Check out my other blog: Arugula Addict! I'll be writing about my journey to becoming a healthier person.

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's that day again

It's 10:04 pm and I seriously should be sleeping (I was feeling sleepy at about 7:30 this evening!) but unfortunately, I went online as soon as I got back from visiting my home on the hill, and I can slowly feel the sleepiness slip away as the excitement of Facebook and emails and doing all kinds of random unnecessary things catches me and I'm not so sure I want to be up early with the train whistle tomorrow, running through another day.

It's been a while. Today wasn't a good day. Mondays generally aren't, and yet they are. Monday means you'll be busy all day catching up on whatever didn't get done on Friday, there are voicemails to answer, papers to be shuffled, and a general sense of busyness in the air. Mondays also signal the beginning of another week. . .a long week. . .and it is on Mondays that I take time to plan out that week so that I can be most productive (and forget the least amount of things!).

Ah well, enough of the pity party. I seriously must get some sleep, because tomorrow is a Tuesday and who knows what exciting adventures it may bring!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wildflower Seeds & Rusty Nails

Well, the semester has officially started at Weimar College and so has a new aspect of my experience. . .manual labor. You know, it really isn't as bad as it sounds or appears! It's sort of like exercising, you know you have to do it, you really don't want to do, but once you start, and especially once you're done, you're glad you did it!

As part of the "new" college, all staff and faculty have been assigned to work together with the students for a couple of hours a day, Monday through Thursday. (ahem, somehow Laura didn't get on that list. . .) While we are technically supposed to be supervising the students, most of us have no clue what we are doing, so it's a learning curve all around, which is actually kind of fun. I'm on a team with Dr. Jensen, Rebecca C, Shaina and Kylee and we're called the "farm beautification team" which basically means we're the floaters, the drifters, the sorters and the organizers!

Our tasks so far have been interesting and varied. Monday I put on my jeans and t-shirt and happily sailed to the front of the college building to receive my first assignment. Our first project was to clean up the prayer garden. While everyone else was busily raking pine needles away to reveal the carpeted grass beneath, I was handed a pair of clippers which I used to work on hacking away at some rather rebellious ivy. It didn't take me long to figure out that I was not a naturally-born gardener and the end of my day saw me staring at a much-pruned area that also boasted large gaping holes scattered about. Oh well, at least it's on the side that people don't see very often?

Tuesday I had to skip because of duties in the office, but Wednesday I headed up to the farm in 103 degree weather where, thankfully, our assignment for the afternoon kept us in the shade and in the shed. We spent our time sorting all kinds of bits and pieces as we attempted to make some sense out of a shed full of items I had never seen before in my life, let alone could identify, and organize it so that others who knew what everything was could access them easily. It was interesting when we dumped out the #10 can full of nails to sort them and out came a matted clump of rusty nails. Needless to say, those went in the trash can.

Today we finished up the shed and then transitioned to picking wildflower seeds. I spent a couple of enjoyable hours in the sun, getting my vitamin D, listening to the conversation around me, and rubbing dried flower heads between my fingers so I could sift out the dark seeds. At the end of our laborious labor, Dr. Jensen and I managed to fill a 3 inch plastic bag with our seeds. We're a long way off from filling a #10 can!!!

I have learned several things from my experience up on the farm, even though it's been so short. I've learned that it isn't about getting things done, but it is about doing the things that need to be done. As a type A overachieving perfectionistic choleric-sanguine eldest child (that's quite a mouthful!), I tend to multitask. . .all the time. I go into a task head on, figure out how to get it done and do it well, and then proceed to accomplish it. . .in as little time as possible and as efficiently as I can. That system does not work up on the farm.

Projects on the farm are done at a more leisurely pace. We are not taught to rush through something quickly so we can move on to the next task, rather we are being taught to relish the experience, to build friendships with those around us, and to do the task to the best of our ability. I'm finding that when I'm working in nature, I tend to forget all the things that are running through my mind constantly when I'm planted in my office, phone ringing, a constant stream of people in my office demanding my attention, and a mile-long to-do list that insists on taking every spare minute. Instead, I tune in to the natural rhythm of nature as I relax and realize that I won't be penalized if I don't get something done straight away, I don't have to worry about forgetting some important task, and all I have to do is focus on the task at hand, however small it may appear. It's almost as if I'm learning how to work all over again!

I know not every day will be easy or fun. So far I've encountered prickly "wild grape" plants intertwined with the ivy and dried rat droppings in the shed, the dust and dirt makes for great sneezing attacks, and I'm discovering some muscles I never realized I had. But hey, I'm getting paid to exercise and to de-stress, so it couldn't be much better than this!

I love the feeling you get after a couple of hours of good manual labour. I love to work hard and see a task being accomplished. I love an excuse to get my fingers dirty and I love being out in the fresh air and therapeutic sun. And I'm already looking forward to what we're going to do next week. . .

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A fun thought or two

It's late and I really should be sleeping, particularly considering the fact that I had a slight problem waking up this morning (ahem, I DID turn my alarm off. . .at 7:30 am. . .and then promptly fell unconscious. . .hmmm. . .maybe I have sleeping sickness?). The sprinklers outside my window go off at random times and it is rather disturbing when a loud "swishing" and "sputtering" decides to erupt as soon as my fridge stops humming! I'm chatting with a good friend, reading LaVonne's blogs (love your list of top 10!), and trying to remember my grandmother's maternal name so I can Google her and see what interesting things come up. It's been a super long day and I seriously need to learn to budget about three hours of downtime into my evening, along with everything else that needs to be done!!!

My lovely little studio apartment urgently needs some care. I have a long strip of unpainted wall right by the door that needs attention, a pile of unwanted belongings that my family so generously transported to and dumped in my place sits tall in a corner, and haphazard items lie strewn about, waiting for a new home.

It's been a long day, and I managed to stretch it out even longer by staying at work till almost 8 working on the "mug sheet" of students and staff pictures. It's really quite hysterical when you think about it, 25 students and we have to see their pictures so we know who is who. I mean, after registration I had everyone's first and last name down pat and was working on memorizing their class schedules as everyone seems to think I have a database in my head that just spits out random information on demand!!!

It's 11:27 pm now, just got off the phone with an old friend (not in age!) and I seriously need to "hit the sack" except I think I shall be sinking into the sack! The mattress I dug up from storage has seen firmer years. . .but can't complain. At least it isn't a sanitarium mattress!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Greatest Want. . .

I'm excited! If you've been following my blog, you'll know that it's been kind of difficult lately, trying to keep that vision, and wondering if there is a purpose and meaning to it all. Today was exactly what I needed: a reminder of why I am here. As I busily bustled about Classroom 1, solving scheduling issues, answering questions from agitated people, and handing registration packets to uncertain college freshmen, I was truly happy within. When someone asked me how I was feeling, amidst the hectic, I grinned real big and said, "this is my most favourite time of the year!

I'm also excited because I was reminded again today why I am at Weimar and what my mission in life is at present. My mission in life is not to travel the seven seas, reaching people on distant islands, it is not to hike tall mountains and share the gospel with remote tribes, it is not to pull people out of the grasp of sin through inner-city ministries, it is not to live on a farm in some deserted area far removed from the city and it is not to journey to foreign countries and convert souls by the thousands. My mission in life is to do exactly what I do now. To be the best registrar, advisor, counselor, and friend to as many as I can who come to Weimar. My mission field is right here, near the city but not in it, enabling missionaries to go out but not going as one, supporting the sharing of the gospel in an indirect way and yet seeing results all the time as one by one, the young people leave this campus, faith strong and ready to change the world.

As I sat in Classroom 2 this evening and listened to the beautiful harmonies swell and fill the room, tears came to my eyes. "This is why I am here," I thought, "and I don't have to go anywhere else to find this experience. It's right here."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's My Skin (and don't tell me what colour it is, either!)

T'was a long day today, filled with meetings, phone calls, people needing to talk, and of course the things that needed to be done for registration, which I managed to squeeze in somewhere. Now I am grateful for the extra two hours I have tomorrow morning when I will be scurrying about photocopying things, locating extra pens, and trying to calm frantic teachers, direct new students, and help worried parents as we begin a new year. . .yet again!!! Seems like every year we're doing everything from the beginning, all over again, and you'd think I would have it down pat by now, but unfortunately it seems like I've been getting a lot of curveballs lately.

I love and my quote for today kinda hits home:

"All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself." ~Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal"

Monday, August 17, 2009

Step One: Lose It

Ahhhh, nothing beats Pandora, especially "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey. I'm sitting on my bed, my peach double-sided quilt and three pillows stacked behind my head, as I hear the faint drone of the a/c keeping the summer's evening heat at bay. No matter how long a day I've had at work, nothing beats coming home and fully relaxing, kicking back and knowing that I have a deliciously long evening stretching ahead with no one laying claim on my time. (except for the dishes, the correspondence course, the filing, and all those other "to do" items that keep nagging at the back of my mind!)

I learned something today: when you have a list of things to do, lose the list, and by the time you find it again, you will have accomplished at least two thirds of the items! Several days ago, I sat down and created a list of urgent to-do things so I could clear my head and get organized. Well, I promptly lost that list beneath piles of dead trees, I mean paper, and soon gave up hope of ever finding my desk again, let alone that list. Late this afternoon, I finally found the time (and people stopped coming in my office, the phone stopped ringing, and emails stopped flooding my Outlook inbox) to clear my office. As I shuffled through a pile of useless documents, my fingers stopped at a rather important paper: my list! I quickly located a pen and began to cross items off, until I realized that most of the things I was so worried about finding the time to do several days ago, were now finished.

I have been learning several other things in this past week or so. I have realized that I am a strong woman, I am comfortable with being who I am, and I will not allow myself to be controlled by anyone (my biggest pet peeve). I have a strong sense of justice and a big heart that aches to make everything better for everyone, both characteristics that I know God gave me. I have also realized that God understands when I'm struggling with all the injustices, the politics, and the hunger, pain, and suffering and that He is proud of me for caring.

It's been a week of learning, and it's not even Tuesday yet! Now to enjoy some Trader Joe's Chocolate Cherry Chip Icecream. . .

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Purple Cat With An Orange Collar

"Keep this in mind—you are loved."

Today was another of those tough days. Seems like I've been getting a slew of them lately and I'm not exactly sure why. Well, okay, I have my theories, but cyberspace is neither the time nor the place to expound on those.

Feeling like a little pick-me-up was in order, I began to leaf through a cute "Stuck on You" notepad that LaVonne gave me for my birthday. When I came across the note where a smiling purple cat proclaimed that "you are loved" as bubble hearts sailed above his head, I stopped turning pages. "It's true," I thought. "I am loved."

We all have bad days. We all have bad weeks. Some of us have bad months and even bad years and, okay, let's stop there. Yet in the midst of those difficult times, don't we all stop and think, just for a moment, of the people who love us? We realize that even though it's not easy going, there are people who care about us, who are rooting for us, who want us to succeed, and who will support us through the hard times and cheer us on as we pursue our dreams. I am blessed to have so many people in my life who I know care about me. I have a really great family, very close friends, awesome coworkers, and so many friendly people in my wider circle of acquaintances. Most importantly, I have a Father Who loves me infinitely and maybe I need to stop and ponder how much He really cares for me.

As I prepare for another busy week, I'll not forget to remember. . .that I am loved.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Life's a See-Saw (and I'm in the middle)

So there are down days, there are up days, and then there are those days when you experience both in one, which is fine as long as it ends on a good note!!!

Yet another crazy hectic day. I didn't get to anything on my extensive list of "things to do;" I couldn't even find my list!!! I feel like I've spent my entire week putting out fires, answering questions, answering the phone (14 messages in one day, when for months I would be excited if I got 4 messages in one week!), answering questions, answering the phone, answering emails, answering questions. . .you probably get the point. I'm not exactly sure why, when everyone seems to have managed quite well for six weeks while I was gone, that the instance I am back they become utterly helpless and unable to do the smallest things. Okay, maybe not the smallest things, but right now I feel like I'm in panic-mode and I'm frustrated because I'm not able to be as organized and on top of things as I normally would be if it were an ordinary school-year. With a number of new students, new teachers & staff, and a new experience overall, it is difficult to stay above water, let alone be competent in the areas I know I excel. As an overachieving perfectionist, that doesn't bode well for my sanity!!!

There are always, though, those moments when you know you're going to be okay. When you wake up from an amazingly deep unexpected nap, taste a steaming fresh banana muffin that rose perfectly, or sit around the kitchen table with family and laugh from the bottom of your soul. You realize that, despite it all, you are still blessed with health, family, friends, shelter, and more than you need. (plus it's easier to feel grateful when it's the beginning of a lovely long weekend!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Ramble

It's late, I need to be sleeping, but my soul requires the outlet of writing before I can feel fully rested.

Today hasn't been an easy day. I find that the days I make an effort to spend some extra time with God in the morning are the days that are my worst. I know why, but that doesn't make it any easier to handle!

One disturbing part of my day was when I checked my bank balance and discovered that someone had made an unauthorized charge in excess of $100. Thankfully I was able to catch that quickly enough, but it was rather upsetting.

Still waiting to catch my breath, and I fear I shall never have that opportunity. . .

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's Wednesday (but feels like Friday)

Yaaaaay, I'm happy :) Tara Marie is here and it's so nice to see her again. I also realized how much I do like having a roommate, particularly when strange noises sound in the middle of the night. But I do enjoy having my own space too, so I guess I'm flexible. But this is one of the reasons why I got my own place, so I could have friends come over and hang out. Which reminds me. . .I need to get around to having a house-warming party at some point. . .

Today was the most fascinating day at work yet. Different challenges, one of those days when you think "Oh well, it can't last forever, can it?" and yet you know it will. I am still waiting for an hour or two when I can start crossing things off my list and actually start preparing for registration. I've found that every time I start to think that I actually have things figured out, life just throws more curveballs and I end up sitting down, overwhelmed and about ready to cry "I quit!"

But there's always tomorrow, right?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Night Owl

Hah, it's 11 pm and I'm still up. Shouldn't be, particularly since I have resolved to exercise, every day, for at least 30 minutes. I set out quite determinedly on Monday morning and managed to get in a good 45 minutes around the Loop. Then I woke up this morning feeling slightly sore and hit the snooze button. Tomorrow morning I have to get in to work asap, which means I won't have time to walk unless I get up before the crickets (and I am so not a morning person) so maybe Thursday? I think I value my sleep more than my exercise. But my evening was not time wasted :) I talked to a good friend for over an hour, spent some time at home chatting with my mom, and vacuumed my little place and cleaned the bathroom. I'm excited cuz Tara Marie is coming tomorrow, yaaaay! Oh, and Michael made the most delicious homemade blackberry pie with fresh blackberries that he and my mom picked by the creek and he even made the double crust from scratch (Betty Crocker rocks!). It tasted absolutely perfect.

Found out at the dentist today that I've managed to chip a crown so I have to have it replaced. Fun :( Not. My orthodontist has recommended jaw surgery because of an open bite and an overbite and it's a 30-month process with braces and breaking the jaw to realign it and I really don't want to do a major surgery like that but she and my dentist both strongly suggest I should because I'm "compromising" my back teeth. Bother. I hate making decisions like that. Which is why I'm eagerly looking forward to going to heaven, where we will never have to worry about root canals, where crowns will be golden and placed on our heads instead of in our mouths, where we can eat all we want and never have to brush or floss, and where toothaches will be a thing of the past.

Okay, I really should go to bed now. But does anyone know when I'll get to take a break from getting back from being away?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Long Days, Short Nights

Because I decided that my priority was to watch "Confessions of a Shopaholic" last night and stay up till 11 pm, I also decided to skip the morning walk this morning and set my alarm for 7:30 am. Unfortunately, the train had a different idea and I was up at 6:30 to a distinct choo-choo right outside my window. So, after sailing around the loop a billion times, I started a rather busy day at work. I'm still trying to catch my breath after six weeks' absence and am beginning to fear I shall never see my shadow again!!! Tomorrow a good friend comes to stay for a week (yaaay Tara Marie!) and after that, yup, school begins. It will be fun to have everyone around, but when do I get to breathe???

I forked over $80 today for a meal ticket and the plan is to eat lunches in the caf for awhile since they have such great salads (no bread for me!!!). My absolute favourite is English cucumbers, red bell peppers, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), kidney beans, and sweet corn, with garlic feta drizzed over top. Yum yum!!! Of course I have so much food stuffed into my tiny fridge from my town trip to Winco yesterday, that I may have to eat some of my lunches at home. I'm not used to buying food for only one person!!! It's probably a good thing that I only have a mini fridge right now, or I'd be tempted to buy everything in bulk.

I'm grateful for air conditioning tonight, cuz it's kinda hot. Nothing particularly scintillating to write about, so I shall attempt to get a little more sleep tonight. I think I'm finally starting to catch up. . .

Oh, Raley's has been having grapes for 87 cents a pound, and they're super delicious too! They even had Bing cherries for $1.49!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Noises in the Night

Last night I woke up about 2 am, to unfamiliar noises. It sounded like a party was going on, across the freeway, and I strained to hear voices and at times, what seemed like a woman's scream, muffled by the freeway. I wasn't sure whether I was hearing things, if the resident peacocks had returned, or what I should do, so after lying in bed petrified for about 20 minutes, I got up, closed my window, and went back to sleep. I'm still not sure what that was all about, but the previous resident has told me that I happen to live in the perfect spot on campus to hear everything that is going on across the freeway. Oh joy!

Still haven't completely unpacked, due to a rather hectic week, but can't complain, as the time has been well spent with friends and attempting to settle back into the routine we call life. I'm finally starting to feel rested, after too many late nights!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Just Catching My Breath

Okay, there've been a few days of silence as I jetted back over the continent to throw myself into the hectic pace of life while attempting to make sense of six weeks' absence. Yet, here I am, in my little studio apartment, listening to the freeway rush by, and grateful that even though I still haven't caught up on my sleep, I have been able to see good friends. Now I anticipate going to bed before 11 pm (what a treat!) and try not to realize that it is 1:22 am in South Lancaster right now. I think I'll be going back next summer. . .