Thursday, June 28, 2012


Hello everyone!

Here is an update of recent events in my life. It's pretty condensed. There have been many times I wanted to share my heart, but just didn't know how. I think there is a fine line between being transparent and having discretion. I'm sure, had I written in the "heat of the moment",  I would have regretted some things. I want to be real, but I also want to have wisdom in what I post on the world-wide web. I have tried to balance both in this post. I do want to share God's mercy and grace in my life, and will probably go into more detail at a later date.

Here goes!

I'm pretty sure everyone is aware of the two, wonderful years I spent teaching the most adorable 4 & 5 year olds in the Great White North after I graduated from college. I have written several posts on Beans, Peanut, Bear and Superman and just on my general experiences.

I'm also certain many of you heard that I left a year ago this month--a sad, sad day. I had been lost in the swirl of government paperwork and a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo I didn't understand. In my search for understanding of what exactly I needed to stay in the US, I contacted a lawyer of my own accord. She was very gracious with her time and answered my questions. She explained the three options I had:

~Get an R1 visa {which pertains to religious workers that have been ordained--And, no. I don't believe in women preachers ;D}
~Marry an American {I wasn't THAT desperate, lol}
~Get an H1 visa {basically a work visa}

All three were out of the question, and I felt like my {when did I take the reins back from the Lord?!?} plans and dreams were crumbling around me. My constant thought was "Why?!?" I didn't understand what God was doing. You see, not only was I not going to be a teacher any more, I was also being banned from re-entering the US for 10 years because I had overstayed the 90 day limit without the proper paperwork..

I was seriously devastated. In the 6 years that I was in the States [4 being in college, and 2 while teaching] I made some amazing friends. I had some wonderful memories of visiting people I knew and also seeing friends at the annual Preaching Conference my Alma Mater had. So even if some friends didn't make it to "this" year's PC, there was always "next year". 

I'm very thankful for the many people who gave encouragement and told me they were praying for me during this time. That was the only thing that held me up in the sea of confusion and doubt.

Well, in the middle of June, one of my good friends and I made the 6 hour drive from IN to ON. It was strange, at first, to be back in Canada after a two year hiatus, but I was glad to see my family and everyone at my home church. 

I took the first two weeks to get back in the swing of things, updating my passport and such. Then it was family camp time, and I spent the week helping out in the kitchen and just enjoying the week of good fun, fellowship, and food :) This was my "vacation", haha :D
After that, I began searching for a job in earnest. And searched. And searched. Finally, after a month of looking, I got a job at a grocery store as a cashier. {some} Stores these days only give you so many hours, so I knew I wasn't a "full" time employee. At the same time, I did expect to get more than 3-5 hours a week.

For the first time in my life, I felt compelled to quit my job: in the 6 weeks I worked there, I made less than $500. It was ridiculous.

That happened about the middle of August, and I was back to putting our resumes and filling out job applications. School started and I taught 5th grade history to keep myself semi-occupied. I applied EVERYWHERE. It just didn't seem as if anyone was hiring. I even thought about going back to school for secretarial or as a PSW. I was getting very discouraged to say the least. Then, in the last week of October, I was offered a job in the print shop. I was very grateful for the job.

Now, back when I first moved back to Canada, my parents had told me to try going out West to find work. But, I didn't want to uproot myself yet again just to find work. I decided to stay in London for at least a year and see just what God had in store. 

During this time, I was seeing if I could get in teaching overseas as an ESL teacher. There was a lot going on with this endeavor, but ultimately I found out it wouldn't work. I became very frustrated with how my life was turning out, and I'm afraid I was growing quite bitter and felt that God was sabotaging my {key} plans for my life. How foolish I was! God had not turned His back on me, but I on Him. Through the conviction of the Holy Spirit and advice, prayers, and encouragement of a godly mentor, I realized the mess of sin I was in. I came to the end of me and asked God to show me what HE wanted from me. What HIS plans and wishes were for my life.

And, just a few weeks ago, I understood it to be another move. Across Canada to the West. Just getting ON the plane was an act of faith :-) Very thankful for my friends who talked me through the logistics of what to do!! I had a very sweet, grandmotherly lady sit beside me on the trip from London to Calgary. I had chosen to sit beside the window {huge mistake!} because I thought I would enjoy looking out on all the tiny things below. And, this from a girl who closes her eyes going up and down a roller coaster! I looked out for a brief SECOND and thought I might be sick :). So, I'm very glad I had a talkative seatmate. And, turbulence was my best friend on all the plane rides. If the ride was smooth, my heart dropped. If we were bouncing around as if a child had taken us by the wings and was pretending to be a pilot, I felt like I was in a car...not picturing a tiny plane in a vast amount of sky :D.

I had a layover in Calgary and just spent the time reading my Jane Eyre book. I don't know how much I actually paid attention b/c I was really nervous I would miss my next flight. It was past time to board, and there was no one at the counter! I starting to feel apprehensive when I heard a guy over the PA saying we were to go to a different gate. Goodness. We had a 45 minute wait before boarding and I just stood ready to get on the plane whenever we got the go-ahead. We were only landing in Edmonton to let passengers off, so I just stayed on as it wasn't my final destination. By this last flight, I was surprisingly ok with staring out the window, and actually enjoying it :) The flight was short and sweet but the landing was super bumpy. I wonder if someone was sleeping.

Anyway, I was really excited to finally be at my destination and Theresa and Mrs. Bartel were both there to welcome me. It has been a flurry of activity since I came and I just want to share a quick praise before I close.

On Monday, I dropped off my resume at the hospital cafeteria which is run by a Christian lady {who goes to our church :D}. And...I was hired! I start this coming Tuesday . I'm really excited to be working and am very grateful for answered prayers. I'm really excited to be here in Alberta; I'm really excited to see what God has planned for me.

If you think of me, please pray that I would make wise choices/decisions and that I would be of help to the people here.

Thanks for making it all the way through--This is one long update! If any of you have specific questions, shoot me an email and I will do my best to respond in a timely fashion :D

Thanks for reading!
Elsa :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Alberta: Here I am

Just a super quick post to tell you all I'm in Alberta! Beautiful province :) Internet here is sketchy and so I'm not sure how often I'll post. But, when I do, I have lots to share!

The flowing ribbons and brilliant rays of the aurora borealis are a regular presence in northern Alberta skies.

Photo: Travel Alberta

Friday, June 15, 2012

Congratulations, Graduates.

{I remember when these girls were just babies! Now, here they are all grown up...and me old! ;) This is my absolute favourite picture of them.}

Congratulations, Graduates! 

"Even a mosquito doesn't get a slap on the back until it starts to work"

Tonight is your "slap on the back" for being a successful student--from K5 to Grade 12.

But, your work is not finished--keep pressing toward the mark and live to honour and please God. THAT is the most important choice you can make in your life.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Rose

'The Rose'
A sweet short story. A little gem from our literature class I came across while packing up the 1st-3rd grade classroom.

John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with the rose.

His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond.

The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like.

When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting - 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York. "You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel." So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd never seen.

I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened:

A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips. "Going my way, sailor?" she murmured. Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell.

She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own. And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be, grateful. I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment.

"I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard,and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?"

The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile. "I don't know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!"

It's not difficult to understand and admire Miss Maynell's wisdom. The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive. "Tell me whom you love," Houssaye wrote, "And I will tell you who you are."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

"Just for fun" Canada facts

Here are some "just for fun" Canada facts that I've read recently:


In the 1940's, the Canadian government advised mothers to begin toilet-training babies at one month old.

Of Canada's 36 "Father's of Confederation", two of them were named John Hamilton Gray.

The snowmobile was invented in Canada.

One in ten Canadians say they'd support a law that encouraged people in major cities to wear name tags. {Don't laugh, perhaps they have Alzheimer}

During WWII, German U-boats sank 23 vessels in Canada's St. Lawrence River.

The United States has invaded Canada twice--once during the American Revolution and once during the War of 1812.

One of Canada's founding fathers was an American: William P. Howland of Pawling, New York.

In Canada, milk is sold in plastic bags as well as jugs.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

4069.47 Kilometres!

13 days from now, I'm going to be in Alberta.

In case you didn't know, that's a province on the west coast.

In 13 days!!

No, I'm not going on vacation.

I am moving myself {and my carry-on} over 4000 kilometres. away. I've already shipped my most prized books :)

4000 kilometres!

If I was driving, it would take me 45 hours and 33 minutes across the most gorgeous scenery you ever laid eyes on {Except for maybe Saskatchewan: I've heard it was really boring and flat. But, I can guarantee that it would be a much better trip than when I drove through Nebraska with Angela {& the kids} on our way to Utah. Nebraska STUNK. Capitally. So, perhaps Saskatchewan would be boring, but at least it wouldn't stink}.

But, I'm flying so it will only take me about 4 hours. I think. I leave London at 7 and arrive in Grand Prairie at 2:20. BUT, there is a two hour difference. So, I guess it would be 5 hours :p


I haven't flown since I was 5. And, I really don't remember much at all. But, I am not so fond of heights and I will be in the air for quite some time. Much longer than if I was riding on a roller coaster {which I love--get that}.


Ok, ok. I'm breathing. Taking a chill pill. I'm relaxed!

Until the next time I think about...FLYING!

Anyway, I'll leave you with a fun Canada infographic.

{Click to enlarge & Laugh out Loud ;}

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What I'm Reading: Attention! {Adapted from C.H. Spurgeon}

I have been seriously going through my possessions for my move across Canada {more on that later} and have come across several pieces of interesting articles. This one is by Spurgeon and was given to me while I was in college and a part of a bus route. It is a compelling piece and makes me think about my service to God and its importance.

This piece is primarily for preachers, but I think it is also applicable to any time someone is speaking in front of a group. Whether it be children in Sunday school, in classes, or to adults, the following is nice to keep in mind.

Sin cannot be taken out men while they are fast asleep. The must be awake, understanding what we are saying and feeling its' force, or we might as well go to sleep too.

"If I see anybody turning around, whispering, nodding, or looking at his watch, I judge that I am not up to the mark, and must by some means win these minds." - Spurgeon

Compel them to stand still awhile and hear what God would speak to their souls.

You must drive the mosquitoes away and secure your people's undistracted thoughts, turning them out of the channel in which they have been running for six days into one suited for the Lord's Day.

1.  Always say something worth hearing-give them something striking.

2.  Clearly arrange the good material that you give them.

3.  Speak plainly.

4.  Do not attempt to speak without previous study.
a) People need messages that have been prayed over and laboriously prepared.
b) Vary your voice and its speed.
c) Shift your accent--avoid sing-song.
d) "The glorious doctrines of grace should not be slovenly delivered"

5.  Keep the introduction short--make the introduction like a town crier: give notice that you have something for the people to hear; be alive from the very start.

6.  Do not repeat yourself--"let there be something fresh in every sentence"

7.  Do not be too long--"To shorten sermons, study them better"

8.  Lead your people by the Spirit of God into an elevated and devout state of mind.

9. Be interested yourself--"The heart of preaching, the throwing one's soul into the message, is half the battle of gaining and maintaining attention".

10.  Supply a good number of illustrations in the message--Avoid overused illustrations and let them grow out of the subject itself.

11. Use "surprise" power--astonish your listeners with something they are not expecting.

12.  Use the "pause"--"Give the cradle a jerk, and sleep will flee".

13.  Make the people feel that they have an interest in what we are saying to them.

14.  Be yourself clothed in the Spirit of God, and then no question about attention will arise.