“K” for Know

Soooooo small update.

After the first post on Monday, I got a call on Tuesday for a contract at Seven Stones. It began Wednesday and runs for the next six weeks. It’s the school I interned at last year so I felt like I’m coming home.  I’m filling in for Flower, the Indigenous Studies teacher (I wrote about the team last year. I’ll reintroduce them again soon. Flower has the coolest flower tattoos all over her arms. She’s really into botany). It’s really weird not having her around ’cause she’s a mega member of the staff and Cultural Arts team. But she’ll be back soon and the kids will be so happy to see her. My goal is to hold the fort until her return and learn some Cree and Indigenous history in the mean time 😉

Side note. I’m starting to wonder if God has something up His sleeve. I have all kinds of reasons for studying Esther’s story but I feel like God’s got His reasons, too… So I’ll keep you posted as we go.

As I was saying last week, I’m building this story like an Inquiry project. Before I can actually tell the story, I need to get the facts down and set this up a little. I usually start those with a KWL chart. On Monday, I did the ‘W’, meaning “Want to Know” and today, I’m going to dig into the ‘K’ for “Know.” After this, the story of Esther with a cast of kitties will begin.

Here’s my list of Know’s:

  • It’s the story of how God used Esther (and Mordecai) to save the Jewish people from genocide. The story is celebrated during the festival of Purim (a.k.a. Festival of Lots. I recognize that name from the New Testament. Can’t remember what passage it is but Jesus does something special near this festival). Generally, it occurs in March each year. They celebrate this story, specifically their deliverance from their enemies.
  • Esther’s real name is Hadassah. She is given the name Esther to hide her Jewish identity.
  • Hadassah means ‘myrtle tree.’ The tree holds different meanings to different cultures but to the Hebrews it symbolizes love and marriage. The oils and fragrance of the the tree are often used in the cosmetic and medical industry.
  • Persian Empire is now present-day Iran and surrounding area.
  • King Xerxes is written with a certain level of empathy.  He’s got strengths and weaknesses. In comparison, Haman is written as the supreme Bad Guy. There is nothing redeeming about him. He is seen as completely wicked. Not only is he sentenced to die at the end, but his whole family and bloodline dies, too. He was the one to organize the genocide against the Hebrews. In the end, it’s his legacy that becomes extinct. **This point is obviously arguable but this is just how I read it. **

**The next little bit of K’s I got from the Intro to Esther in the NIV bible version. Here’s the website. Found here: Intro to Esther (NIV)**

  • The author was likely Hebrew and called Persia home as he/she is aware of Persian customs. It was written a couple years after the Hebrews were delivered from their enemies as the writer references some of the anniversaries.
  • The writer has a thing for the number 2. There are a lot of duplications in the story:

In addition to the three groups of banquets that come in pairs there are two lists of the king’s servants (1:10,14), two reports that Esther concealed her identity (2:10,20), two gatherings of women (2:8,19), two fasts (4:3,16), two consultations of Haman with his wife and friends (5:146:13), two unscheduled appearances of Esther before the king (5:28:3), two investitures for Mordecai (6:10–118:15), two coverings of Haman’s face (6:127:8), two royal edicts (3:12–158:1–14), two references to the subsiding of the king’s anger (2:17:10), two references to the irrevocability of the Persian laws (1:198:8), two days for the Jews to take vengeance (9:5–12,13–15) and two letters instituting the commemoration of Purim (9:20–28,29–32).

  • Because God isn’t explicitly stated in the story and there is no reference to worship, sacrifice or prayer (as was common to the Hebrew’s lifestyle), people often wonder why it would be considered a part of the bible. Since the story is mostly written with a Hebrew audience in mind, they would read it with the assumption that God is already involved. There is no need to prove His existence in the story, nor is their any need to educate the readers on the customs as they already are familiar with it.  God’s sovereignty is assumed, even in the most trivial inconveniences and coincidences. It’s believed that by omitting any reference to God, it actually draws more attention to Him and the work He did/does behind the scenes. Odd, I know, but the technique is surprisingly effective. I’m constantly wondering, “God, what are you up to? And WHY?” And it leaves me in a state of awe every time I read this story and try to figure out how he weaved the sequence of events together. The artistry of the plot alone blows my mind.  All the writer had to do was document it. God took care of the rest.

I feel like there’s more to this list but this is a good place to start.

And now the story begins…

Wanna and Why: Re-Telling the Story of Esther with Kitties

Well, I lasted about two weeks of no writing. Not the full month but almost. I ended the “holiday” early because I have a writing project I’ve been wanting to complete for awhile now and believe completing it would be of more use than, well, not.

In my last blog, Desert Design Writing, I attempted to tell some bible stories. I studied the book of Judges and the gospel of John. I also tried to work through the story of Esther but never finished it. Partially out of laziness but mostly out of fear. Fear that I’d teach it the wrong way and lead people in the wrong direction. Fear that I’d say something offensive or condemning and be rejected. Fear that something “bad” would happen and leave my world shattered again.

I can’t say I’m necessarily prepared for any of those things to happen again. Oddly, the compulsion and desire to tell Esther’s story is winning out and quite possibly even more unbearable than the fear.

So here’s how I’m going to do this. I’m going to tell this story the way I’d arrange an Inquiry unit in class with a KWL chart (K=Know, W=Want to Know, L = Learned). Usually, we start with the K but I’m going to rearrange it a bit and start with the W. In this case, my W is a mix of ‘Why’ and ‘Want to Know.’ I think anytime we set our minds on some sort of goal, we want to be aware of the “why.” Life will get crazy and sometimes nightmares do come true but the “why” keeps us focused so we can stay on target and don’t give up. I’m doing this so I can come back to it again when I feel like giving up.

Here are my ‘why’s’:

  • I’ve been dating a lot. There have been some really great things that have happened and some not so great things. I’m not necessarily swearing off dating but I do recognize that my self-esteem and self -worth have taken a hit. I want to study the story of Esther to remind myself of who I am in Jesus’s eyes: chosen, beloved and precious. 
  • I’m telling it on my blog as a messy ‘first’ draft because God uses it to teach me grace, His sufficiency and how to trust Him more. By taking time to tell it, God uses it to speak into my life and the life of my readers. I want tell this story to remind other women of who they are in Jesus’s eyes, too. 
  • I want to learn about leadership from a feminine point of view. As a Christian, obviously, I want to become more like Jesus and lead like He does, sacrificially and with a servant’s heart.  With that said, Jesus is a man and I am a woman. I believe men and women have different styles and roles when it comes to leadership. So I want to know, how does Esther lead? What makes her so effective? What makes her unique as a leader? What qualities make her desirable to the king? I want to know what being a godly leader looks like as a woman. Is there truly a difference in the way men and women lead? 
  • Lastly, a word on style. I want to tell Esther’s story with a cast of cats. Why? Because I love cats (duh), it would challenge me as a writer and I don’t think it’s been done before (minus Veggies Tales, where everyone is a vegetable and marketed for children. In the version I’d like to tell, mostly everyone is a cat and marketed for teenagers and older). I also like to do clown work in the theatre and a clown’s job is to take difficult subject matter and make it digestible for her audience. I want to tell the story of Esther with cats to help both my readers and myself digest some hard truths with a sense of humour. 
  • Another reason I want to tell it on my blog and not, say, as an e-book, is because so many of the themes I play with in Claws by Susan P are similar to Esther’s. Both deal with topics of beauty, womanhood, love/marriage, justice and even God’s sovereignty. By adding cats, I’d be able to bring in the pet-sitting thing that inspired the name in the first place.  I want to get some direction and focus from Esther’s story so I can re-evaluate how I’m doing things on Claws by Susan P. 

So yeah, I think that’s it. I’ll get into more of the K and L parts later. Will keep you posted 😉

Oh! I almost forgot…

My goal is to complete this story by my 32nd birthday on November 26th.

 

 

End of Thankful Project… For Now

It’s the end of September and I have completed my goal of posting a list 3-5 times per week. This will be my last post for the week (I took my second post down… long story). For the month of October, I’ll be taking a break from blogging to get re-prioritized. I’m looking forward to it because even I am annoying myself with all this self-promotion.

For my last list, here are some random thoughts and thankfulness:

I am thankful for how well the drama class I taught at the Globe went today. We played a lot of icebreaker and drama games. We played a memory game where we each put our favourite food into a sandwich. The person would say the food and add an action to it. Then you have to repeat it in a circle. So I was Pickles, the next kid was Kraft Dinner and the one beside him was Mayo and so on and so forth. So you’d go “Pickles!…Pickles, Kraft Dinner!… Pickles, Kraft Dinner, Mayo!…” etc. I don’t remember any of their real names so we might have to play the game over again. So the game failed in the sense that no one knows each other’s real name but succeeded for fun value.

I’m thankful for Five Alarm Funk and Too Many Zooz. For girls’ night out, quiet pubs, club sodas with lime juice and a ball of knitting.

I’m thankful for times when I’m wrong… Today, I had a bad attitude while I was subbing but after talking with the person about it, we both apologized and ended up laughing in the end.

A couple days ago, I posted a long story about going back to church and beginning the reconciliation process (I have no clue what I’m doing btw. It could work or it could be a total disaster). I was concerned the post would cause more problems than good so I took it down. At the time, I was frustrated and hurt and wanted to tell my side of the story but I’m concerned I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing because I was pretending everything was okay when it wasn’t…If I did cause offense, I hope those readers would come talk to me so we can discuss it. I would be very grateful for that discussion.

I’m thankful for blankets and hot baths.

I am thankful for the month of October to get focused again. This thankful project was helpful and challenging but also felt very contrived at times. Perhaps that’s the discipline of it. Or perhaps it was my own pride and vanity… Maybe it was all three. I don’t know but I’ll take some time to think about it in October. At least I got through it and I’m thankful for that!

Better Now

I am thankful for meal planning and prep. I tasted Marrakesh stew for the first time at 13th Ave Coffeehouse the other day and now I’m making my own.  My version has way too much heat but it’s very tasty.

I’m thankful for pilates. I did my first session the other day and my trainer said I was strong. I was like, whaaaaa??? Nobody has ever told me that and now I want to workout more. Soon I’m going to be thankful for the Y because I’ll be getting a membership.

I’m thankful for Audacity which is apparently much easier to use than Garageband. The guy who trained me on it showed me how to amplify and I’m surprised I remembered how to do it when I got home. Anyway, I’m thankful for that guy and for the pre-recording studio at CJTR.

I’m thankful for fresh laundry and supper with my dad. We started watching La Mante on Netflix and it’s very scary. Dad didn’t find it to be scary but I did. I’m thankful for time with my dad and conversation about penitentiaries in Ontario.

I am thankful for The Princess Bride in book form. IT. IS. SO. GOOD.

I am thankful for coffee with Geoff, who was one of my theatre school teachers and now the Artistic Director of the Globe. We ran into each other once when I was in Toronto at the Dora Awards. I was volunteering and he was a guest so we didn’t have time to catch up. This weekend we did and talked theatre for a long time. I’ve forgotten so much since theatre school. It was nostalgic and lovely.

Today, I was prepping to go to my subbing job and found out it wasn’t till next week. I’m thankful for today so I can get some other work done.

I know I have more to be thankful for but I have to finish my to-do List before Five Alarm Funk tonight at the Casino.

P.S. I have a small confession. I know I told you I gave up caffeine but I had a small dash it in my decaf this morning. It was heavenly. You probably don’t care but I felt like a fraud.

P.P.S. I got back onto Bumble even though I told you I wasn’t going to online date anymore. So that’s another confession.

Okay. I feel better now.

 

 

 

 

Keep Trying

While I’m all for having a good attitude, I do believe there is a time where you gotta be honest with yourself. This week was a bit more difficult than I had planned and I kinda hit my threshold last night. Ten minutes before meeting up with a couple friends, everything kinda hit me and I fell apart. All the things I was trying to overcome with thankfulness, just suppressed a larger problem and all these prayers of bitterness and fear poured out.

Somehow (and I’m not sure how), I got myself out the door and met up with some of my favourite people at the local pub. I drank a glass of wine, knit a dishcloth and ranted. We all ranted. I don’t think any of our problems went away but it sure helped.

I am thankful for friends.

I am thankful for principals who say thank you and tell you they appreciate you.

I am thankful for the wins I had with a couple students.

I am thankful for a good belly laugh in a zoo of teenagers.

I am thankful for a good workout Friday morning. It wasn’t so hard I was exhausted by the end and it was challenging enough that I know where I need to get better.

I am thankful for Carly Romanow, a lawyer with Pro Bono Law Sk. She was/is my podcast guest this week. I was so nervous (she’s kind of a big deal) but she was awesome, totally humble and we ended up talking for a long time.

I am thankful I got everything done on my To-Do list on Thursday. I even had time to go for a walk and got to bed at decent hour.

I’m thankful for the person who left the smiley face cookie on my desk on Friday. There was a little note that said,  “Have a wonderful day!” with a pic of a sloth in a coffee cup. The cup had the word, “Sloffee” written on it. It didn’t make sense but it made me smile and I think that’s the point.

It’s weeks like these where I really wish I was married. Not because I want my husband to fight my battles but because I’m so tired of doing this by myself. Finding a godly man I legitimately admire to walk this difficult seasons of life with would be peachy. But it’s not my reality. So I pray and write and work and work some more and go for walks and read and watch dark European television about serial killers on Netflix.

And I try to be thankful even when I don’t feel like it. Even when my list of problems are longer than my list of gratefulness. I will keep trying.

With or Without

THE FIRST TO-DO LIST I WROTE THIS MORNING:

  • Pray
  • Transcripts (from uni to RPS)
  • 12 Lessons Outline for GTS
  • 5-8pm Shift at Globe
  • Wash floors (?)
  • Make bed
  • Read graphic novel (?)
  • Do your nails. Practice on yourself. Be put together.

WHAT I ACTUALLY DID:

  • Wrote list.
  • Prayed.
  • Napped.
  • Went spectacle shopping at Walmart for new glasses
  • Picked up transcripts from uni
  • Picked up eye prescription from home to bring to Walmart.
  • Got price quote.
  • Choked.
  • Changed mind.
  • Got groceries instead.
  • Went home.
  • Made lunch for the rest of the week.
  • Ate supper.
  • Walked to work.
  • Worked.
  • Had a great time at work. Aw. I love the Globe.
  • Kept eye out for Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan who was making an appearance at ‘Chicago’tonight. Apparently, when you’re addressing them, you’re supposed to first say, “Your honour,” and after that you are to address them as, “sir” or “madam.”
  • I got befuddled and said, “Hi there!” because I thought they were like all the other patrons and by then it was too late to say, “Your honour” so I stood there smiling like an idiot.
  • Finished work.
  • Walked home.
  • Made list.

WHAT I STILL HAVE LEFT TO DO:

  • Take transcripts to RPS
  • Write 12 lessons Outline for GPS (due tomorrow)
  • Write out questions for podcast interview/manicure tomorrow.
  • Wash floors  Wash hair.
  • Make bed Sleep in it instead.
  • Read graphic novel Read steps for Shellac Mani so you don’t forget.
  • Do your nails. Practice on yourself. Be put together.  Be yourself. With or without your nails on.

Bricks & Leaves

I am thankful for “Pencil Crayons” by Robert Currie. For questions for understanding and realizing I don’t understand. Still, I’m thankful I’m an actor so I can pretend like I do. But I’m even more thankful for educational assistants who actually know the answer. For laptops and batteries. For binders of Law 30. I didn’t teach it but I read it and it makes me wish I knew it. For CJTR, for quick hellos, for rearrangements, for more training, for pre-recording studios, for catch-me-if-I-falls. For deep sleep naps. For long walks to get errands done. For my FitnessPal. For cod, zucchini and onions.

For arts and crafts with little ones. For basketballs. I don’t know how to dribble but if I did, it would look like Frankenstein petting a llama. For paper doves and reminders of peace. For a couple games of pick-up sticks with a six-year-old with tape in his hair. Whenever he found an easy stick to pick, I’d say, “Good call!” and after that he kept repeating it and reminding me of how good he was at making calls. For the paper he gave me with nothing but his name. For his hug before he caught a ride home with the other kids in the van.

For phone calls with my sister on Sunday. For plans to visit her in Edmonton. For Bridget Jones Baby. It’s a bad movie but it’s my kinda bad.

For mornings to do housekeeping and refresh my hair with red conditioner so it tones out the green from before. If I part my hair in the middle, I look like Tina Fey. I’m thankful for that. For leaves on Albert Street. For cloudy afternoons with muggy air. For air conditioning to tone out the humidity. For bricks and interesting architecture. For teenagers who talk so softly they remind me of the chick from Pitch Perfect who ate her twin sister in the womb. For resources to teach me math again. For Google to help me. For the grade 9 boys I hung out with in period 5. They introduced themselves so sweetly and worked the ENTIRE period. Either that or they faked it really well. I think maybe two of them were faking it but they were too quick for me to catch them changing window tabs on their Chromebooks.

For the nice Christian lady who gave me a cocktail of painkillers to help with a migraine. Honestly, I don’t think I’d be writing this if it weren’t for her. I probably wouldn’t even have made it to my shift at the Globe tonight. Did you know if you mix extra strength Tylenol with extra strength Ibuprofen, you will feel great? My eyes feel like they are floating. God bless nice Christian ladies who also deal drugs.

Thank you for bed. It’s bedtime for me.

Now to Him

I am thankful for friends. I think I say that every week but honestly, it’s hard to find friends who make you laugh as hard as they do. Who accept you for being weird. For friends you can “fight” or disagree with and you still wanna hang out with them and they still wanna hang out with you. It’s just so rare. And I’m thankful.

Of all the poor choices I’ve made, I think the stupidest was walking home at midnight alone after watching a scary movie about witches who run around at night eating babies and drinking blood out of a sick goat’s udder and murdering families. I was on 13th Ave and there was this lady on her bike who was riding along the sidewalk behind me when I heard her say, “Excuse me,” while her bike went rickety rickety rack rack. I almost died. But instead of doing that, I squeaked and nodded and moved out of her way. I asked myself why, why, why did I think watching a scary movie was smart?! Honestly, I don’t think I’ve regretted any of my life choices more than when I was walking home last night. I prayed so hard, you guys. Anyway, I’m thankful I’m not a witch (even if some students/humans might think so) and that I made it home safely without being mashed up by one.

I’m thankful for bible studies that remind me of God’s love when I needed it the most. I am thankful for Jesus who reminds me what love is and what love is not. Love is not flattery. Love is not being a doormat. Love is doing no harm to others even if they do it to you (Romans 13:10). It means not treating others with the same contempt they treated you. It doesn’t mean you have to be their best friend. It doesn’t mean everything will go back to normal immediately. It means I let God deal with them. My job is to love and serve and not give up. I keep praying Jesus will help me do it because I’m still hurt about everything but I want to do the right thing and I don’t want to be a quitter. I’m thankful for that reminder this morning.

I’m thankful it was busy at the box office today at work. I hate being bored. I’m thankful I get to spend time with Sherri Dlouhy- Stevenson, who is like a mother to me. We’ll be cleaning up after a wedding tomorrow morning but I like it and so I’m thankful for that.

Since getting off caffeine, I feel like I’ve been catching up on months of lost sleep. I’m thankful for the rest.

I’m learning to be grateful for doors closing, whether that be friendships, relationships, missed opportunities, rejection, etc. It’s not always fun in the moment because I learn ugly things about myself and about others but I’m getting stronger and I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for the kids I sub for. On Friday, this little person with food all over her face followed me around while I got lost in the school. I’m pretty sure she was not supposed to be wandering but eventually we found her classroom or at least a person who knows which classroom she belongs in. She clearly didn’t want to go to class but I enjoyed her comedic interlude a lot. I’m thankful for her. I’m also thankful for the teacher I subbed for and what she reminded me of. On her desk she has this Christmas bookmark stuck in a mug with a bunch of pens and pencils. The bookmark has Jude 1:24 written on it, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless in the presence of His glory with great joy…” I’m thankful for the reminder and how God works.

I’m going to wash my hair now.

Good Day

Thankful List:

  • Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of mom’s death. I usually dread the day. But this year was okay. I didn’t get a call to sub so I slept in, ate this massive gluten free/dairy free brownie for breakfast, finished my cover letters for the law office jobs (decided to apply after all), stopped off at dad’s for soup and played some cards, walked to work for my box office shift at the Globe Theatre (which always feels like home), bought Epsom salts, had a bath and watched some of The Breakfast Club before falling asleep. It was actually a really good day and I’m thankful for that.
  • I’ve been weaning myself off caffeine and trying to change my diet to figure out what the cause of my acne is. The withdrawal has been uncomfortable but I think it’s working and that makes it worth it.
  • I’m thankful I have the time to get healthy and rest when I need to.
  • I’m thankful for extra time to meet deadlines and ideas for drama/theatre class.
  • I’m thankful for decaf coffee and avocados. I’m going to try making this avocado chocolate pudding that’s supposed to be low in sugar. I’ll let you know how it goes.