a few words.

There you have it. Arden, in the flesh on this little blog. I wish he would lurk around here more often but he's right, he has basically written a novel of our travels on paper and could write circles around me on this silly blog if he wanted to. I hope some of his eight page entries will pixelate (it's totally a word) their way online soon but in the mean time you're stuck with me. He promises to write again soon.

I'm sorry for my absence here as of late. For the faithful few readers that still lurk this space, thanks for coming out!

I have been using this time to mull over many things and soak up time with family in a culture that is dear to my heart. I have loved the moments of sponteneity along with experiences that are wonderfully familiar.

Arden and I both realized that this time in Kunming has been wonderfully refreshing and restful in so many ways. We are still enjoying the adventures and little excursions we have gone on, but the time and space here has been great to refocus, relearn some things, and steady our feet a little bit. I was talking with my Mom yesterday afternoon about how easily I try to burn the candle at both ends. I am an overacheiver at heart and an individual that loves to be busy and involved in everything. There were some big moments last year when I needed to step back and take a look at my physical and emotional health and make different choices. I am so thankful for my husband. On the days when I can't make up my mind weather or not to take on a billion or just a million extra tasks he is the gracious voice of reason. I am learning that there is nothing wrong with leading a slower, simpler lifestyle. Arden shall be my accountability partner for life in this area. It just might take that long for me to learn.

Arden and I have also been revisting a discussion on and off and throwing around ideas regarding me returning to school. We toss around our thoughts pursue some potential programs and most days we end up on the other side of the fence then we were the previous day. Either gung-ho or unsure and tenative. I am so not a big picture person. I want to know how each foot fits in front of the other each step of the way. I also process and think through things vocally. Thank goodness for a husband and parents that are good listeners because they've certainly got an earful. What would be the wisest choice financially? I don't want to start something I won't finish. Am I really qualified and cut out for a program like this? Is this the best timing? Is it just fear that's keeping me from stepping out? If not now when?

So we continue to dialogue and we continue to dart around making a decision.

A Story:
I attended a conference last winter that was hosted by the head of a Master's program at St. Stephens University in New Brunswick. Throughout the weekend I soaked up the discussions on church history, litergical worship, celtic/old English worship practices, song writing, leading and what art and faith look like in today's culture. I pocketed a pamphlet on their programs and mulled over the university's website for weeks. I couldn't believe that a program that catered to questions and passions of mine actually existed. I dabbled in possibly returning to Grant MacEwan or perhaps even finishing up a music education degree at the U of A but I wasn't thoroughly impressed with either of those options. I began dialoging with the head of the Master's of Ministry program but when crunch time came to travel it was quickly placed back on the back-burner. On a whim last week I completed their online application and received a reply the next day. I can complete a Master's program by module travelling to St. Stephens twice a year for two years left with one year to complete my thesis work.

The fees are realistic for us. The timing probably the most optimum at this point in our lives. My course work would fit nicely with my teaching schedule. I know I am probably being overly optimistic and setting sights to soar on a cloud of academia. In reality it won't be a Master's program that will bite me in the butt, it will be myself trying to bite off more than I can chew. I realize that if such endeavors were to begin, I would have to set up little boundaries so that I do not overcommit myself.

I've hesitiated even bringing this discussion onto a blog of all things but really, I dabble here for a few of your thoughts and your prayers.


Nicole said…
I am sorry to hear your are troubled with this decision. And I am sure you allready know that no one can make the decision but you. I know you will do the right thing if you follow your heart. No wrong can come from such a pure place. I hope these words help to comfort you even if they do not help to guide you. Be strong and all will come through for you in the end. Love you.

Cass said…
Going back to school is a big decision--one which I have struggled with for two years. In the end, I know you will make the right decision. Just don't OVERthink it. You'll inevitably talk yourself out of doing anything when you over-analyze things...I know I do!
Carla said…
That is a big decision, Erika. I'm just realizing myself in these last weeks what kind of a tole our busy lives took on us as people and on our relationship. I've been realizing that I view myself as more valuable and worthwhile the busier I am, but I can't even describe the relief I feel at letting go of some of those high (and wrong) expectations for myself, and I'm discovering how freeing that is. That said... I know that if God wants you to go back to school, he'll make it super clear, and if he wants you to do it, he will make a way so that you can accomplish schooling without taxing your emotional and physical and spiritual health. If anyone knows about balance, it's Him - and it's all about us learning and letting him teach us what that looks like in our individual lives. Anyway, it's really nice to hear from both of you on here again. I've been wondering how you are doing. I'll be praying for you that God will use your family and other circumstances to guide you and Arden as you decide. I'm excited for you!