Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Life... It's Beautiful

Well... this past week and a half has been more difficult then most.

One of the reasons I started this blog was so that my family and friends at home could see what I was getting up to in Alberta. Most of this information is not new though.

My Oma passed away last Thursday (Nov. 4th 2010) at 2:00 in the morning...
Wednesday night (the 3rd) was a difficult night. After I had received an email from my ma about my Oma's condition (she wasn't responding to anyone), I needed to study for my EdPsych midterm as well as finish up a paper for my Profession of Teaching course. It was a stressful and emotionally draining time... however, my friends out here are truly amazing and treated me so well. They were there to listen to me and to just be with me as well as help me study as I was trying to get things done while thinking about my family...

The next morning was VERY difficult.

I was getting ready to go write my midterm for EdPsych and I received a phone call from my mom about Oma passing away. I was able to be with Clara for 20 mins or so before I could go write an exam 30 mins later. I wrote my mid term... then I handed in a paper... then I skipped my class... I could not handle it.

However, I have GREAT friends. After I left my class, I went home to calm down and take a breather and to be alone for a little bit. Then Caleb, Travis and Clara came back from Value Village where they went Christmas shopping... (yes, we like to celebrate Christmas a little bit early here). So I headed over to the guys place and was greeted with big smiles, hugs, an eggnog chai latte, Christmas music AND a STOCKING! Then we played Bohnanza and I WON... they didn't even let me win... I won all on my own! My friends out here are TRULY GREAT!

My last midterm was last Wednesday... and last Wednesday was Oma's funeral. As soon as I was done my test it all started sinking in. I REALLY wanted to be there and to see my family and to see my Opa, but I couldn't. All I could do was pray for my family... that the LORD would bless them and hold them close and calm their hearts.

Oma LOVED to hear about ALL of her grand childrens lives. Last year when I lived at home, I would run some errands with Oma like take her to the bank to make bill payments or to the super market or the farmers market. We also made a few hospital runs so that she could get eye surgery. Eventually, Oma started asking questions about boys... BOYS... my 85 year old Oma asking me about BOYS? I wish I had a story to tell her each time, but I really didn't. Every time she asked me, "so Jenna, are there any boys in your life?" I would always reply with the same old, "No, no boys for me Oma." After, she would always say, "it's ok, he's coming for you Jenna... and he'll be great!" And then she would try and force feed me some more stale candy...

This has been QUITE the year for me and my family. Kevin and I have lost 2 grandma's and my parents have lost both their mom's (within half a year)... and we have never really lost anyone before. We are so comforted in knowing that BOTH our grandma's had a great relationship with Christ. But I just miss them A LOT! And it makes me realize how AMAZING my parents are.

When Grammie (my Dad's mom) passed in May, my mom and dad were ALWAYS checking up on me and Kev to see how we were doing with it. They always wanted to check up on us because we are the "grandkids" even though they are the ones that just lost a mom and a mother-in-law. Even with Oma, they have both been seeing how we are doing with it. I have EXTREMELY strong parents... and I am so proud of them.

But Christmas is coming! I'm SO excited to see my family again and to be around them and love on them and hold them and do family things.
Elyse, Kevin, Holly, Adam and I... just some of my wonderful cousins
God has been SO good throughout this WHOLE time. I cannot believe how well he has blessed me out here with my little community of friends. They have been ABSOLUTELY amazing and I can't thank them enough.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Full of Praise and Thanksgiving!

Hello ALL!

It has been a while, and I apologize. School has gotten pretty busy. Mid terms have started... and they will never END. (Seriously, they are not going to stop until finals...)

However, I'm tired of reading right now, so I've decided to write and reflect on the past few weeks. Basically, I'm taking this opportunity to escape from school and reflect on the things that have brought me joy. =)

Thanksgiving was 2 weeks ago now I believe. That weekend was A LOT of fun. 

There was a big group of us (Caleb, Clara, Luke, Travis, Jackie and myself) and we headed out to Calgary to Clara's home. Her parents had prepared an AMAZING Thanksgiving dinner for us. WE WERE BLESSED.

The next day, they took us on a hike to Nihani Ridge. It was absolutely beautiful. We summit-ed the peak and it literally BLEW US AWAY! Seriously, the wind was so strong that we were knocked off our feet. 
Later we went back to Clara's home and were treated to a Korean BBQ! It was SO delicious. After dinner, we then headed out to Claresholm where Caleb's Mom and Dad have just moved to. Even though they had just moved, they kindly opened up their home to us and hosted us for yet ANOTHER Thanksgiving dinner. It was BEAUTIFUL! 

Needless to say, I felt truly blessed by both families. They opened up their homes and fed us amazing food and treated us like family. It was a gift to all of us and I was overwhelmed by their generosity.

The next weekend we were planning on having Jackie over to hang out. I opened the door for Jackie to come in and welcomed her to our home and then... SURPRISE! Melissa popped up from around the corner of my apartment building. We had NO idea that she coming... it was a CRAZY SURPRISE, but lovely to see a dear friend again.

That same weekend, I had been planning on dying my hair. I decided on a dark brown so now, I am officially a brunette!
Haha, it was a lot of fun to do!

But since I've been out here, God has been so FAITHFUL to me. I've been having a hard time with mid-terms and school and it has been causing me some stress and anxiety. In addition, my Oma's health has not been the best and I've been concerned about that and my Opa's situation because he's living without her right now. My Oma has been in the hospital for a while now (probably a week after I got here she was put into the hospital). She was pretty sick and that then turned into her having a hard time breathing and her heart was starting to act funny. There have been times since I've been out here where I've wanted to be at home to support my family. HOWEVER, throughout it all, God has supplied me with scripture that is full of his wisdom and He has blessed me with people in my life to pray with me, pray for me, encourage me and affirm me in why I am here. 

It has been easy to get discouraged by school, but through worship, prayer and scripture reading, I've only felt the Holy Spirit continually bless me. Jesus has blessed me with much LAUGHTER and JOY

All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. -John 14:25-27

In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God. -Romans 8:26-27

God is SO GOOD! Unbelievably GOOD! 
I miss you all and hope things are going well with you. 

Peace and Love brothers and sisters from Edmonton! <3
P.S: There were some flurries tonight... and soon, it will snow fo REALZ!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Feeling Like A Student

The time has come...

(It is not until these times when I start feeling like a University student. OH THE JOY!) =)

It is time to stay up late... make recipe cards for remembering definitions (all thanks to my geog 12 teacher)... remember key concepts and models... late night snack to keep the brain juices flowing... stretch... yawn... memorize... and LEARN!

But truly, I am getting an education and that in itself is a gift (even if it may not feel like it at times). I'm officially preparing for mid terms. I have 2 this coming week... one on Wednesday for Health Ed and one on Thursday for Ed Psych

Because my classes are so huge (200-300 students), my mid terms will consist of multiple choice questions as well as a true or false component. 

30% of my grade will depend on 40-50 multiple choice questions. I feel SO comforted... *did you catch the sarcasm?

I would prefer to write a paper that I can take my time on, however, I'm in University... it happens. 
I'm just looking forward to the weekend now. IT'S THANKSGIVING AND I'M GOING TO PARTY! Actually, I'm just going to be doing a lot of traveling and visiting with friends and their families. Both Clara and Caleb's parents have graciously opened up their homes to us for Thanksgiving. I believe there is 6 of us that are planning on going down to Calgary and then down to Clarsholm to visit their families. 

It shall be a grand adventure... but till then... 

Friday, September 24, 2010


Clara, me and Jackie at a Golden Bears Football Game

Oh Edmonton... how you treat me well!There are some days that I can't believe that I'm here and other days where it feels like I've been here for a while.
The weather, I am pleased to announce is 16 DEGREES today! Days like this don't come around too often.
I have been learning a lot so far and I'm enjoying my classes a lot. However because my classes are so large (200-300 students), we have a LOT of readings... but no assignments really. And ALL of our exams and mid terms are going to be multiple choice. So I'm sure I'm going to get my fair share of scan-trons when mid terms start. Oh yeah, mid terms start on October 6th already!

This past weekend we went to the Golden Bears Football Game. Our friend Travis (Caleb's roommate) was playing so we went to go cheer them on. It was a lot of fun to be at a football game. I hadn't been to one in a while and we had a lot of fun for the first 3 quarters. (We lost the game in the last quarter so our spirits kinda fizzled out).
But we have big plans for this weekend. There is yet ANOTHER Golden Bears game tonight that we are going to go to. And then tomorrow morning, Clara and I are driving to Calgary to meet up with her mom and dad to go to their church family camp. I'm excited to get out of Edmonton and be outside for a bit.
That's all I really have time for now because I need to start getting ready for class. :)  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

And the Fall Begins

Here I am... sitting in my beautiful apartment. I'm getting used to the week now and let's just say that I am not a huge fan of:
- Lecture Halls
- Rain and
- Seeing my breath in the morning...

However, I am greatly blessed. I have been able to do a lot of things already here in Edmonton within one week like:
- Get comfortable on bus routes
- See a one man show... it was called "Homeless" and it was AMAZING
- Play Bohnanza with friends (A great card game about beans)
- Make new friends from Alberta who ask, "WHY WOULD YOU MOVE FROM B.C TO COME HERE?" and
- Take mid afternoon naps... ALREADY!

That is one reason why I am up late. My Health Education textbook can only hold my attention for so long at 4:00 in the afternoon... ;)

But I have been blessed... over and over and over again.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The HERE and NOW!

I've made it and it has been QUITE the ride thus far ALREADY!
Mama Mac and I packed up the Mazda 3 (this was when I wish I owned a fuel efficient truck... if there is such a thing) and drove 13 hours from Ladner to Edmonton. We left at 5:37 am and got here at about 6:45 ish pm B.C time.

Driving through Chilliwack at 6:45am... it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!
On the road slowly making our way
Clara welcomed us with such a wonderful warm welcome and was EAGER to show us the new home she has been working on for so long. And let me tell you... IT IS BEAUTIFUL. Basically a room out of an IKEA catalog.

After we moved ALL of my stuff in (thank you to Travis (Caleb's roommate, Clara and Mom)... we just sat around and talked... relaxed and figured out everything we needed to do for the next day.

We accomplished A LOT! I ended up getting a mattress and some other extra things we needed for our apartment from IKEA and then we went to Costco and bought some bulk foods... and also enjoyed some free samples *so wonderful!

Then... GET THIS, Jackie one of my dear friends from Quest drove out from Lloydminster to visit for the weekend. SUCH A SHOCKER! THEN... another GET THIS moment, she was saying she had a coffee date with a friend at 11:00pm... and I BOUGHT IT! So she left and I was falling asleep while chatting up a storm with Clara. Next thing you know at about 12:00 in the morning, MAFIZZLE LEHR (Melissa Fehr) saunters in. My response "WHAT THE FRICK?!" She flew into Edmonton after she worked Friday to come and surprise me.

Needless to say, all of these surprises have been WONDERFUL! A good start to a wonderful year and probably the best birthday gifts I have received. I'm blown away because the LORD has blessed me over and over again with great family, great friends and a wonderful life. I don't understand how I deserve this all... and I truly feel like I don't. Yet, God just LOVES on me over and over again.

Pops flew in this morning and has already left with Ma and they are in Jasper now I believe but I'm SO glad that they could both come for a little bit of time. It was EXTREMELY helpful to have them help me settle in and get a little more comfortable with the town. Caleb is here now as well and it has been fun already.
The first look of EDMONTON... my first thoughts, "where are the mountains?"
But the LORD has poured out His blessing and has been FAITHFUL to me all of the time. It's been a beautiful thing to experience as well as overwhelming. I have felt so LOVED and at home here already.
I am HERE NOW... and it has been lovely!
My friends are great...
My family is great...
The LORD provides them all which makes Him AMAZING!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"I have traveled a road that leads to somewhere..."

Here we go... yet ANOTHER transition in my life. Ever since high school, I've been going through a period of constant transition. As soon as I get comfortable somewhere, it seems like the LORD wants me to move into discomfort again. I'm starting to be comfortable in the discomfort. This transition however is quite different then any other. 
I feel like I may need to explain myself a little...

*Bold-ed, Italicized and Underlined
Now... why the HECK am I moving to the land of -60 Degrees and full of Oilers fans??? (That's right, last year temperatures reached -30 with a -30 wind chill)

This calls for a list: 

1. My friend Caleb is forcing me to!
(I'm just kidding, but he and his girlfriend Clara... both very good friends of mine have been VERY instrumental in this decision making process.) If it weren't for them, I probably wouldn't even have considered moving out to Alberta for school. It all started out as a joke... but then it became a legitimate option for me to pursue my calling. 

2. I'm trying my best to follow the LORD'S will in my life...
I'm pursuing on of my hearts desires and that is to work with children, especially children who come from broken homes that have not experienced LOVE before. 
LOVE from the LORD is UNCONDITIONAL and I want to provide a safe place of learning for these kids where they will feel supported and encouraged by what they are accomplishing and to LOVE them the way the LORD LOVES...

3. God's will in my life is PERFECT and GOOD
The ONE TIME I looked on the UofA website, I was AMAZED with their BEd program. They are nationally known for this program, 60% of the teachers in Alberta right now are graduates of UofA and to apply you need 24 transferable credits for a different post secondary institute. This is where "God's will in my life is PERFECT and GOOD" comes in. 
I spent this past year at Langara just wanting to get some credits done so I could get out of there as fast as I could. I completed exactly 24 credits... I decided to consider UofA at this point.
Then, my main concern was could I come back to B.C to teach? Well... apparently it was hard to change from province to province but NOW, there is a B.C and Alberta Labour Mobility Agreement that basically says I CAN!
After a lot of prayer, seeking out council and digging through scripture... I applied and was accepted. 

So... I'm moving in with beautiful Clara TOMORROW! She has been truly amazing throughout all of this. I haven't gone out to Alberta yet because of a hectic summer at Camp, but she has found us a home and has furnished it and has looked for a bed for me to make this transition more comfortable. 
Mama Mac and I are leaving tomorrow morning at 5:00 (ew ew ew... I HATE MORNINGS) so we can get there for the evening. My dad will then meet up with us later on Saturday because we have had some plumbing issues at the house PLUS Kevin leaves for school on the Saturday as well. They will help me settle in and then... I have NO idea what to expect. All I know is that this year will be another year where I will grow and learn. 

"I have traveled a road that leads to somewhere..." (these are lyrics to a song written by a dear friend of mine, Jer)... we never stop growing, we never stop moving... 

I'll keep you posted about the move.
As my friend Colleen would say...