January here in Southern Ontario was filled with a lot of mild days, but mostly dreary and cloudy, thankfully ending with several brilliantly sunny cold days that carried into the beginning of February.
I made this fun ice suncatcher for my mom to enjoy out of pointsettia leaves. I enjoyed my daily walks in the glorious sunshine in between studying.
I’m in the middle of writing 2 papers currently, one due this Sunday, and another the following Sunday. An odd due date… but whatever – I don’t intend to fuss over the papers all day right til midnight on the due date like last term, so in my mind.. today (Friday) is my due date.. so I can rest for the weekend before finishing next week’s paper which I’ve drafted. The papers are to be my response on the first 2 assigned books for this term (this term has a much heavier reading list than last term). When God Weeps by Joni Earekson Tada & Steve Estes. <– link here if you want to read the first few pages. This book gripped me from beginning to end.. It’s the only book in my assigned reading that I first bought hard copy before the Kindle version, knowing it was going to be a favourite. As you can see, my copy is FULL of underlining and sticky notes. SOO Good. If you ever want to read an excellent book on suffering, or have asked the question, “If God is so good, why does he allow suffering?” or someone has asked YOU that question and you don’t know how to answer it… get this book.
The next book for this term was “Depression: Looking up from the stubborn darkness” by Ed Welch <–again linked for your perusal. As with almost all my study books since starting this Grad course in Biblical Care & Counselling, I’ve been primarily buying the Kindle versions, because A) I can read them on several devices, B) highlighting is easy, as is citation, C) it comes with direct dictionary links for words I don’t know, and D) the search engine (ie i remember he said something about the link between anger & depression.. where was that?) SOOO handy. For the second time, after only partially reading, I knew I needed the actual book for my library, knowing it would be a very valuable resource in the future. I think I highlighted more than I didn’t in this book. Here’s a few gems…
The assignments are “reflection/response papers” meaning I’m not to write a review of the book, but what did I learn, and how am I applying what I’m learning to my personal life/ministry/ conversations with others? RIGHT after completing “When God Weeps”, and beginning my response paper, my friend Joanne passed away after “dancing with cancer” (her words) for 9 years. She is who I was thinking about, and realized she emulated what I was learning, and taught me so much by her example this last year.. grace in suffering, using it for His Glory.. my paper ended up being more about Joanne than Joni.
The other “book” we have to read several portions from is the DSM-5 by the APA. Let me tell you… THIS is painful reading… thankfully we don’t have to read all 972 clinical pages, but I know I will find this a valuable resource in the years ahead, and already learned a lot about various depressions. (and no, i did NOT buy the expensive hardcopy.. all 972 pages can stay on my Kindle app.)
That gives you a wee glimpse of where I’m at in my studies. We had our first 2 day weekend in class (Zoom from home) last weekend, 7 hours Fri and again on Sat. This was our first introduction to our professor for this term and he spent the full 2 days giving us a whirlwind of lectures on several mental disorders. I tell ya, my brain hurt after those 2 days! …so let’s take a break from talking about school.. because just thinking about the next set of zoom classes makes me feel a bit like this squirrel, except I want to get out, not in.
I managed another Tuna Tuesday, this time searing the tuna to perfection, alongside shittake mushrooms, bok choy and green beans. The directions/recipe are on my last blog post – at which time I accidentally overcooked, this photo below should be with the recipe. This time it just melted in our mouths.. sooo good.
Guillermo, friends and family seriously spoiled me for my birthday. The well wishes were bountiful, 2 friends dropped off flowers, phone calls, facetimes, a brand new puzzle, presents from my favourite store..breakfast made for me in the sunshine..
and dinner.. oh…the dinner…. We couldn’t go out to eat due to the lockdown in Ontario, so my dearly beloved had “Chef Brad Rempel” prepare my favourite meal of his: Creamy Potato Leek and bacon soup, medium rare charbroiled beef tenderloin with au jus, creamy mashed potatoes, and Canadian lobster tail with seared veg bundle, finished with ginger crisp apple crumble with ice wine drizzle and creme fraiche. Are you drooling??? I know I am just reliving it.
so yah… all that to say… thanks friends & family who blessed me through my birthday week with phone & video chats, flowers, food, great thoughtful gifts.. for a Covid birthday, it was pretty fantastic.
I don’t know if you’re a Christmas Amaryllis type..but I decided to try this tradition on for size this past Christmas. I bought a single bulb that was wrapped in wax in early December.. instructions are simple.. do NOTHING. No water, no food.. and that’s what mine did all throughout December.. absolutely nothing. Finally in January it started to sprout… and now in February I finally have my first blooms! I all but gave up on this bulb, and treated myself to this trio that has performed spectacularly, and is now about to do it’s second bloom.
Before i sign off.. .a shout out to a blogger I recently discovered. If you’re struggling with debt, budgeting, or trying to figure out your finances… check out Survive Today. Lots of great wisdom and how to’s.. similar in thought to Crown Financial Ministries & Dave Ramsey.
And finally… a true winter shot.. one of my 8 resident cardinals hanging out with a house finch. (last count we have at least 4 pairs plus possibly a couple single males)