Saturday, December 24, 2011

.Christmas Eve reflections.

It's Christmas Eve, and earlier this evening I found myself reflecting on Jesus' birth. Not really a big surprise, given the day.
But I started thinking about what it was like for Mary and Joseph. A census had forced them to go to their ancestral city of Bethlehem, which means that all their relatives would also be heading that way. "No room in the inn" may have actually been "no room in a relative's home" as they were shunned by their families.
How terrifying would it have been for these young teenagers to become strangers and outcasts, stuck in a stable or cave with animals.
And then Mary goes into labour. Joseph must have been freaking out, but probably tried to stay calm for Mary's benefit. I'm sure neither of them really had a clue what they were doing, but somehow, God was with them assisting in the birth of his son. Pretty awesome.
I think a lot of people can be lonely at Christmastime. Maybe they're reminded of estranged family members or of losses, but I hope that they can find comfort in knowing that Jesus came into the world as part of an estranged family who had lost a lot of relationships. God was there in the midst of their pain, and he walks with us in ours too.

Monday, December 19, 2011


I'm really thankful for my friends. It's hard to move to a new city and find community. I don't have a ton of friends here yet, but I do have a few really great ones. I'm blessed.
But, I miss having guy friends.
At a certain point it seems that we've been trained to think "why bother?" when it comes to being friends with someone who might be a potential spouse. It's like we flirt, maybe go out once or twice, decide yes or no, and we're done with it (if it's a no).
But what if I'm chatting with you and want to get to know you because I think you're interesting, but I don't really want to date you? What if I actually want to be friends? But we don't really make time for that. And it makes me sad. I think we're all probably missing out on some beautiful friendships.
I don't want my life to be less full because I'm missing out on potential friendships. And, I want to be able to have a great conversation with someone without anyone questioning my motives or interpreting my friendliness as something more.
I guess I just don't want to put pressure on potential friendships that's completely unnecessary. I enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them, and it'd be nice to be able to do that without wondering "what if?"
Mostly, I guess I'd just like to build more of a community here. More well-rounded. People of different age groups and genders. I think we all have so much to offer each other, and maybe it's selfish of me, but I want to experience that. Actually, I don't think it's selfish. I think it's how we were created to be.
It just takes some risk; but what a beautiful risk it could be.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

.it's official.

Christmas season is on its way.
Christmas songs are on the radio.
Including, of course, Last Christmas.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

.random thought.

I don't particularly enjoy cooking. I like eating, but I don't generally eat well alone. Which is often. oops.
Basically, I miss the community that meals are supposed to be. So I think subconsciously I've been lazy about food, and eat while reading a book or watching tv, to try to avoid the fact that I am alone.
Yesterday I cooked, and I enjoyed it, and I don't think there was anything different from cooking yesterday vs any other day, except for the fact that I knew I would be eating with friends. And that made it worthwhile.
Conclusion: I think I need a roommate, or at least friends to eat with more frequently.

Friday, September 30, 2011

.grade retreats.

So, I just got back from the last grade retreat of the year. I'm tired, for sure, but also feeling encouraged.

It was great to be up in Muskoka, away from school and the distractions of life back home, and just connect with the students and with God. I certainly had a blast, and I hope they did too!

We had some phenomenal leaders this year, which also helped to make them great experiences.

Pictures to come!

Monday, August 29, 2011


I am so blessed to live in such a beautiful country! It's so diverse, but everywhere has its own unique beauty.
This summer Roz and I were able to head east for a few days, which was so lovely. Here are a couple of pictures from our trip.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


For what I was up to for 2 weeks this month, go here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

.divine appointment.

This past weekend, my brother and I were driving up to Owen Sound to celebrate my dad's birthday and Father's day.
Not far from town, in a little village along the highway, we passed an unhappy couple. It looked like the man had thrown the woman's things after her and was tearing a strip off her. I told me brother to turn around so we could investigate. We pulled up next to the woman, who was sobbing, and now on the other side of the street than the man, and I asked her if she'd like a ride. She got in, with her bags in tow.
We went a little ways up the road to stop for a drink, and a chance for her to share her story. We also made a plan for what she was going to do next.
I spent a little less than an hour with her, but I'm still hopeful that it made a difference in her life.
I want to be more open to the needs of the people around me, more aware of, and more available to them.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace...

Saturday, May 07, 2011


I am loving today.

The Niagara Youth Network planned an event for today called "Love in Motion" where students from churches all across the Niagara region gather in St. Catharines and then spread throughout the city to serve and love people.  The kick-off took place at a church pretty close to my house, so I decided to walk to the event with my camera, so I could take pictures of some budding trees.

It's amazing how easy it is to meet people on a sunny day armed with nothing but a smile and a camera.
I said hello to a man in a walker, walking a very happy dog.  I chatted with 2 sisters roller-blading in their driveway (the older sister patiently teaching the younger, catching her frequently and picking her back up). Then across the street a toddler on a tricycle with her grandma next to her cheerily repeated "hello" a few dozen times as I waved and returned the greeting.
I paused to take a picture of a tree, and a woman in a scooter interrupted me, asked me to follow her, and showed me to her backyard where a gorgeous cherry tree is blooming. We hunted up and down the sidewalk, looking between houses to find a gorgeous mystery tree she'd caught sight of the other day. We finally caught a glimpse of the brightly coloured tree, but never could determine exactly where it's located or how to get a fuller view of it.

I'm feeling excited at the thought of finally meeting some of my neighbours, after a long winter. I hadn't really let myself plan ahead enough to say that I'd be staying in this apartment for another year; I kind of expected to move, but now I'm feeling like I'm here now, and I should be making the most of this opportunity. I'm looking forward to getting to know more of my neighbours over the coming days and weeks.

Friday, April 01, 2011

.foods and places.

As I was eating Pad Thai for dinner, I began to consider different foods I love that I associate with different places for introducing me to them, or just because they were really good there. St. Catharines and Thai food go together for me...I seem to eat more of it here than in other places I've lived. Which is great, because it's delicious!

The only somewhat unique food I can think of Owen Sound offering to me is schnitzel, but the Schnizelhouse where I used to work no longer exists. The Schnizelhaus in Calgary is quite excellent, though. And the Schnizel in Austria, well, that goes without saying.

Munich: weisswurst. From Yorma's (Your Mama's!) for a euro or two. Wow, we were cheap. But it's delicious!

Amsterdam brings to mind two main foods: Turkish pizza and shoarma. I'm not sure why poffertjes and pannekoeken didn't immediately come to mind, but they count too. Maybe the Turkish pizza being just around the corner from the hostel, and only 2 euros, and shoarmas being everywhere you turned in the city caused them to come to my mind first. Also, Marco and I had a memorable experience while eating shoarma in Vondelpark when a man went into a pond, caught a fish with his bare hands, climbed onto the shore and started beating it on the ground while a crowd gathered around. Weird.

My favourite food from Japan was okonomiyaki, and while I associate it with Japan (we dubbed it Japan's "garbage plate"), I also associate it with Amsterdam's Japanese Pancake House. The dancing fish flakes on top were also awesome, as was the epic boat ride in the canal afterward wherein the motor repeatedly died and Ben attempted to fix it while I paddled towards Harald's. Sadly, when I tried to go back there with Roz and Beth a few years later, they were closed for renovations. Thankfully they were able to get okonomiyaki in Japan this summer, so all is well.

Speaking of garbage plates, I think that's all Rochester has to offer me, which is quite the disappointment because I can't qualify that as good food. I'm not a hater, but considering it can eat through styrofoam and ceiling tiles in a fairly short period of time, I can't recommend it to someone more than once for health's sake.

I think of Vietnamese food when I think of Calgary. Maybe because it was everywhere...2 restaurant options across from the CPCC: one best for Vietnamese subs, and one great for vermicelli. Also, the Vietnamese restaurant in Bowness is awesome, and they're super friendly.
I also think of London Fogs at The House, although they were unable to fill that craving for me the last time I visited. They also have great sandwiches there.
Ooh, and Pulcinella's pizza (and their nutella dessert pizza deliciousness thing!!).

Pesto. Cinque Terre. Specifically, Rio Maggiore. Particularly from the grocery store at the bottom of the hill on the left-hand side right before the entrance to the tunnel leading to the train station area. Best. Pesto. Ever.

Well, although this list is far from exhaustive, that was the end of my Pad Thai (a very popular dish!) and thus the end of my food reminiscences. What are some of your food/place associations?

Friday, March 18, 2011


Roz and I recently visited BethL in Boston (well, Cambridge technically). It was a great visit, and awesome to catch up with Beth, and I look forward to going back again someday.
Boston and Cambridge are great cities to walk around, plus the subway is really convenient. We were a little slowed by Roz's crutches, but I think it was nice because it was more relaxing. Also: Roz's arms are super buff from crutching around everywhere. And! her knee is getting better.
I think I'm going to let some pictures tell stories for themselves.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


This weekend Jess invited a few of us to her parents' place in Glencoe.  It was such a lovely mini retreat!
The weather cleared up for us to drive on Friday night and we arrived safely at the gorgeous farmhouse with the ground gracefully covered in snow.
We sang hymns, played games, watched a movie, visited the sheep and horses in the barn, and...went cross country skiing! (Except for poor Roz who couldn't join us for that part because she's still recovering from being run into and knocked out on the slopes last week.)
The weather was perfect. Temperatures hovered around zero and snow gently fell as we skied, but the snow started to get pretty sticky the second hour in. I paused fairly frequently to snap some photos, so I thought I'd show a few here.

 singing hymns around the piano
 Rach demonstrates her speed-skater moves
 the snow gently falling, fast, oh fast...
 look at 'em go!
 a short snack break
 back on the trail!
 posing with the sign...we went on Huron trail (but took a short cut)
 Rach "attacks" Julie with a pitchfork!
 Rach works up the nerve to pet a (very soft, cushy) sheep!
 Roz with the horses
 checking out the bald spot on the sheep's neck
 Jess the teacher explaining the bald spot
 Roz is super excited that she can cross her legs!!
 Rachel "bad boy" Peters
the barn

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

.sight restored.

I recently had laser eye surgery.  I think about what they did to my eyes 2 days ago, and it kind of freaks me out.  But it's also ridiculously cool.  Because I now have 20/20 vision! After 18ish years of having to wear glasses/contacts, now I can simply see.

Here's a picture of what my eyes look like now, as they're healing (and slightly bruised).  Be forewarned: my brother was really grossed out.  I didn't know what they looked like cuz I hadn't looked in the mirror yet, but I guess I can understand why he didn't want me to look at him directly, haha.

For the first 2 nights I had to wear these eye shields so I wouldn't accidentally rub my eyes.  They're kind of weird goggly things, and basically just make me laugh at myself.