you play the game dynamics could be completely different based on the action cards you choose. The box includes 25 different action cards but you only put ten of these out. You could use one of their suggested games or make a random deck. It is also one of the quicker games I play (30min), is easy for newcomers to pick up, and popular with most people who has played it. It won Spiel des Jahres 2009 (the German Game of the Year Award same award as Settlers in 1995) and nine other gaming awards (credit: boardgamegeek.com). From the back of the box:
"You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams! You want a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of trees. You want a Dominion! In all directions lie fiefs,freeholds, and feodums. All are small bits of land, controlled by petty lords and verging on anarchy. You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner.

"But wait! It must be something in the air; several other monarchs have had the exact same idea. You must race to get as much of the unclaimed land as possible, fending them off along the way. To do this you will hire minions, construct buildings, spruce up your castle, and fill the coffers of your treasury. Your parents wouldn't be proud, but your grandparents would be delighted."


The Game Set Up

The Scores:
Dominion = 8.8

The Rate the Fun Scale:
10 = Outstandingly Awesome Game; Always want to play it and I expect this will never change.
9 = Excellent Game; Always want to play it.
8 = Very good game; I like to play. Probably I'll suggest it and I'll never turn down a game.
7 = Good game; Usually willing to play.
6 = Okay game; There is some element of fun or challenge; will play sporadically if in the right mood.
5 = Fair game; Slightly boring, take it or leave it.
4 =Not so good; It doesn't get me but I could be talked into it on ccasion.
3 = Bad; Likely won't play this again but could be convinced.
2 = Extremely annoying game; Won't play this ever again.
1 = Clearly broken; You won't catch me dead playing this.

Thankful Thursday

Seven blessings and joys that I am thankful for this week:

1) the youth leadership team
2) donated cardboard boxes
3) community meals
4) Heidi’s help with my costume
5) motivation
6) game orders arriving7) being accepted as an ML for Nano

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Eleven Days

I love the fall. It isn’t just the crisp air, fresh apples, or the changing leaves. It is more than the justification that knitted creations are warm, beautiful and needed. The fall means November and another chance to push myself to write a novel.

I love everything about National Novel Writing Month or (nanowrimo). Extra bonus -this year I am a ML for OLL, yay! Before last year’s challenge had ended I was dreaming about a 2009 plot. It was outlined and prepared. Until one fateful night in August while standing in the line for stale popcorn I reached into my pocket and pulled out a tile from my favourite board game “Elfenland” when a dread plot bunny hopped into my head.

I’ve followed this white rabbit into a new world that I am enjoying discovering and am looking forward to writing the characters adventures. Of the three years I’ve participated in nanowrimo this had to be my favourite story idea yet. The writing begins in eleven days.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Why is it the youth nights I am the most excited for seem to leave me the most drained, upset, and feeling like a failure? At least the Thankful Thursdays helps me shut off the negative brain talk. These are my joys:

1) Friends you can call on bad days –thanks Steph

2) Action-people. Sunday was a church pizza party. We had a inflatable castle. The power went out in the middle of the service. A volunteer’s husband left as soon as it happened, drove to work, asked to borrow their generator and had it in time for the children to bounce! It was awesome.

3) The leaves changing colour

4) The anticipation of NaNoWriMo

5) XP3 by reThink

6) Missions newsletter updates

7) Invitations for lunch

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Inconvenient Thinking

I’ve been struggling with my thought process lately; it seems to be working against me. It’s not what I am thinking that’s the problem but more when I am thinking. All my good ideas come to me at the wrong times. It’s been things like:

-coming up with bloggable ideas when I am driving or at home (no internet)
-thinking about ministry projects when I am suppose to be on personal time
-great plot developments for my story when I’m at work
-being flooded with ideas right before bed
-remembering errands when the store is closed

Often the ideas are neat and get me energized which then distracts me from what has to be done. I tried carrying a notebook with me which worked except when I was driving and until I forget the notebook. It’s very frustrating.

Friday, October 02, 2009

In The News

I’m not a newsaholic. I miss most headlines. Once and while (when I stay up late enough) I might catch a satirical version of the news on the Daily Show but I don’t think that counts. However today was different. Today I indecisive about which CD to listen to so instead my car played CBC radio. A few of the stories caught my attention. My headline has a link to the CBC article.

The Value of a Life: I had just turned my car on when the announcer was explaining, “In exchange for the video, the first visual proof that Sgt. Gilad Schalit is alive, Israel freed 19 Palestinian female prisoners earlier today.” Schalit has been a prisoner of war for three year. Hamas is asking that the Israeli government release 1200 prisoners in exchange for the Schalit. As I listened the thought that grew was “so Hamas thinks an Israeli soldier’s freedom is 1000 times more valuable than a Palestinian life.” I know that is not the intent of the demand but that is how I interpreted it.

Election Won By Draw: Yay for the democratic process but when that doesn’t work games of chance are the next best option? The radio had the returning major state, “I am very happy with the results.” Not sure of their source but I would be too. The loser who had won by two ballots before the recount is speaking to lawyers.

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black: The summer Nova Scotia had a provincial election because NDP and Liberals defeated a motion that NDP member Graham Steel called "poor fiscal planning." Today the new NDP majority government is doing what they defeated former Tory government. So really nothing has changed -the members of government just 10-million dollar game of musical chairs.

2016 Olympic Host: When I caught the story this morning the vote was still known. I was hoping Rio de Janeiro would earn the bid. It would be the first time the Olympic Games were held in South America. CBC said, “To enhance its bid, Rio brought its own superstar to the showdown — Pele, the widely acknowledged "King of Soccer." He reminded voters this was the fourth time Brazil has tried for the Olympics, and the people of his country support the effort at the grassroots level.” They are celebrating in Brazil because Rio will be the 2016 host city.

Site Launch: National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo) is 30 days way. The new site is up and running since yesterday. Anyone interested in participating in this exhilarating writing experience can sign up today. (This fact wasn’t heard on CBCradio but it is still true and the link with take you to www.nanowrimo.org).

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Remembering Toronto

First week of August eight youth and three adults from my church flew to Toronto for a week of adventure and ministry with Youthworks. I’m preparing for a group reunion next week and realized that I never blogged about the trip.

It was everything you’d expect from a short term trip –new experiences, different foods (for us it was bubble tea), very little sleep, high emotions, God experiences, new friendships, struggles, and just the right mix of surprises. This is what stood out:

  • Surprise leader switch three days because of medical reasons.

  • Waiting in the airport 8 hours because the new male leader was Scott, my boss and Sr. Pastor who had to preach before flying to Toronto. We didn’t leave because our rental van needed the license class Scott has (and I don’t) to drive.

  • Street walk organized by a downtown shelter and lead by a former addict who shared his experience and the realities of life on the streets.

  • Spending two nights (Tues and Fri) in the hospital with one my students. She’s okay now and the trouble was caused by a preexisting condition.

  • My ministry site, St. Jude’s Academy of the Arts which is a is a non-profitable organization that reinforces academic programs for "special needs" adults ages 18 and over. Working with the students there was the best part of the whole week.

Below you’ll find some pictures from the trip

Youthwork


The Whole Group

New Hope Team in Toronto

Waiting in the airport


The Glass Floor of the CN Tower

Visiting St Jude's

Face Painting

Dancing

Rock, Paper, Scissors Winners!

Starting Is The Hard Part

I've started the second sock. More accurately, I’ve started the next sock more that six times. The first four times the cast on stitches didn’t go right. When I finially finished a round realize I wasn’t following the pattern. The next issue was not I kept having stitches slip off. I am not sure why by starting a new project is the hardest part of knitting for me. I feel like a frog –rip it, rip it (not my joke ravelry forums call ripping out stitches frogging).
After two days of false starts the sock is underway (I hope). Since I now know I can knit a sock the knitting updates will be less frequent.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

50% Finished

The pattern has been found. It was hiding under books on my night stand. The funny thing is I don’t knit in my bedroom; maybe the cats moved it. Once it was found I was able to finish one half of a pair of socks. If the second sock takes the same amount of time the set should be done by October 7th.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Project Update -Decreasing Begins

The title would be more accurately read “Decreasing Should Begin.” Decreasing and in turn finishing the sock has been put on hold. I’ve misplaced the pattern. I have a good idea where it might be…maybe. I had another set back today. I think I’ve made the socks a size too small. And to any knitter who might be tisking over not doing and swatch or “being to garage” I did a swatch and that is not the issue. The socks size are correct for the pattern I was wrong on the future owners show size. Maybe they’ll stretch or something.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Project Update -Heel Cap

I learned how to turn out a heel yeasterday. It turned out well, at least I think so.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Project Update -The Heel

It doesn't look like much but I started the heel today. The instructions are intimidating but I am pressing on. My first ever sock is half done.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday

The last Bowl of Stew(art) Thankful Thursday was mid-June. Without even noticing the weeks slipped by and next I knew it was mid-September and I was out of thanksgiving practice. Nothing cataclysmic has happened without the weekly thanksgiving but my general outlook has been…hmm…less? So I am returning to my roots. Seven good things to reflect the week:

1) Morning prayer with the girls (only downside is waking up earlier)
2) New projects
3) Story ideas
4) People who volunteer without being asked
5) TV night
6) Coffee with mentors who have become equals
7) True creative criticism

Next Project Update


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Project Update


New Socks On the Go

Shops that sell wool, yarn, and other knittable fibers are my temptation and salvation…my bane and my muse…my guilt and my joy. They make it hard to say no.

I’ve been on knitting hiatus since May. This is partly due to the busy nature of summer, partly because it is hard to think of winter needs in warm months, but mostly because I misplaced the sock pattern I wanted to try. The pattern was successfully located about a month ago. Only by the time it was found I had lost interest in the yarn I had bought for the project.

It looked like the hiatus would continue indefinitely till I made the fatal mistake of stopping in Knit-n-Stitch “only to look” last Friday. I need to remember that yarn shops are dangerous places and there is no such thing has “just looking”. The store had just got in a new shipment of sock yarn. These balls were dyed in most beautiful shades and hues. The moment I touched that fibers I was in love and a half hour later I walked out with a small bag continuing enough yarn to complete my project. So much for “just looking”.

It has been a change getting back into the knitting groove. There were a few issues with remembering how to cast on and using four needles. After five failed beginnings the project is now well underway with two inches completed. I have a picture but blogger's picture posting feature is giving me issues. I'll add the image later.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

DU

Tonight I pulled out a classic youth event from my high school days –a DU. DU stands for destination unknown. How it works is only the host locations (normally a youth’s home or someone in the church’s place) and the youth leader knows the destination. Drivers are selected and form a caravan that travel’s to the location. If possible a longer root is taken that passes other possible destinations to keeps people guessing the whole time.

This was one of my favourite things as a youth but I was unsure if the event would translate which is why I put off planning one till now. I was unsure how it would go. A few different youth made comments (to other people) why would I go someplace when I don’t know the location “it might be boring”. I was afraid that attitude would scare more away.

But we had ten come, even better there were four new people. The teens in my car acted just as I hoped. The whole ride they were guessing and second guessing themselves. The lead car even pulled up next to a house we normally visit…but then kept going. No one could figure it out. We even surprised the youth whose house we were going. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Our host had amazing food ready, a projector and wii was set up, and I brought obscure board games. To top it off there was a giant trampoline, hide and seek in the dark, and two kittens. It was a good night. If feel more confident about youth ministry this fall that any pervious year…which is good because yesterday marked the start of my fourth year at New Hope.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Ponyo = Joy

Friday was one of those days, the kind that just seem to go from bad to worst. Plans fell apart, people let me down, and I became Eeyore with a rain cloud gloom following me around. It looked like the whole day would be gloomy until 3:30pm when I made my mind up to have fun.

Becca agreed to join me for dinner and a movie. The only question was what movie. After checking online I was ecstatic to see Ponyo was playing in Halifax. It took a bit of convincing (not Becca's movie type). We then invited one of the girls in the youth group who I knew loved anime.

Ponyo is the most recent animated movie written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, and Princess Mononoki). The story is inspired by the Little Mermaid and a traditional Japanese story. This is of a goldfish named Ponyo is exploring and is rescued by a five-year-old boy and then desires to become a real human girl. Her sea wizard father is against the idea. But the strong spirited fish makes a choice that almost floods the world.

The show was enjoyable. There are some great animated sequences. There are also some very bizarre sequences. If you’ve seen and enjoyed any of Miyazaki’s work you should like this. The best part for me was the going out with people. It is good to have friends.

I give it three starfish and a goldfish.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sunday, August 02, 2009

4 am Thoughts

1) 4 am is really early
2) Coffee is my friend (even if I don’t like the taste)
3) I don’t sleep well before trips…this isn’t good when you are the responsible adult leading the trip
4) I like the stillness of night before dawn
5) Even after double checking my I am sure I have forgotten to pack something…why is that?
6) For the first time since we began this mission trip planning I actually feel like its is going to happen which is good because it happens in three hours
7) I am nervous out of my mind. At the moment it is the thought of meeting the other youth leaders that is scaring me the most.
8) 4 am is really early

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Toronto Away

The team leaves tomorrow morning, we’ve got to be at the airport at 6am. For months we’ve been planning this week. I can’t believe it is here, at last here, I am going to be in Toronto this time tomorrow.

There have been up and down in the preparation process. There have been surprises and a disappointment. Michael put out his back early this month. Wednesday of this week he stepped down from going on the trip. Thankfully Scott stepped in to join the team, which is great because we had to have a driver and male chaperon.

Keep us in your prayers. I’m off to Toronto.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Top Six

The plan was to weekly reflect on So You Think You Can Dance. Then I missed a week because of Beulah. It was down hill from there. I watched, I enjoyed, I didn’t write. I couldn’t judge. They were all good. I didn’t want to decide…so I didn’t. Just watched great dancers dance and hoped my favorites didn’t go home.

My favourites didn’t go home this week. Next week Janine, Kayla, Evan, and Brandon will compete in the finale. But I was sad to see Melissa and Ade go especially after last weeks beautiful and moving contemporary piece.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Promise Found

My Life Group (name for our church’s cell/small groups) meet. This isn’t a surprise since we meet every Tuesday. I like it they’ve become and are becoming trusted friends and my connection to Christian community and living. They’re great (and Kim feeds us).

The neat thing about last night was how everything clicked with life. On Sunday Scott has given a list of 12 promises of God, we review the application and meaning in our life group. Kim had written each our names next to one of the promises for us to read. My promise…God’s Guidance:
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."
Isaiah 30:21
Kim didn’t know that on April 8th I had begun praying for God’s guidance. It was a small thing but for me it was a big thing. Life with Jesus and community is cool.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Last – A First

Tonight was the last preparation meeting for the youth going to Toronto. We started with a team building game that went half well. I started expecting the worst. Next was a devotional on unity and having an attitude like Jesus (based on Philippians 2). Then out of no where I left lead to talk about forgiveness. Each student wrote a list of people who has wronged them…then chose to forgive the person. After we went outside and burned the list.

The next logical move for me was communion, my first time leading communion. Only I hadn’t prepared for communion. This was me following what I believe was God’s leading. I searched the kitchen to see if there that could work for the sacraments, maybe left over juice and crackers from last weeks VBS or even stale pretzels. What I found was a 2L bottle of root beer and a chocolate bar. So that is what I used. My first official leading of these holy sacraments and I used chocolate and root beer. It actually was very deep, and beautiful God was there and it was good. I almost managed to keep it serious too …except for the one time I laughed as I said “bread and wine” while holding chocolate and root beer.

The team leaves this coming Sunday at 7:00am. The group is made up of five girls, three guys, and three adults. Our group is the first YOUTH mission team ever sent by the church. Thank you everyone for your prayers. The last of the money came in tonight. It was a huge answer to prayer.

Michael, the only male adult and van driver, injured his back earlier this month. He has been to a number of different people for help. If he is not better by Wednesday he won’t be going. We need a male chaperon and van driver. Please pray for Michael to be healed and the details to be worked out. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Prose Project

I like writing. Yet I must confess I equally enjoy the distractions that keep me from writing. I told a friend that I had stopped editing last year’s nano-novel because of writes block. It is the truth, I can’t think of how to fix the flaws because I spend more creative energy formulating excuses for why I am not writing than on writing…

…but not any more. This week I got motivated and began to write again. This time I have a plan, because pure motivation only normally lasts me the first week of any of my self improvement goals. This is the plan -short-term goals. Monday to Friday I will write a minimum of a one page of loose leaf a day. Over the weekend the draft is then edited into a word document. Over time a novel will be finished. I would like to maybe post the weekly fiction but an nervous it won't be good.

So far…two pages have been written. I am going home to write the third now.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance: Week 4

Each week it is getting harder to pick a bottom three. Two of my favourites are in the bottom…and last week they were the top. The luck of the draw saved Janine and Phillip…they wouldn’t have earned a 9 in a different genre. Melissa and Ade were amazing. It made me long for ballet lessons (not happening but a girl can dream). These are my thoughts. I have no idea who popular vote will put in the bottom. I don't want Evan or Randi to go home.

My Top Three
1) Melissa & Ade/Pas de deux = 9.0
2) Janine & Phillip/Hip Hop = 9.0
3) Carla & Vitolio/Quick Step = 8.9

The Middle
4) Janette & Brandon/Cha Cha = 8.8

The Bottom Three
5) Kayla & Kupono/Contemporary = 8.5
6) Catlin & Jason/Pop Jazz = 8.3
7) Randi & Evan/Broadway = 8.0

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wildwood is Here

We just finished the second day of our Wildwood Kid’s Program, the non-VBS VBS (I’m not a fan of the term VBS for a couple of reasons that I won’t rant about now). The children’s program is going so well, better than well. All the flaws from last year’s program have been taken care of. It is well organized and the volunteers are superb.

We’ve even tried some new things too. We’re holding the program is in the evenings. It’s only two hours. The worship team is made up of children, they are so excited to be apart and help.

My Sr. Pastor commented yesterday, “wow this is fantastic but where all the kids?” Yesterday we had six students and today there were seven. The numbers are down, last year there were 20 kids and the year before it was 40. Is it me? Am I doing something wrong? Or do these programs just not fit modern families’ schedules?