Monday, October 19, 2009

November 27, 2009

That is the day that I'll be back at blogging.

I have been thinking about this alot in the last couple months and have decided that I'm going to take a little step back from blogging/the internet for a while. I just need some space and room to think and pray and, as a friend of mine put it so well, become infused with Christ again. Sometimes things can get in the way of growing deeper with Christ, and for me, the internet has been providing that noise that keeps me from being still and silent.

And so I retreat. I step back. I will become silent and still and wait on the Lord.

Because this matters to me. I will not sacrifice my relationship with Christ for anything.

But I will be least I think I'll be back. I'm pretty sure I'll be back.

So until November 27, adieu. Farewell.

Until we meet again...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

And the quilting continues...

I've finally been able to get up the guts to cut into the beautiful patterned fabric that my mother-in-law chose for me for my quilt. I was pretty scared to mess up this fabric because there is no easy way for me to get more, so I started with cutting the plain white flannel that I picked up at Wal-mart for $2.25/yard. It is just going on the inside as a lining, so it didn't really matter if I cut it wrong. I figured it would be a good place to start and get some know, perfect my square-cutting technique.

Now that I have cut 161 of 168 squares of white flannel (I ran out of fabric with seven squares to go and Walmart is out of white flannel!), and I pretty much consider myself a quilt-square-cutting pro, I have two pieces of advice for you - that is, if you ever decide to make a quilt. First piece of advice...measure twice, cut once. There's no going back if you make a mistake, so be extra careful. Second piece of advice, when cutting fabric, always start at the selvage edge, as it will be the straightest, most reliable edge of the fabric. This works great UNLESS you buy your fabric for $2.25/yard at Wal-mart. If this is the case, your "reliable" selvage edge will have a noticeable wave to it. To avoid crooked squares, parallelograms if you will, just use your eye and make sure you have a reliable 90* angle and ruler to use while measuring to be sure your corners and edges are straight!

Aside from wavy selvage edges and not enough fabric, though, I'd say the quilt project is coming along quite well. I have my pattern ready so when I have all my squares cut, I know exactly what I'm going to be doing with them. Can't wait!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our life in pictures...

Every couple days/weeks, I see that I have a bunch of new pictures that I really should share with you guys, but it is just so much work to upload pictures! It takes me at least an hour to put together a post like this, so guys, you'd better look at these pictures and you'd better like them. Otherwise...well, you can just kiss these picture posts goodbye! : )

Haha. Behold, our past week...


Canadian thanksgiving. It looked more like a Canada Day celebration until we looked at our plates! Chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, jello, buns, salad, stuffing, and pumpkin & apple pie for dessert! Mmm...court monthly potluck #2.


We have been in the process of changing our Manitoba plates to California ones since we got here. Nathan finally got his license (I say finally not because he failed so much, but because it takes about a month to get a road test appointment here!) and then we got a smog check and on Tuesday we got our plates. It was raining (first day of rain since we got here!) when we got them, though, so we put them on just this morning. One last look at our Manitoban car...
Here come the California plates...
And voila! If you look closely, you can see that we now have a Californian car! We can't wait to visit Canada with these plates!


A bunch of us court dwellers went to the zoo on Saturday. My favorite animals were the lemurs. They were so bouncy and energetic. They liked to show off for people one point while we were watching, three of them got in a fight! So funny!

Some of the people we went with...M, H, A, S, D...(E and S not in picture)
We adults all had a good laugh when we saw the kangaroos...see why? They were all just laying there like that!
S definitely got pooped on by a bird. He says he heard the "splat" and everything. Crazy'd think zoo birds would be trained a bit better than that!
The giraffes were pretty cute as well...this one was smaller than the other two. A bit younger it looked like. It came closer to the people, too, than the other ones. Our discussion had something to do with God's sense of humour when he created giraffes. What made him decide to make them look like that? Spotted fur? Pretty cool, but still...


Monday, October 12, 2009


Nathan's sister, K, and brother-in-law, J, are pleased to announce that they are expecting baby #1!

Check out the excitement here:


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Classic Thanksgiving Post

What does everyone do around Thanksgiving time? That's right. In one form or another, they compile a list of things they are thankful for. And I will be no different.

Behold, my list of thankfulness (one for every year I've been alive):

(oh yeah, and it's in no particular order, because the first few come to my mind instantaneously and I am VERY thankful for each of them)
  1. Nathan - my wonderful husband (who happened both cook supper AND do the dishes tonight!)
  2. Our families - Mom, Dad, Mom, Dad, Alicia, Andrew, Karis, Jared, Josh - very loving, supportive, close (but far), and God-serving families...a true blessing
  3. Our friends - I won't even try to name everyone, but I am thankful for so many people who cover us with prayer and encouragement and who hang out with us. Sorry for leaving you guys all back in Canada to deal with the cold...I hope it doesn't reflect poorly on our love for you guys...
  4. Food to eat whenever I'm hungry, or even when I think I may be hungry, or even when I'm not hungry and just feel like
  5. A place to lay my head - under an unleaky roof, behind locked doors (important in this neighbourhood), and on a brand new Sealy Posturepedic mattress
  6. That our house sold - we didn't have to heat it all winter, we don't have to think about how often it's being shown, we don't have any more paperwork to do, we are officially non-homeowners (and it's almost as exciting as becoming homeowners in the first place)
  7. The court community - there are so many wonderful people who we are living with here...I am thankful for a good group of court-dwellers
  8. That cooking comes naturally - I can't imagine the frustration if I didn't know how to cook
  9. That I can afford to buy some craft stuff to keep my creativity flowing and my hands being productive
  10. That we have little extras like a laptop and a camera and a car...
  11. Scented candles
  12. Free laundry machines here on campus
  13. Electricity
  14. Lennox - that we got him in the first place and that we have a place for him while we're here at school (thanks B & C & J!)
  15. That I don't have to see snow and cold this winter unless I travel to it
  16. Comfy clothes
  17. That I know how to sew
  18. That I know how to read
  19. That I grew up in Saskatchewan - and therefore am a lifetime fan of the Riders, not the Blue Bombers...
  20. Inexpensive junk food in the States
  21. A furnished apartment - so we didn't have to drive a U-Haul through the mountains on the trip down
  22. That my coldsore is almost gone
  23. That there are almost always more options...
  24. And, of course, I'm thankful for the most amazing gift - salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour - and for the relationship that goes along with that gift*
I am so incredibly blessed...and thankful (because those can be two very different things). Happy Canadian Thanksgiving everyone!

*if anyone wants to know more about that gift I mentioned on number 24, leave me a comment or email me...I think my email is accessible through my profile somewhere.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Picture post...

Quilting! For my birthday, I received fabric for a quilt from Nathan's parents. They arranged for it to get down to me, along with my sewing machine, from Saskatchewan with one of the profs from our school who was up there teaching a course. I waited a couple days, thinking through exactly what I wanted to do so that I wouldn't mess it up by starting in the peak of my excitement.

So far I've cut 35 squares and am loving it. Only a couple hundred squares to go. Hopefully I love it just as much when I've cut 200 squares!

This is the fabric:

In the pictures it may look a bit green (depending on the computer screen) but it is actually ivory-ish. It's beautiful! I can't wait until it starts to look more like a quilt!


And here is a picture of a flower that caught my eye the other day. It is in the "bushes" on the pathway leading into the court (our apartments). I love looking at it every time I walk just don't see things like that in Saskatchewan/Manitoba in October...especially not this year, from the sounds of it!

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


What happened 5 years ago today? Hmm...

It was a very special day. Nathan and I were driving to my home town from Bethany to spend thanksgiving with my family. My parents had just moved into town from the acreage so on the way into town, Nathan and I stopped at the old place. Of course, the door was open (we didn't even receive a set of keys when we bought the place...we later bought new knobs that had keys, but we still never locked it!) so we went in to have one last look at what had been my home from ages 10 to 18. We wandered through each room, which were all, of course, empty, and when we got to my old bedroom, I started to cry. I missed it. I showed Nathan my wall, first in my closet and then behind the closet door, where I marked my growth on the first of every month for years. I saw my light fixture that I'd bought at a youth fundraiser auction. I saw my yellow walls and that hideous water filter that took up such precious real estate in my already small room. And I cried.

Before we left for the weekend, Nathan had made me promise that we would take a walk to my favorite place on our yard...a corner of a field. I had promised him that we would, but when I got all emotional, I said I just wanted to go into town. He tried to persuade me that a walk would make me feel better but, being the stubborn person that I am (not really), I refused to go. So Nathan improvised quickly and sat me down in the bay window in the empty living room. He knelt in front of me and said a bunch of nice stuff (which I just wrote off as him trying to make me feel better) and then he reached into his pocket and pulled out the ring. He ended his beautiful speech with the words, "Niki, will you marry me?"

I was shocked (I expected a proposal that weekend, but AFTER he'd seen my parents and asked my dad...sneaky boy went and called my dad on the phone before we left). Thankfully I recovered quickly and hugged him and said, "Of course!"

So today is the fifth anniversary of our engagement. Nathan is surprised each year that I remember this day and celebrate it. I guess it's because I always saw my dad get my mom flowers on the anniversary of their engagement so, naturally, I remember our special day. October 8, 2004. I'm not sure what I'm going to do today that's special. Nathan has class all day and we are having supper with another family here in the court tonight. If I had balloons, I would decorate a bit, but I don't even have that this year. Maybe I'll make a banner...haha. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Screaming babies

Babysitting today! Whoo-hoo! Little girl, 5 months old. She's such a sweetie...well, I hope she is. I haven't really exactly held her before. But I'm sure she'll like me, right? Who wouldn't like me? Just forget about the fact that I haven't had to calm a screaming baby for oh, say, 8 years, and I'll be fine! Just fine...

Update: I just finished was the most life-giving thing I've done in a LONG time! Wow, do I ever love babies. Makes it even more clear what direction my calling is in and so much harder to wait for the fulfillment of that calling...

Oh, and Karis? You were right. It was like riding a bike. : ) It all came back in the first 20 minutes!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A look at relationship

"I like to draw."

"I enjoy gardening."

"I am in high school."

"I find joy in having a pet."

"I am wrestling with the idea of creationism vs. evolution."

Different things bring together different people. There is almost always something in common between two people when a relationship begins to develop. Sometimes, things that bring people together can be as basic as sharing a space with each other such as in a work or school setting. Other times it is a shared love for music or animals or a certain activity that draws two people into friendship. And other times it is something much deeper: your struggles, your doubts, your life. In almost every situation and relationship, though, these things are different.

Friendship is one of those things that has many levels in addition to the many reasons for starting. Some friendships are completely surface connections. Work friends are often work friends. You see them while you're at work, but that is as far as the relationship goes. Book clubs are designed to bring together people who love to read. Art clubs are for people who love art. Rarely do these connections grow any deeper than or extend beyond the original setting.

There are also friendships which are slightly beyond the basic, but not a whole lot. You get together outside of work. You play together. You spend evenings together, having supper or watching movies. You genuinely enjoy each other's company, but conversation never moves beyond a certain level. These are people you can relax and have fun with, but when dessert is gone and the movie is over, you say goodnight and that's that.

And then there are connections that are deeper. Much deeper. These people know you inside and out. They know what makes you tick. They understand you. They respect you. They share your struggles as willingly as they share your joys. You can trust them. You can share with them. They know you.

It takes a lot for people to open up to each other at a deep, primal level...without weighing words or actions. This level of friendship is a very precious gift. It doesn't happen every day. One needs to be able to let go and know that they won't be hurt as a result of opening up. And one needs to know that they will be understood. To have someone know what you're going through and what you're feeling, and who will accept you...value you...understand you. It's priceless.

All levels of friendship are necessary. All are good in their own ways. Not all of your friends will enjoy discussing a novel. Not everyone will enjoy games nights or want to see you or spend time with you after 5pm. And not everyone will hold you, listen to you, understand you. And that's ok.

Different settings...

Different levels...

Different relationships...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

These days

Today is Sunday. Nathan and I slept in longer than we have in months or even years. I got up at 11am and Nathan slept through my shower and got up at 11:30. Wow. What an amazing feeling!

We have been having a pretty relaxing day so far. We checked our email/facebooks and then Nathan made pancakes (chocolate chip pancakes for me as a treat - what an amazing guy!) and we watched them while watching "The Cleveland Show". It's a pretty dumb show, but hey, we wanted to see what it was!

Now, it's 1:15 and we're thinking about what to do for the next couple hours. We are planning on going to church this evening (one of the churches we've been to has a Sunday night service for young adults so we thought we'd check it out this week) so we have the next couple hours to do whatever we want. We could sit and read our books all afternoon under blankets (it's only 15 degrees C outside, also inside because all the windows are open). That sounds like a pretty relaxing option. Or, we could head downtown and do some shopping. Is it wrong to do that on a Sunday? Not sure. It wouldn't be quite as relaxing, but it would be fun, and it's nice to get off campus every once in a while! Those are about the only two options that I can think of...

Nathan and I have been watching alot of movies in the evenings lately. Usually Nathan does homework all day and tries to take the evenings and Sundays off. It's nice to know that we get time together every day. If that time isn't built in, we find that, even though we're almost always around each other, we don't actually spend quality time together. In the last little while, we've watched "Fun with Dick and Jane" and "Stranger than Fiction". We've also been watching Grey's and Bones every week on Hulu. It's nice to not have tv these days, so we don't waste our time watching unless we choose to. : ) With tvs it's easy to just leave it on and watch whatever's next. With Hulu, you have to select each episode you watch, so every time another show is over, you have to make a conscious choice to watch (or not watch) another one.

I mentioned getting off campus...when you live on campus, it kinda feels like you're in a bubble. Your world is the school and the other people there. It was the same with the "Bethany bubble" back when we were in our undergrad studies. It's not a bad thing, but getting away sometimes is essential. So Nathan and I have decided that once a week we are going to make a point of leaving campus together and doing something fun. These outings are aside from grocery shopping and other "necessary" trips. Last week, we went to the beach together. This week we went to a guitar store that Nathan has been wanting to see. It's fun to have to look around the city and figure out what we're doing that week. And needing it to be free (or next to free) adds an interesting challenge!

Well, it looks like we're going to be spending our Sunday relaxing under our blankets on the couch, so I think I'll take off, grab my book, and make myself cozy.

What have you guys done this weekend?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Poisonwood Bible

I've just finished reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. One of our first few weeks here, I walked through the fiction section of the library on campus and chose this book to be my next read. I chose it first because of it's size. It is 543 pages long. I wanted something that would keep me going for a while. I'd say it took me about a month of before-bed reading to finish it.

It was a good book. It was written REALLY well. Things in the beginning tied beautifully into things later in the book (foreshadowing). There were images and themes that were repeated throughout the book. At times the characters would be talking about something like the Poisonwood tree, yet you knew that they were really talking about their father. The book would totally make sense if you didn't pick up on any of these underlying literary devices, but it makes it a much richer book if you do.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants something good to read in the next while. Perhaps a good book to curl up with this winter (over and over and over again).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Russian Food

I've had this craving for Russian food today, so I think I'll try a little something-something from my homeland (or at least the homeland of some of my ancestors). I'll let you know how it turns out...



  • Beef. Great fresh beef. 1.5 pounds will do.
  • A tablespoonful of flour
  • 2 big onions
  • Tomato paste
  • Oil, salt, pepper, laurel leaf

Cut the beef into cubes 2-3 cm on each side, roll each one in flour and drop into hot oil boiling in a frying pan. Turn the pieces, so that every side of the cube is fried. This will take a few minutes only, the meat doesn’t need to be done, it only needs a crust. Then take the pieces carefully out and put them into a saucepan. Cut the onions into rings and fry them well in the same oil where you fried the meat. Add the onions to the beef in the pot, salt well, add two-three tablespoonfuls of tomato paste and some hot water, so that the meat is just covered. Then add ground black pepper and a laurel leaf, cover with a lid and stew for 45-60 minutes on a slow fire.

Update: So supper turned out pretty well and tasted alright. It wasn't either of our favorites, but not too bad either. Kinda a "meh" meal. I was hoping for an "amazing" or even a "make again." Not so much...