Monday, July 28, 2008

More Slime...


They didn't know what to do with the leftover slime, then thought my head was as good of place as any. The first picture was just the first coating. And to answer your questions Matthew "yes, the final sliming was very bad, but tasty."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monday at Camp

Preparations for the church’s annual morning day camp (VBS) have consumed most of the past two months and all of last week. Now we are in a wirlwind of fun. The theme is summer camp; with crazy themes each day. Monday was all about the campfire. What I like is the theme is tied to a huge game which ties into the memory verse. Campfires provide light and Jesus is the light (John 12:46).

The first day was good but also full of disappointments. Crafts and surprises haven’t worked as expected. People who volunteered didn’t show. But a few troubles have turned into secret blessings. Based on last year’s numbers we planned for 50 children…we had 15. The smaller group means a more intimate feel; relationships grow better. I also made some major changes to the format so having few children actually has helped everyone adjust. The other bad-turned-blessings is the rain. It’s been dreary overcast days with off and on rain and will be all week. It’s hard to have a high energy, fun, outdoor campfire in the rain. The blessing is that four children who are signed up for outdoor swimming lessons are able to cone when it rains. Rain means more participation. Yay! Even the frustrations that I haven’t seen a blessing in have worked out.
So camp is in full swing. Monday was campfire. Tuesday was Water Wars (I’ll post about it tomorrow) and Wednesday will be chocolate covered kids. I leave you with a clip from our marshmallow relay.

video

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cat Tales

I’ve been concerned about Inu; he has been losing weight for several weeks. Some time before I went to Beulah my neighbors told me their cats had worms and I might want to get medication for mine. It makes sense since they all play together.

Today I stopped into the animal hospital to pick up the de-worming pills. Having never feed cats pills before, the receptionist suggested I coat them with butter. There is no coating on the pills and the cats are mostly likely going to spit them out and/or froth at the mouth without the butter assist. I was thinking “oh great” and headed home to dispense the meds.

We started with Inu since he is normally more willing to be held. So glad that Mom was with me. It was a challenge, Mom earned a few battle scars, but eventually after adding more butter he took the pill. Learning from Inu, I placed a little on my finger let Kima taste it. She wanted more so I over coated the pill pushed it in her mouth and with in seconds it was swallowed. Mary Poppins might want to rework her lyrics to: "a spoon for of butter helps the medicine go down."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Sweetest Thing

Driving home from Beulah today I reflected on the past week. There were plenty good moments; I am thankful my church sent me. I loved being in the services, meeting some of the district pastors, chatting over meals, and reconnecting with college friends. My ministry task for the week was helping Amy Smith with the nursery. When I first got the assignment I grumbled, yet God really blessed me through my time with the children. I am actually grateful that that was where I served this week. I had a surprise reunion Wednesday with Rick and Eunice Cox and their son Trevor, who had been my supervisors in Swaziland. Seeing them and hearing how about African friends was a joy. The week was great but the best was truly saved for last and it started with waiting…

Friday evening just before service I was sitting on the veranda with Rick and Eunice secretly on the look out for my missions buddy, Selinda Ingals. When I finally saw someone who could possible be her I jumped up, doubted myself and sat again, doubted my doubt and jumped up again. Hesitated a second time and sat down again and asked “could that be Selinda?” Rick confirmed the girl walking towards the dinning hall was in fact Selinda and I was out of my seat in a full sprint towards her. I would have tackled her to the ground except she was wearing dressy clothes and we would have landed on gravel.



After three years apart it was beyond wonderful to be together. It was so good seeing her and there was just so much catch up on. From the time we saw each other till the time we parted this afternoon at 3pm it was like we had the on going conversation that just keep going between everything else that was happening (ie service, talking with other people, sleep, meals). It was amazing. Debbie Benson, wonderful woman, let us stay in the spare bedroom of her cottage last night. Sharing bunk beds was liking being roommates again. The week was good but the time with Selinda was the sweetest thing.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Waiting Game

Waiting is hard. It is even harder to wait with grace. We naturally do not wait well. Children crammed in the back of the family car whining "are we there yet?" are a great example of our natural impulse. Or think about the jokes at Christmas of impatient children searching the house for gifts. And there is always something to wait for…a call, a friend, the mail, or a meal. We wait in lines, at lights, and for the show to start. Some waiting is just a moment or has a clear end. It is possible to endure because we know it will end and most of the time the waiting is worthwhile.

But what about waiting as a season in total uncertainty? When we are waiting on God and there is no direction, no clear answer, and no clear time period. For Abraham it was waiting for a promise, for me it is waiting to return overseas, for some it could be a job change, a baby, or something else entirely. How does one wait indefinitely? The Sunday school answer pass out is often, "cling to Jesus." Which is true, but the same people will then ask about future plans. I listened to a married friend this week who would love to be a mother but God just hasn’t let it happen. Her biggest frustration was "nosey people who assume too much and give silly suggestions."

There doesn’t seem to be any easy solutions. Often it is a matter of ‘letting go and letting God’ but what that looks like is different with each person. I love my life, my church, and my ministries, but there is a part of me that longs to go again. I’m in a season of waiting. How have you gotten through a time of waiting?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Summer Reading

I’ve loved reading since high school. It is a cheap way to travel, great escape, and wonderful pastime. Traditionally I had read from a small pool of authors and genres. More recently I have been broadening my both my fiction and non-fiction scope. Trying new styles, subjects, and series has been similar to discovering childhood icky foods are actually good.

Right now I am finishing John Grisham’s The Appeal and Barbara Kingsolver’s (author of the Poison Wood Bible) non-fiction Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle. I’m also working through The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Darkness is Rising sequence, and His Dark Materials trilogy.

There is a lot of reading going on but I am wondering does, anyone have a book suggestion (fiction or non) to add to my summer reading list? Also what are you reading this summer?

Reunion

Beulah has been great for seeing and catching up with friend’s living somewhere else on the district but what I love the most are the surprise reunions. I was sitting in the evening service when I noticed Becca Perry with her mom. I slipped out to greet her. During my summer team experiences we had stayed with the Crofts in Pennsylvania a number of times. It was good to see them, reminisce, and hear what’s new then they surprised me with news that their relatives had also come, had I seen Rick and Eunice?

WHAT!?! Rick and Eunice were at Beulah? Becca told me where they were sitting in the service and I slipped back in to the service to wait for the closing prayer to greet them. Rick and Eunice were the family that had supervised my internship in Swaziland, Africa. When Selinda and I left in November 2004 we didn’t know when or if we would ever see them again. It’s weird saying goodbye to people who have poured into your life, mentored you, and been like a second family not knowing if you’ll ever see them again. And then to see them again, oh, it was amazing! Got to love reunions.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Connected

I arrived at Beulah for the district family camp yesterday evening and will be here all week. It’s been good seeing college friends, and other Bethany and pastor acquaintances. I’m staying in the hotel, just above the dinning hall. It is very hot but it means I am also above the camp’s wifi connection. It’s the first time in over six months that I’ve had personal internet access. I am loving reading having the freedom to read friends’ blogs, catch-up on all the posts I’ve missed, view pictures on facebook, and being signed into msn.

I feel connected.

My friend Jon Dixon let me know about two other ways to connect. The first is cmconnect.org and the other is smconnect.org (you can find link buttons on the right hand side). Both are facebook type social networks. Cmconnect is for children’s ministry and smconnect is for student (youth) ministry. I’ve spent more time on my cmconnect account; it have been a great help. I started a discussion titled "how do I make 40 gallons of slime?" The feedback and suggestions have been really helpful. I don’t think it would be helpful to everyone but it can be a great resource. If you are involved in either of these ministries check out the connection and consider joining.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Staying with the Stewarts: Family-ness Part 2

Friday I slept in, when I finally woke it was lunch time. I think this is when (but it also could have been Saturday) Aunt Penny took my cousins Bill (a year older than me) and Jeff (a year under than me) and me to the art gallery. I love art galleries so this was amazing. There was this cool special exhibited of this famous Geisha’s kimonos. They were beautiful. Then we visited my Grandma and Grandpa Stewart. It is so good to see family. I love where I live…I just wish it wasn’t so far from everyone. When we got home Bill and Jeff destroyed me at all things Wii…that is to be expected. That night we went out to eat. Bill and I were going to see the Hulk that night but the theater had no power so we hung out with his friends and played more Wii…I was still destroyed.

Saturday was another late morning though not as late as the day before. I spend most of the day with my grandparents. We chatted about life and knitting (both very important things) had lunch and took an afternoon nap –it was awesome. Grandma Stewart is letting me borrow a knitting book with patterns for all these different types of stitches and laces I don’t know. For supper Uncle Jim barbequed the best ribs I have ever had –the best! Than Bill, Jeff, and I made it to the late show of the Hulk, yay for power being on.

Sunday was my last morning in Ontario. I got up at 6 am and packed because I was so excited to attend church. It was more than just me going to church, I do that every week, this was the first time in three years (maybe longer) that I was going to church and there was nothing for me to do –nothing. It was wonderful. I chose to attend the Meeting House’s Hamilton site. I deeply thank Bill for coming with me. I like going to new places but it is nice to have someone with you. After church Uncle Jim, Aunt Penny, Bill and I drove (Jim drove and the rest of us were along for the ride) where we met up with my Aunt Beth, Uncle David and his wife Elba.*** It was a great reunion just before I needed to board my flight. And that was my week with family.

This picture was taken in the airport parking lot. Left to right is Bill, me, Uncle Jim, Elba, and David.


***Elba is the exception to yesterdays note about my need for titles. I met her when she was dating my Uncle so the introduction wasn’t “Aunt Elba” and now that sounds funny to me. She is still a wonderful aunt!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Family-ness Part 1

I wrote "Family-ness" as one huge post yesterday before heading to Halifax to pick up my mom. Sadly there were power issues at the church (all taken care of now) and I was unable to actually post what I had written. Looking at it now I’m thinking that because of the length it really should be a two part thing. So here goes -Part 1:

The much anticipated “My Week in Ontario” post; it feels like writing that first essay of every year in grade school: my summer vacation. The week was restful but more than that I was able to see everyone in both of my extended families. This was my first time “home” in two years.

With the Willsons*
Tuesday my Aunt Sharon** (my mom’s sister) picked me up about 7pm in Hamilton. We drove London, had an amazing Happy 22nd Birthday Dinner for my cousin, then drove another hour-ish to my mom’s hometown of Wardsville. Sharon and I were still wide awake and decided it would be a good idea to do for the worlds longest walk (how many km was it Aunt Sharon?)

Wednesday we had breakfast with my grandfather. I am so thankful I got that time with him.


Next Aunt Sharon took me to a petting farm turned zoo my grandmother use to take me. It was weird. I know they have expanded but by expanding it actually fits my childhood memory of a big place. One of my favourite things was we had ice cream cones at this little concession stand I remember Grandma buying me a treat from.


Then visited a beautiful provincial park were Aunt Sharon decided it was high time I overcame my fear of bikes. 10 km later I was very sore but still on the bike and actually enjoying myself. Still not my favourite thing in the world; but bikes no longer send me hiding in a corner in the fetal position. We got back just in time for a super quick shower before family and friends arrived for a BBQ.

Thursday was more relaxed, which was super good because I was sore and sun burnt from the day before. Aunt Sharon biked to work so I could have the car. I drove out to my cousin Eva’s green house co-op placement. They had a banana tree.


I had lunch with my uncles Mark (Sharon’s husband) and Brian (Eva’s dad). Then spent the rest of the day reading till Uncle Jim (dad’s brother), Aunt Penny (Jim’s wife), and Jeff (cousin) picked me up for the second half of my trip.

*Note: there are two L’s in the last name. Grandpa always jokes we haven’t had the L knocked out of us yet…
**Sorry to my relatives who have asked me to drop the titles. It just seems wrong and doesn’t sound right to me.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

July is an Awesome Month!

Happy Canada Day!!!
…And an early happy Independence Day to my friends south of the boarder. How exactly do you great each other on July 4th?

I think July will be my busiest month of the year. Tomorrow my mom flies in from Winnipeg for a three week visit. Next week I’m in NB for Beulah week. My mom is going to stay in NS and visit friends. Finishing off the months events is the children's ministry morning day camp (VBS type thing) July 21st to 25th. The theme is “crazy camp” and we are using Standard Publishing’s Camp curriculum. It's going to be a great week.
I also want to share that the conflict previously mentioned has been resolved. The situation is maybe even better than resolved. Thank you Aaron and AJ for your encouraging words, it helped. After I posted last Tuesday night the friend and I had a phone conversation that began to repair the hurts on both sides. I then visited a couple who helped me work through what I had learned from the conflict (about conflict in general, about communicating, and about myself). Last week I also took the time to work though my ideas and actually formed a better solution because of the points of views that conflicted with mine. And today the friend and I had lunch together and talked about tons of stuff and it was just a great time. I believe that my ministry here and who I am becoming will be stronger because of last week’s conflict.