Thursday, October 12, 2006

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name
And blessed be Your name when I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out I'll turn back to praise
And when the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name when the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name
And blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Thinking Thursday

In my Grade 2 class, I try and make each day special. We start off our day by reading a morning message that I've written to them. If I was at school today it would be "Thinking Thursday". I decided to call a sub this morning at 6:30 am. It has been a heavy week and I felt I needed the time at home to spend time praying and collecting my thoughts. Here are some things I've been thinking about and praising God for:
1. the Sovereignty of God...that He is in control of all things despite our flaws
2. for God's faithfulness and grace that is new every morning
3. a husband who loves God and serves Him
4. family and friends who love, support, encourage, and keep me accountable
5. a question I'm thinking about: What does it really mean to be vulnerable, real, and genuine with those around you?
I don't usually like sending out forwards. However, like a friend wrote "This one was time well spent!" Here is the link to both the article and the video. Read the article first!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

My second favourite time of year... when Starbucks brings back their Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I had one this week and it was wonderful! Can't wait to have their Eggnog Latte at Christmas!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A list for today...

1) Finish getting ready for the day and have a kick start cup of coffee
2) Maybe run Marco's lunch into Red Deer because it was left on the counter this morning :)
3) Make a stop at a teacher's store and also Superstore to drop off rolls of film
3) Go to Blackfalds and continue working on getting my classroom ready for the fall
4) Come home and make a veggie tray and chicken wings for our small group tonight
5) Enjoy getting together with new friends at our small group
5) Later tonight I hope to do some more planning

A short list but a busy day!
On Saturday, we had a surprise visit from some very good family friends. I am so glad they stopped by because they are heading up north this week and I don't know when the next time will be when we'll be able to see them again. While enjoying a cup of coffee, the conversation turned towards blogs. My sister Erika blogs every week and when I read her posts it is just like having a
a face-to-face conversation with her. I know my blogging has been lacking over the few months so I got a few nudges, pokes, and prodes. Thanks Mrs. Guthrie for not only encouraging me with your visit but also encouraging me to blog.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

In kindergarten, one of the things that we do everyday is calendar and weather. We talk about the seasons and some of the signs of spring. The kids are getting really good at telling me why it is spring. "Mrs. D. it is spring out because it is raining a lot...I can hear the baby birds sing...the sun shines right through my window early in the morning...there are flowers popping up in our garden...I can run on the green grass."

Talking about spring everyday has my mind thinking a lot about new life. Tonight as I work around the house, my thoughts have gone to two precious people that were born recently. Both are small, new, and fragile. They have lots of machines hooked up to their tiny bodies, running tests and such to see what the next day may hold.

I've been reminded that even though life, for young or old, may seem uncertain and at times confusing, God is Sovereign and in control of all things. God not only thinks good things about us, His plans for us our good too!

From Psalm 139:13-15

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Winds of Change

Sooooo, this is the first time I (Marco) am adding thoughts to the blog. I have to do this before working on the aquarium. Talk about incentive.

As the title states, things are changing in my sphere of influence. Up to now, I have been static with life. Getting married and having a beautiful woman moving into the house has been a big change for me. I am thoroughly enjoying the time with Kristin and watching her add her influence to life. Being single past thirty has allowed me to settle a bit and enjoy one place for more than 6 months. That is until recently.

Since 1999 I have worked for Hertz Rent a Car, starting in Banff, and moving to Red Deer to assume a branch manager role. The Red Deer office was new when I started and so the first years have seen many experiences and lessons on how to run a car rental office. It has been a struggle over the last couple years as I come to know more about the pressures of corporate life and the reality that at the end of the day I am a number and therefore at the mercy of executives that make decisions that affect lives. I became one of those statitics of a company trying to go lean in the search of greater profits and efficiencies. Red Deer was deemed to not be profitable enough to justify its existance at this point in time and I was given to the end of April to find a new job.

Well, to say the least, it took me by surprise, something like getting sucker punched, except that I have known that I would get sucker punched for sometime, I just did not know when. That's the irony of a sucker punch. One of the first things I did was take this concern to Jesus. I knew that I could take this in two different ways, negatively or positively. I decided to take this as an opportunity to see what God would like to do in my life. We also asked our small group to pray for us, which ironically was studying James and discussing reactions to major disruptions in life. I also talked with a few other people, mostly to let my feelings and emotions out, but also to try and get a sense of what God is trying to tell me.

So on the first Wednesday of April I found out about the closure. On the Friday I received a message to contact a business person out of Rocky Mountain House. I talked to him late on Friday and we setup a meeting on Monday at the end of the day. Also on Friday I was informed by my boss Helen that there was a position at the Calgary Airport service center to manage the distribution office, which cooridinates a fleet of up to 4000 cars. It would mean we would have to move or I would commute about an hour and half each way daily. This position was actually filled tentatively and the candidates had not been told yet. So Helen was sticking out her neck to try and reopen the position to give me an opportunity. Helen asked me to think about it. Sunday was our small group. Monday came and the meeting occurred at the end of the day. Brent from Rocky Mountain House offered me the job of continuing to manage Red Deer and he would supply the fleet and other resources needed to make the office run. He invited Kristin and I for supper where we continued to talk about the opportunity. He asked me to let him know soon. Helen also wanted to know soon. So Monday night I faced a delimma. Both opportunities were good, both had risks and I wasn't sure what to do.

I was reading through the book of Proverbs and in chapter three vs six it states that I should acknowledge him(God) and he will make your paths straight. I realized then that I needed God to make my path straight and to trust Him in the decisions.

On Tuesday I talked to Helen, I told her that I did not want to burn any bridges and appreciated all that she had done for me. She informed that she was going to close the door on the Calgary position, leaving me the one choice to make.

Since the decision was made I have been working towards a change over. It is now at the end of May and starting to get hectic. It will be a challenge to keep things smooth and provide seamless service. I am looking forward to what comes up over the next several months. Brent has been telling me some of the opportunities he would like to see happen and I have longed to do them and more.

Well, off to the aquarium.


Friday, April 07, 2006

ABCs About Me

A is for Age ~ 23
B is for Beverage ~ Cinnamon Dolce Lattes from Starbucks.
C is for Career ~ Kindergarten Teacher
D is for Dad's Name ~ Haakon Christian (Chris)
E is for Extracurricular Activity ~ Volleyball, golf lessons with Marco, taking pictures, scrapbooking, walking
F is for Favourite Song(s) of the Moment ~ I've been trying to focus my days by listening to worship music while I'm in the car.
G is for a Good Time ~ Getting together with friends
H is for Hometown ~ Born in Hay River, NWT
I is for Instrument you play ~ Flute
J is for Juice You Like ~ Orange, Grapefruit, Cranberry Juices
K is for Kids ~ While on a missions trip, I was called a "kid magnet". Teaching kids is my passion and I hope one day we can have kids of our own.
Living Arrangement ~ The top-floor of the Flatiron Building in Lacombe
M is for Mom's Name ~ Judith Marie (Judy)
N is for Name of Best Friend ~ Lately I have been really encouraged by my friend Carolyn. I have many wonderful friends.
O is for Overnight Hospital Stays ~ Just once when I was young. I have been very blessed with good health.
P is for Pets ~ Salt-water Aquarium Fish
Q is for Quote You Like ~ My bulletin board has a few quotes on teaching and this is one I come back to: "There is no job easier than teaching if you don't care--and no job harder if you do."
R is for Relationship that Lasted the Longest ~ Marco and I have been married for nine months this weekend :)
S is for Siblings ~ Erika & Nathan
T is for Trip you were last on ~ Fairmont, BC for our Honeymoon
U is for U2 song you love ~ I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
V is for Vegetable you Love ~ Too hard to choose only one
W is for Wine you like ~ Zinfindel
X is for X-Rays you've had ~ My teeth
Y for Yummy Food you make ~ Chinese Stir-fry
Z is for Zodiac Sign ~ Like someone blogged "I believe in the Creator of the stars…not the stars themselves "

It 's been awhile...

...but we are doing well! Sorry for the lack of blogging for all you faithful bloggers. I decided that tonight I would dust off the keys and do a little blogging before another day of not blogging turns into a week which turns into a month or two :).

Life has been steady and busy ever since I accepted the teaching postion at Iron Ridge Elementary School. I ended up starting at the beginning of March, one week earlier then expected, and the last month has blown by. Even though I teach part-time, my days are filled preparing lessons and units, coming up with new ideas to make the classroom more my own, getting to know the staff and the 21 kids I teach, and doing assessments for report cards :).

On Wednesday, Marco and I started taking golf lessons at one of the high schools in Red Deer. Marco is looking forward to when the courses open this spring and he can take me out for our first round of golf together. I have never golfed before so I was very nervous walking into the gym. I was thankful when I saw the curtains hanging to divide the gym into little driving ranges. I could swing and miss and not worry about how blotchy I went. This week I learned some of the basics: how to hold a club, stand, and swing.

What does our weekend hold? I'll probably put in a few hours at the school on Saturday while Marco does a few things at Hertz. Saturday night, we are getting together with the young couples from church for a games night and potluck. It will be good to get to know people a bit better and have FUN! I hear the weather is supposed to be gorgeous. I hope you are able to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and time you spend with family and friends!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)

The Way of Love
1If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
5Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
6Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
7Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit.

9We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete.
10But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Monday, February 13, 2006

How I celebrated my birthday...

* On Friday the 10th, my parents and brother called from Kunming, China and wished me a happy birthday on the speaker phone :).

* On Saturday morning I got to sleep in. Then, I checked my email and got a few more birthday wishes. I did a few things around the house but mostly enjoyed the sunshine and the day to relax.

* My Farmor and Farfar Stokland came down to Lacombe for birthday lunch. Marco made soup and sandwhich fixings. For dessert we had homemade coconut cake that Farmor brought with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and coffee. It was wonderful! After lunch, we drove around Lacombe to show my grandparents a bit more of where we live. At about 3pm they headed back to Edmonton.

* For my birthday, Marco gave me a card and a Starbucks Coffee gift card that said "to help you unwind in the days and weeks ahead in kindergarten." This was my first birthday since we've been married so it was special to spend all day with him.

* Then Marco and I went into Red Deer to meet my Aunt Laurie, Uncle Gary, JD, and Amy. One of their gifts to me was tickets to the Red Deer Rebels WHL hockey game. It was a great game...the Rebels won 2-1 in the last minute.

* After the game we went to Moxies for drinks and birthday dessert. I had a Hawaiian Hunny margarita and the Banana Carmal Xango: "Creamy. Light banana cheesecake wrapped in a pastry tortilla. Dusted with cinnamon-sugar and served with warm caramel, ribbons of chocolate and French vanilla ice cream." So yummy!

* My sister Erika and boyfriend Arden were waiting for us at Moxies. They had driven down from Edmonton after work to help me celebrate. It was supposed to be a surprise, but even though they were very stealthy, their cover was blown half way through the day. It didn't bother me at all because I was glad I could spend the day with part of my family. I couldn't stop smiling.

* Erika and Arden spent the night at our house. It was a good visit but too short. They left Sunday morning after breakfast.

And that is how I spent my 24th birthday!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Here is an email I sent to family and friends this week that I thought I would share here too :)!

Well, the last few days have felt like a whirlwind of excitement and nervous anticipation. Last Friday (February 3rd) I had an interview at Iron Ridge Elementary School in Blackfalds, AB for a part-time position teaching kindergarten. The interview went very well! I understood all the questions and felt I was able to answer them confidently. The principals were impressed that I supported my answers with lots of examples from my practicum and substitute teaching. At the end of the interview, they explained that they had narrowed it down to myself and one other candidate. Before they could make the final decision they need to see me teach.

I was back at the school on Monday afternoon (February 6th) subbing in the kindergarten room and so I prepared to teach a Math lesson. That day I could see God working in so many ways--their were only 17 kids instead of 23, some of the kids had colds and so instead of "acting out" listened very well, the kids weren't distracted by the principal being there, and instead of scrambling my words when I know I someone is watching me teach, I was able to speak clearly. My hands and voice didn't even shake!

Wednesday (February 8th) I got a phone call at 8 am. I recognized the number from the school and knew it was the principal. She offered me the position and wanted to know if I would accept it. My hands and voice were shaking at this point. I asked if I could have one more day to think about it (a.k.a. phone Marco and let him know about the offer). After talking with Marco that morning we knew it was God directing our steps. I phoned the principal back at 10:30 am and accepted the position. It isn't official yet but I like saying that I am a soon-to-be-part-time-kindergarten-teacher :)!

Right now, I am so thankful for God's blessings! He is faithful!


Friday, January 13, 2006

I'm it...

...and it is my first time being tagged too :). Lots of fun!

Four jobs you have had in your life?
1. working retail at Northern Reflections
2. cleaning the church for a summer
3. daycare worker
4. substitute teacher

Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. While You Were Sleeping
2. Sabrina
3. Bourne Identity
4. Bourne Supremacy

Four places you've lived:
1. Hay River, NWT, Canada
2. Waxhaw, NC, USA
3. Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea
4. Kunming, China

Four TV shows you love to watch:
2. CSI
3. House
4. The Amazing Race

Four places you have vacationed:
1. Australia
2. New Zealand
3. Thailand
4. Norway

Four websites I visit daily:
1. the blogs of friends
2. school district websites to look for jobs
3. Creative Xpress to get ideas for scrapbooking
4. Real Simple

Four of my favorite foods:
1. My mom's brocolli and rice casserole
2. Cari's mandarin orange and almond salad
3. real Chinese food either in China or at the OPM restaurant in Edmonton
4. Marco's receipes

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. out for a Starbucks coffee with a friend
2. at home relaxing with my husband
3. on a warm, sunny beach
4. teaching in a classroom of my own

Four bloggers I am tagging:
1. Erika
2. Kirstin
3. Amanda
4. I don't know 4 bloggers that haven't already been tagged so I guess 3 will have to do :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

As I walk around the apartment this morning I can't help but look out the window. It is snowing! We haven't had a "snow day" in a long time so to see the big, white, fluffy flakes come down is absolutely beautiful. I love how the snow coats everything like a fresh coat of white paint. When I was little and living up in Hay River, NWT, I always enjoyed going outside to play in the snow. I would get bundled up in my parka, skipants, snowboots, knitted mittens, and toque. There were so many things to build and do in the snow. The hours would go by quickly and soon it would be dark. When I would go back inside, my nose and cheeks would be so red. I have lots of good memories playing in the snow. However, today, I think I'm going to stay warm and cozy inside :).

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Roads by Jean Little

Some people walk on straight roads
And see to both ends
--But my road dips and loops and swoops
And crooks and bends.

I've heard some people tell the world
That they know where they're going
But that's a thing I couldn't stand:
Always knowing!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

One year ago today...

After graduating from high school I remember being very focused. I had goals I wanted to achieve like going to Capernwray Bible School for a year, getting my Elementary Education degree, serving God in my church and in short-term missions, and getting more stamps in my passport by traveling to different places in the world.

However, at times there was a tug-of-war going on in my heart and mind. There were things I wanted to accomplish as a single person. I had high standards for myself and I wasn't interested in pursuing a relationship with someone for the sake of dating. But at the same time my heart's desire was to be a wife and mother. I remember writing lots of emails to my Mom and having long car-talks with close friends! They would always remind me, "Kristin, don't ever doubt pursuing the best. Trust God and His faithfulness. Give this to Him. He knows your heart."

I met Marco at the beginning of my third year at the University of Alberta. We would see each other occasionally when I would visit my aunt and uncle in Rocky Mtn. House. We would talk over coffee, while spending time with family, or on the way to the bus station. Our conversations never felt forced or superficial. It wasn't until the summer of 2004 that we decided to pursue a relationship together. Because he lived in Lacombe and I lived in Edmonton we would spend our nights talking on the phone. Then he would come up to the city on the weekends so we could spend time together.

On January 4th, 2005, in a gazebo in Kunming, Yunnan, China, Marco asked if I would be his wife. I said, "Yes!" Some of you may be asking, "Why did he propose in China?" Well, my parents live and work in China. It was a gift from our Heavenly Father to all be together for that Christmas. It was important to me to show Marco China, a significant part of my life and where I grew up. To have Marco ask my Dad for his blessing on our relationship was also special.

I was once asked what quality attracted me the most to Marco. I would have to say that he is a lot like my Dad. I am amazed by Marco's commitment to God--to love and serve Him with his life. He is honest and trustworthy. He is a "big-picture thinker" and shares with me the thoughts/ideas that are going through his mind. He makes me laugh everyday! He is patient and gentle, yet a strong leader. I love him, respect him, and thank God for him!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The first post of January

2005 in Pictures
Well, the last 6 months of 2005 that Marco and I have spent together :). May you know God's presence and guidance in your life this new year!

My Mom, Dad, and brother Nathan came home from China on June 8th.

I graduated from the UofA with my degree in Elementary Education on June 9th.

Marco and I were married in Edmonton on July 9th. It was a beautiful day!We went to Fairmont, BC for our honeymoon.

For Labour Day weekend, Marco and I drove out to Logan Lake, BC to visit Marco's Mom, Dad, and Aunt Maria from South Africa.

On September 17th, I did the 5 km Parkinson's Walk in Red Deer with my Aunt Laurie and cousin Amy.

These were busy months! I wasn't able to take many pictures but I remember taking this one of a beautiful fall sunset during a day at home. The colours were amazing!

Marco and I celebrated our first Christmas together. Many good memories!