Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quiet Saturday Night

It is my second quiet Saturday evening in a row. Some people would think that sounds lame--I should be out--chillin' with friends; enjoying a party; going on a date, for Pete's sake. Yet, I am quite content here at home this evening. I have been working on a various photography projects and tasks, with music to set a peaceful atmosphere in which I find rest this evening rather than social connection.

Saturdays are actually my best social days. I am socially "on" throughout the week, and my 'me-time' comes only in little doses after work each day. By Friday evening, I have very few resources left with which to meet any social demands. I usually take Friday evenings to be by myself, and I like it that way. Saturdays, however, are a completely different story. I am generally spoiled with the ability to sleep in on Saturdays, which renders me well-rested. I then spend the late morning and into the afternoon puttering around my condo, and maybe--maybe--running a couple errands. Whatever my Saturday daytime agenda is, it is rarely taxing. And it is generally independent. So by the time Saturday evening rolls around, I am so ready for whatever it is I've been invited to, or have organized, or am part of.

So then why am I sitting at home tonight, you ask? Well, mostly cuz there just doesn't seem to be anything going on. And believe it or not, in the introvert's world, this is okay.

It is a delicate balance for an introvert to manage the social requirements of work and extracurricular activities throughout the week and still have enough energy for friends and weekend socializing. In high school, this balance was easy, cuz I had such a set routine which was not all that socially taxing. School was for learning, not so much for constant social interaction. And it's not like I went out anywhere in the evenings (okay, there was youth group--one evening a week; some weeks I'd love to go back to having just one evening activity!). Then I hit university and found I oscillated a bit between overdoing it socially and then having to recover over the next few days. It's tough to be an introvert whose primary love language is Quality Time. I would so often be torn between wanting to participate in whatever was going on (cuz so much had the potential to be the greatest times ever) and wanting to just spend time in my dorm room watching TV or reading a book (but then I might miss whatever cool was going on!).

Somewhere along the way, I started paying more attention to my social self. I judged how I was doing in the moment, and I started judging how the events of that day were impacting how I felt about upcoming social activities. This wasn't really a conscious decision, like "I will monitor my social behaviour", but more just a sense that I knew I had to balance myself better, so I ended up just being more 'aware' of myself socially. I started finding that I could generally tell when I was more likely to be sociable, and when I was going to need some down time. For example, I would know on the Monday of a typical work-week that I would need down time by Thursday or Friday, and would indicate this to my ex so that he would a) not take it personally, and b) not schedule us to go have supper with friends or something.

The art that is this social balance took several years to master, and I am quite proud of my ability to do so. Occasionally, I still overdo it, but those times are few and far between.

My next couple weeks are going to be a but busier than average. Lots on the extracurricular plate going on. I am looking forward to all of it, but it means I have to take into account the different social dynamic. So here's to a quiet Saturday night!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


It is the Thanksgiving weekend, and as I was going through some of my file folders this evening, I came across a timely piece of 'art' (I guess you'd call it) that I put together when I was in university. Somewhere in my second year, I remember I started writing down all the things I was thankful for--as I thought of them--to fill an entire sheet with thanks. I added to it over the next couple years, and eventually filled the 9x12 page. It was sort of a personal art/prayer project, I think.

I've scanned the original, which you can see a large-ish version of by clicking on it, but as this is the time to remember all the things we have to be thankful for, I took it upon myself to type out the entire list. There is so much to be thankful for! And regardless of what it is, none of it can be taken for granted. ...The list is by no means exhaustive...

  • Thank You that I have everything I need—that I want for nothing.
  • Thank You for e-mail.
  • Thank You for breathing.
  • Thank You for diamonds.
  • Thank You for CDs.
  • Thank You for candles.
  • Thank You that I can speak.
  • Thank You for pure acceptance.
  • Thank You that I can see.
  • Thank You for sunflowers.
  • Thank You that I live in a beautiful city.
  • Thank You that I am computer literate.
  • Thank You for freedom.
  • Thank You for warmth.
  • Thank You for daisies.
  • Thank You for life.
  • Thank You that I can sing.
  • Thank You for rainbows.
  • Thank You for angels.
  • Thank You that I can be silly with my friends.
  • Thank You for inspiration.
  • Thank You for Your amazing love.
  • Thank You that I have food to eat everyday.
  • Thank You that I am no longer jealous.
  • Thank You for tears.
  • Thank You for colour.
  • Thank You for warm fire places.
  • Thank You for travel.
  • Thank You that I can play the piano.
  • Thank You for mistakes.
  • Thank You for understanding.
  • Thank You for what I don’t have.
  • Thank You for hands that I can do things with.
  • Thank You for proof.
  • Thank You for kisses.
  • Thank You for Skittles!
  • Thank You for dying for me.
  • Thank You for frustration.
  • Thank You that I am literate.
  • Thank You that I have a home to go to.
  • Thank You for strength.
  • Thank You when kids listen to me.
  • Thank You when kids don’t listen to me.
  • Thank You for music.
  • Thank You for tourist attractions.
  • Thank You for the smell of raspberries.
  • Thank You that I can go to school away from home.
  • Thank You for Bailey’s.
  • Thank You for warm beaches.
  • Thank You for good parents.
  • Thank You for trust.
  • Thank You for Sprite.
  • Thank You for sweet peas.
  • Thank You that I have two legs to walk, run, rollerblade, and dance.
  • Thank You for stressful conversation.
  • Thank You for opportunities to celebrate!
  • Thank You that I can buy clothes.
  • Thank You for the use of a car.
  • Thank You for beauty.
  • Thank You for being my Best Friend.
  • Thank You for willow trees.
  • Thank You for brothers.
  • Thank You for my experience at 7-Eleven.
  • Thank You for hugs.
  • Thank You for the sunshine.
  • Thank You for butterflies.
  • Thank You for words to express feelings.
  • Thank You that I can take photographs to remember special events.
  • Thank You for warm weather.
  • Thank You for patience.
  • Thank You that I can write.
  • Thank You that I am Your child.
  • Thank You for blunt honesty.
  • Thank You for the rain to make things grow.
  • Thank You for beautiful mountains to look at and hike through.
  • Thank You for love.
  • Thank You for memories.
  • Thank You for the smell of freshly cut grass.
  • Thank You for children.
  • Thank You for friendly coworkers.
  • Thank You for fresh water to drink.
  • Thank You that I can trust people.
  • Thank You for friends from whom I have grown apart.
  • Thank You for chocolate chip cookies.
  • Thank You for experience.
  • Thank You that I can drive.
  • Thank You for coincidences.
  • Thank You for Dairy Queen blizzards.
  • Thank You for cacti.
  • Thank You for dance.
  • Thanks for walks with friends.
  • Thank You for naivety.
  • Thank You for funny stories.
  • Thank You for marriage.
  • Thank You for humbling car accidents.
  • Thank You for contacts.
  • Thank You for new people.
  • Thank You for ice cream.
  • Thank You for books to read.
  • Thank You for being vague.
  • Thank You that friends can come to visit.
  • Thank You for strawberries.
  • Thank You for death.
  • Thank You for holiday.
  • Thank You for touch.
  • Thank You for TEC.
  • Thank You for gentleness.
  • Thank You that I am never alone.
  • Thank You for words.
  • Thank You for the sunsets.
  • Thank You for honesty and truth.
  • Thank You that I am introverted.
  • Thank You for piano.
  • Thank You for innocence.
  • Thank You for the moon.
  • Thank You for coffee.
  • Thank You for beautiful music.
  • Thank You for YOU.
  • Thank You for the opportunity to travel.
  • Thank You that I am employed.
  • Thank You for the weird people!
  • Thank You for ladybugs.
  • Thank You for friendly smiles.
  • Thank You for peaches.
  • Thank You for humour.
  • Thank You for lizards.
  • Thank You for fun times.
  • Thank You for the gift of selfless behaviour.
  • Thank You that I can work with wonderful children.
  • Thank You for beautiful flowers.
  • Thank You for happy dreams.
  • Thank You for cold.
  • Thank You for concerts I can go to.
  • Thank You for a cat’s purr.
  • Thank You for perspectives other than mine.
  • Thank You for walks in a park.
  • Thank You for stress.
  • Thank You for cloud cover.
  • Thank You for those who don’t judge.
  • Thank You for the ability to learn new things.
  • Thank You for hard experiences, because they help me grow.
  • Thank You for flukes.
  • Thank You that I am healthy.
  • Thank You for cool quotes.
  • Thank You for playtime.
  • Thank You that I have oxygen to breathe.
  • Thank You for helping me out of my shell.
  • Thank You that I can hear.
  • Thank You that I am Canadian.
  • Thank You for a good relationship with my family.
  • Thank You for growth.
  • Thank You for paint.
  • Thank You for unlimited long distance.
  • Thank You for Sorrento.
  • Thank You for communication.
  • Thank You that I can deal with stress.
  • Thank You for the most amazing friendships!
  • Thank You for motivation.
  • Thank You for strength to set the example.
  • Thank You for chewing gum.
  • Thank You for good movies.
  • Thank You for romance.
  • Thank You for laughter.
  • Thank You for independence.
  • Thank You for surprises.
  • Thank You for the gift of listening.
  • Thank You for sleep.
  • Thank You for Slurpees.
  • Thank You for feelings.
  • Thank You for the colour red.
  • Thank You for the sunshine.
  • Thank You that I have seen a shooting star.
  • Thank You that I can dance.
  • Thank You for wake-up calls.
  • Thank You for scenery on road-trips.
  • Thank You that I am smart.
  • Thank You for cute babies.
  • Thank You for relaxation.
  • Thank You for sparkles.
  • Thank You for sunscreen.
  • Thank You for amusement parks.
  • Thank You for the freedom to worship.
  • Thank You for broadening my horizons every now and then.
  • Thank You for photos.
  • Thank You for Your Word.
  • Thank You for nostalgia.
  • Thank You for scholarships.
  • Thank You for the opportunities to go look at the stars.
  • Thank You for detail.
  • Thank You for the opportunity to play like children.
  • Thank You for conversation.
  • Thank You for cool shows on television.
  • Thank You for cats.
  • Thank You for summer holidays.
  • Thank You for my next heart beat.
...What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

An actual conversation at 8:56am today, as I am driving with a child to go swimming.

Me (special needs para-professional from the city): Hey, look--a big truck! We're going to pass the big truck; it's pulling a tractor! Wowww!

Child (4-yr-old with severe speech delay from rural Alberta): ...Dat's a back hoe.

Me: Oh. Back hoe. Gotcha.

* * *

It's okay. Yesterday I learned the term 'auger' at his playschool. Before, I just used to call it... well, I dunno what I called it. The child may have a speech impairment; I have a John Deere impairment.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Malachi 3:3 says: 'He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.'

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: 'He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.' She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, 'How do you know when the silver is fully refined?'

He smiled at her and answered, 'Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it.'

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Busy Bee

I feel like it's been forever since I've written a decent post. I have gotten back into my regular work routine (as 'regular' as my work can get!), plus an extracurricular routine, and both have kept me busy. I am thoroughly enjoying a 'lazy Saturday' today, so I thought I'd catch you up on the highlights of my last month.
  • Work rocks. The position I am in provides a healthy challenge daily, as I jump-start programs, coach staff, and serve as the resource I am titled to be. This is my third year being a Resource Coordinator, and it is interesting, because the challenge is totally still there, but the maturity of having held my position for so long is really starting to come through this year. It's kind of hard to explain. I feel like I have a larger 'box of tools' to use on the job; I feel like I am answering questions more solidly; I feel more comfortable in more settings with more people. I am supervising a practicum student this year, which feels like such a 'grown-up' role, and I am also currently subbing in a program with a child with severe behaviours, and I'm not struggling with it the way I feel I once might have. I've had a lot of "I can do that? ...I can do that!" moments.
  • I think part of the feeling more like a 'grown-up' (aside from the fact that I am now only 1.25 yrs away from being 30--yikes!), is that I'm starting to more often dress like a grown-up. While this may not seem like a 'fall highlight' to you, it's a big deal in my world! Working with children has always [gratefully] allowed a wash-and-wear wardrobe. Tees, jeans, capris, sneakers. It suits me well, cuz I don't much like dressing up. Still, I've slowly been realizing that--especially in the office, and when I'm out with friends--it might help me look more my age if I dressed more my age. So, over the last couple of months, I have meshed together the desire to be comfortable, the need for floor-play worthy clothes, and the benefit of dressing up a little bit when I have been shopping. I managed to get a couple new outfits into my closet in August, I also picked up a couple things in the outlets in Seattle, and most recently, acquired some gems at a clothing swap that I went to with my friend JP. When it was still really warm out, I had a ton of fun in skirts, and am moving into the pants and sweaters now that fall is here. Last Tuesday, I was downright exhausted all day long, but I was wearing what I can only describe as a perfect outfit. Usually I dress in accordance with my mood (i.e. tired = cozy and comfortable), so I stretched myself a little bit to wear comfortable, but nice. ...I think it helped a little bit! I can't wait to wear that particular outfit again on a good day!
  • My photography is also expanding a little bit. I am gleaning photography tips from credible online sources, and having fun out in the field (trying to get the glorious colours of autumn, if we would just have more sunny days!). I am trying to expand my skills by taking pictures that don't fall into my standard portrait or landscape or up-close shot. I tried some sports-action photos at some friends' ultimate frisbee game over the summer. And I am especially having fun experimenting with my wide-angle lens. And in the realm of my comfort zone, I had two people ask me to do their family photos, which has been rewarding. I am also currently turning several of my photos into Christmas cards for our church's December craft sale. I don't care to be a professional, but I'm excited to see what potential my photography does have.
  • I'm taking dance class! Friends and I have signed up for a weekly drop-in hip-hop class that will teach the basics of different styles like popping, krumping, house, etc. While my friends seem to have been looking for more of a cardio workout, I am thoroughly enjoying learning a new routine each week to build up a repertoire of choreography knowledge and dance skills. I'm breaking a sweat and feeling it the next day--that's enough of a work out for me!
I think that's about all that's new and exciting here in my little world. Now, back to my lazy Saturday...