My new job so far

As of the end of January I started a new job.

Many people may know this already but I will restate it anyway for my friends who are not completely up to date on my goings on.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but it is at “Joy” franchise school. The ones I had been working at before were all owned by the same boss, who owns the whole company. This school is owned by a couple who have had it open for a few years. At this school I get paid as a full time teacher, which means I also get paid for holidays (not many of those though).

The new job has been nice in a few ways.

Firstly, I needed the mental break as I working for the branch schools I have become a bit disenchanted at how they ran things and how things were organized. I don’t think they were really run too badly, I just really thought that they should all fix the school and that everything should be better.

I have taken a far more proactive approach here at this school, which is easier to do as I can just talk to the boss who has the final say and is in fact very reasonable and nice. In the end I have almost complete control over what we do during our classtime. There are certain things that we still need to cover, but beyond that they trust you to get the work done.

Secondly, I have been using my time very well. I used to just waste away my lunchtimes looking at things on the internet and checking my email. This was a real waste. Now I use my lunch to plan ahead and to prepare for upcoming events. So I am better prepared, which pays off, as I then feel better about my class and so feel more inclined to want to plan. And in doing even more planning I feel even better about things, and so all my work gets done on time and I feel good about it.

So, it’s been very positive overall so far. It is amazing what a little proactivity, something I lack, helps things along.

My Uncle’s death

It’s been a while since I last wrote.

Two weeks ago, my uncle died. It was Wednesday, the 17th if I remember right.

That week was the first phonecall I’ve had from my mother for a while, as it’s too expensive to keep phoning, and we just email.

As she started to speak and told me she had bad news, the first thing on my mind was, “Mor-mor has passed away.” (She is my now 94 year old grandmother). I was a little shocked when she told me it was not my gran, but my uncle.

The sad part is that he is quite young, 50 or so, and that he committed suicide. He had been sufferring from bi-polar depression for at least the last 10 years or so. It has been quite a hard time for him, as well as his close family and friends.

Bi-polar depression is a different kind of depression where you go from very high highs, to very low lows. Instead of being in the pit of depression your body swings from good times down to the bad times and back up again. It is often a discease that needs ongoing medication.

He had a very hard time coping with it as the times when he was on the “high” nothing could go wrong and anything was possible. While when he hit a low, the wheels fell off and those times can be especially bad. And as he got older those highs and lows increased in intensity, so much as to make life quite difficult.

In the end, the sickness just became too much. May he rest in peace (thank God he was a born again believer)

It is a terrible thing for parents to have to bury their children, and I pray for my Gran and Grandpa, as this is really tough for them in their old age (both in their 80s). He was really loved by all of us. He will be sorely missed.

Our 1st Wedding Anniversary

Wow, time really does fly, and not just when you are having fun, although it has been.

Today marks the first year of our marriage. On this day a year ago, we were at the Westville Baptist Church making our vows to each other.

Since then we have had two other weddings, so it has almost been a wedding year for us, which is very nice, but was also quite stressful, with the last wedding being organized by only us.

So what can I say after a year together?

It’s been like a whirlwind.

For those of you who are married, you might know what I’m talking about and those who are not might know too. But it has been quite a time learning to live together with someone else in such a personal way, and getting to know about them.

Both Ava and I have both had to get used to some habits that were very strange for each other, and stop some of the irritating things we did, and do some extra things we wouldn’t have done before.

Then there is the area of expectations. It’s funny how we kind of take some things for granted and assume some things to be known. Learning to communicate how we are feeling in a way that is not offensive to the other person is something else we have had to learn.

And after all is said and done, it has not been an easy year, but then again it wasn’t hard. It has been worth it, and like all the best things in life, the pains and struggles only make the end result that much more fantastic. We have grown to love each other in a way that is hard to describe. Learning to give of yourself for the betterment of our relationship.

The act of giving of oneself for someone else is the essence of true love, Godly love. Not to say that I or Ava are God, but I can get a slightly better picture of how Jesus loved people. He did not have a mushy feeling, he had genuine love. Love that is chosen and shown through sheer effort, knowing what it means to do something loving.

I have personally learned how doing the things you know are loving, no matter how you feel, makes all the difference. Taking out the laundry, even when I don’t want to, changing the rabbit’s litter when it’s so disgusting, and various other little things take little effort on my part (although sometimes I make out like it’s an epic drama) but make all the difference in the end. Because I know it means something to someone who is a priority in my life.

And that’s what counts.

Love you very much Ava.

Lots of photos

Announcing major updates to www.peterandava.com

I have taken a lot of time to get all my pictures up on the website with lots of comments on nearly all of them.

Please take the time to browse around and enjoy.

Most importantly my wedding pictures are all up from both the wedding in South Africa and the one is Taiwan

Death and Sorrow

This Thursday August 10th, 2004, Ava’s friend, affectionately know as ‘the boxer’ committed suicide. I know this may seem awfully morbid, but in the midst of such a sorrowful event, there are things to be learnt, and things we can do.

On Thursday night, Ava saw on the TV that ‘boxer’ had died, and immediately phoned his family to find out what had happened. We went together to where it had taken place. Ava was obviously shocked as she had actually gone out with ‘boxer’ for quite a while before, and was still good friends with him. I was not sure what to think. When we got there, his family were there and we went upstairs to the apartment.

There he was. The big cheerful looking guy who I had met before, lying under a bag on the floor of the apartment. Ava burst into tears, while it took me a little longer. But still now a day later, tears come to my eyes as I write this.

After something like this happens, some of the first things to happen are people start asking questions like “Why didn’t he tell us?” “How could this happen.” “Why didn’t he just call.” In the wake of the persons death are a trail of people who mourn for the loss of someone they love. One of the saddest things for me to think about is to imagine how much pain and suffering he must have been hiding from others that he could go this far.

How could someone not know how much they are loved by so many.

But so often we hide our feelings from other people, we’re scared to expose ourselves to the criticism of others which is often what we get when we are completely honest. My appeal to everyone is to show and tell those you love, that you do. NEVER assume the people you love know you do. Tell them and show them. Our lives are a gift from God, you never know when things will change, when that person will be gone, or what may happen in the future.

Jesus commanded us “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all you strength” after this he said “and love your neighbour as yourself.” That’s not the person who lives next to you, it’s every single other human being put onto this planet. Love everyone. Our time on this earth is short, we are given the gift of life, but one day we will die. Jesus said “love your neighbour.” What more can we do than to love others, this covers everything. No matter what techniques there might be to help people or whatever, you need to LOVE them. Nothing else matters. Everything will pass away, your things will be gone, you can’t take them with you, no more fancy car or house.

The only gift you can give that will last for all eternity, is the knowledge of God and his son Jesus Christ. What God has done is undeniable, service to him is the only answer. We are all searching, whether we know it or not, and the answer is Christ.

But the most important is to tell them of the love of God.

He always loves you, no matter what.

His sacrifice to you was his one and only son Jesus Christ.

So my appeal to everyone is to love others. Show others the love that God has for you. It’s the gift for life, and the time thereafter.

If ‘boxer’ had know the infinite love of the Lord, who knows what would have happened, but as God is the King of everything, pray that He revealed himself to ‘boxer’ and that as he saw the awsome love of God he found that love that he seemed to not feel here.

God bless all of you.

So how can we make a difference?

I have been talking about blame in my previous two articles, and how it is so destructive.

But what other choice do we have?

Firstly, we are humans, born free. What I mean is that we are free in our own minds. Nobody can take away what we have in our own heads, at least not yet. No matter what our situation, we are the one who is solely in charge of our own mind.

But that does not mean that our mind is perfect.

What we think is influenced in so many different ways by so many diffferent things. Sometimes it is influenced by what happened in our childhood. Maybe it is influenced by some other event, like the death of a family member or something. It could be effected by even small incidents.

So, back on track now.

My point I am trying to get to is how much impact we have over our own thoughts. We are not slave to our thoughts, our thoughts are created by us. It’s your mind, and trying to say something like, “I can’t help it, that’s just the way I am.” implies that you do not have control over it. You do. Also, your thoughts dictate your actions, so it implies the things you do are not of your own making, but yet you are the owner of your own mind and thoughts.

I do not mean to say this is easy to change, it often takes a great effort to do, and might take someone years to figure out.

Take control of your thoughts and start taking action. Once you realise the power you have to change, it will be amazing how you could ever have thought you never had control. By taking action and making a direct difference you will increase the number of ‘positive’ thoughts you have about whatever it is and your thoughts will change. If you mumble and moan, you will increase the bad feeling because that is all that is on your mind. Which would you rather choose?

Freedom is quite apparent in the life of Jesus.

For example, in the time when Jesus was around there was quite a stigma, as there is still today about talking to prostitutes, and in that day even to women in an open way, especially when you don’t know them. When Jesus spoke with the woman by the well, imagine how strange it must have been for the others who saw it. But yet he did it because his focus was God and not the ‘status’ of the other person. Jesus also had dinners with other ‘unclean’ people, like tax collectors.

What kept the disiples from speaking to certain people, did not stop Jesus.

So when Jesus says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” I’ve sometimes wondered how much we will know. Those shackles that keep you tied, which might even just be in your own head, are undone through the love of God. The blinkers are removed and you will finally know, the truth.

So the answer: follow Jesus. He will set you free.

God bless, until next time.

PS. Remember, God has given us a manual for life, the Bible. If it does not answer your questions, perhaps you are asking the wrong ones.

News update

Well, it’s been great to have the week off work. Tomorrow I have to go in to work to do a demo class for the new kids who are coming to our school.

In my week off I have been waking up early and spending time with Ava. It’s quite nice to have free time at different times of the day. I have been spending a fair amount of time at the computer, so my breaks are at different times to what I am used to.

The Monday just past (2004/07/26) I went to go check out another school. It’s the one that two of the other teachers who are leaving our school are going to.

It’s not too different from the school I am at now, but it is a different system and looks quite organised.

Things go on as usual. Ava is starting to try and sell some things on eBay here in Taiwan. It’s quite exciting and I hope we can make it go well. I am going to be setting up a webpage for her too.

The overcoming depression website is still getting a little bit of work. Now that this site is done (www.peterandava.com) I can go back to polishing off the depression one and making sure everything is working OK and looks fine, and that the forums are set out in a nice way. The forums are it for the meantime. Maybe some article submission would be cool, but it will wait.

Following Ava’s interest in eBay I have downloaded some ebooks to try and see what there is to see. I might actually try to sell some of the books on eBay too, but I will need them translated first.

That’s all for now.

More about blaming

Blame.

The more I think about blaming others, the more I see what a devastating effect it has on the lives of so many, and then the less I want to think about it.

So where does it come from, what causes us to become blamers, looking to other people to be the cause or source of our misfortune. Firstly I’d like to outline some things where we do blame others, these are just some thoughts, just as they come up. In fact some of these are probably because I myself have done or continue to do them.

“My job sucks, things will be better when I get a promotion or change jobs.”
“That person makes my life so difficult, I can’t do anything because of them.”
“If only (something) hadn’t/had happened then (something) would be better.”

One thing we must remember however, before I go on, is that we must NEVER try to play down someone elses pain or hurt, even if it appears to be their own fault. God is the judge, the standards by which we judge others will be the standards by which we are judged. Care and understanding is always necessary, because these things often cause very deep pain.

So, firstly lets look at the person who hoping a new job will help them. The realities are that a new job could very well be better for the person, a promotion too could do the same thing. One thing we have to note is the business world. Often the reason for wanting the move or change is something that has not been fulfilled by our work. Maybe the co-workers are a pain in the butt, maybe the boss is not nice.

But have you tried to change the situation?

Many times wonderful things begin to happen when one person decides they are going to put asside their personal needs and wants and try to help others, and see the other persons side. Have you actively stopped talking about fellow employees and the boss behind their back. Become their advocates and look for the best in them, very often simply finding the positive things in someone else is a good start. Or at the very least, just stop gossiping. I have found that very often the complaints about someone else are actually a very true reflection of your own shortcomings. Action, and talking to the other person about issues that are on your mind is infinitely more useful than talking about them. It takes character and strength to do this quite often, but it’s well worth it.

I appears I have pretty much covered the annoying other person comment.

It’s sad to say but blaming appears to become the way people do things from childhood. The school “system” and don’t forget that’s what it is, schools did not look like they do today a few hundred years ago. Our current education system has children stuck in chairs from a ridiculously young age learning things that were useful to explorers two hundred years ago, but not very relevent today, quite often. This system does not allow children to develop the skills they need to get on with others. It is a very basic thing to pass the blame onto others, I have seen my own classes of children do this. Children need to develop the character to accept their mistakes, parents need to discontinue disproportionate punishment for childrens mistakes, and make them take responsibility in a sensible manner. This way we can help them to grow up to be mature adults who can work well with others.

So in conclusion I think we all need to consider where we put the blame. If we can do something, then do it. If you’re in the situation already, think about what you can do. Don’t blame the system, find a way to work with it, become a leader. Christ was the greatest leader, and what did he do? He served.

Jesus was terrified when he was on his way to be crucified, but he brought his fears before God with prayer and all the time was a servant.

I pray that each of us can become more like this, and realise what wonderful plans God has in store for out lives. Stop worrying about all of your own problems and become a servant.

Until next time, God bless.

The cycle of blame

As things change at work and people are leaving one thing has come into my mind.

How often do we blame other people or things for what is happening to us?

Let me set the scene and then explain.

My school has lots of problems, from administration downward. It’s pretty badly managed. In the week to come the academic director (second in charge) and another teacher are leaving the school. As they leave I have to wonder, “Will things change now that they are gone?”

There is a constant muttering and complaining about how what we do is effected by the people at the school headquarters. But is it really? People complain that for everything they do, everyone in the headquarters is against them, so no matter how hard they work, they can’t get anything done, or the other people are just so mean.

It is never possible to please all of the people all of the time, because the world is a place of such different people. Even if what you do is good, there is always someone who won’t like whatever it is you do.

OK, let me get my thoughts back together.

Although we (including myself at times) complain what a hard time we get from the people at the headquarters about what goes on at our school, I think the reality is a lot different from what is told. There is the feeling that the people at the headquarters have complete control over us.

It’s just not true.

They provide us with the information and we do the work. We hardly ever see the people from the headquarters. What we do pretty much comes down to us in the end, cause we are the ones doing it. We are not controlled by them. We cannot do anything about their complete lack of organization, but that only effects us if we simply rely on them as small children rely on their parents for food and protection.

So another question arises, “Are you part of the problem or the solution.”

A person who is part of the problem might say something like, “I can’t do it because…” or “But,…”. A person who is part of the solution says, “So how can we solve this?” or “Well, the situation is bad, so what can we do about it.”

We need to be part of the solution. We need to take action. We need to do the things that need to be done, not wait for someone else to follow like sheep. You need to put your faith in God. You need to align yourself with the guidelines that God has given all of us through the Bible.

God put us on this earth for a reason. Stop complaining, become part of the solution. God is the answer. He has given us the Bible to tell us how to go about things. Serve him. Now.

There is no time for, “I’m waiting for (something) to happen before I…”

Jesus never put off doing miracles and preaching the word because the weather was bad or someone had not given him a good job that paid well. He just did it.

There is always something you can do, no matter how small it seems, and every time you praise God and share his word with someone else, you glorify him.

So praise God. He is the only solution.

My first thought

Hi

Well this is the first time to put my thoughts down in here.

It has been quite amazing as I have looked through the internet trying to find the answers to so many questions I have had about websites. The one thing I have found to be so true, is that there is pretty much an answer to everything in terms of making a very cool and useful website.

Never in the history of the planet has there been a chance to send a message to so many people in so little time, without too much effort. For the first time in history, the idea behind what you are doing is infinitely greater than the skill you have in setting it up.

As I get this ‘blog’ going, I thought how much work and hard effort it must have taken others to set up the same things on their websites, but not so.

Content is king.

The technical details of setting this kind of thing up are small in comparisson to the amount and quality of information that can be stored and put in by other people. It’s the idea that counts the most, the details can be settled easily enough.

The power of giving a huge number of people the opportunity to express their thoughts and tell others what they think through the internet is truly remarkable. It is a turn in history that is quite fascinating.

Well, that’s it for now, I am still amazed myself at all of this, but still I sit here fiddling with it.

So, till next time

God bless