Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Back to normalcy

Ok, so I had this exam today. Those who know me know that I have a single way to prepare: overprepare.

Still, I'm putting in practice some of my recent learning: to relax nevertheless.

On Saturday morning, we had a review class scheduled at 9 AM.
Of course, I was grumpy, but the whole affair was very worthwhile!
Afterwards, I had to hunt for a cheap-yet-good-enough scientific calculator. Then, going to Québec City using allo stop.
I slept and studied in the car. And studied a bit more once there. I then spent time with a friend of mine (he started studying the Bible, then stopped halfway, but we kept the friendship). After the cofee, we went to a brother's place, ate supper at a mediteranean restaurant, then rented a DVD, Un Long Dimanche de Fiancailles.
I loved the storytelling, except that we had to skip over the sexual scenes. The way the story unravels is just wonderful.
The whole story is a woman's search of her fiancé, who would've died during the first world war. Yet, she is certain that he his alive and will spare no expense to find him back. Then comes the story of why him and other soldiers self-mutilated themselves, and what happened in that trench.
In the morning, I talked a lot with a brother about dating and building relationships (since when am I an authority?). The service was good, especially to see an anglophone brother preaching in French (as a sidenote for everyone: only western Québec has a good density of English speakers (The Québec City area is representative of the "real" Québec: mostly white, French speaking, from a Catholic background, and often a small disdain for anglophones). Afterwards, the BBQ and fellowship helped me catch back on the lives of the friends I have there. Some discipling did happen, as I exposed the "what's really up" to two closer brothers. One said "I think you're doing great" after seeing the state I was in. Apparently, I'm going through a normal moment of growth in my spiritual life. It is good to feel that you are doing well not by your "performance", but how things are really.
More and more talk occured as we were waiting for the car to come back (long story I won't detail), we had more talking. Then I came with this brother and his wife in car, and we stopped at Portneuf. Nice little town, really. We saw the St Lawrence River from where we were eating. It was our last real pause before returning to our normal lives, in a sense.
Of course, Monday had to come. So I wanted to study, you know me. However, I was not feeling that great that day. So I spent time with a brother in the morning on a rework of the studies, then I prepared my Bible talk, then had a lunch with a very encouraging sister. We both enjoy straight openness and honesty and our time together is always very good.
In the afternoon, I feel sick enough to be unable to concentrate, so I went home and slept a while. Only later was I back in a state where I could study. My roomates where putting together finishing touches to the kitchen. Our place starts looking like the real thing! The final "moving in" happened, as all roomates are well into their rooms now! I helped set everyones' computers and we could all be on the internet together. Mwhahahahaha :D
I found free, legal, downloads of a TV show on open source software, go_open. I think they made it simple and appealing enough to the average dude. Basically, it is focused on success stories of Open Source usage, as well as some ways to start doing it yourself. It takes little brain power to listen to it while I do some other thing, so I'm not slacking off ;)
The exam today went OK. I nearly finished it, whereas many barely did 3 out of 4, so that's good. I took some time to pray before the exam, and I really had a sense of peace. Yet, thanks to all brothers and sisters who prayed for my success.

Friday, July 22, 2005

*blows a fuse*

I'll start by getting off my chest what I feel went bad in my week, and then conclude on the positive.

Bad Thing #1: We had a presentation to make, originally scheduled on Friday. It was moved to Thursday, right in the middle of my class! I told my boss I wanted to go to class, and he finally to me to be sensible about it, so I got to class, and ran back for the meeting as soon as possible.
We were supposed to be two presenting it, and my teammate did not get in touch with me on Wednesday during the day, and so we had to work on this from 9:30 PM until 11. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
That definitely upset my sleeping cycles too. That and the fact I had to leave the mid-week barbecue to do that...
Bad Thing #2: I've been VERY undisciplined this week with my Bible study and the respect of my bedtime. I have no idea what to cover in next week's Bible Talk.
Hmm... when I started writing this entry, I felt things darkly. Thinking of it, I barely saw other "bad" things to talk about...
Its a good thing I realize it now!
So, one good news is that I'm going to Québec City this weekend.
Another is that a friend lent me his ELEC 275 book, so I can do exercices and study for next week's exam. I finished my summary of the exam's theory. It is very little. That course is all about algorithmics (Follow PRECISELY these steps ...). I'll start doing as much exercises as possible today, and I should be ready for the reviewing session.
We resolved to have my Bible Talk on a weekly basis, and I'll help a younger brother prepare those. The d-groups will be dissolved, and the Bible talk group will put that in place instead. This means more responsibility for me. I have yet to find the best course of option for my group, but I'm praying for wisdom :) I feel that this shift in responsibility is really good for me, in order to prepare me to serve God's church better and better.
We have our kitchen set and it is being painted, which is a good step forward for the apartment.
I was able to resolve an issue I had with a sister in the US, and we're in touch now. It is encouraging to have people WANTING me to call them. I feel that sometimes I have to be running after my friends to keep the friendships strong, and more and more sisters (why is it only the sisters?) are making me feel loved and important by opening up the opportunity. I'm still the one calling, but feeling that I am wanted to call helps the morale.
Same thing with two sisters here in Montreal, one is a very close friend of mine, the other we are starting to build a friendship. Both REALLY want our frienships to grow and spend time together. I love this.
Our D-group went well, and we exhorted one another to take a challenge for ourselves. Mine is to be jogging at least 3 times a week. I know they'll keep me accountable. It'd be even better if I had a running partner (I'm still an undisciplined guy after all), but this is a good start.
God has been good to be this week, and I'm having dark-coloured glasses on. Time for me to get back in prayer for a thanksgiving, cheerful spirit.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A miracle happened!

Believe it or not, Concordia has finally moved forward in getting my Swiss grades in! Halleluiah!

Now, moving on to other good news...

There were a lot of people attending the church service this morning, despite the rain. Its kind of hard to read the Scriptures when rain is pouring over you, but I managed to keep my Bible intact, so that's good :D
We had visitors from Boston and we had a meal in a dry place, and it was nice. Actually, the brother from Boston I spoke with is in the security business, and it felt good to have a conversation in geekspeak and understand each other!
We had the Bible talk leaders' meeting afterwards, and then I was home to do a ton of the "little things" that take so much time. Afterwards, it was the 1st spiritual birthday of a brother I like very much, and I had a good evening with the brothers there. A sister was in, but had to leave early :( So it was just the brothers, and we asked him about dreams, his experience, etc. It was great. We did the same thing to another brother at the party who was recently baptized, and we shared about our conversion. You leave there feeling that you know the guys better.
Otherwise, what else of my week?
I had a HORRIBLE night from Friday to Saturday, did not sleep at all until the wee hours and was destroyed, sleepwise. I had a d-time with some brothers, then went to bed right away. I spent some time on the phone with a sister too. I had planned to study and do some stuff on my own in the evening, but had a great feeling of loneliness that just crushed me all of a sudden, so I picked the phone and arrange some time with a married couple close to me.
We had a good time, and my encyclopedic knowledge of Europe has been useful for answering some questions they had. :)
As for the rest of the week, suffice to say that I am overburdened with my ELEC class and that it is not improving until I set a lot of time aside to study and do exercises. I worked on some slides for a presentation to visiting researchers, and I'm strangely unstressed about it... a last-minute crisis is waiting for me (I know myself).
In general, I feel much better than last week. More of the apartment starts to look like one, and I somehow feel like there is more connection to God when I pray. That is what counts... even though its really too feeling-based. I guess He knows that I need some feeling of closeness, and that he decided to offer this.
I'm reading about Grace, and I feel touched so far. It is still a challenge for me, but God will enlighten my heart.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I'm finally living home!

We made progress on the paint job, and the small office as well as my room is done! We had a beer of celebration yesterday. I was glad to finally sleep in my own room. Still, I'm running out of clothes to wear, and the washer and drier plumbing is not done yet... so it'll be the laundr-o-mat for me !

I finally got the Thevenin theorem. I just need to wrap up my lab report with the procedure.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Discipling Sunday

So, in this week, I spent some time renovating, once more. We finished the floors and started painting.

I've done the first lab and I have yet to understand the Thevenin Equivalent Theorem... snif

However there are some good news!

I spent some time with a sister, picnicking downton, on Friday.
I was also blessed to see another baptism on the same day.
Saturday, I spent some time with brothers in a "surrender" meeting, where we examine our emotions, wishes and so on, and to help each other to fully surrender to God.
In the evening, we had lasagna at our place, and it was our first meal, as a group, in our new apartment. Far from done, but its a pre-celebration.
Afterwards, we went to teh Jazz festival with a group of brothers and sisters, some from the US. One of those american sisters was so fired up that she was inviting people for the service!
On Sunday, we went on Mont Royal for the service, and we were once more exhorted ;) In the afternoon, we had a Bible talk leader's meeting, and we discussed some organization points, were encouraged by our evangelist, shared good news, etc. I realize that the Bible talk I am leading is called for something bigger, as a tool for fellowship, as well as for building up bible study leaders.
What was more important was the time I spent with a brother who really took time to listen to me about where I was at, spiritually and emotionally. He told me to study the Scriptures on how to live "une vie sensée" (a sensible life), and then come back to him for advice on time management after. I talked with other brothers as well about my challenges and was encouraged, even though its not as much as this one ;)
One bro lent me his book "What's so amazing about Grace", and I'll keep you informed about my reading on this.
Afterwards, I realized that I needed to repent about my bad food habits, and got at the grocery store to get myself some good stuff :D
So I cooked a nice little meal with the brothers I live with: corn, rice, hard-boiled eggs and crowned with tomato+ mozarella!
In the evening, a brother wanted to know how I come up with Bible talks, so we prepared my next one together. He was very helpful too.
Since he loves music, we listened to some classical from my collection, and some blues and gospel from his. Good way to build the fellowship :D

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

And some more renovations

There was a conflict between my roomates and the landlady... and things are not advancing at all for the new place :'(

I started the new class, and I already feel its uselessness. yay.

So, yesterday morning, I show up at class and we learn how to do Node Analysis and Mesh Analysis. Everyone tells me that there is no need to buy the book, and I'll wait for the tutorials before making a decision. The book is 140$, so...
Anyway. I can barely understand the prof when he speaks, since his accent is so strong. I missed the first class, so I'm not entirely following, but at least its basic electricity equations.
And it looks like, based on the list of things we'll cover, that this course will bring nearly nothing to my career... but its a required class. Let us endure.
The worst is that we even have labs with it! Its painful enough to be beaten up with nearly useless theory, but adding a lab to validate it is just insulting.
You can tell I'm not happy and not rational about it.
I got home and the phone line is not working. I had to call Sprint, who told me to get to Bell, who told me to contact Sprint again. I finished by dropping a ticket for tech support to work on it and call me back. Waste of time.
We covered some walls with priming paint, so that we are ready to paint. So much time and energy is going in those renovations, and I'd prefer to invest those somewhere else... but that's the cost to pay to live there sooner...
Tonight, we'll even have to skip the church midweek service to do the floors. I was nearly crying at that idea.
In general, this moving and the related "squatting" of a brother's place is definitly making my finances explode. I can't wait for the big bills to arrive in the mail and the inevitable accounting time with the roomates.
The good news is that I signed my work contract today... so things are one step closer for me to get paid.
Tomorrow, I'm buying tickets for the Portland conference. Lets just see my credit card getting maxed out! That is definitely an example of putting the kingdom first ;)

Monday, July 4, 2005

And some more moving

This sunday was the end of me... no wonder I got to bed early

On Saturday night, I did not feel that sleepy, and I talked with a brother until 2 AM. Going to church has thus been very painful.
Our evangelist taught about the spiritual battle, and its obvious that I need to develop a greater feeling of this, even though there are some obvious parts to it.
The setting is nice. We were on Île Ste Hélène, in the park, and its great to have the service outdoors and picnic fellowships. One brother has the gift of giving encouragement hugs and you can be sure I appreciated that!
At 15:00, we met up to help moving an elderly sister. She did not have that much stuff, but her working table and shelves are made using concrete bricks and blocks, and that is THE hatable thing to be moving.
I have a better feeling of what my dad does for a living, so that's good.
We moved the stuff and set the shelves and table. We left at 21:00, after eating a poutine of celebration. I was so overdosed with pizza that I got poutine... I know, its even worst for my health, but I didn't care the slightest bit at that point.
Spent time with the brothers who came back from a Boston weekend and prayed a bit, then it was bedtime. For a change, I went to bed at a decent time. Yay!

Saturday, July 2, 2005

Me day

For a change, I did not work at all on this Saturday...

This morning, we spent time to help the landlady with the renovations. We were a bunch of brothers bringing gypsiums boards upstairs.
We then moved to play soccer, and then I returned with a roomie to help put the gypsium boards on the ceiling of the room.
I was able to extract a cellphone charger from the stack, so I won't need to bed for one ever 3rd day :D
After a shower, I went to Concordia to bring a book back at the library and fell asleep for a while there. I was too tired.
The date planned disintegrated, I tried to do last minute arrangements to no avail. Last minute never works for me. So, I went to the cinema and saw Howl's Moving Castle. I wanted to see this movie when I was in Switzerland!

Friday, July 1, 2005

And all get wet!

Today was highlighted by the baptism of two new brothers.

One the way to the place where we were to celebrate, a storm hit us, and we all got wet. I was joking that the baptism wasn't valid, and that God sent the rain to fix that :D
In my case, I lent my waterproof jacket to a sister, so I was left with no protection on, except for my backpack.

On top of that... I'm having a Pizza overdose... I ate nothing but pizza today. Kind of looses its charm at this point.

In the end, a friend of mine was saved today. That wins out over the rest.

We'll be sleeping at a brothers' place for all weekend. We'll need to re-evaluate our course of action on monday to see if we are to do a mini move in the new place at this point.