The Mature Student’s Back-To-School Guide for Disaster Preparedness (or, “My Back-To-School Shopping List”)


1. A BACKPACK purchased online in a moment of uncharacteristic recklessness (Just kidding! I obviously triple-checked the return policy before submitting my order like the totally sane and not at all neurotic person that I am.), which will undoubtedly make me look like a giant pumpkin when worn with my green fall jacket, and which arrived at the bottom of an enormous box, topped with an even enormous-er swathe of what must have been at least fifty feet of “packing paper” (in one single, spectacularly long, sheet) that we can only assume was included to keep the backpack from being crushed but in reality served only to render it more pancake-like than ever

2. A fancy-ish (read: knock-off) “wood look” THERMAL WATER BOTTLE, which is guaranteed to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot thanks to its double-walled stainless steel construction, and which is recommended online by a reviewer known only as “Bilbo Baggins” (who promises I will “look fresh around the shire”), but which, upon reflection, will probably scald my lips if used for hot beverages thanks to its double-walled stainless steel construction

3. A trendy, “bento box” style LUNCH CONTAINER ,which currently holds my hopes and dreams of an entire semester of eating only ethically raised, local, organic, single origin, whole foods lovingly prepared with clean hands and a pure heart, but which in reality serves as the single (fragile) barrier between eating a balanced diet and diving face-first into a bag of Cheetos when stress-eating season finals begin

4. A large THERMAL LUNCH BAG*, which was not on my original shopping list but had to be added when the aforementioned Aspirational Bento Box of Clean Eating turned out to be twice the size I anticipated (and was thus unable to fit in any of the four normal-sized lunchboxes I already own – don’t ask), and which proved so hard to find that it caused me to all but lose hope of its existence as I trekked empty-handed from store to store, bemoaning the amazing deal I missed out on when months ago I unknowingly passed up what would have been the ideal thermal container, exactly right for the ridiculously over-sized Ultimate Snacker’s Bento Box of Superiority

5. & 6. Not one, but TWO Burt’s Bees LIP BALMS, because the overflowing dish of various partially-used and probably-expired lip balm currently adorning my dresser serves as no deterrent whatsoever to the undeniable truth that in our harsh Canadian winters it is literally impossible to have too many options for soothing dry, chapped lips, and because while I seem to be just fine with making snap decisions that have major implications on my marriage, time, energy, finances, and overall life direction (*ahem, grad school applications and becoming a full time student, ahem*), I’m apparently incapable of choosing between “grapefruit” and “coconut pear” when it comes to what kind of lip balm I should use, particularly when there’s a “BOGO 50% off” promotion and the product descriptions are so similar I can’t choose between the “refreshing” product that’s “hydrating and revitalizing” and the “hydrating” one that’s “reviving and softening”

7. ALL THE MUJI PENS, due to: a) inherent awesomeness, b) the fact that when you forget what colours and nib sizes you have at home, the obvious solution is to buy more in strict adherence to the Boy Scout’s motto of perpetual preparedness, and c) a fierce commitment to stationery excellence at all times

8. Three blindingly white HILROY BINDERS, which seemed like a good idea at the time since they were on sale for an unbelievably low, and therefore irresistible, price (Have you seen binder prices these days?! What is this life?!), but which turned out to be both incredibly flimsy and juuuuuuust tall enough to not fit properly on the shelves of my newly-organized desk

9. A spiral-bound A5 DOTTED NOTEBOOK from Muji, the buying of which entailed at least 20 minutes of solemn deliberation (whilst circling the office supplies area of the store like a bird of prey) because of the seriousness of committing my entire life and five whole dollars to a new journal, and which is clearly the only sensible option for use as an organizer and agenda (because why buy a ready-made planner when you can spend all the time you don’t have essentially making your own from scratch?!)

10. CHOCOLATE (Enough said.)


*In the end I was able to locate an almost identical lunch box to the aforementioned ideal one (once I remembered the name of the brand!), so it turns out all that trekking was actually in vain as I returned the first one and ordered the other one online… and then after all that cancelled the online order when I discovered it for an even lower price at Canadian Tire…  -__-


September Update: Back to School Edition (!!)



That’s right; it’s true; your eyes do not deceive you; this adorable (and unintentionally gigantic) google calendar graphic is indeed correct…

 I’m going back to school!!!!!

To be even more accurate, I’m actually going back to school TODAY, because this is the official start date for Human Personality, the online course I’ll be taking this semester. Of course it’s not quite the same as doing a residential/on site program (to wit, I’m about to watch my first lecture while sitting on the couch in my PJs), but it is school, the course is for credit (ie. I actually have deadlines, assignments, and a final exam), and I haven’t been a student for a loooooong time, so I think it’s an accurate description.

The nutshell version is this: I’m doing some additional training in biblical counseling online through a school in the States, hoping to work towards a master’s degree eventually. This term I’m taking just one course but the plan is to enroll in a full course load come January. I’m hoping to submit my application for the degree program before Christmas, and so hopefully next fall I will officially be a grad student. (Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!)

And here’s the slightly more complicated and comprehensive version: Towards the end of the summer we found out about a brand new Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) that is offered entirely online. I’ve long been passionate about biblical counseling* and so the MAC program seems like a perfect fit for me. Although I’ve never had a desire to pursue further studies (quite the opposite in fact, as I practically fled hotfoot from university the moment I could escape with diploma in hand!), I’ve been won over by the intensely practical nature of these courses and the opportunity to study topics about which I am truly passionate under professors with unparalleled experience, insight, and biblical wisdom. Basically, I have done a complete 180 in my thinking and I now have all the heart eyes for the thought of grad school! 😍 😍 😍

The MAC launches in September 2017 (so that’s next September) and will be offered at Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS), in partnership with CCEF, the school from which I’m currently taking courses. Well, a course, for now. But wait, why am I taking a course right now if the MAC doesn’t start until next year? Because clearly I can’t do anything in a straightforward manner. Because to reduce costs (the price per course is significantly lower at CCEF) and to get a head start on your degree, any CCEF courses taken before September 2017 can become transfer credits for the MAC. Thus, my plan to take a full course load next term, and hopefully in the summer as well. (Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!)

Of course there’s no guarantee I will actually be accepted into the MAC program to begin with (hopefully we will know that by late this year or early next year, as I am aiming to submit my application fairly soon), but if not I will probably continue with a few more courses to complete a certificate at CCEF. True, it won’t be a degree, but much of the learning will be the same (I will be missing some courses in biblical studies, but the counseling aspect will be fully covered) and the whole point of this is to mature and develop greater skill as a biblical counselor, not add more initials after my name.

Honestly, it all feels a little surreal still (a feeling I’m sure will quickly dwindle into something more akin to panic and “what have I gotten myself into?” when I start my first lecture, in approximately 10 minutes…) and of course there are the usual nerves and jitters that always accompany a new experience (at least for me, devote lover of routine and familiarity), but I’m mostly really excited for what I will be learning, not least about myself, and for where the path from here might lead.



*Wondering about the difference between biblical counseling and Christian counseling? The terms are often used interchangeably but they actually mean quite different things. (Don’t worry, I used to think they were the same as well!) If you’re interested in learning more I’d love to chat sometime! 🙂


September Soliloquy

There’s just something about September.

Perhaps it’s the knowledge that after summer’s unrelenting heat and oppressive humidity, cool breezes are on the way and we’ll soon be able to enjoy the crunch of leaves underfoot as trees light up in a skyward blaze of autumnal glory. Perhaps it’s the feeling that even for non-students, the “back to school” season holds out the promise of a fresh start for us all, the opportunity to approach projects with renewed vigor, the hopeful motivation of a new beginning and endless possibility.

I am no stranger to September’s alluring invitation; who am I to refuse her charms? Like opening a new notebook and boldly beginning on the very first page, this is no time for hesitation. Here I am to respond to her irresistible offer of promise, potential, and possibility.

So let’s take the plunge, embrace the adventure, and dive right in.