Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The thing about Steve Nash...

Is that he makes everyone else on his team so much better. Every player is a better basketball player because of Nash's influence on the court. No doubt he is an incredible athlete himself, but he just makes things flow in a way that few players can.
I spend most of my time thinking about how I can make myself better. I like the picture this guy is painting for me. Maybe it's my modern day parable- something like the love my neighbour idea, basketball style. Something to strive for- spending more energy devoted to making other's lives better, rather than my own.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Second best time of the year for sports...

I can't say it beats the Madness (what could ever compare?), but it's a sweet time of year for sports fans. I'm even finding myself quite interested in the NHL playoffs, which has happened rarely since Wayne left the scene. I say go Alberta when it comes to hockey- am I allowed to cheer for both? But on to the more intelligent game. Steve Nash is just so good. Wow- did you know that in the last 5 years, his team had led the league in offensive scoring? It's true! The Phoenix Suns led the league in all the major offensive areas this year. Oooh, they are fun to watch!
What I love about the NBA playoffs is that they actually come to play- even defense! Some, like this guy for instance (we've had many a debate in that household...I'm always outnumbered!), dread the final minutes of a basketball game. But I think it's beautiful. Oh, the strategy that comes alive! Clever substitutions for defense and offense. Big time decisions on both ends of the floor made my coaches. Pressure! Clutch free-throwing shooting. Monster defensive stops. Buzzer beaters. Three point plays. The drama is just so good. You know you love it, too!
Enjoy the spring playoff season, fellow sports fans!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Why I will not live in Italy...or Bulgaria

Roommate Tamara fed me a great procrastinating tool- the King of all stat sites! If you go here, you will find all kind of interesting stats from around the world. And so, the number one reason I will not live in Italy (followed by some other stats I found interesting)...

Percentage of students who report high noise level and disorder in classes (2000):
#1 Italy 46%
#2 Finland 42%
#3 France 42%
#4 Norway 39%
#5 Sweden 38%
#6 Belgium 36%
#7 Canada :)

You could have guessed this one...

Percentage responding that they were proud of their nationality:
#1 United States 77%
#2 Ireland 77%
#3 Australia 70%
#4 Canada 60%

Why you should think twice about settling down in Bulgaria...

Percentage responding they are not happy or not very happy:
#1 Bulgaria 62%
#2 Moldova 56%
#3 Belarus 54%
#4 Ukraine 52%
#5 Russia 49%

And the explanation for your cheerful Venezualan neighbours...

Percentage of people claiming to be very happy:
#1 Venezuela 55%
#2 Nigeria 45%
#3 Ireland 42%
#4 Iceland 42%
#5 Netherlands 40%
#6 Philippines 40%

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Spring Break

It's been great so far! The only thing I'm missing on my collage is my afternoon of pirates and grounders at the park with Laurel and Karlie...I'll catch up when I'm back in Calgary later this week! Click on the image to see the bigger version.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Oh, WOW!

Well it's extremely late and I have to be up in about six hours and I've got eight to drive, but some things just need to be blogged.
If you weren't convinced, allow me to convince you today that I am indeed the "sixth" of six kids. As such, I confess to being the spoiled child. Spoiled by parents, and if wasn't official before, I'm making it official today- spoiled by siblings!!! Sheeeeesh!
I arrived home today to find a white Courier envelope on the table with my name on it, suspiciously from sister Tara up North. Hmmmmm!!! Guess, just guess what was inside????
Do you know?
It was a present from the cutest little fellow I know, that would be Elijah, of course! (Although I have this strange feeling his parents and Aunty may have been involved somehow) Anyway, Elijah couriered me a ticket to fly out of Calgary to Yellowknife over my spring break (which, by the way, started today! WOOO!)! I even get to fly back- that's a first! What a cool kid, hey?!!!
So, I'm pretty pumped. Currently weary, but thrilled all the same to have, in the next ten days, the chance to see my cutie petuties in both Calgary and YK! "Soooo good (as my Asian students would say)"! This is a big holla out to the YK clan...LOVE YOU!
Well if I'm going to be a cheerful Aunty tomorrow, I'd better get at least 5 hours of sleep. Yikes. Oh, by the way, this fantastic surprise has capped off a lovely week here in the Queen City. I enjoyed a string of really great conversations with friends this week- some random, some planned, some even found in parent-teacher interviews. More on that later.
And, I ended up with 24 roses by the end of Tuesday...all from ladies, of course- only the best!
Okay, I'm off to bed and I'm up to greet some of the finest women to the Gospel House of Love for a Good Friday breakfast shared among friends and mentors. Good Friday unites Good Women. I take no credit, or blame, for the aforementioned phrase...please direct to Miss Tamara Knutson.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Gospel House of Love Party!

Okay, 24 might not be all that bad...when you've got Gospel House of Love gals to celebrate with!

The silkiest smooth ice cream you ever did taste. Mmmm.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Close to home...

Today I shared on the topic "Christianity in China" with my Mandarin class. It got me searching on what's happening right now in terms of the underground movement. I kind of thought things were getting better as China's market is booming and things are opening up so much more than before. However, authorities seem to be cracking down on things in recent months. I read this article about the raid of a gathering right in Hubei- where I lived last year.
I'm going to copy a piece of it here, and leave with you a couple links if you're interested in reading more:

MIDLAND, Texas (Christian Newswire) -- China Aid Association learned one House Church pastor was detained on March 20, 2006 at Hubei Province. Pastor Lian Changnian is now detained at the Detention Center of Xiantao City, Hubei Province. Pastor Lian who is from Xi?an City, Shannxi Province was leading a Bible study of over 100 believers at a House Church at Xiantao City when the raid occurred.

CAA also learned 15 House Church Leaders are still detained, including a 15-year-old female evangelist, following a brutal police raid on a house church leaders? meeting in Henan Province. Two prominent human rights lawyers in Beijing agree to represent the persecuted church leaders. Sources say the pastors were accused of being ?illegal evil cult members? by the authority, however, these pastors are believed to be part of the Henan Fangcheng Mother Church group which is known worldwide as an evangelical House Church group in China.

There are some scary, yet very powerful stories of the faithful in China.
For a good news summary- "China's Christians Suffer for their Faith" (BBC- November 2004).
For a great website on Christian persecution in the world (updated very regularly), go here. At the bottom of this page you will find many recent articles related particularly to persecution in China. The most recent were written were "Open Season on Christians" (March 28, 2006), and "China Arrests and Tortures House Church Leaders in Crackdown" (March 22, 2006).
This is also an outstanding site, "China Aid", which tells the stories of many amazing brothers and sisters in China.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Spring has sprung!

What a lovely, lovely day in Saskatchewan! What an amazing difference a little sunshine can make. I enjoyed a walk around our downtown today. I should do that more often- I like being amongst the constant intersecting of all kinds of people- sometimes, anyway! I guess that's a good thing seeing I am moving to Hong Kong! Sheesh. Sometimes I also wonder if I am crazy to leave good ol' Regina for the madness of that mass of concrete and people!
Anyway, the certain indicator that spring has sprung in Regina is that driving down Victoria Ave. today, I saw a long line of ice cream hungry folks at the legandary Milky Way. Wooohooo! Now we just need the tennis nets up and we'll be flying!
I followed my brother to the library today. Being much younger in age, I strayed away from the large print section and headed for juvenile fiction. :) I'm starting to read novels as I start brainstorming for my Gr. 5's in the fall (which means I'm putting off the pile of Gr. 9/10 marking I have right now! Eeeek!). Here's what I picked up:
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Everest by Gordan Korman
Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Tunnels of Time by Mary Harelkin Bishop
Have any other suggestions of great books I could read, or study, with a group of Gr. 5 kids?