Monday, February 20, 2006

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Progressive Folk Funk/ Newgrass/ Musical Beauty

Looking to diversify your playlist? Try Nickel Creek! Their latest cd, Why Should the Fire Die?, is definitely one of my current favorites. If you want a taste, listen to a couple tracks here.

Professional Development?

I spent the last few days committed to "professional development". What a great concept. This was the best professional development I have yet to experience!
My good friend and co-worker, Deanna (aka Miss Cook), jetted (that would be, West-Jetted) to Edmonton on Wednesday afternoon. We came back this morning after spending three days in Sherwood Park at an ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) teaching convention.
The convention was really good. I didn't take in all that much that was practical to my teaching, but I got what I needed more- some great encouragement, refreshment and spiritual challenges. Here are some things that I'm thinking about as a result:
-Bringing my thoughts captive to Christ. One of the speakers offered a really good word picture to help me understand this idea. Every time we buy the lies of the enemy, he adds a link to the chain, keeping us in bondage. I need to learn to cast away the garbage before the chain gets longer and stronger. The mind is a fierce battle field, hey?
-I am far too casual about our God's holiness.
-A living faith that dispels darkness...this was a good question for me to be confronted with- is my life dispelling darkness?
-Especially in the past six months, it has been easy for me to become defined by "outside" things instead of the foundation of my life being centered on the image of Jesus.
And my favorite verse of the week:
As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness! And by that same mighty power, he has given us all his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature...1 peter 1:3 and so on.
I can't even begin to say how good it felt to be free of responsibility for a few days. Ahhhhh.
One of the real treats of the week was staying with the Elford crew in Sherwood Park. It was wonderful to reconnect with a family I have always enjoyed so much. They have got some of the neatest kids around! Painting volcanoes a for science project, a ping pong marathon, watching the Olympics, and good visits were among the highlights.
So it has been a great few days of "professional development". Maybe I'm just a rookie and I'm off on this, but I'd say the greatest professional development for a teacher must be some high quality R & R!!! I'm glad to have had a little hiatus. Tomorrow it's back to marking and pla...well, you know. :)

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Very Poor Physical Specimen Am I

Oh dear. Tonight I realized the pathetic state my body is in! Let me tell you, I'm in terrible shape! How did I figure out the extent of this most ridiculous situation?
Indoor soccer. Ohhh, my lungs burn just thinking about it. It's a real pity because it was pretty fun (no, not as fun as basketball, it's just not possible), but fun all the same. My flubbery hips and the peanut butter sandwich in the pit of my stomach screaming for release with every breath were not helpful in my attempt to be effective! Ha. But hey, it was a good time. I haven't played soccer since Grade 12, and I've never played indoor before. I've been chicken of the game ever since my knee decided to get all grumpy on me. It felt pretty good tonight though (better than the rest of me!), so I may just try again. I think the best part is winding up and booting that ball with all your might. That's a good feeling. Thanks for giving me the chance to play, ladies!
Lord help me when I try to move tomorrow. Ai ya!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Small Town Hoops

I just returned from a weekend spent in good ol' Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan. We took the guys down for a bball tournament. I wanted to go to Gravelbourg for a couple of reasons- one, so that we could get out of the city and play some 1A teams our own size, and two, to give my guys a chance to connect with one of the best small town communities I know! On both counts, we were successful!
We started off with a shaky win in the first game against Gravelbourg. We rolled through the second game quite a bit more easily. Next was the final game against Rouleau (you know- the home of Corner Gas...the team is sponsored by the TV show). Rouleau had a kid drop over 40 in the semi-final game and it was pretty clear that he was the key to shutting down their offense. Bring on the ol' junk defense! We played a box and one the whole game, with our captain, top scorer and rebounder, matched up against their big scorer.
Three minutes into the third quarter, we were down by 16 and I thought things were slipping...but we went to our zone press and the guys hung in there and clawed their way back...all the way back! Ohhhh, the drama! But wait, it gets better. We end up tying the game at the buzzer and we go into overtime. Nothing is decided in the first overtime, and we go to a second. The second overtime is a repeat of the first, and the score remains we go to a third! My oh my! Finally, we're down by one with 11.6 seconds to go, and we've got the ball. Somehow our low post is open under the basket and there you have it, folks...Western wins in triple overtime! Gravelbourg Tournament Champions! Wooooo! And we had most of the Gravelbourg church there cheering us on! Oh, it was quite a lot of fun. The guys were so excited, and so were the fans...and yeah, I guess the coach was a little excited, too. :)
Anyway, so the basketball part was great. But just as wonderful was the warmth and hospitality of our friends in Gravelbourg. Great homes to stay in, great food (must have been the pregame spaghetti meal that sustained the guys), and great fellowship. This morning the house was packed at the Gravelbourg church and some of the guys from my team had the chance to help out with the service- songleading, praying, reading and preaching. I'm lucky to work with such a neat group of kids, I can't help but get a little teary-eyed every once in awhile...I don't know how I'll be able to manage being a mother someday!
So, it's been a nice weekend. Personally, it was really fun for me to stay with Sarina and Tim, and visit with Lorna and Gerry, and other special friends in Gravelbourg. I don't get to do that very often, so it was a treat. They are pretty awesome people.
There you have it...another post-game summary from the world of high school hoops. Does it take you down memory lane?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Lessons from Grade 12 Guys

I wish I could tell you we were the giant slayers on the hardwood tonight, but the truth is we were most definitely the ones being slayed! This week we play the top two teams in the league, both teams having lost only one game all season. We were in tough. They were big, and unfortunately for us, big and reasonably agile. Anyhow, the score was a tad lopsided in the end...and you know how it feels to be on the heavily weighted losing end of a game. Not the most glorious feeling.
So there I am, wallowing in the beating and cursing my lack of a better game plan...oh poor me. Good thing for Grade 12 guys. We like to start and end our games in prayer, and so tonight, the same player who started, felt moved to end it. What a heart this guy has; his humility leaves such an impact on me. "Lord, we thank you for giving us this game. I thank you for letting me be on this team. And Lord, I think this team really earned this victory, and I thank you for giving them the victory, because they deserved it".
Lord, I'm thankful to have guys like this in my life. Forgive me of my pride, and help me to be more humble.

Friday, February 03, 2006

I would like to make an annoucement!

I'm moving! In August of 2006, you will find me amongst the 7,000,000 strong in Hong Kong, China!
Bring on a metropolis of the masses...the intense rush of the throngs of humans mapping their way through what many refer to as the "New York" of Asia!

I have accepted a Grade 3 teaching position at the Christian Alliance International School (CAIS). After a rather tiring decision-making month, I am happy to say that I am joining a great crew of servant teachers in Hong Kong. CAIS is a unique place- the great majority of staff members hail from Canada, and of that number, many come from Saskatchewan. In fact, the school is registered under Saskatchewan Learning and uses the Saskatchewan curriculum!!! Neat, hey?! The majority of the students at the school are Chinese, many of them Chinese Canadians, whose parents have relocated to Hong Kong. The students come from a very diverse range of faith backgrounds, and the school is eager to be a tool for sharing the Gospel. I am quite excited about joining in this effort! I am also thrilled to be a Grade 3 teacher!!! Oh, that will be fun!
Here is a picture of my school- I actually visited CAIS when I was in Hong Kong last year, interestingly enough. The school is located in Kowloon, which is on the mainland China side of Hong Kong.

So, that is the main news story from me today! I'm going to include Lonely Planet's introduction to Hong Kong... (oh, and yes, I'm starting my tourism campaign for Hong Kong...start planning your visit now!!! :)

Hong Kong has the big city specials like smog, odour, 14 million elbows and an insane love of clatter. But it's also efficient, hushed and peaceful: the transport network is excellent, the shopping centres are sublime, and the temples and quiet corners of parks are contemplative oases.

The best thing about being in Hong Kong is getting flummoxed and fired by the confluences and contradictions of a Chinese city with multi-Asian and Western elements. It's about savouring new tastes, weaving through a human gridlock and humming some dumb Cantopop tune while slurping your noodles.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bank Shot Buzzer Beater....Game Winner!!!!!!!

Ohhhhhh my! What a game! I'm so hyper! Okay, let me tell you about it!!
57-57. 25 seconds remaining, Notre Dame steps up to take two foul shots. Time-out called. Notre Dame player misses the first. Makes the second. 58-57.
Western advances the ball upcourt...the clock ticks...11, 10, 9, ...Western's power forward steps outside the three, offers a prayer... and jacks one up...8..7...the ball bounces kindly off the backboard, and it's GOOD!!!! Western leads by 2. 60-58.
Time-out. 7 seconds remain on the clock. Western awaits a final shot...the Notre Dame player mishandles the ball and it flies out of bounds as the clock strikes 0!!!!!!
WESTERN WINS!!! WESTERN WINS!!! The crowd goes crazy! Victory!
Oh, what a joyful feeling. And yes, I shed a happy tear. I know, it's just basketball, but man...what a game. I get pretty pumped when I see guys starting to really get it- like my lightningquick point guard realizing that he can cause a lot of damage if he'll just drive and dish, rather than drive and throw up a shot among the trees. And our very own 6'7 Tree, catching on in the low post and snatching rebounds....oooh, now that's fun to watch. I've still got a TON to learn about coaching, but I'm having fun along the way.
Well there you have it...the play by play and post game commentary from the world of high school basketball!