As Life Rolls On

As a friend of mine always says, "We plan, God laughs." You never know what life will bring, but the ride can be a blast!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Can't Win for Losing Sometimes

So after spending 8 months arguing with the University of Calgary Psych Department around allowing me to work with one of their professors to complete my final piece of research I need to do to be able to apply for a Masters Program, and getting absolutly no where, I finally called my undergrad advisor at York to seek advise. What was interesting about the whole process was that the UofC was willing to have me take the course as a visiting student, and to provide a research supervisor, but the psych department would not. I COULDN'T WIN FOR LOSING.

Within a matter of weeks, York University has assisted me in finding not just 1 supervisor, but 2 (both from York, both willing to supervise long distance so that I can get this done). I am starting 2 pieces of research that will benefit the programs at work as well. It was amazing that they were willing and eager to do this, as it is such an unusual situation. The profs both said they had a look at my records and my marks, and felt I had worked to long & hard for them to throw more road blocks in my way. Great, some success! I was feeling GREAT!

So I finally got that straightened away, and I went to enroll and pay my tuition fees. GUESS WHAT, the registrars office at York has de enrolled me because I didn't take a course over the past 2 semesters. AHHHH..........I CAN'T WIN FOR LOSING. So............I have to go through the whole process of submitting an application to re enroll. This can take 3 to 4 weeks. AHHHH........ I say again!


I received a phone call from one of the professors today. I find out she is the head of the Psych Department at Atkinson College (college for mature students..............YES I AM MATURE!). She is aware of what has happenned and stated that she will intervene if there are any difficulties with getting re enrolled. This is GOOD! She is also willing to start working now on the study I want to do, she does not see the need to wait for me to get officially registered................BONUS! We've set up times to have telephone conferences and have set up strategies on how I will send her updates on my work (OH NO, now I can't procrastinate and do it all at the last minute as I usually do). The other bonus is that she is very interested in a project that we are working on here in Calgary and is willing to provide us with some support and potential partner with us around doing some community research..........DOUBLE BONUS!

So the moral of the story.................When you think you can't win for losing, don't give up, the glass is always half full, and there are always creative and inovative ways to find solutions!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Tag, You're It

Barbara tagged me for this game, only I'm adding some more categories onto the end to make it an even dozen. I'm going to tag those who Barbara tagged for the added on categories. So here we go:

4 jobs I've had (problem is I have had way more than 4, so I have to pick & choose here):

  1. I was head cashier at K Mart when I was 15
  2. I worked as a Daycare Teacher when my kids were preschoolers (I'm selfish, I wanted to work, but I wanted my kids with me so that I could see and be a part of everything they were doing)
  3. I worked as Itinerant Behaioural Support with the Board of Education while my kids were still in public school (great way to have the summers off with your kids)
  4. Director of Program Services for the Salvation Army in the city of Calgary

4 movies I could watch over and over again:

  1. Schindler's List
  2. Monty Python & the Holy Grail
  3. It's a Wonderful Life
  4. Amistad

4 places I've lived (I'm glad we only have to name 4, 'cause this is ALL the places I've lived):

  1. Mississauga, ON
  2. Brampton, ON
  3. Caledon, ON
  4. Okotoks, AB

4 TV shows I love:

  1. ER
  2. Law & Order: Criminal Intent
  3. The Amazing Race
  4. Desparate Housewives

4 places I've been on vacation:

  1. Cottage in Haliburton
  2. Cottage in Calandar Bay
  3. Panama City Beach (to visit Mom & Dad, Hey, free accomodation, why not!)
  4. Kuala Lumpur (it was part of a business trip, so does this count?)

4 favorite dishes:

  1. BBQ Steak marinated in Red Wine & Viniger
  2. Shrimp Scampi
  3. Baked Maple Salmon
  4. Chicken Fajitas

4 websites I visit daily:

  1. All of my kids and my sister's blogs
  2. York University
  3. scrap jazz
  4. two peas

4 places I'd rather be right now:

  1. Cottage in Calandar Bay
  2. Korea visiting James
  3. Ontario visiting my Jenn & Jason and the rest of my family
  4. Wasaga Beach visiting Liz

4 bloggers I'm tagging (this one is no fair, 'cause Barb has tagged some I would):

  1. James
  2. Sarah
  3. Melody
  4. Barbara, Cathy, Evie & Jenn

New Categories:

4 most cherished possessions ( I would say my kids, but I don't "possess" them):

  1. The "Ugly China Dogs" (Jenn, lucky you gets them next, but take care, they are you're heritage!)
  2. Mum Young's antique serving bowls
  3. Family photos
  4. Handmade Christmas Ornaments from the kids over the years

4 least favorite chores:

  1. cleaning the toilets
  2. ironing
  3. dusting
  4. WHAT THE HECK.............ALL CHORES!

4 best stress relievers:

  1. bike riding
  2. gardenning
  3. laying on the beach
  4. sex (sorry to embarass you kids........NOT)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Glass Half Empty Syndrome

Drives me NUTS...............people who can only see the negative in things. There are those in this world who only see what is wrong with someone, a situation, a group of people, etc., etc., etc. There is always someone or something at "fault". They look at how something needs to be "fixed" because it is all wrong, aaaaaaaaaand, they are the ones who have all the answers as to how that will be done. What a sad way to live life.

Life is much better if you look at things from the opposite perspective. Instead of looking at what is wrong, we need to look at what is right with someone, something, a group of people etc., etc., etc. You find the positive and build on it and soon enough everything has come around on it's own without needing "fixing". The greatest thing about this is that people end up feeling good about themself, and in the end run everyone benifits, individual, family, community, and so on, and so on, and so on.............

I guess my challenge is that as much as they frustrate me, I need to find the positive in those who have the "glass is half empty syndrome."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A Tale of Two Fathers

For Mother's day, I did a tribute to all the strong women who have played a part in my children's lives. There have also been a myriad of incredible men who have played a significant role in their lives. There are the multitude of Uncles: Uncle David, Uncle Don, Uncle Stephen, Uncle John, Uncle Michael and Uncle Ricky. Each of these uncles have shown my children what a strong man looks like, how to treat others with respect, how to accept others unconditionally, how to be responsible, how to have fun, and most importantly, what it is like to be a Godly man. For that I will be eternally grateful.

There are two men however who have really impacted on my kid's lives, as well as my own, those being my husband Bruce and my own father. Today's blog is dedicated to them.

This is my guy Bruce. The night before we were to be married, I remember turning to Sharon, my Maid of Honour, and saying I really wasn't sure if I was ready to go through with getting married. It had nothing to do with being so young, it was my fear that Bruce would follow in his own father's footsteps. Sharon in her great wisdom was shocked and stated "are you nuts, he isn't anything like his father!" Of course, she was right.

Well, my 3 kids all say he is a great father, and I wholeheartedly agree. The last 28 years of his life has revolved around his children. They have always been his first priority and the loves of his life. I don't know if you've ever seen the Norman Rockwell picture of the new father who has dragged people down to the nursery window and is excitedly pointing at the baby, well that's Bruce.

Bruce always wanted to ensure he gave his children those things he did not have as a child. In doing so, he always ensured they had everything they needed. Through that however, he taught them the difference between a want and a true need, and taught them not just in words, but through his own actions, how important it is to work for those things we see as a personal want. Whenever the subject of school came up, it was never "if" they would go onto post secondary education, it was "when." Through his loving belief in them, they truly believed in themselves and each have gone on to be very successful in their post secondary education. He taught them the value of hard work, and of being responsible for yourself and for your actions. He was not afraid to go to them and apologize if he felt he was in the wrong. What a wonderful message to give your children, that you are not afraid to admit that you are falible.

One of the greatest things Bruce gave, and continues to give his children is his time. There were the many many winters of getting up before 5:00 AM to get to the early morning hockey practice and/or games. He never just dropped the boys off, he always stayed to watch and encourage. If he was working, if possible he would find a way to get off early or go in late so that he could be there for them. Then there was the many music lessons, practices, recitals, concerts, camps, etc, etc, etc. Again, he was there for everything he could be there for. He took great pride in every accomplishement and award. I think one of the greatest tributes any of our children made to him was when Jennifer was 12 and was Honour Student at Junior Music Camp. Someone who knew Bruce as a teenager said to her "this is amazing, considering who you father is." Jennifer, with a great deal of wisdom and maturity proudly and clearly stated "I became Honour Student BECAUSE of my father."

The wonderful thing to see now is how his relationship with his children has continued to develop as they have become adults. He truly enjoys his time with them, talking with them and the sharing of common interests. There have been the golf games, the fishing trips, the family trips to the cottage with their myriad of friends, the games of wizard and scrabble, the recent rafting trip. There's the sports events, and the phone discussions that start with "did you see the game." He eagerly awaits word from them every week as to how they are doing now that we live at such distances and soaks up every word they say. The kids and I all say

This is my father. One of my earliest memories with him is when I was 3 years old. My mom was pregant with my youngest sister Barbara. They had taken us camping for a few days. I remember going to the water pump with Dad to fill the water bucket. He had me hang on to the pump arm as he pumped. I laughed and laughed as my feet lifted off the ground over and over again. He was my daddy, and I was his little girl.

Over the years, my dad has taught me many valuable lessons, and many times he was unaware that he had. I have a saying that goes "Your actions speak so loud, I can't hear what you are saying." Dad's actions always spoke loud and clear, however he is such a man of integrity that his actions never contravened what he said. He told us that we should never gossip and spread rumours about others, and he lived that by example. He told us to accept others unconditionally, and he lived that by example. He told us to treat others with respect, yet to know when to speak up respectfully, and he lived that by example. I remember when I was in my mid teens, I was incenced when a man from our church (the father of a girl Barbara's age) started going after Barbara for something he stated she had done to his daughter (which she hadn't). I went to him, and began yelling at him. Dad came up and stated "Joanne, you do not treat your elders like that, you apologize." I didn't want to, but did. As I was walking away, Dad turned to the man and said "Now, we are going to get to the bottom of this....." and he proceeded to work through the initial issue. He taught me by example.

Dad told all of us to rely on God in the good times and in the bad, and he lives that by example. When I was in my late teens, I was in my "rebellious" years. I remember coming upstairs from my bedroom early one morning to see Dad kneeling at the couch with his bible open. This was not a new sight, as we all knew that this was a regular practice for Dad before he went to work. This morning in particular, I could tell he was crying a bit (another gift Dad gave us, it's OK for a man to cry). As I quietly went back to my room, I could hear him praying, for us, his children. Although I had more rebellious times to come, through it all I had the knowledge that I had a father, parents, that covered me in prayer, no matter what choices I made. Years later, I visited Mom & Dad in Florida. Early one morning, I heard them downstairs praying together, praying for each of their children.

As an adult, I now find that I rely on Dad to listen and for guidance when I need it. When I was called by DHQ to move from a job I was greatly enjoying at Hope Shelter to take over as Director of the Family Shelter, the first person I sought advice and guidance from was Dad. His support and encouragement played a key role in me moving forward. When dealing with challenges at work, I now find myself asking two questions before I respond: What would Jesus have me do?, then What would Dad do in a situation like this?...............Ah, I know, treat the person with respect while dealing with the issue, be professional and don't talk about it to others, and rely on God for my strength through it all!.........

Friday, June 09, 2006

Flying Monkeys and Pink Hairy Balls

Life at work is always interesting. At times it is frustrating, other times it is very rewarding, while even other times it is very exciting. All that being said however, it is always busy. I don't complain about that part however, as I have a moto ......... "If it's not busy it's boring, and boring is bad!" Over the past week or so, there has been both frustration and lots of excitment and laughs, so I have come up with a list of the top 5 frustrations and the top 5 best things for the last couple of weeks.

Top Frustrations:

5. Missing Emily and Elizabeth's year end concert due to a business meeting.
4. Coming back from a weeks holidays to a month of work.
3. Being misquoted by the media.
2. People who have trouble thinking outside the box and outside their own little world (ie: "that's the way we've always done it" or "that's not my job"............... WELL, IT'S NOT WORKING, SO STOP BEING SO NARROW! AND IT'S MY JOB TO CLEAN A TOILET IF THE REGULAR PERSON IS OFF SICK, SO IT'S YOUR JOB TOO!)


1. People who won't take responsibility for their own actions (sometimes I think our clients can teach some staff a thing or two).

Top Best Moments:

5. Finding 2 professors in 1 week who are willing to supervise me for some research.
4. Receiving a "QUEEN" crown via courier from the staff of one program.
3. The deep voiced monotone "Happy Birthday" serenade from Todd over the intercom.
2. Chocolate, Chocolate and MORE Chocolate!!!!!


1. Flying Monkeys and Stomping on Pink Hairy Balls!!!!!!!!!