25 December 2014

Silent Night

"Silent night, holy night"
Breathless anticipation
standing on the threshold of holiness
time stretching out
and yet
over in a heartbeat.
Tongues and hearts falling silent
standing on the threshold of holiness.

"All is calm, all is bright"
In the stillness of the hours before dawn
in the velvety darkness
in the light of the street lamps
sparkling snowflakes drift softly towards the earth.

"Round yon virgin, mother and child"
The mystery of the incarnation
the improbability
the impossibility
the glorious absurdity of it all

"Holy infant, so tender and mild"
It is easy to imagine Jesus as a baby,
innocent, helpless
growing into smiles and love.
What about Jesus as a 7-year-old boy,
full of energy and questions and pranks?
What about Jesus as a teenager,
testing limits, growing independence, swinging needs?

"Sleep in heavenly peace"
Sleep little baby, knowing you are loved.
Sleep exuberant child, knowing you are loved.
Sleep uncomfortable teen, knowing you are loved.
Sleep questioning adult, knowing you are loved.
Sleep patient elder, knowing you are loved.
"Sleep in heavenly peace."

14 December 2014

Reflections on the End of Term

Well… I survived!  I made it to the end of my first term of my M.Div., and I haven't run away screaming yet.

I submitted my final paper on Wednesday (and then returned a stack of library books that I had out for research), had the snow tires put on my car on Thursday, and then spent Friday and Saturday driving back to Ontario.  My plans for the next 3 weeks include visiting family and friends, reading a stack of non-school books, and generally trying to let my brain turn to mush after the busy-ness of the past 3 months.

Overall, I've enjoyed the past three months.  The school is a lovely place - there is a real feeling of community there - we are one family caring for one another, even when we don't always get along or agree.  It is a highly supportive place to be.  The community wasn't the reason that this was my first choice of schools (chosen for a combination of the ecumenical nature and the location); but it is the primary reason why I am glad that I ended up here.

That being said, I'm also very glad that I have my own apartment, and that I'm not living in residence.  It has been a big shock to return to school after 15 years away - trying to live in a residence room probably would have been a bit too much.  Instead, I have a beautiful apartment, a relaxing commute to and from school, and my cats can stay with me.

With every paper that I've submitted this term, I've had a fleeting thought that, "maybe this is the paper that will prove that I don't belong here.  Maybe this is the paper that will prove that I'm a fraud."  I don't mean this in terms of a sense of call - all term long (after I got through the first couple of weeks), I've felt very strongly that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.  Rather, it has been more in a sense of an academic fraud.  My undergraduate degree was in sciences (Physiotherapy, to be exact).  It was very much a knowledge-  and skills-based undergraduate degree.  This term, I have written more papers than I wrote in my entire undergraduate degree.  I also wrote my first academic essay in 20 years - last one was in high school English class.  Each time I have submitted a paper, I have done so with a touch of self-doubt that it wouldn't be up to the standard.  That was one of my big fears in coming back to school - I was worried that I would be able to keep up, academically.  But so far, I've received mostly positive feedback on my papers.  They haven't "found me out" yet!

And I have loved being back in an academic environment.  It is a privilege to be able to spend my days reading and writing and learning and generally stretching my brain.  Just think - I have 5 more semesters of this excitement!

And so my books are packed away, and my desk is tidied, all in readiness to begin my next term on January 5.  I loved all of my classes this term - I can't wait to see what next term has in store for me!

(desk and bookshelf, tidy and waiting for me when I get home)

5 December 2014


At this time of year I find myself bombarded with "Christmas' - usually in the form of poorly interpreted Christmas carols and seasonal songs in every public place, rampant consumerism, parties, stress, and and and…

In church-land, the four weeks leading up to Christmas make up the season of Advent, which marks the start of the church year.  Advent is a time of not-yet-Christmas.  Advent is a time of waiting, of preparation, of reflection, of expectation.  It is my favourite church season, especially in contrast with the "Christmas" in the world around.  Advent is a liminal time - an in-between time, on the threshold of something new.  Advent is a time to slow down and reflect.

I don't normally share my poetry with anyone outside of my journal, however here is a poem that I wrote a year ago, reflecting on Advent, and travel, and with a good dose of jet-lag thrown in.

This moment.
Outside of time
Outside of place
This moment.
What came before is finished
The future is yet to be.
this moment.
The past has been absorbed into our being
Standing on the threshold of the future.
This moment.
We are travellers together on the road
Each of us with our own path
yet led by one spirit.
Searching for light in the darkness
Searching for joy in the sorrow
Lives intersecting briefly in
this moment.

(my journal, where I sit to read and write and pray each morning)

30 November 2014

Hymn Writing Assignment

One of the assignments this term in my United Church Worship class was to, "choose a familiar, traditional hymn and write a new version (at least four verses).  Employ language and images accessible to all members of the congregation and describe your theological and pastoral choices."  Here is the hymn that I wrote (don't worry - I won't inflict my 4 1/2 pages of theological and pastoral reflection on you!).  If you want to hear the tune that it is set to, you can find it here.

I heard (or read) once that the definition of a hymn was third-rate poetry set to second-rate music (possibly a Margaret Atwood-ism?); so I guess that this was my attempt at writing third-rate poetry!

Springs Gush Forth (Psalm 104)

Tune:   Blaenwern

Springs gush forth in every valley;
            rivers flow beside the hill.
Animals may come to drink there –
            all of them may drink their fill.
God takes care of every creature
            of the earth, both wild and tame.
We will sing God’s praises always,
            we will praise God’s holy name.

Oceans full of living creatures;
            winds that blow the ships above;
Earth renewed by blowing spirit;
            all created through God’s love.
Rocks and trees and plants and seasons,
            all the chaos, God o’ercame
We will sing God’s praises always,
            we will praise God’s holy name.

God created earth and heavens;
            God created day and night.
God creates each day that follows –
            holy darkness, shining light.
Sun and moon and stars above us,
            lantern, candle, fire, and flame.
We will sing God’s praises always,
            we will praise God’s holy name.

We, God’s church, gather together
            singing praises, seeking God.
When we look at God’s creation
            full of glory – we are awed.
By God’s grace, we tend the planet;
            love creation is our aim.
We will sing God’s praises always,

            we will praise God’s holy name.

(I guess the professor liked it!)

23 November 2014

Entering the Home Stretch

I think that I missed a week on this blog.  I'm going to blame the fact that it's November - approaching the end of the term with papers due, dreary weather, and short days.

Since I am up to my eyeballs in papers these days, I thought that I would let you know what I'm working on between now and the end of term.

Due This Week:
Pastoral Foundations, Intense Reflection - This is a 1000 word reflection on anything.  In class, we were talking about and reading about loss, grief, and mourning.  I got thinking about contemporary Canadian rituals for mourning (? and the lack thereof?).  I first of all came up with a definition for ritual (the intersection of symbol and action) and reflected on my own experiences both after Grandma died and then after Mum died.  I then threw the question out on Facebook and was astounded by the response generated - I was able to incorporate some of the themes that came up there in to my paper.  And finally, I did a bit of research to determine the purpose of mourning rituals, and reflected on how a pastoral minister might be involved with both formal and informal rituals with people.

Pastoral Foundations, Glossary (part 3 of 3) - We have had 3 Glossaries due over the course of the term, each consisting of 5 terms (we have to come up with the terms too) and our definitions (3-ish sentences) as they relate to pastoral ministry.  This time around, my terms are "trauma," "vulnerable," "shame," "grief," and "hope."

Due Next Week:
United Church Worship, Advent Service - We had to choose the lectionary readings for one of the Sundays in Advent this year (I chose Advent III, December 14) and design a full service including either communion or a baptism (I chose communion).  I've started working on this - I've got my sermon outline done and the music chosen.  I'm a bit intimidated by writing my first communion liturgy for this.

Biblical Foundations, Short Paper - We are to pick a passage of 10-20 verses from anywhere in the Old Testament, write an exegesis (what is the passage saying), describe the historical context of the text, and then reflect on contemporary resonance of the text.  All in 5-7 pages.  I chose Jeremiah 32:1-15, but when I proposed this to the professor, she was worried that by only working on the first part of the chapter, I would miss the "punch-line."  She has encouraged me to work on all of Jeremiah 32 - all 44 verses.  Here's hoping that it's manageable.

Due the Last Week:
Research Foundations, Research Proposal - This is a continuation of something we have been working on all term.  We have already had to pick a research topic, write a 2-page introduction to our topic, and prepare an annotated bibliography (4 books, 4 journal articles).  Now we are writing the 10-page research proposal for a qualitative research study including the research problem, theoretical framework, modified literature review, Sample Selection, Data Collection, Data Analysis, Validity and Reliability, Ethical Considerations, Researcher Bias and Assumptions, and Practical Implications.  After all of this, I'm almost wishing that we actually got to do the research!  My topic is "The Effect of Working in Palliative Care on the Spiritual Understanding of Health Care Professionals."

Theological Foundations, Essay - 2000 words on a topic of our choice, either chosen from a list given to us by the professor or negotiated with the professor.  I am writing on "Feminist Critique and Reconstruction of the Trinity."

As well as these 6 papers that remain, I also have one group presentation (December 4) in Pastoral Foundations, and an oral exam in Biblical Foundations (to be scheduled for December 1-3).  And then on December 9, the term is over!

No picture this week - I couldn't think of anything interesting to snap related to all of these papers.  If I could train the cats to manipulate a camera (i.e. if they had opposable thumbs), they could take a picture of me sitting at my desk since it seems like that is all I do these days!  At least my desk chair is comfortable :-)

An appropriate photo opportunity came up this evening, so I can't resist.

Lily, helping me with my next paper.

9 November 2014

Beginning the Count-down

Not much to write about this week.  I've spent the weekend working on research for my Pastoral Foundations paper.  We weren't given many guidelines for this paper beyond being edgy, relevant, and finding resonance with the author.  And so, after much deliberation, I have decided to write on "Congregational Healing after Conflict."  (Some blog-readers may make the connection as to why this topic resonates with me.)  I think that I will tie it all together using a physiological wound-healing analogy (write about what you know, right?!) and use my own experiences with congregational conflict to make it relevant.

Also this weekend, I made Christmas Cakes (which are now ripening in my pantry) and roasted my Hallowe'en pumpkin so I have several containers of pumpkin-y goodness in my freezer now.

Last week, a couple of class-mates were pointing out how few weeks of school we have left - 4 1/2 to be exact.  My last class of the semester will be on December 9, with my last paper due on December 11 (fingers crossed it will be done before then).  And so, despite some resistance on my part, I have made up a mental to-do list of everything to get done before the end of the semester…

  • 8 papers to write (5 big ones, 3 smaller ones)
  • 1 group presentation
  • 1 oral exam
And then I will have not-quite-a-full-month off for Christmas holidays.  My plans include driving back to Ontario to visit family, and reading lots of novels!

Remembrance Day is a public holiday, so I won't have any classes on Tuesday this week.

And that's about all that is going on in my world for this week.


4 November 2014

Last week

Last week was a busy week - I was glad that the week before had been reading week, since I felt somewhat caught up on reading and assignments, rather than feeling like I was hopelessly falling behind!

I had 3 assignments due:

  • A response to one of the readings we did about Communion (8 pages)
  • An exegesis on Genesis 32:22-32 (5 pages)
  • A Pastoral Glossary, part 2/3 (5 terms each time - we pick the terms and write the definitions)
I also had one midterm exam in Theological Foundations - my first exam of any sort in 15+ years.  Now that it is over, I am feeling OK with how I did, but I am still waiting for my mark.  There were 7 essay questions (all based on the lectures), and I had to choose 4 to answer in 1 hour.  I ended up writing 14 pages (double-spaced), and had a few minutes left at the end to re-read my answers, and cross out and re-print any words where I couldn't read my own handwriting.  Here's hoping that the professor can read my scrawl!

Wednesday afternoon is usually our Formation group - where we get together with our denominational peers and discuss issues specific to our denomination.  Last week, the Anglican and United Church formation groups got together and had a day-long workshop in Ministry with Seniors.  Since I come from a background of working with seniors in the health care sector, I didn't find the morning session very helpful (it was focused on the practical needs of seniors) - though it was interesting to learn how the services are different in this province as compared with my home province.  But the afternoon session focused on the spiritual needs of seniors was much more interesting from my perspective.

Anyways, with papers and exams and regular classes and extra classes, on Thursday I was a bad student and I skipped the student union meeting (and I felt bad afterwards when I found out that they just needed one more student to make quorum…).  But I was feeling a bit weary, and even the thought of sitting in a meeting for an hour exhausted me.  So instead, I headed back in to the chapel and spent an hour practicing on the pipe organ :-)

We also had a couple of arts events last week at the school.  There was a photography display up in the library on the theme of "Houses of Worship" - mostly churches, but trying to include other religions across Canada and the US.  On Monday after chapel, the photographer gave a talk in the library which was very interesting.  And then on Thursday evening, there was a talk on "Poetry and Preaching" in the chapel, and that was amazing!  We had the poet laureate of Halifax, El Jones, along with a former graduate of the school.  The poet recited several of her (very powerful) spoken word poems, and then the preacher gave us a spoken word sermon based on the upcoming Sunday's lectionary.

I have been recruited to sit on the school's Arts and Theology Committee, though I won't be able to attend any meetings until next term due to a conflict with my class schedule.

And one final "arts" encounter.  On Tuesday, when I got off the ferry and was rushing to catch my bus, there was a busker in the ferry terminal.  I couldn't stop and listen for long - it was the morning of my midterm exam so I really didn't want to miss my bus connection - but it definitely gave me pause as I rushed up the stairs behind him.  Hearing one of the Bach solo cello suites echoing around the ferry terminal helped to calm my mind and put me in a good state for my exam.  I was hoping all week that he would be back so that I could stop and thank him; but then I found out at the end of the week that it was an experiment and the busker was the principal cellist for Symphony Nova Scotia.

And that was my week last week!

27 October 2014


I just realized that the weekend has slipped past me and I didn't write anything.  I had a lovely reading week - I got some work done (i.e. readings and papers due this week), and I was still able to take some time off to play "tourist" around Halifax and spend some quality time with some of the fiction that has been piling up on my bedside table.

I won't bore you with pictures of the schoolwork that I did, but here are a few pictures I took on my tourist day.  Note that this was the only sunny day we had all week - the rest of the week was perfect for spending sitting at my desk with textbooks or curled up on my sofa with novels.

Looking out to sea from Point Pleasant Park 

The Halifax Citadel 

The Public Gardens - I couldn't pick just one picture from the gardens, so the 
next couple of pictures were all taken here.

The dahlia beds were stunning 

So much colour for late-October. 

Pier 21 is where many immigrants arrived in Canada, and it is now the Canadian Museum of Immigration.  This was an emotional stop for me, as it tells individual stories of the decision to immigrate to Canada as well as the experience of arriving here.  I love my country!

And this picture was taken on a different (less sunny and more windy) day at the 
Lawrencetown beach.  The surfers were out!

20 October 2014

Reading Week!

Today is Monday, the first official day of the fall reading week.  Though since I don't have any classes on Fridays, I guess that last Friday was my first unofficial day of the fall reading week.  I am very excited about this - my first reading week in 15+ years.  And even in my previous degree, done back in the days when physiotherapy was still a Bachelor's degree, we rarely got a full week off for reading week.  Our class schedule was always a bit different than the rest of the university since we had 5-6 week clinical placements scattered throughout the years; and so our reading "weeks" often ended up as reading 2-3 days.

I have plans for this week… Mwa-ha-ha-ha.  Well, actually, most of my plans involve actual reading.  I do have schoolwork to get done.  So far, I've done the reading for 2 classes next week and written an 8-page paper due next Tuesday.  And I also want to take a day with nothing to do but read fiction - something that I haven't had much time for recently.  And on my fiction day I want to slip out to a bookstore since my current journal is almost full, plus Anne Marie MacDonald has a new book out :-)  Have I mentioned that I am a fan of fiction???  And then I want to take one day to play tourist, and see something more of this city than just my apartment, the school, and the public transit routes in between. Looking at the forecast for the week, I suspect that tomorrow will be my tourist day…

And I have another First-time-in-15+-years event coming up next week - my first midterm exam in a while.  Theological Foundations, next Tuesday morning.  Which brings me to my agenda for today - studying!  I guess I'd better get off Blogger and open up my books...

12 October 2014

My Student Card

It has been a busy autumn, adjusting to being a student again after working full-time(ish) for the past 15(ish) years.  One thing that had fallen by the wayside was going to the gym.  Back at home, I normally went to the gym 3-4 times per week; and I know that I feel better and have more energy when I exercise regularly.  But knowing that this would be a major life adjustment, I gave myself permission not to feel guilty if I don't make it to the gym regularly this semester.

And for the first 5 weeks, I didn't make it there.  Partly it was because I felt overwhelmed with all the work; and partly because of the logistics of carrying my gym bag as well as my school bag across the harbour with me on the ferry/bus.

But this week, I managed to get to the gym twice!  The school that I am attending is too small to have a gym, but part of our student fees go to the school just up the street from us, and so we get access to their gym.  And a lovely gym it is too.  Clean, friendly, in good repair, and the nicest shower area of any gym I've ever been to.  All I have to do is swipe my student card, and I can get access to it all!

And that isn't the only benefit to having a student card again.

I just have to wave my student card at the bus driver or gatekeeper at the ferry terminal, and I can get on without paying.

On Tuesdays, if I show my student card at the grocery store, I can get a 10% discount on my purchases.

If I sign in with my student card, I can get access not only to the library at my school, but also the libraries of every university in the province.  And they will even deliver books that I request to my school for me within a couple of days!

So I guess being a student isn't all just hard work :-)

(my student card - it's been a few years since I last had one of these!)

3 October 2014


In our Theological Foundations class this week, we were learning about and discussing the Trinity; and this included the concept of "perichoresis."  Our textbook (McGrath, Alister.  Christian Theology:  An Introduction) rather dryly defines perichoresis as, "the basic notion … that all three persons of the Trinity mutually share in the life of the others, so that none is isolated or detached from the actions of the others," or, "mutual interpenetration," or, "a community of being, in which each person, while maintaining its distinctive identity, penetrates the others and is penetrated by them."

OK.  Things become much more fun when you go to the Greek roots of the word.  "Peri" = "around" and "choreia" = "dance."  And so I propose the following alternate definition of perichoresis.  Do you think that I could get away with this definition on our exam?


Three girls
holding hands in a circle.
holding tight
never letting go.
Long hair flying wildly in the wind,
skirts swirling madly outward,
feet stamping out intricate choreography,
hands forever holding fast,
dancing to the music of the cosmos.
Dancing through space
dancing through time
now this one leading
now that one leading
always together
dancing the dance with no beginning
with no end
always three
always one.

29 September 2014

Home, sweet home

I am finally starting to feel settled in my new apartment - all of the boxes are unpacked, the pictures are up on the walls, and I am just waiting for the piano tuner to come and make the piano sound nice again after its long journey.

When I came here for a weekend in August to go apartment hunting, I came prepared with a spreadsheet to use to compare apartments.  Price was a factor, but I used it to rule out apartments without even looking at them if the rent was over a certain amount.  The factors on my spreadsheet were:

  • piano will fit in to the apartment (i.e. no long flights of stairs!)
  • pets (specifically cats) are allowed
  • on-site laundry (coin-operated was OK, I just don't like traveling to laundromats - which reminds me, I have to do laundry this evening!)
  • natural light (I have lived in apartments with minimal to no natural light - I don't do well there)
  • off-street parking (especially since I'm not using my car very much these days)
And so, after looking at a pile of places over a few days, I came up with a short-list of 4 where I could see myself living.  Why did I pick this one?  The character.  I am renting a flat in a Victorian mansion (built in 1895 by the former mayor) - picture lovely high ceilings, crown moulding, hardwood floors.  It is a bit of a commute to get to school (50-60 minutes with public transit; 20 minutes driving not at rush hour); but I found that my rent dollar goes a lot further in Dartmouth than it does in Halifax.  I could have rented an apartment a few blocks away from the school for the same monthly rent, but it was maybe half the size, and with no character - your typical cube apartment in a large apartment building.

I think that I am going to be happy here.  There are lovely windows with lots of sunlight all day long.  My landlords are great.  I have lots of space for visitors (hint, hint).  I enjoy my daily commute (especially the ferry ride).  And Dartmouth is smaller and less busy than Halifax, I I find it easier to get around.  The downtown core is a 5-10 minute walk away, and there are lots of grocery stores etc. that are easy for me to get to.

Picture time!

 (living room at the front of the house)

 (dining room / office space in the middle of the house)

 (bedroom, towards the back of the house)

(kitchen, and back door)

23 September 2014

Chapel Services

Being a theological school, chapel services are part of the daily and weekly routine here.  Attendance is encouraged, but not compulsory (for example, I don't have classes on Fridays so I don't anticipate making the trek over to school very many weeks for Friday chapel).  Monday, Tuesday, and Friday the service is quite short - 15-20 minutes only - usually with hymns, readings, and prayers.  On Thursday, it is a bit longer - 45 minutes or so - with a guest preacher from either the school or the community.

Planning and presiding is done by teams, and teams rotate from week-to-week.  It is ideal if there is a mix of denominations, as well as year of study on each team.  There is also one faculty member with each team.

Being the keener that I am, I signed up to be a part of the team for the very first week.  Hey - why not grab hold of the chance to take part before the course workload gets too overwhelming?!  And so our team of three students (a 2nd year and a 3rd year and me) and one professor planned out the services for the week.  Each day, each one of us took part in the shared leadership of the services, taking turns leading the prayers and reading the scriptures.  On Monday, the chapel organist was away so I even had a chance to play for a service.

And I had so much fun, that I have signed up to be part of a team one week near the end of term in November.

If you are an observant reader, you may have noticed that I skipped over Wednesday in my schedule above.  Wednesday afternoons we meet with our denominational groups, and so each denomination worships separately at different times in the chapel, in the style of our own denomination.

And so my adventure at seminary continues.  I've handed in a couple of assignments at this point, and feel a bit more on top of my readings this week.

(a view of the chapel from the organ loft)

14 September 2014

What the heck am I doing here???

I've survived the first week of classes - I just don't know if I am going to survive all of the reading I have to do before the second week of classes!

My weekly schedule is as follows:
Monday morning - Research Methods and Practices
Tuesday morning - Theological Foundations
Tuesday afternoon - United Church Worship
Wednesday afternoon - United Church Formation
Thursday morning - Biblical Foundation:  Hebrew Bible
Thursday afternoon - Pastoral Foundations:  The Search for Meaning and Connection

I think that it was some time around Tuesday afternoon that I had a sensation of being completely overwhelmed.  What the heck am I doing here?  Why did I give up a perfectly good career and home to do this?  Short term goal:  to make it to the end of the week.  Longer term goal:  to make it until the end of term.  Breathe.

That feeling has settled down a bit.  I'm getting in to the assigned readings (and getting through them, mostly on schedule).  And I'm enjoying the readings!  Maybe this isn't going to be as impossible as I thought?  But then there are the assignments - first one due on Tuesday afternoon.  What the heck am I doing here?!

I can do this.
One day at a time.
One chapter at a time.
One assignment at a time.

On another note, I finally have internet at home!  3 weeks after making contact with them, someone finally came by yesterday morning, plugged in a modem for me, and 5 minutes later I had working internet.  Yay!

I'm almost unpacked here in my apartment - just in time for my first visitors from "home" are expected this week.

(this term's texts)

6 September 2014


I have made it in to my new home!  Actually, I arrived on Monday afternoon, and this morning, 5 days later, the moving truck arrived.  It has been a crazy couple of weeks - 1 1/2 weeks of intensive packing up following a year of gradual purging.  One morning for the movers to load my stuff in to the moving truck.  4 days of driving to get from my old home to my new home, plus a 3-day stop to visit family and friends at the half-way point.  3 days of orientation at my new school.

Courses have been registered for; textbooks have been acquired; and classes are set to begin on Monday!

I am ready to go.  Except for the gazillion boxes (give or take) left to unpack.  Except that I don't yet have the internet hooked up at my new apartment (I've been fighting with the provider for the past 3 weeks to get this done).

I have some exciting new textbooks to geek out over.
I have a bus pass (included with my school fees) and the ferry ride across the harbour is lovely, especially on a sunny day.
I have a gym membership (also included with my school fees) - though I only got that sorted out yesterday so I haven't had a chance to visit it yet.
I was able to get a public library card yesterday, and they have free WiFi.
And I get to sleep in my own bed tonight rather than on the floor!

And so...

20 August 2014

Thoughts on the End of Work

Last Thursday was my last day of work.  I have been a Physiotherapist for the past 15 years; and aside from my regular vacation time, 2 months before I went to Tanzania, and 2 months after I got home from Tanzania, I have worked as a Physiotherapist for the past 15 years.  And now I am not.

I don't think that I have fully processed this yet.  I've been too busy with packing boxes and last-minute appointments to think about the fact that I'm not working.  I suspect that it will hit me in a little bit.

I have had 3 physiotherapy jobs since I graduated from university, and I have (mostly) loved all three of them.  I have had awesome employers, great colleagues, and amazing clients from whom I have learned so much.  When I finished school and for many years afterwards, it felt like a calling.  At first, I couldn't believe that the hospital was actually paying me for doing this.  I loved going in to work in the morning, I racked up professional volunteer hours, I eagerly attended continuing education courses.

But over time, things changed.  I still enjoyed my work and my interactions with my clients, but the enthusiasm just wasn't there the way it was in the beginning.  I haven't done any physiotherapy continuing education courses in a couple of years (shhh - don't tell the College!).  I can't remember the last Ontario Physiotherapy Association meeting that I attended (and it has been 5 years since I was on the local executive).  I wasn't excited when I was asked to let my name stand for the provincial board of directors a couple of years ago (and I didn't let it stand).

But I have been getting more excited about my church-land activities.  I loved the 2-year Lay Worship Leader course that I took.  Despite the challenges, I (mostly) enjoyed my time on the church board.  I love going to Presbytery meetings, representing my home congregation and becoming more involved in a wider sense.

I don't think that our calling needs necessarily be static through our whole lives.  My current direction would not have been right for me 15 years ago, but it feels right for me now.  Despite the stress of selling my house and moving half-way across the country, it feels like the right thing to be doing.

And I am still a Physiotherapist.  I am still registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario which allows me to use that title for myself.  I don't want to work at first, but I may look for some casual physiotherapy work at some point in my schooling.  With 4 months off in the summer, I will definitely be looking for physiotherapy-related summer jobs.  And when I am done, I will have options available to me, in terms of possibly combining physiotherapy and ministry.

I don't have very many pictures of me at work as a physiotherapist, but I will include this picture from my time in Tanzania.  This young man had spent many months in hospital following a car accident.  The local district of the Ontario Physiotherapy Association donated money to purchase a locally-made, locally-appropriate wheelchair, and so I visited his home, made the necessary measurements, and purchased this wheelchair using the donated money.  This picture was taken on delivery day - he was able to walk a bit around his house with assistance from his mother; but this wheelchair would give him the mobility to go beyond his house and participate more in his community.

14 August 2014

The Start of the Journey (or maybe the middle?)

If you are reading this, then you probably know that I am in the middle of packing up my house and getting ready to move half-way across this vast country.  Why would I do something like this?  I have come to the conclusion that I must be crazy.  Or at least a little bit off-kilter.  Because, 15 years after finishing school, I am about to go back again.

When I graduated from university, I was so glad to be done.  I was excited to enter my chosen profession of physiotherapy.  I had a job lined up in Thunder Bay, I passed the Physiotherapy National Exam, and I was set to go.

The years passed.  I traveled.  Lots.  I lived in Tanzania for 3 years working as a physiotherapist in a rural mission hospital.  I volunteered in different contexts.  I spent a total of 5 years on the executive of the local district of the Ontario Physiotherapy Association.  Music is a fun hobby.  I bought a house 7 years ago and have enjoyed learning how to garden in this climate.

But then, maybe about 5 years ago, I started feeling little nudges that maybe this wasn't going to be where I was going to stay.  And so after 5 or 6 years of informal, internal discernment and a year of formal discernment, I am headed to seminary.  I will be studying for my Master of Divinity, and if all goes well, in 4 years, give-or-take, I will be ordained as a minister in The United Church of Canada.

Several people have told me that they want an easy way to keep up with me, and what I am doing, and what I am learning; and so I have decided to start this blog as a way to keep in touch with friends and family.  My goal is to update it every week or so.

And so my Next Great Adventure is about to begin!  Let me buckle my seatbelt and hang on for the ride.  I was planning to put a picture of a road in here - or maybe a road with a fork in it ("I took the road less traveled" etc.).  But that isn't my preferred means of transportation, so instead I will finish off with this picture.  Something to remind me of my heart's home here in north-western Ontario even when I am living half a continent away; as well as a reminder of the journey that we all take through this wild and crazy life.  What will be waiting on the other side of the bend in the river?