Ciksetmihail's Flow

I am sure I have spelled wrong, but there's a researcher out there with a crazy double name who is all the rage in education because of his concept 'flow'

I think maybe he's a psychologist, but the ed people have adopted him, especially arts education.

Now, I think one of the main problems with public education is the inability of most teachers to challenge their students enough to get them in the zone where they flow. (Flow means that you are working at the top level of your capacity because the challenge matches your ability just right. Its not too boring or too hard, and you are working hard at it and end up losing yourself in the moment and becoming immersed in whatever you are doing)

I think students love this state, which is why they do other things, such as mountain biking, skateboarding, listening to music loud while doing homework, etc. I think its partly why extreme sports are so popular, because mastering them allows for intense moments of flow, but it is also why group sports and music ensembles have the potential to be popular, because this can happen there too.

The problem is that the system is set up for the lowest common denominator, and to meet standards, not to engage students at their highest level.

I think the system could engage students on so many different levels, but because of how it is set up, it won't be able to adapt for a while yet. I hated high school and found most of it meaningless, now I wish I had done chemistry in high school and university, but I thought it was completely useless. Same with Math. Now I wish someone had shown me how it connected to life, to work. But the teachers were working within a broken system, so its not only their fault, but there were a few teachers who were completely inspiring and they straddled the line between being within the system and totally eschewing it.


Choral Music for Mixed Voices

I think what I really would like to do this new year is start a mixed voice choir. I would like to invite anyone who currently sings in the St. Hermans Church Choir to be a part of it, (and if you aren't and want to sing, let's chat, I'm not a tyrant-except during rehearsals) and I would like to do sacred music that is not from the Orthodox tradition. I will post a few examples below.

This will be for people who love to sing and want to learn more.

Some of the pieces I would like to sing include things like:

How, when and if this happens depends on a few things, not least of which includes interest. If we had six people that would be enough, but more would be welcome. Perhaps every two weeks (opposite my current choral commitments) or on sundays, or...we'll see.

If you read this, and are interested, let me know on a sunday.

Obviously we are also about to have a baby, so this won't be top of my mind for the next few weeks, but I was thinking January would be a good time to start something like this.

I also appear to be starting a second practicum in January/February, so that may also preclude this starting too soon, but I do want to move it from the back burner to a more front and centre burner.

looking forward to a festive glass with you all soon,


Group Voice Lessons At St. Hermans

Now Offering!

Group Voice Coaching, see St. Herman blog.

that is all.


I have been thinking about career a lot lately. listening to Dave Ramsey show often, changing the way I think about money. I look forward to finishing and being a teacher, but I am less worried about having a really gratifying career, which I know teaching would be, than I am about paying off my student loans and taking care of my family. My priority is taking care of my family, and if I have a job that I can enjoy, that will be a great bonus. I feel like the disney dream of everyone deserves a job that they feel fulfilled every moment of the day is the same as the naive ideal we learn about in american rom-com movies where the emotional state of a relationship is the only thing that matters. feelings. I became orthodox so I wouldn't worship my feelings, positive or negative, and I think that applies to career the same way it applies to marriage and everything else. Don't get me wrong, I am so happy to be married to L and I think being a music teacher would/will be wonderful, but I think it is possible to approach these things with a balanced view, where we hold it all in tension. If I don't end up being a music teacher, but can provide for my family, I will be content. Also, I want to live somewhere I can have chickens and maybe a goat. Having built a chicken coop and having our own supply of food was such a gratifying experience, It felt like I was succeeding at taking care of my family. I don't mind my current job but I don't feel like its enough. I wish I had know some of these things when I was younger, road regrets maybe. repentance, to change the way one thinks, it seems much less an emotional process now than when I was young. I would have done things so differently. Zeke and I have been building blocks this morning, so I will get back to the important work of toddler construction/destruction.


had chickens. I was wrong about bylaws, so had to give them back. we traded them for some eggs, and we'll get them back when we move. I love living at the church, but am sad not to have them. This morning, while chasing them to get them together to go, I found a nest where they had laid 15 eggs that I had not found. I used to search for them just in case, but mostly they laid in the coops I built, which was gratifying. Recently I have felt success in my living off the land endeavours. I had chickens, they were happy. I caught four pink salmon, smoked two of them and have baked two others (yum!) I recently harvested more hops than I could ever use from a wild vine I found at work.



three exclamation marks!!! just like archie comics!!! WE HAVE THREE CHICKENS!!!

www.flickr.com/photos/pasivirta should get you to a couple of pictures of our three lovely hens, who are currently resting after a stressful transition. I think they might see their house as a bit too small, I imagine I will enlarge it soon, I thought it would be big enough, and I am sure it will suffice in the short term, but it does seem to be just barely enough for the three of them.
we have to rhode island reds and a white chicken of sorts, and they are all large and laying hens.
I am excited.

I also have many new audiobooks to listen to at work this week, as well as pimsleurs russian mp3s. thanks V for the idea.

I just hope the chickens can get used to the noise of our place, the road is noisy, much noisier than their previous digs out in aldergrove.

oh, and looks like I may have found a practicum for the fall, will keep you posted on the specifics when it is more certain.

Z has a new habit, sleeping on the floor, imagine if it was a precursor to monasticism. hilarious. we were at the monastery this weekend for the feast, it was glorious, we even had a rare minute (literally) to visit with them after friday vespers. I miss them, but they seem much healthier now that they don't have an inundation of visitors. Good for them, and if we believe in prayer, good for us too.

Missed K at church today, apparently he is ill. I finally mowed half of the lawn, Z loved being on the riding mower.



I love our new house, (new to us, we don't own it, no matter)

we live at the church, and its awesome. built a chicken coop, very excited, practicing piano, had a good practice the other day which felt inspiring. work has been busy. I think there's a very good reason people only work 8 hours a day, I don't get enough family time working two jobs (when there's lots of work)

listening to podcasts from Dave Ramsey and William Lane Craig and Stumbling Homestead right now. good stuff.

and z had an epic bail at the Ryder Lake BBQ, I think it made him a little gun shy, head over heels down a hill into a thistle.

better yet, for the first time, he sang along with the theotokion last thursday, perhaps one of my favourite moments in recent history. Having a family is great, I wouldn't trade it for the world.


Summer? Work/School/Church

I became orthodox about 6 years ago now, I am shocked its been so long, though Zeke is two and a bit and I thought it was last week that Laurenn and I met. Time has been going faster, and I know I posted this idea before, but the older we get the faster time goes, because a year in a 30 year old's life is only 1/30th of a year, but in a 10 year old's life, it is much longer, therefore slower.
It feels like things are going to be ok. I have never been as emotionally devastated in life as by failing practicum. I haven't lost any people very close to me, thankfully, (in case you wondered) but this has been trying.
I sometimes lie awake at night, remembering all of the ways in which those responsible for me shirked their responsibilities, and how I want to leave flaming bags of feces on their doorsteps for the rest of their days. in fact, what a great business idea for entrepreneurially minded rebellious teens...
anyways. What really irks me is that nobody has even once acknowledged that there might have been an error on the part of anyone other than me. I fully admit that I need to learn things, and that there were things that didn't work well. But, this was a relationally difficult situation that had many more than two sides, and if it had been entirely my fault, it should have been evident from the beginning, but they didn't tell me until the final week. clearly I am still angry.

in other news, my garden is growing well, despite being in pots, and soon it will be transplanted to Langley, which makes me happy. I love vancouver, and all of my vancouver people, and I really dearly cherish how close we are to my parents, but it will be good to live closer to a church. really close. and we'll have a real yard, and garden space too.

I like the cool weather, because summer is all about work. When I am old I will relax.

I miss the monks, I really have been moving so constantly and I really want to slow down, but it seems like we can't afford it. not just financially, but because L has been so sick (and is feeling much better these days, which is great) I have been going at full blast for a long time and it is now a habit. Time to slow down is rare and difficult to force myself to take. especially because I feel insecure about my practicum in the fall, a bit anyways, so I practice piano every spare moment (of which there are few, as anyone with a toddler will tell you)

We got Z a little Run bike, and he loves it. Its great.

L and I had a little getaway to whistler a little while back, that was really nice. it was slower, breathing time. we won a radio contest on shore 104.3 which is a cool station. I even got to meet Bill Courage, a longtime favourite DJ of mine, who has an AMAZING voice. and he's funny.

Incidentally, we are selling our Digital SLR, if any of you intrepid readers are interested in a Sony a200 camera, let me know.

Also, I get to work for Bert Vane again, which is kind of cool. I like working outside.

Being an adult sure is tiring.

Sometimes I think I should eventually become an education professor so I can make sure that what happened to me never happens to anyone (at least in a small sphere of influence) because it really was unnecessary. That said, I really am done with school.

oh! and I have recently started listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts, he's an american evangelical radio host who talks a lot about money, and his schtick is all about being debt free, and I really like that idea, so I think it is helping shift my worldview about money. We, like Greece, are implementing austerity measures, but don't plan on rioting. just whinging a bit.


public again

Soooo, going back to the public domain. flip flopping, sure.

did I mention that Zeke is cute?



The fact that people in vancouver a) take hockey so seriously and b) feel so entitled makes me sick.



well, I am working again, which is good. and tired.

Laurenn is not quite as sick, though still completely exhausted. she doesn't seem to think she is doing too much better, but her tone of voice and her ability to tolerate the crazy lovely 2 year old has grown, so things are more peaceful, if nothing else.
and now I go to practice piano.


practicum pt 2


I spoke with the Dean today, and they said that I can redo my practicum in september, which is nice, because Laurenn is due in December, and I know that trying to do a practicum with an infant would be a bad idea. hard enough with a toddler, but two young kids? sheesh.
I do have to pay for it, the reports are damning enough that they see my lesson planning as a threat to my ability to teach. I worked quite hard at improving the way I did planning throughout the practicum, and my lesson plans improved drastically. Not enough they said.

So perhaps we try again in September. now to find work for the summer, which I had been waiting to do because I thought I would be finding more permanent work outside the education field. It is not all decided, Laurenn is too sick to carry on much of a conversation, but this 'seems best to us and to God' (as it were) so I suspect that is how it will play out.


Existentialism and the Womb

So, this is a little from left field, but here it is.

If life starts in the womb, then it makes sense that the soul is educated about boundaries as safety early on, because the person who is being developed in safety and security is surrounded by a loving boundary of life giving person. The person is the boundary, and it is existentially impossible to break that boundary.
If life however, starts outside the womb, there is no such thing as a boundary in the context of the first developments of the human, but merely the terror of brightness, or something, and if so, why should a baby cry, there is nothing to have experienced before birth.
Community is also inextricable from existence, the person cannot function without a) the boundary and b) the other who is giving and sustaining. The loving mother, careful one who suffers her own body for the process.

(musings from pregnancy)

See you tomorrow, or this morning!



Alright Folks,

here is the first protected update.

I failed my practicum. I am currently appealing because the practicum handbook states that "if failure is contemplated, the student teacher must be on probation by the 8th week" and I seemed to be doing well and succeeding well into the 10th week. So...while there are other issues as well, they very clearly didn't follow procedure. I also believe that their assessment practices were what got me into this place to begin with. If they had assessed me properly when I arrived, they would have been able to tell me exactly where to improve and to what standard. So there were a few problems with the way the practicum went, not least of which was the fact that I thought I was doing well for so much of it. My favourite class was 55 grade 9 students. FIFTY FIVE! there is a reason class size is legislated, but music teachers can ask for more because of the different types of music which will suit larger or smaller groups. Anyways, I had no trouble keeping them engaged, and they really enjoyed our time together, as did I. I got quite teary when I had to see them after I had failed, and I didn't speak so as not to break down, but they all told me that they missed me and wished I could stay, so I waved and tried to communicate that I really appreciated my time with them. I had other classes that I enjoyed as well, but they were my favourite. It was so weird.

I must take responsibility for the negative things that happened, I lost my keys, I lost a paper copy of a lesson plan (but I had my computer so I had a back up copy, but my teachers don't believe in computers apparently), I was late putting marks into the computer, but again that was a communication error between my sponsor and myself, which I of course was at fault for.

I definitely should have been playing piano more each day, and I will continue to work at that, but that is the sort of content knowledge that grows throughout a career, AND should have been assessed at the beginning.

anyways, at this point I am not going to do it right away this coming january, because it would be too financially stressful for our family. I know that being a music teacher can fall into the category of 'calling' or 'vocation' without much doubt for me, but I know that my priority is to take care of my family. Which, is growing.

Laurenn is due in December sometime, which is exciting, we are very happy, well, except that she is super nauseous all the time and will be for 12 more weeks (if last time was any indicator) it is better this time though, as we realize that blood sugar levels affect nausea, so we are careful to have no sugar around, no simple carbs etc, whereas last time we gave her lots of ginger ale and soda crackers and wondered why she was so sick all the time. oh man. anyways, no hospital trips yet, thank God.

I am looking for career type work at this point, knowing that I can go back to my practicum again at some point, but if I find career type work in the meantime, I will happily take it and stabilize the financial side of my family life. We have been poor students for too long, and its time for some stability. I am participating in a strategic job search program in cloverdale starting in June, so that will be good, and in the meantime I will be doing odd jobs as I can't be employed to be elgible to participate in the program. I also am working with the foster kids on call like I did before when I was living in langley. Thank God I have been given 4 shifts (24 hours) in the last week or so, which means we will survive for the time being, hopefully I get a few more as the month continues.

pray for us,



Hi All,

I am going to make this a protected blog, but I am happy to share with you, the reader, the password.
shoot me a message however you like, but in a week or so, this will no longer be public (at least that is my current plan)



Things are a bit tough right now.

My practicum is not going so well, for a variety of reasons.

One of the reasons is unclear communication. I have tried to take the blame or ownership because it seems expedient, but the truth of the matter is that there are expectations that I have not fulfilled because I didn't know they were expectations.
If they had told me to do x, y, or z, I would have done it.

It's a tough spot.

Pascha and Holy week went well, I think. It was nice. sadly Laurenn has been sick so she didn't make it to church this week.


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there's a lot going on.

Sharing the conducting responsibilities for Holy Week? Check.
Final Two weeks of practicum/B.Ed? Check.
Sick Family? Check.




Have I mentioned my disdain for self-referential art? please note, let the record state, it is nigh impossible to make art of something like this.



As I enter yet another year, I am grateful. I have been given much, health, security, hope, but most importantly, Love.

and I mean it. Whenever I doubt God or wonder if its possible that God doesn't exist, I try to figure out where love originated. Some people call it chemicals in our brain, and some call it math, and no doubt they both are a part of it, but they fail to explain the origin of selfless love, and a satisfactory answer other than Jesus has not shown up yet, so I continue to go to church even when I don't feel like it, so that if nothing else, by my actions, I remind myself that I am and try to become more, thankful.

and now to show my son that gratitude is what its all about. Even though I do act entitled from time to time.


24/7 education/communication

here it is.

As teachers, we are meant not to be 'friends' on facebook, with our students. I think that is wise, I don't necessarily want to get into religious debates with them about orthodoxy, or try to explain why its okay to smoke cigars once in a while but that cigarettes are bad for you. I mean, I would happily have that discussion with my own students in the right context, but I am a student teacher and won't have my 'own' students for a good long while, it seems, though who knows.
That said, I keep on thinking about things I want to tell them, compliments I want to pay them and things I want them to think about for next week, or parts of the music they should focus on. Things that I think they could find out easily enough when they are on facebook anyways, why not have a little update from this or that class pop up in their newsfeed? I think it would make education a more realistic part of their lives. We talk about Education as though it matters, but in its current state it is being left behind quite quickly by the rapid advances in communications technology. People will adopt these new media as fast as they can afford to, and the school boards and districts can't afford to let their students be at a disadvantage because of a lack of understanding of what exactly the meaning and value of this connectedness is or has for education. Sure, someone somewhere will abuse it, but that would happen with or without the internet. The internet, like a book, or a hammer, has no moral stance. It is not a person with a moral capacity and choices to make. Sure, it facilitates a lot of bad stuff through anonymity, sure, it allows for people to make money and is largely an economic engine, but it is not a morally capable entity.

Schools need to embrace technology and the government needs to fund it, otherwise, our students will be behind those in countries where educators have already recognized the value of technology in the classroom.


old video


A video of Zack Rock's Bachelor party. I am putting this here so I don't lose it, its hard to find.

before contact

These people in the amazon apparently currently are living 'before contact'. In the video, the fellow says they should have the choice about whether they want to be contacted or not, but I don't think its possible for anyone to know what 'contact' means until after it happens. These folks have a particular understanding of the world, and for anyone to come from a different place, whether that is a religious, intellectual or geographic place, is going to change their world.

The question then, is will they be benefitted by contact? and what is benefit? is technology going to make their lives better? knowing about the outside world? I think they live in wonderful bliss, and we should just leave them alone. Protect their land from anyone, that would be great.

From a missionary standpoint? if they have lived for so many thousands of years without contacting anyone, and they have a relationship of some kind with God. If God is a loving God, and they wanted to be right with Him, we can assume things are alright.



Is a really really beautiful city.
I am thankful to be here.
the sunset last night made the sky blood red and mountains a beautiful alpenglow pink. amazing. all the way to Baker.