Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Moving Forward

But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.
2 Chronicles 15:7

This is an encouraging word from the Bible. It encourages me to be diligent in all things and to keep moving forward despite the challenges that come and go and some that drag on longer than I'd like.  The verse is a promise to me (and to all who believe) that eventually (perhaps sooner, perhaps later), my efforts will be rewarded.

The process of goal setting, which I started a few years ago, and the process of reflecting on progress at the end of each year, helps me to see what it is I am moving forward to each year, and whether my efforts are being rewarded with all my goals, not just the spiritual ones though those are very important too.

Of course other things may arise which impacts on what I am doing at any given time. New things may take priority, like the Swahili class I enrolled in in 2012.  I had not planned on taking the course in a formal way, and that is okay because I simply adjusted my priorities to fit in new ones. Anything I do not achieve in a given year can simply be carried forward to another year, and other things can be dropped if they no longer fit my needs. What is important to me is that I keep in mind the things I have been wanting to do for a long time and make space in my life now that I have the freedom of more time. When I was working I never had much time for doing anything that I really wanted to do. My hours of work were excruciating and demanding. Family needs took up the rest of my time. Now I am retired but I have health challenges that take up a lot of my time.  Even so I am blessed with more time for doing some of the things I want to do and I don't want to waste it.

Helping in the mission field is a huge part of my life. I was helping Jonah at Missions of Hope in Kenya but he is taking a break from his volunteer efforts at present and for the foreseeable future.  I will continue helping him and others whenever I can.   Jonah is not currently working on missions as a volunteer while he contemplates and acts on the next important phase of his life but we have not lost contact. Later, I hope to be able to undertake some projects of my own in Kenyan villages and I have done that several times before, often with Jonah's help. If you are new to my blog you can read about some of that work here. You can either read the posts backwards or scroll down and start from the beginning.

Image Credit: AANISCHAAUKAMIKW Cree Cultural Institute

Monday night I started my new language class. I think I will enjoy it a lot. I don't intend to say too much about it as I'm sure that will not be so interesting to most of you. I will simply say that I am studying the Cree language, and in particular, the Plains Cree dialect which is spoken in the western provinces and northern territory of Canada (which you can see in map above).  The map suggests that the Plains dialect ends at the BC/Alberta border (the two westernmost provinces) but there are actual Cree speaking communities in northwestern BC as well.  They have been established in that part of the province for a very long time.

This was the scene as I got off the bus at the university at 6:20 p.m. Jan7, 2013. It is very dark but at least it wasn't raining as was earlier in the day. This bus "loop" did not exist when I was a student many years ago but that tall building directly ahead in the photo is where I lived for a year in my 2nd year on campus. Oh the memories!

I actually spoke Cree as my first language but my parents started me speaking English when I was only about 3 years old so I didn't get much of a grounding in the language.  When I started university I tried very hard on my own to practice the language.  I had some success, however there weren't a lot of opportunities to practice. My mother did not remember to speak to me in the language even though I reminded her many times.  Speaking to her children in English was a habit hard to break.  Now I will be studying the language formally. My nephew and I will be enrolled in the same class and it will be fun to see how we both get on with the language. He was a huge help to me tonight finding the building and escorting me from and to the bus stop as well as carrying my bag and coffee.  We both plan on practicing what we learn with my mom over the phone. It will be special and nice.  In fact, right after class, my nephew called his grandma and said some words to her in Cree, including words that I don't even remember and which we did not learn in the class.  I was quite impressed. I do also intend to get back to studying Swahili as soon as I am able. 

What about you dear reader?  What are your special goals for 2013?

This is my submission for Our World Tuesday. Please join in if you can and read what others are up to.


Denise said...

You are such a precious blessing, love you.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the new(old?) language learning! And how wonderful to be able to connect deeper with your cultural roots. I wish you every success with it and hope you progress quickly.

It sounds like you have a few new things on the horizone for 2013, I hope it's a great year for you hun :) xxx

eileeninmd said...

Wow, you are amazing. I think it is awesome you are learning a new language, congrats! I wish you all the best in 2013, Happy New Year!

Vores have said...

Beautiful picture :) Hugs Hanne Bente

Unknown said...

Great on the Cree project. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Susan said...

WOW! Good luck with the Swahili. That is commendable. I would think that would be VERY challenging. Perhaps you will one day go to Africa to practice speaking it? Wonderful. I see know you are in Canada. Are those mountains in your header near you? Take care and have a wonderful day. Susan

carol l mckenna said...

Wonderful post and photo ~ wishing you well in your new course ~

A Creative Harbor) aka ArtMuseDog and Carol ^_^

Bossy Betty said...

Wonderful things going on in your life! I like how you just keep growing and helping those around you.

clairz said...

I had no idea that you grew up speaking Cree. How wonderful that you are learning more of it now. We are attending a lecture series here in southern New Mexico on race and culture and the lecturer grew up at a time when Spanish-speaking parents spoke only English to their children. Of course (and luckily) she and her siblings took courses in Spanish later and work really hard to get their parents to converse with them in their native language.

I really like your idea that we should strive to meet our goals but remember that we can try again the next year if we don't succeed at first.

Lastly, congratulations on being retired. I hope that your health issues improve and allow you to enjoy having this wonderful gift of time. It is a really special time of life. Honestly, you'd think people would rave about it more!

Pat said...

It surprised me, too that you grew up speaking Cree, Penny. It's wonderful that you have a desire to continue learning and will be taking a class in Cree along with your nephew. You can practice speaking Cree together!

I have a goal of memorizing the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6 and 7). I have already memorized the book of James, the book of Titus and Psalm 139. Once I started memorizing long passages, it became easier to do more.

I trust your knee pain subsides. Perhaps in the future you might be able to have a knee replacement done.

clairz said...

Wait, Penny. I see from Pat's comment that you are troubled with knee pain - ask me, I am the Knee Replacement Queen. Had two done in one year, and it was a wonderful decision that gave me back my life.

Lonicera said...

Cree was your first language? I'd love to know more about that side of your upbringing - I had a dual upbringing in Argentina and have always had split Anglo-saxon/Latin feelings about all sorts of issues, so I'm interested in people who experience the same thing.

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