June 30, 2012


My mother was away last night, and I had a very difficult time getting to sleep.

My best friend from home came to visit me my first two years of university, and both of those times we watched movies, and no matter the time of day, and no matter if I was sitting upright, I fell asleep, minutes into the film. 

I've been finding myself saying these words a lot lately, "makes me sleepy".

-Watching movies...makes me sleepy.
-Church...makes me sleepy.
-The dark...makes me sleepy.
-Laying down...makes me sleepy.
-Comfy clothing...makes me sleepy.
-The sound of the rain...makes me sleepy.
-Showering...makes me sleepy.
-Heat...makes me sleepy.
-Food...makes me sleepy.
-Exercise...makes me sleepy.

I think that the feeling of sleepy comes from comfort and contentment. When I'm no longer hungry, or lonely, or cold, then I can be so happy I can fall asleep. Perhaps this is why I tend to have the BEST sleeps when I'm home. I took a drove to Truro last Thursday, and the whole way back I was tired, but I didn't get sleepy until the thunder cloud past. Perhaps feeling sleepy has something to do security. Maybe finally having a friend from home with me made me able to feel protected in a foreign city. I've looked at what the items on my sleepy list mean to me, and I think that I can finally crave putting my head to my pillow when I'm entertained, spiritually fed, calm, relaxed, comfortable, soothed, washed, warm, nourished, and tired. 

June 28, 2012


The older I get, the more I realize the importance of balance in my life.

Time spent with people / Time spent with myself
Giving / Receiving
Sound / Silence
Speaking / Listening
Playing Music / Listening to Music
Food / Exercise
Following a Schedule / Spontaneity

Even so much as the balance of breathing. What humans need vs what trees need.

Today I came across an excerpt from a poem by W.H.Auden:
           "I love to sin; God loves to forgive;
             The world is admirably arranged."

Poets have a way of simplifying the dense, and beautifying the simple.
Life is incredibly exciting, isn't it?

Auden, 1907-1973.

June 27, 2012

Would You Do The Honour? Never Mind.

It was a sunny afternoon and I was in grade 11. I stayed after school to help set up for the sports banquet that was to take place later that evening. I had been invited, because I was receiving an award, but I had also been asked to say grace before the meal. I considered this a huge honour, and I was pretty excited. I had worked all week on what I was going to say, and had practiced it, and written it out on a cue card. As I was spreading out a table cloth, the coordinator (a grade 12 student), came over to me and asked, "would you mind if ______ said the grace instead of you? He just seems more religious."

I couldn't believe it, I was shocked. Of course I said I didn't mind, because at that time in my life I didn't  often speak my mind. I wasn't hurt that someone else was going to do it, or that I would not get to present my hard work, or that I wouldn't be in the lime light. I passed my cue card to the new "grace-sayer" and was devastated that I wasn't considered "religious enough" to say grace. I asked myself many questions,
What am I doing wrong?
What am I not doing enough of?
How is it that this guy is seen as more religious?
What does this mean for the world's view of a religious person?

For a long time I beat myself up, but I'm able to see that the situation I was in was a blessing, because I don't have a religion, I have a relationship with Jesus. 
("Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. he anointed us, set his seal of ownership on is, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." -1 Corinthians 1:21-22)

I was given a compliment, saying that I was not like the Pharisees.

Quick Hebrew lesson: Pharisee comes from the Hebrew word "separatists", meaning "the separated ones". They meant to follow God, but got so caught up in obeying the law, and being seen praying in public places that they did not take in Jesus' teaching.

The coordinator was COMPLETELY right. This other guy did seem more religious than me, and you know what? He was probably better at public speaking, but that doesn't matter to me now, because I know that being a committed follower of Jesus means more than being asked to say grace. It means more than being considered "religious" by peers, and it definitely means more than praying in public. It means having a relationship, and saying grace or not saying grace at a sports banquet does not define my relationship with Christ. Can I get an "Amen"?

June 25, 2012

Monday Mission: Look Up

"I know she's small, but she will be your leader for the weekend, and I wouldn't mess with her, boys. She's a powerhouse!" That's the introduction I get from my friend and co-leader for youth. 

This weekend I said best wishes to a really great friend. He and his wife are moving to PEI. He is one of the few youth leaders that I've become friends with. I find it difficult to make that jump from student-teacher relationship to friend-friend, but with this guy the transition was seamless. He always took me seriously and never looked down upon me, because I was young. He is one of the most prayerful men that I know, and my goodness is he ever humble! He is terribly funny too.

As soon as I heard he was moving I was instantly hit with a feeling of "oh my goodness he is going to do such great things and be such a blessing for an other church." There was no sadness at all, just joy. I know this move is right for him and his family, and I'm just so gosh darn excited for them. I'm not losing a friend in my community, I'm gaining a penpal! How exciting is that? It's not always easy to look up in difficult situations, but he's always looking up, he knows there's a fantastic hand guiding him. 

Last summer as I was starting to look after organizing youth events for the church, I sent out an e-mail to all the youth and leaders. Mr. Youth Leader Man who is Moving, came into my office and looked at me and said, "I knew you were going to do a great job this summer, but I didn't think you'd be THIS good." That's the great thing about friends, they encourage you, see huge potential for you, and are never ceased to be amazed.  From my very first task on the job he saw promise in me. This Spring it was proven just how great our teamwork skills were as we lead the closing youth retreat, (and played washer toss). I planned in the weeks prior, and then he was able to take all of my work, show up the day of the retreat and lead it all: games, devotionals, music, meals. The whole time he kept saying that it wouldn't be possible without me...but I was thinking that about HIM the entire MONTH. Our church has gone through a lot of rough transition in the past two years, and he has been a steady help and servant to count on the entire time. I went from a 15 year old that was Super excited to be in his group for youth group, to a 21 year old even more excited to be a leader with him!

 So this weekend I said best wishes to a friend, an encourager, a prayer warrior, a dedicated servant, and a mentor. Because my church is sneaky and has semi-anual business meetings right after church, Mr. Youth Leader Moving Man had to leave early. He came over to hug me and tell me he loves me, and as quickly as he entered my life, I watched him walk out the door and into a God drivin opportunity. 

June 21, 2012

Pretty Peonies? Yes Please!

These pretty peonies were given to me last Monday. As if Mondays aren't crazy enough...this monday happened to be particularly busy. I worked all day, had lunch plans, and then a meeting that evening. At the meeting my pastor's wife handed me this beautiful bouquet of flowers for my desk. I've had the opportunity to watch them bloom all week! They give a great scent to the office too...because youth supplies (old soccer balls, weird food items, etc.) can sometimes give off a funky smell. At my busiest time this week I was quite literally reminded to stop and smell the flowers. So that's just what I did.

June 19, 2012

High-low there!

This weekend was a weekend of highs, and l..even more highs!

I watched a helicopter fly and land at the local hospital;
I saw 5 people parasailing with colourful sails;
I took some time to enjoy the beautiful sky, and seagulls!

It was also a weekend of high excitement!

I drove by an inn called the DragonFly Inn, just like in Gilmore Girls;
A nice family adopted my hamster, and all of his belongings;
Adrenaline was pumping as I watched the speedometer hit 140*.

Both the literal highs, and the highs of excitement have me VERY exited for Vacation Bible School this year. As my church prepares to run "Sky" Day camp, I keep thinking of activities, games, and snacks that have to do with balloons, planes, clouds, etc. I can't help but keep my eyes on the sky, and my head in the clouds with excitement. 

*To be clear, I wasn't actually driving 140, I watched a broken speedometer jump from 90 to 140, and took a picture.

June 15, 2012

Not so "Happy Feet"

As a shorter human being I find sitting in restaurants difficult. The chairs are uncomfortable, and if I sit in a booth I am unable to easily reach the floor OR the table. Two days ago after work I picked up a friend from school and went to Tim Hortons to help her study for her math exam. I'm not terribly good at math, but I had a free afternoon and I like to encourage and spend time with people, so that is what I did. While at Tim Hortons I ordered a Lemonade to try, and 2 chocolate-dipped doughnuts with sprinkles. I sat down at a booth and prepared to get my math on. 

20 minutes into my visit the assistant manager came out from the back room and stood at the cash and waved at me. So... I waved back. My first thought was that she recognized me, but her waving became agressive, it looked like she was shooing me. I was confused so I just looked away. Then, from across the restaurant she yelled in a demeaning tone: "GET YOUR FEET DOWN!" I reacted right away and apologized. You see, I had my knees bent and my feet up to the side of me. The benches were not made of a soft material they were a plastic based fabric, and I wasn't doing anything to harm them. I was extremely embarrassed, and quite offended. I do not believe she went about confronting me the correct way, she could have very easily come over to our table. I had the urge to get up and leave, but I stayed, because I was not there for my own pleasure, I was there to help a friend. I was hurt, I am a sensitive person, and I still do not believe I was doing anything wrong. 

After she yelled at me I kept thinking, man she should see the ways I sit at church! This made me giggle, and calm down. Sometimes I'll sit with my knees to my chest and have my feet completely on my chair! I'm just glad that my pastor doesn't yell across the sanctuary for me to get my feet down, in the middle of a sermon. 

June 13, 2012

From Who????????

Today as I was preparing a letter to be mailed to a friend, I found myself smiling when it came time to write out the return address. The return address is a wonderful thing, because it can make the recipient smile before they even open the envelope. 

Last summer I sent out a letter to a friend, on the envelope I wrote the name of one of our professors as the return address. This made her panic, and then laugh...quite a bit. 

In the spring of second year I was sitting in the lounge, or common area of my residence, when the Residence Co-ordinator, my good friend Amanda told me that I had mail. I asked her who it was from, to which she replied "Cory Matthews!" Oh course I squealed like a little girl, because 1. I had mail, and 2. A good friend had taken the time and thought to write the name of one of our favourite television characters as the name on the return address! This of course lead to a big "awwwww" from the rest of the girls in the lounge, and made me smile before I even opened the letter. (Which turned out to be pretty great too, by the way.)

Sending a letter in the mail is very thoughtful, but it means that much more when you take the time to go above and beyond the duty of pen-pal-ship. So why not color the envelop, stick on stickers, or of course, get creative with the name on the return address. 

Make things fun, and be happy :)

Happy Letter Writing!

June 11, 2012

Intelligence in Jeopardy

This evening as I sat watching Jeopardy (as I often do), I yelled out the answers that I thought I knew. When it came to the final category a blue background with white letters appeared, spelling out "Events of the Bible". I got pretty excited, because I really enjoy bible trivia, and I really enjoy jeopardy, so the combination had me literally on the edge of my seat. My favourite game show host read the clue or "answer" aloud. 


I have read this passage several times, listened to sermons based on it, and even studied it extensively in my "Intro to New Testament" class and my "Contemporary Global Christianity" class, so you better believe I yelled out "PENTECOST!" While the "think" music played, I started to explain to the television all about pentecost, the speaking in tongues, the people that were present, the promise of the Spirit, and then I went on to inform the tv about how Peter was hungry on the roof and a four cornered sheet was lowered from heaven with animals to eat, and the significance of said animals. 

By this time the music ended and the two remaining contestants revealed their responses, or "questions". The female contestant had written "What is The Last Supper?" (which we do know happened in a place called The Upper Room), but the male contestant had written "What is Pentecost?" which both happened in an Upper Room and it is written about in the beginning of the Book of Acts. 

Alex declared that "What is The Last Supper?" was the correct response, which made me both disappointed for yelling what he considered to be incorrect, and it also made me feel guilty for not knowing what I consider to be an important passage of scripture. I headed to Biblegateway just to make sure he was right, but before I was able to check, the good ol' Jeopardy host himself came on the television and said that they had made a mistake and the correct response was in fact "Pentecost". 

I am not writing all of this to brag about my knowledge, nor Jeopardy's incompetence. I am writing this as a reminder for us to stick to our guts. Despite what advertisers want us to think, television isn't always right, especially when it comes to things we might know quite well. I could have very easily felt disappointed and turned off the television and never though anything more of it, but instead I double checked the fact. It's VERY important to think critically about what we hear, and read. This doesn't just go for facts on television, this goes for pieces of information in our everyday life. So if you're at church and you hear scripture being referenced or read, crack open that bible that's beide you. If you're watching the news or reading the paper, why don't you check out a few other news sources? And if you're at work or school and hear a piece of gossip, why don't you go to whom it is about and see for yourself. 

We are the ones who get to decide what we believe, 
and with that privilege comes the responsibility to be skeptical, sensible, and smart. 

Don't put your intelligence in Jeopardy, don't believe everything you hear. 

June 8, 2012

Friday Fact

Today I have the day off, because I'll be working Saturday.
Yet all evening and all this morning I keep working, so that my best is presented.
I have a really hard time not taking my work home with me. 
This quote reminds me that not only is it okay not to do everything,
but that I can't do everything, and I'm okay with that. 

June 6, 2012

NOT a biker chick.

This is my first post reporting a bucket list item that was attempted, but unsuccessfully completed. It has always been a dream of mine to have a job where I can bike to work. This summer I accepted a job in my own community, so what better chance to complete this item on my bucket list? Well let me tell you, if this item is going to be put into the bucket, I'm going to have to move a heck of a lot closer to the church, or I'm going to have to work at home. I'm able to run to the church and back in 45 minutes, but biking is a whole other story. To prepare for this goal I had air put into my bike tires (because I haven't used it in 9 years), I bought a new helmet, and I trained on a stationary bike at the gym.

The bikes at the gym are a lot different than ones in real life.
I learned that I'm really good at reading about things and practicing,
but when it comes to the application...well......

I consider myself to be a relatively fit person, and at the gym I am able to bike for about an hour. On the road I biked for less than half a kilometer and I was pretty sure I was going to die, or throw up, which ever came first. Next time I wont eat a huge breakfast right before I ride. 

I am in no way going to take this item off of my list,
but if I want to complete this goal this summer,
I'm going to have to put a lot of work into it.

It's great to celebrate the completion of a goal, but I have learned it is equally important to celebrate solid attempts. So today I will be celebrating my FIRST (of many) attempts to complete this goal!

1. This week I learned that practice drives are essential. If I had just woken up one morning and decided to bike to work...I would have been very late for work.
2. I also learned that skills don't always transfer from inside to outside. On the inside stationary bikes you can go at your own pace no matter what, but out in the wild, you have to keep a certain speed or you'll fall over, and you have to be a heck of a lot more aware of your surroundings.
3. I also learned the importance of seeing "failure" as great first attempts. So all in all, I had a great first attempt. 

June 4, 2012

Uke-an Too!

This item has been on my bucket list for years and I recently remembered it. Last Monday (my first day of work) was excellent. After work I went to the music store, and bought a beautiful, blue ukulele. I taught myself some songs while on the drive home. I enjoy it much more than playing acoustic guitar, because it is easier on my fingers, it is much quieter, and I can play every chord with my tiny hands. The ukulele gives a much lighter, and dare I say happier sound. I've always been blessed with the gift of fast learning. I find that no matter what I do, if I have a can-do attitude and give it a try, I almost always succeed. I am very fortunate that this goes the same for musical instruments. I've never considered myself great at anything. I don't excele in anything in particular, and that's okay. I enjoy the talents that I have, and I'd rather have a mediocre skill level of a cornucopia of talents than be a prodigy of one. Having a variety of talents is truly a gift, and a gift to share. When you pursue your talents you open up your life to new friendships, experiences, and opportunities. Best of all, I think that you enjoy your life more. 

May we discover our talents, pair them with our passions,
and let them help us to live life, and live life to the full. 

May you have a "can-do" attitude, 
and may you know that if I learned to play the ukulele, 
uke-an too!

image from pintrest.com

June 2, 2012

Blame Game

A few days ago I was looking through a brochure for the local Christian camp. I found a pretty large spelling mistake and instantly felt responsible. The thought "Ever since the summer I worked there, that place just wasn't as amazing as it seemed to be when I was a camper" flew through my mind. 

For a few years now I've been struggling with the thought that "everything gets worse once I help." Whether it was extracurriculars at school, school band, ministries at my church, events, everything seemed to just get worse as soon as I helped to lead these things. The only common factor was me.

When I started helping out with Student counsel it seemed that less and less people came to meetings and it was just unable to reach the school. When I joined the church's worship team, it seemed to sound worse.

My first time attending the local high school youth rally as a university student it just seemed to have really declined since I participated as a student, and I really blamed myself for this...and I'm not even a leader for it. I was blaming the lower attendance and low enthusiasm on my presence.

I've been having a really hard time feeling that I'll never measure up to the past leaders, and this feeling is especially present with my job at the church. We've had two wonderful youth pastors since I've been there, and now that I'm here in the office, I've realized just how big these shoes are to fill.

Once and a while I'll get a wave of "I'm going to make improvements! I'm going to do Big things here!" But seconds later that dreaded feeling of incompetence sets in.

-Maybe I see things failing because there is a generation shift.
-Maybe I'm seeing things as "worse" when I should be seeing them as "different".
-Maybe it's due to all of the technology and the less motivation in youth.
-Maybe it's because leadership training doesn't really exist.

-Maybe it is because I have changed.
-Maybe I AM the common factor, and maybe that's not a bad thing.
-Maybe it means MY expectations are higher.
-Maybe it's because I am now on the inside of these activities.
-Maybe it's because I have started leading that I can see just how many faults there are.

Perhaps it's not all my fault.
wow. that felt good to say.
*deep breath*

I suppose it is like going to a play vs acting in one. Playing in a concert vs listening to one. When you are just there to enjoy it, you don't focus on all of the details. You don't realize when someone misses a line, or plays a wrong note, because you are not there holding the script or the score.

So I guess what I'm saying is that it is important to take time to delight in what we do and enjoy our efforts. It is important to make our own footprints and not look at the shoe size of our predecessors, and it is important to know that change is a good thing. Change is inevitable...except from a vending machine. 

A perfectionist who will stop holding herself accountable for all of the world's faults.