Thursday, April 30, 2009

Internet Routines...

I have nothing much running through my mind today. Perhaps the humid, cloudy weather has periodically dampened my creative flow. So, for lack of other things to tell you about, here are some places that I’m visiting online today…

Bethany College – picking up a pdf of the catalogue…maybe I’ll finish my degree yet…

Fresno Pacific University – picking up another pdf catalogue…this school shares a campus with the one that Nathan is attending, so it could be fun to take some courses…

Facebook – see what’s new…who’s had babies and who’s getting married…and who’s got swine…

Hotmail – mail is almost never a bad thing…

My Family Website – see what the family is up to…

Credit Union – I got paid today…whoo-hoo! Bills to pay…boo…

And, I’ll be checking out the blogs on my sidebar…checking in with everyone to see if there’s anything new or exciting happening!

And now you know…the rest of the story. (or at least my regular daily internet routine…though I don’t go to the Credit Union and Bethany/Fresno sites daily…and sometimes I add…because that’s just fun…)

What are your regular stops? Your internet routine? Is there a website you like so much that you visit it every day?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Picture Post

This is a picture that I took this morning. The sun was shining, but dark clouds were looming. I thought it was a beautiful picture to wake up to. There’s something profound and thought-provoking about a scene like this. I also liked the contrast of the dark clouds and the bright sunlight. Perhaps I should have edited out the power lines in the foreground…but I’m not one for editing too much. Every once in a while I’ll play around and “touch up” some of my photos, but mostly what you see is what I took. I guess it makes me feel like I actually need skill to take great photos…

This picture is one that Nathan took while we were out walking a couple nights ago. He’s a pretty awesome photographer. He’s been having just as much fun with my new lens as I have! I like the solitude of this photo. The quiet walking…alone (as far as the viewer knows). Thinking…praying…walking... It’s very “me.” Thanks, Nathan, for capturing that. Wonderful composition, too. Good eye.

(If it looks a little dark on your computer, sorry ‘bout that…it’s just the computer. When I looked at pictures on our computer at home, they’re always lighter than they are here at work. I never know how other people see them…)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

(Anger) Trigger Happy

I’ve always thought this idea of sharing the (x-th) photo of the (x-th) folder on your computer was a fun thing. So when I saw a couple people doing the 7th picture of the 7th folder lately, I was curious about what mine was. So I checked it out. It wasn’t anything that struck me as interesting, so I thought I’d check the 24th picture of the 24th folder (because it’s April 24th today). And that one was even less exciting…a sunset or something, which is nice, but had no story behind it. So I thought I’d check the 4th folder for the 4th picture (because April is the 4th month). And that one was a HILARIOUS one of Nathan during his second year at Bethany with two of his friends (Brad and Kevin) at a soccer tournament. He had his long curly hair and they were all kinda sweaty and gross. What an amazing picture! But I know how much Nathan dislikes pictures of himself with his long hair and the fact that he was sweaty makes it even worse, and I couldn’t do that to him. I vowed when I married Nathan that I would love and honour him…and putting up that picture would not be honouring him!! (for those of you with a 2002-2003 Bethany yearbook, I believe this picture made it in…) So I went back to the 7th picture of the 7th folder and realized that there is, indeed, a story behind that picture.

The picture is of some monastery ruins??? At least I think that’s what it is. It’s on the south end of
Winnipeg and the grounds are just beautiful (if you like ruins). I find ruins fascinating. I’m captivated as I imagine the people who lived during that time moving through and using the buildings and grounds. Plus, even without imagination, they make some great pictures.

The reason we were there that day was to celebrate Nathan’s birthday. I think it must have been his 23rd birthday…it was the first birthday that we were in
Manitoba for. While sitting at work (my first job in Altona) I was incredibly bored so I started planning a scavenger hunt for Nathan. This hunt started with a picnic lunch that I had prepared and hidden in the car without Nathan knowing about it. The clue said to choose a park and we would share a picnic lunch there. He chose the ruins. We found a nice little picnic spot by the river and enjoyed our lunch. Then, I proceeded to lead him to different points in the city to buy (he could kinda choose) his birthday gifts. For example, one clue led him to Chapters where he could pick out a book. Another one let him pick out a cd…another may have been a video game. I had hidden the cards and gifts from our parents/grandmas (which he didn’t know I had) by the spare tire, so one clue led him there. We ended the date with a nice supper at the Olive Garden, I think. Compliments of a gift certificate, of course.

I think Nathan had fun that day. I know I had fun planning it. I kept all the clues (which each had a hint because some clues were pretty cryptic) and put them in our scrapbook so we can look back any time and remember. I like to plan little surprises like that for Nathan. Currently, I’m trying to throw something together for our anniversary, which is coming up in May. (I can say this because I know that Nathan doesn’t have any internet access!) I’m thinking maybe a surprise getaway at the place we went for our honeymoon. (we obviously didn’t go anywhere exotic!) It would be a bit of a celebration of our 5th anniversary a year early, seeing as how on our fifth we have no idea where we’ll be or how much money we’ll have. I’ve been wanting to go back to our honeymoon spot since our honeymoon was over (the official honeymoon week, I mean…hehe) so now that it’s been 4 years, I think it’s time to revisit the past. Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long…

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Else is Blue?

I was walking down the street. Walking where I walk every day. And then I saw a crayon. Just one blue crayon. I walked a couple steps on, then paused. I turned back and picked it up. What was it about this lone blue crayon that wouldn’t let me pass?

Something about this crayon, away from the rest of its colors, reminded me of…me. (actually it didn’t, but it makes a better, more cheesy story if it did)

When I’m mixed in with a full box of colors, I rarely stand out. I’m just a blue. I’m the color one would choose to fill a sky or a sea...something constant and comfortable. A given. When I’m put on paper, sure I’m beautiful, but I don’t draw the eye. I’m not a vibrant red or bright yellow. I’m just plain old blue.

I’ve sometimes felt lost like this little crayon. People pass by, not seeing me. Not realizing that I’m not where I belong. Not realizing that if they picked me up, I would be so very grateful. I’ve felt alone in a sea of faces, just wishing I was safe between emerald green and chocolate brown. Where I belong. (I think we’ve all felt like a lost crayon at some point, right?)

Well, enough of applying a lost piece of blue wax to my life. These are some pictures that I took of said crayon with my new lens. Would you believe it if I told you that I took 100 pictures of it? Well, you probably shouldn’t. I think I only took about 75. Fifty one in the first “session.” Then, I uploaded them onto the computer and realized that I hadn’t nailed the focus on some that I otherwise liked, so there were probably 15 more in the second set. And then I had some new ideas, so I took about 10 more. Hours go by so quickly when I’ve got the camera in my hands! When the natural light is perfect, you can’t waste it!

So, time to dig deep and share your colors! If you were a crayon, what color would you be and why?

Ok, so if you’ve read all the way to the end of this post about crayons, you get to hear a secret. I said earlier that I’m “just plain old blue”. Well, be that as it may, I sometimes (often) feel so very trapped in the typical “royal blue” dye. When I’m with certain people or at the right level of overtiredness, I trade in the “dull” blue for a more “peacock blue” or “electric blue”. And this is when I feel most myself. Think laughter. Think humour. Think energy. Yup, I may always be blue but the shade of this lovely color can be vibrant and unexpected!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Second most exciting purchase of the weekend…


ABC’s of My Day

A – above 0 degrees today
B – beautiful blue skies (2 points) and barbecued chicken for supper
C – contacts were not agreeing with my eyes this morning…a little clashing of strong wills (me – “oh yes you will wear a contact today”; eye – “oh no I won’t”)
D – deciding what to do…go ahead or hang back? Tough decisions!
E – eagerly anticipating the sale of our house
F – fighting a cold…so far I’m winning
G – green grass is coming through…
H – Hudson Bay and Hepburn…two very special places…hopefully I’ll see you both in 2 ½ months!
I – inventory cycle count at work today…every Tuesday is a big day!
J – just need someone to rub my aching shoulders for two minutes…wait, is that the world on my shoulders? Nah, it’s just a beach ball that looks like the world.
K – keep having really vivid, weird dreams lately and am getting reality mixed up with, um, un-reality?
L – Lennox is still SO scared of bikes. He can hardly move for fear of a bike falling on him…poor guy.
M – might actually brave the great outdoors in a t-shirt today
N – new shirt being worn for the first time today…feels so good!
O – only 24 degrees in Fresno right now…but don’t worry, high for today is 36…
P – pony tail saved me from my bad hair day today
Q – quiet is nice…that’s how my office is…
R – rode my bike to work today
S – stomach is growling embarrassingly loud. Must eat more for breakfast tomorrow…
T – took a picture of myself in my tights this morning…see above…
U – unbelievable how long ago high school feels…
V – violin needs to make it’s way to Karis asap (I haven’t forgotten)
W – working a long day today…both piano-teaching and the lumber yard
X – x-rays today? Nope. Perhaps I’ll play an xylophone, though…
Y – yes, I am looking forward to Friday night! How did you know?
Z – Zellers has everything from A-Z, but not what I was looking for, of course.

My challenge to you: Take the first letter of your name and tell me something about your day starting with that letter! Do it…

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hello, I am a "Saver".

I’ve always been a “saver.” I used to hoard Halloween candy until the following October. I used to save my coloring books because, well, what if I would get more joy out of coloring them when I was older? I used to save up my allowance, and later my clothing allowance, until I had too much to know what to do with. I remember one particular trip to Saskatoon when I was probably 15 or 16 years old. (trips to Saskatoon, or any place worth shopping, from my hometown happened about twice a year) I had earned some money through babysitting and I think I grabbed about $30 (that was A LOT!) with intentions of buying something special for myself, or even just blowing it on nothing. I just wanted to spend my money. I looked all day and I think I ended up spending about $5 that day. I was so disappointed, because I really wanted to spend it all!

It has become much easier to spend $30 in the last number of years. Somehow $30 doesn’t go as far when there are groceries to buy, bills to pay, and a house to maintain. But, like I mentioned in an earlier post, there are always our allowances.

When Nathan and I were first married, we worked out a budget. We are both “savers” as opposed to “spenders” but we each like our little extras every now and then. We decided to budget in allowances so that we could each feel free to buy those things that we would like b
ut that we wouldn’t be able to justify adding to the budget (like video games). This money could be spent however we wanted, and without consulting the other person first. WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!! Seriously, couples, try this!

Our allowance amounts have fluctuated as our income and expenses have gone up and down. These days it sits around $25 or $30 a month. When we first started allowances, I would often spend it on a magazine subscription or a book. Once I splurged and enlarged some pictures that I
had taken and framed one. But, folks, this weekend, my “saver” personality cashed in and I spend my allowance. All of it. I had been eyeing this beauty for months already. We were in Winnipeg on the weekend and Nathan suggested that I check if the Blacks in the mall had what I wanted. It hadn’t even crossed my mind to be shopping for a big purchase this weekend (this is probably how I refrain from spending…I just don’t think of it).

It’s a Canon 50mm f1.8 lens.

I probably walked around our house for over an hour when we got home, just playing with my new toy. I had fun figuring out how the apertures and shutter speeds affect each other and getting a feel for how it responds to different settings and lighting. I got some ok pictures, but can
’t wait to get it out in daylight when I can really play with exposures and depth of field. I’m thinking this will be my main “portrait” lens. My zoom (17-300mm f3.4) that I got for my birthday will be another good “portrait” lens…also especially good for outdoor shots. And the original lens that the camera came with will be my…??? extra lens? It’s nice for indoor shots because it’s a wider angle lens, so if my 50mm isn’t wide enough, that’s what I’ll use. So that’s my splurge. Now what do I dream of next? Perhaps some form of lighting…an auxiliary flash, maybe?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jumping for Joy

Now that it’s been 2 ½ years that we’ve been trying to have a baby, most days I feel like babies are for other people and we’ll never have one. I don’t say this in a bitter, cynical way. I’m just stating the fact. And I feel that I’ve come to terms with it. Lately, life (in general) has been a lot easier than the first 30 (thirty!) months of trying were. I’m not sure why the change, but I’m sure glad it’s different than it was. Those were some LONG, DRAINING months! Perhaps time does heal everything…time and many prayers.

But yesterday I had a moment when I got truly excited. I got an email from my mother-in-law about something and it hit me that we could have a baby one day! We could! One day we could actually have kids! We won’t necessarily be just the two of us forever. (I sometimes forget this) This little jolt of energy went through me and the hope for having children of our own one day was renewed. What joy! What excitement! It could happen ANY DAY! I just feel like singing and dancing my heart out!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Exciting Story

It was a dark and stormy day. Premonition hung heavily in the air. Something terrible was about to happen. I crept through my day cautiously, always aware of the impending peril about to befall me. Against my better judgement, I approached the…

Just kidding. That’s my attempt at making this an exciting post like I promised yesterday. It was actually a beautiful, sunny day. There was no heavy premonition; instead my joyful spirit, rejoicing in the first warm day of spring.

Because it was such a beautiful day, I decided that I would treat Lennox to an extra long walk. Instead of walking out of town and turning back in, I biked a square of roads. By biking, it would take the same amount of time as walking the normal route, but would give Lennox some new grass to sniff and extra room to run.

It was a great bike ride. The sun was warm, the wind wasn’t too strong. The gravel wasn’t too loose. I was having such a great time. And then it happened…

As I was biking the last leg of the ride through town, I went by a certain house and heard a dog barking. Lennox usually ignores other dogs/people when he’s being biked and if he does seem interested, all I need to do is tell him to “leave it” and “come on” and he is good. But when a dog is chasing him, he reacts differently.

Lennox is actually a pretty wusy (how do you spell that?!) dog, when it comes right down to it. From inside the house, where nothing can get him, he lets out a pretty intimidating growl/bark when he sees people “invading” our yard. But when something is invading his personal space and he’s not sure about who/what it is, he’s pretty skittish.

So this dog comes running out from it’s yard.
Lennox is 60lbs. This dog is probably no more than 15lbs. Lennox could kick this dog’s little barking butt. But no, he gets skittish and tries to get away. Good dog that he is, he just tried to go faster, but then curved in front of me. I have no problem giving Lennox a little tap with the front tire to reinforce his respect of the bike, but when there’s so much tension on the leash (which I was trying desperately to slip off of my *handlebars) the action of pulling forward and across on the handlebars can only cause one reaction. CRASH!

I landed on my two hands and my knee. And, because the leash still wasn’t off the handlebars, my bike was dragging through the street behind an extremely terrified Lennox. Not only was that annoying dog barking and chasing him, but now a crazy piece of twisted metal was right on his tail too! I called him and he came skittering (is that even a word?) over to me and I detached him from my bike, which was now not ride-able.

I attempted to walk my bike home with my hands screaming in pain and the handlebars/front wheel refusing to turn right or even go straight. I think the thing that changes the gears is broken too. I refused to look at my hands or think about the pain while I walked because I still had a 5-10 minute walk ahead of me. Lennox walked very nicely, heeling, beside me all the way home while I pushed my bike. His respect for my bike was effectively renewed.

When I got home, Nathan noticed that my seat has a nice hole in it. I guess that’s what happens when it drags along the pavement behind a terrified dog. He managed to fix the front end so that I have the freeing option of turning BOTH ways when I ride and thinks that the gear-shifting thing might be broken. But that’s ok, because I stay in my one trusty gear all the time anyway. Why take a chance that I’ll never be able to find the perfect gear again???

So two days later, I am no longer wearing any band-aids, I have a hole in my hand that’s trying to heal, and I have a bruise on my knee. And, my shoulder hurts. I guess I’m getting older…I don’t remember my muscles hurting after taking a spill as an 8 year old.

Great story, eh?

Lennox had dragged his leash through some gross sludge water when I let him get a drink, so, because he’s so good on the bike, I slipped the leash onto my handlebars instead of holding it separately. Understand this…I NEVER do that! But I did this one time, and I paid for it!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Joys of Cooking…and Frustrations of Computers

So yesterday I wrote this big, long post all about cooking for my friend Erica. She LOVES to cook, and when I asked for suggestions for things to write about, she suggested that I share what my favourite thing to cook is. I thought it was a great idea and wrote my entire post about cooking. It was over a page long! And then I lost it. Arg! When I save it, shouldn’t it be saved where I saved it, even if I erase it in another place? Oh well, here is my (much) shorter post about cooking…for Erica.

What is my favourite thing to cook?
Well, I think some of my favourites are pizza (trying out new things to make my pizza the most amazing ever), lasagna (I just love those noodles) and this Bean Rigatoni that I made the other day. That was a lot of fun!

Does Nathan ever cook or do you do all the cooking?
Nathan does like to help out in the kitchen sometimes. He’s always the one who makes breakfast on weekends and often helps out with lunch on weekends too (though KD isn’t too hard to make). He’s usually the one who makes the garlic bread or iced tea for suppers too. But, sometimes, when I just DON’T want to cook, he’ll whip out something amazing and I’m impressed. He tries to convince me that he doesn’t know how to read a recipe or how to throw things together, but he’s lying. That boy can cook.

When did you start cooking? Do you enjoy cooking?
I started cooking when I was pretty young, I think. In jr high/high school, my mom had this idea that each of us 3 kids had to make one supper for the family each month. I’m pretty sure it didn’t last through to grade 12 for me, but it was a great idea while it lasted! I think all three of us kids can cook pretty decent meals, if not amazing ones! I’ve always enjoyed cooking, though I always appreciate when someone else cooks for me and I get to sit back and enjoy. The worst part of cooking is thinking of what to make. Once I’ve got something in mind, I can usually have fun making it.

What is your cooking style?
I’m not really a “follow-the-recipe” type cook. To me, a recipe is a guideline. I’ll look for a new recipe and then end up substituting or approximating most of the ingredients. Sometimes I’ll follow a recipe exactly (more often when baking) but more often, I’ll just make something up. I’ll look around and think, “I want to use pork chops, rice and veggies. I want it to be saucy and kinda like this” and then I’ll make it. It frustrates Nathan when I make something really good, because he’ll tell me that I need to make it again, and I won’t remember what I added and how exactly I made it.

So there’s my shorter cooking post. I’ve got something really fun for you tomorrow, with pictures, but I can’t write about it today, because I forgot the pictures at home. Be sure to check back tomorrow. I’ll try to make it exciting…

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lagging in the Photo-Sphere

I was looking in my iphoto this morning for a picture that I could add to my blog so that I could show you what I’ve been taking photos of recently. The last one in my “art” folder was dated January 9, 09. Ouch. I guess it’s been a while. Sure, I’ve been taking pictures since January, but they’ve been more of people, dog and events rather than just going out and making beautiful pictures. Today feels like the first day of spring here, so perhaps the next time I venture outside, I’ll have to resurrect the habit of grabbing the camera whenever I leave the house. And then, folks, I will share with you, through my lens, all the beauty that is around me.

But, since I went to all the trouble of looking for a picture to share with you, I can’t leave this post photo-empty. This is my last “art” photograph. I’m pretty sure I took it for a reason, but can’t seem to remember quite what the reason was.
I like how old and quaint it looks. (it looks a lot darker here on my work computer than it did on my laptop, so if it looks too dark to you, imagine it lighter, because that’s the way it should look) Soon, those Fahrenheit numbers might actually mean something to me. Currently, I go by the letters in Honeywell. We usually keep it around or just over the first “E” while we’re home, and turn it down to the “N” when we’re not home and halfway between the “N” and “E” for nights. Haha…I couldn’t tell you what temperature that means our house is at!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Overview 2000-2003 : How I got to where I was

When I graduated from high school, I had many thoughts about what I could do and much fewer thoughts about what I would actually do. Throughout grades 10-12, I considered many options…some I considered on a far more serious level than others.

The first serious consideration (that I remember) was nursing.
Calgary (Mount Royal College, I believe). That thought lasted through the end of grade 10 and a lot of grade 11. Then I heard that nursing is a very physical job (and how can someone under both 5’ and 100lbs do that?). I also realized that A LOT of my friends were going into nursing, and I wanted to do something different. And, I didn’t like the idea of shift work. There went that idea.

My next thought, since I was really enjoying my maths and sciences, was pharmacy! The pay is good. The work sounded like fun. I wouldn’t be in school FOREVER (five years). There was a high demand for pharmacy and I was pretty much guaranteed a job once I was finished school. It sounded perfect. This idea I explored in more depth, since I was already in grade 12 and needing to make a decision. I even went to U of A and visited the
school of Pharmacy. I applied for scholarships there and was guaranteed student housing and a few thousand dollars in scholarships if I applied by a certain date. But this didn’t quite feel right, so the deadline passed and I was again wondering what I should do.

As I prayed about this, I felt that a year of Bible school was what I should do after grad. I wasn’t sure where, but I knew two things. I wanted to get out of province and was DEFINITELY not going to
Saskatoon. I looked at schools on the west coast. I looked at schools on the east coast. I looked at schools all over Canada and the US. And the two that caught my attention were Millar College of the Bible in Pambrun SK, and Bethany College in Hepburn SK. I applied to both and had no idea which one to choose. After praying about this and feeling no clear direction, I laid out my fleece. Whichever school contacted me first would be the one I would attend.

Guess which one won?

I went to
Bethany College starting in fall of 2003. It was a great first year. Exactly what I hoped for when I thought of living in dorm and attending a Bible College! Well, there were some disappointments/things to get used to. For the first time in my life, I had a curfew. For the first time, I wasn’t trusted to do what I wanted, when I wanted. For the first time, I wasn’t allowed to watch tv or movies whenever I wanted. I did get pretty frustrated at times…I was an adult, afterall. But despite the confines of rules, I did make some great friends and had some good times.

- surfing party on a cold winter’s day
- Christmas banquet

- Spanish classes

- Corn dog parties

- nail painting parties (ventilation in dorm rooms is not what it sometimes should be…also evident during men’s open dorm)

- jumping off the girl’s dorm balcony right before an important soccer tournament

Yup, sometimes I do miss those times…but I’ll just take the memories that I have and enjoy them. And continue to make new memories with my favourite
Bethany souvenir…yes, folks, I did meet my spouse at Bethany. (though I don’t have the t-shirt to prove it :( )

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Such Exciting Things...

Yesterday was an exciting day for Nathan and I. Exciting in a couple small ways…no, there was nothing too hugely exciting! First, when I went for my bank/mail run for work, I found a “You have a package” slip in our mailbox! What better way to start off your day, right? Well, I can think of a couple more exciting things…but only a couple. This is near the top of the “most-exciting-ways-to-start-your-day” list. When I went to redeem my prize at the counter, it was exactly what I hoped it would be (last time I got a slip like that, it turned out to be someone else’s package). WE GOT A BOX FROM AMAZON! And not only a box…there were BOOKS inside!!! Last week, we placed an order and because of the “free super saver shipping” we were only expecting this package next week. But here it was!

Nathan ordered Biblical Basics of Hebrew (both the text book and the workbook) to get a head start on seminary stuff. I ordered, with my allowance (which is a wonderful thing in marriage), a photography book about portraits and candid photography. I started reading it last night and so far it is pretty basic and hasn’t taught me anything I didn’t already know. I’ve flipped through the rest, though, and it looks like it will be a lot of fun to read and then to practice what I’m learning! Perhaps I will share some of what I am creating in the next little while…

So there’s exciting thing #1, and I would have been completely happy and excited with this one event in my day. But around supper time, we got a phone call. I can usually guess pretty well who is calling because the amount of calls we get each day is pretty predictable…or at least not surprising. An unexpected call…right around supper…we haven’t been getting many telemarketers lately…it must be about the house. Sure enough…a couple was interested in looking at our house! So we went into a cleaning frenzy because we hadn’t even gotten a call in 10+ days and now we were having someone look at the house in under 2 hours! We did the dishes (before and after supper), swept and mopped the floor, made the bed, vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms, dusted, and tidied. It actually doesn’t take very long to get our house “show-worthy” because we usually don’t let it get too bad between cleans. At 7:30, we showed the house and were pretty excited when they loved the house and asked why we were only asking what we are asking and not more! They sounded pretty positive, so now we’re in that waiting game. Do they make an offer? Don’t they? I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, but…it sure would be nice if it sold. None of our school/fall plans can be completely finalized until the house is sold.

So yeah, that was our excitement-filled day. Hope it wasn’t too mundane or unexciting to read about…I’m sure your lives all have quite a steep level of daily excitement that doesn’t compare to a package in the mail and showing your house. But for us, particularly me, it was wonderful!

What is the most exciting thing that happened in your day yesterday/today?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What does my hair have to do with farm animals???

Have you ever thought about the terms “pony tail” and “pig tails”?

What made me think of it this morning was that my hair is now long enough (again) to be able to throw back in one of those two ways. I love it because when I have a bad hair day, like today, I can easily toss it back (or up) and it is out of my face and looking good again. So this morning, I had happened to slip two elastics on my wrist before I left the house and ended up making use of them an hour and a half into my morning at work because I just couldn’t stand what was happening up top.

But then I was thinking about the term “pig tails” or “piggy tails” or “pony tail” and where those terms came from. I’m thinking those terms are fairly dated, as we don’t usually relate our hair-styles to animal parts much anymore. “Pig tails” must come from the curl of a pig’s tail (an undocked tail), seeing as how many of our “pig tails” have some curl to them. But what makes the quantity of two be named “pig tails” instead of “pony tails”? I, for one, have never seen a pig with more than one tail…I’ve seen a frog with an extra leg out the back, which could pass for an extra tail if seen on a pig, but never two cute curly tails on one pig.

“Pony tail” is an easier term to comprehend. Hair tied back quite resembles an actual pony’s tail. This expression I can understand. I am slightly uncomfortable with the thought of the back of my head being compared with a pony or a pig’s hind quarters, though.

So I propose a stand-off …the pony-tail is now going to be called a…well, I can’t think of anything better, but one of these days, little girls are going to realize the great humiliation of the “pony” or “pig” tails that their mother’s fashion them, and will be greatly offended. Any day now we will have to leave the farm animals’ bottoms on the farm and update our lingo. But for now, I’ll just enjoy my hair tied out of my face…pig-tail or not.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Even Awkward Times can be Encouraging

Tonight was our farewell at our church. It wasn’t really a “leaving town” farewell, though we are, in fact, leaving town. It was more of a “resignation” farewell. Because of the size and *nature of our church, there aren’t farewells for every person who moves away or leaves the church. But because we were done at the church in September/February and are moving in summer, some people thought that a farewell would be fitting. (and I am thankful that we weren’t able to slip away unnoticed…)

We knew very little about what was happening this evening. We were told that it would be a very formal setting with a long program, as that would suit our personalities perfectly. We took this as sarcasm (luckily) and assumed, therefore, that it would be a relaxed evening. We arrived in the church basement to a California-themed evening. How very fitting! Relaxing and warm.

Now, here’s a little note about my personality: I dislike mingling. It makes me uncomfortable, awkward and exhausted. It’s all fine and dandy when there is something to talk about with someone I know, but when it’s a bunch of people I don’t really know, and there’s not much more to say than, “Yeah, we’re moving…trying to sell the house...schooling is two years…don’t know where Lennox is going yet…yup…big gulps, eh?” Well, it’s just a bit awkward, that’s all.

So, anticipating a long, awkward farewell, I prayed that it would be less awkward than I was expecting. And God did what he always does when I pray that something would be better than I’m anticipating…He made it a wonderful evening. Sure, there were moments of “What do I do/say next? Can I please camouflage into the carpet now?” but overall, it was a good evening. There were some very encouraging words (thanks to those who are reading this who came and talked to me and made my night a good one) and some good laughs. God definitely answered my prayers.

Along with the California theme, there was a Nascar race playing on a projector (one where Nathan’s favorite driver wins), Starbucks coffee (instead of church coffee), m&m’s on the table (because m&m’s sponsor Nate’s Nascar driver), and no program. There was an open mic and some music by some guys who were/are our youth. And other than that, there was just time for lots of mingling, which I made it through with all limbs and nerves intact.

So there you have it. My personal testimony that even awkward times can be encouraging. Now, I need to gear up for Wednesday night. Our ladies encouragement evening that I mentioned about two weeks ago was postponed to this week, so I’m trying to get myself psyched up for that. I was all ready to go last time and now I’m questioning everything I had prepared. Do I even share what I was planning on? I guess I’ve just had too long to think about it now. If you think of me on Wednesday evening, you can pray that I’ll have the guts to share and to know what/how to share it.

Well, that’s about all for now. Hope you all have a good week! (I plan to!)

*nature of our church – being in the town that it is, our church doesn’t have a lot of people moving away. Many people who attend our church have lived here for most/all of their life and will probably continue to live here for the rest of their lives. So if someone leaves our church, it is more likely because of a transfer to another church here in town (which is an unlikely reason for a farewell), rather than a departure. Therefore, farewells happen when staff resign. When other members move away, it seems that farewells are up to the friends and family of the “departing.” (Just a little “cultural” explanation to those who are unfamiliar with where I live.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

I’ve been reading Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry by Doug Fields. It is reminding me of what it was like to be in full time ministry. When we accepted the job as youth pastor at what is now our church, I thought I was ready for it. I’d had wonderful “mentoring” relationships with youth before, I was decently confident in my “youth-pastor-wife” abilities, and I was almost positive that I would find my place in it all fairly quickly. But nothing could have prepared me for our first two years in youth ministry.

Instead of the joy, excitement and confidence that I expected to feel being involved in youth ministry, I started to feel the opposite. My joy and excitement turned into loneliness and confusion. Instead of confidence, I felt fear and incompetence. What was I doing here? Who was I? And what ever made me think that I was cut out for youth ministry…or any ministry at all??? There were some low, discouraging, disappointing days that I was afraid to mention because surely they were selfish and would pass. Right?

Slowly, things began to improve. We found our groove, and I began to find my place in the ministry, though often felt like I still didn’t quite belong. I often felt as though I was digging in my heels, trying to let things get out of control. I felt like I was dragging behind a speeding chariot (yes, a chariot) with my heels dug in, trying to stop, but failing miserably. But I felt like if I actually let go and allowed myself to run, I would fall flat on my face and drag, not able to get back on my feet again.

When our “sabbatical” came this fall, I felt relieved (among many other, less fun, emotions) because it meant that we would get a break and that I would be able to gracefully and deliberately remove my hands from the chariot. The first few months were tough and stretching and it was hard to think about being involved in anything church or ministry related.

As we both have become more rested and rejuvenated over the last 6 ½ months, I have begun to feel as though it is safe to dream about ministry again. This time of being able to get back on my feet and breathe deeply and look around me has given me some much needed time for contemplation. I’ve been examining myself and where I may be called to be involved. I have had/made time to listen to God from a neutral place. In this place, I don’t feel any pressure to be involved here or there just because I’m expected to. Instead, I have been able to just sit back and dream the dreams that God has been giving me.

As a couple, we are confident that God is going to be leading us back into full time work for his Kingdom. I am excited to find my place in that work; the one that God is preparing for me (and me for) already. I am eager to serve and grow.

Being in ministry is not easy work. It is often discouraging, exhausting and unending, even when you know that you are where God wants you. My challenge to you is to take a minute today to encourage someone you know who is in ministry. Those notes, cookies, and acts of service mean the world.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Favorite Memories with Nathan (in honor of our upcoming anniversary)

Disclaimer: This will be a long read but rather entertaining, regardless of the length.

(This is us with the Hollywood sign-thing in the background)

Road trip to California – Summer 2008
So many hours in a car with your spouse can either be wonderful for the marriage or the opposite. For us it was wonderful. Sure, there were times when our patience would run a little short, but 99% of the time it was amazing. We took lots of pictures together, we sat in the car and talked while we drove A LOT. We camped together. We explored together. We dreamed about the future together. It was SO good!

Wrestling together
Tickling until the other can’t breathe or move. Pinning each other (yes, I can hold my own, thanks to high school phys.ed class, wrestling unit). Some of my favorite times with Nate are just goofing off and playing together.

Picnic in the park
One weekend last summer, Nathan and I packed a picnic lunch, grabbed a picnic blanket, got Lennox in the car, and took off for the city. We spend the morning in the park reading, walking and taking pictures. It was such a beautiful day to be in the park as a family.

Road trip to Ontario
The second summer we were married, we drove out to Ontario for the annual church conference convention. That part of the trip wasn’t that exciting, but afterward, we drove along the great lakes to Niagara Falls and then up to Nathan’s grandma’s cottage, where we spent a couple days with Nathan’s family. This is when/where I first met a lot of Nathan’s extended family. I got to sail for the first time. I got to ride on a ferry for the first time. It was a very fun holiday with my honey.


Picking out a big stick
When Nathan’s little sister, Karis, was planning to attend Bethany, Nathan and I devised a plan. A plan to keep her single. No, no…I’m just kidding. We would never do that. We just wrote her a list of things she should know about Bethany (I think that was it, right?) No wait, now I remember. I had written her a list of things she should bring to Bethany, and on that list I had suggested that she bring a large stick to fend off the boys who would be vying for her attention. Well, thinking that she may forget this, and knowing how crucial it would be to her well-being over the next months, her loving brother and I went off into the forest and fetched her a stick. (If you are the type of person who likes to picture things…picture a 8-9 foot pole rather than just a twig or “switch”.) We hid it in the closet of what would be her dorm room with a note about when and how to use this stick and I believe we attached a picture of someone we approved of who wouldn’t need the stick. Haha…how young and helpful we were…

Snowboarding on a 10 foot hill
One day last winter, shortly after we each got our snowboards, Nathan went out to walk Lennox. I was probably in my pajamas already, waiting for Nathan to get back and Nathan walked back into the house a couple minutes later. He told me I had to come snowboarding with him. There was about a foot of fresh powder and a hill not far from our house. I got dressed (though I really didn’t want to) and out we went. (That’s when I first learned how hard it is to walk even a short distance in snowboard boots.) We had fun for about half and hour just climbing up the hill and trying to make it down. I tried some jumps. Then I tried to do a summersault with my snowboard still attached and ended up getting stuck halfway. I actually couldn’t move and, even though I was crying out desperately for help, Nathan just sat there laughing. I guess I would have too. But I was starting to panic. Anyway, eventually I got out of that position, took off my snowboard and pretty much tackled Nathan for being so un-helpful. What a guy.

The walk and talk before we started dating
Picture this…it’s winter. Cold. Snowy. We’re walking around town. Walking. And walking. And walking. I’m getting cold. My knees are starting to shake. I’m ready to head back…but Nathan keeps walking. When our road turns into field, and we’re walking through knee-deep snow, Nathan finally gets up the courage to ask…”So, what do you think about those rumors about us?” What a romantic!!! You gotta give him some slack though. It WAS his first time doing the serious “walk-and-talk” with a girl. My answer was probably not what he wanted to hear, “let’s wait until second semester” and that was that. We headed back to school.

The night we started dating
Well, this is a long story. I’ll give the short version because this post is getting long already. He asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner with him. My answer was “sure” at which time he suggested that I dress up for it. I seem to remember thinking, as I entered the Ad that night to meet him, that it would be pretty funny if I jokingly told him that I’d changed my mind about going out to supper with him. (Sometimes I say stuff just for the reaction…but this would have been very mean) I bit my tongue, and we left. We had supper at the Cave in Stoon, which was pretty cool. It was the first time I’d had a boy make reservations for me. During supper, he “popped the question” and we became an official dating couple. After that, we went to the train-bridge (which in Stoon plays a role in most relationships at some point in the game). We walked across it and back, but because I was wearing 4” heels and dress clothes, I got SO cold (it was the beginning of January 2004). So, to warm me up, he took me to Tim Hortons and we had some coffee/hot chocolate and donuts and talked for a couple hours. Then, because of curfew, we headed back to school and when I got to my room, there was a note from Nate and a red rose waiting for me. I was smitten right then. (and probably giggled like a school-girl…)

Steak Dinner
When we were still at Bible school, shortly into our 9th month of dating, Nathan spent his day off at his parents’ house (because we both still lived in dorm) marinating steaks, decorating the basement and waiting for me. When I showed up, he ran outside before even saying “hi” and I was left to visit with his parents, which I thought was a bit strange. Usually he wouldn’t be able to stay away from me as long as I was close by! Anyway, eventually he came back inside and proceeded to take me down to the basement. The staircase was lit by candles, along with a path to a table beautifully set for two. He sat me down in a chair and left to get the food. I was left in a bit of a panic. Will he propose? Is this it??? Wow, this is really nice. A couple minutes later, Nathan arrived with steak, potatoes and I can’t remember what else. Before we even started eating, he knelt down in front of me and took my hands in his. And he told me to relax and enjoy the meal and not to wait for a proposal, because this wasn’t it. I was a bit relieved…and also wondering how he was going to top this for the real proposal! So we ate and it was wonderful. I would say it is something I’ll never forget, but I did forget until Nathan reminded me when he saw what I was writing! I may forget about it, but I’ll never fail to remember the special-ness of that night (once reminded that it happened!).

It’s such a long story that if I want to give you the full goodness of it, I’ll be writing for a while so I’ll wait to share it another time. I’ll just let you know now that it ranks at the top of my favorite memories with Nathan!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Would you rather...?

…be named after a fruit or a vegetable?

Fruit. I’d rather be named apple or peach than asparagus or kohlrabi. Duh…

…be bald for five years or have a mullet for life?

Initially I would say mullet, because you could always disguise it. But then I thought about getting tired of disguising it, so I would have to choose baldness. What’s five years, right?

…have uncontrollable back hair or a face full of warts?

Never have I wanted to have any hair on my back but when the other option is warts on my face…well, I’d have to have the fuzzy back!

…own a sailboat or speedboat?

Well, I personally would probably have more fun with a speedboat, but Nathan would MUCH rather have a sailboat, so I would get a sailboat for him. I don’t like water much either way.

…forget the alphabet or how to count?

COUNTING!!! I love writing too much to lose the alphabet!

…get stuffed in a locker or get your head flushed in a toilet?

Having experienced both…I’ll take the locker. I don’t recommend the swirly…not fun. Probably doesn’t help that I fit quite nicely into a locker…

…date the pastor’s kid or the police chief’s kid?

Well, I married the pastor’s kid, so…I guess that answers that question. (In case that didn’t answer that question, things are going pretty well having dated the pastor’s kid)

…live only by night or only by day?


…spend a year with only men or only women?

Sorry ladies…I think it would be only guys. There’s too much drama with us to be with only women for a year. When I asked Nathan, his answer was women, but was quick to explain that they would have to be “mom” and “sister” type women. haha

(questions from the book, "More Would You Rather?")