Miracles by Kenny G.... AKA Because-It's-Late-and-I-Couldn't- Resist-Wasting-My-Time

1. Put your mp3 player, iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Tag 10 friends (make me #11 so I can see your results).
--> I always ignore instructions like this....
5. Everyone tagged has to do the same thing.
6. Have Fun!

The Look of Love - Diana Krall

Tu Bondad - Kari Jobe


Indelible - Brooke Fraser

Hesitation - Stacie Orrico

Looking Up - Paramore

Disappear - Jars of Clay

The Way I See You - Bethany Dillon

Returning the Smile You Have Had from the Start - Emery


Grace - William Joseph (oh good one....)

WHAT IS 2 + 2?
Defiance - Joshua Bell and James Newton Howard

Love Letters - Diana Krall

Should've When You Could've - Skillet (oh nos.)

Learn You Inside Out - Lifehouse

Vapor - Skillet (hahahahaha..... sometimes. Definitely wish it sometimes.)

I Climb - Thousand Foot Krutch (so romantic!!)

Tennis Court Soundtrack - Daphne Loves Derby

Catch a Falling Star - Perry Como

The Blues - Switchfoot

I'm Not Ashamed - Hillsong (that's RIGHT!)

Les Aventuries - Joe Hisaishi

Tonight (I Want to Live in Your World) - Glassbyrd


Miracles - Kenny G


In other, not-so-pointless news, I got to go to my first live hockey game eeeever last week! I had been missing (and whining about it!) hockey for the past two weeks, and it just so happened that a friend of a friend offered her two free tickets to a game in Dallas. So after class last Wednesday we booked it to Dallas to watch the Stars school the Predators. Live games are so much fun! And eventhough I first hesitated at the thought of cheering for the Stars (um, archenemy!), I couldn't help it..... it was a home game and we were destroying the other team!

Click through for more photos....

Oh man. Did I just say "we"?? As I was told earlier this weekend,

"Good golly you've already been corrupted."

Texas is subversive, I tell you. Sneaky.


"All by myself..... don't wanna be all by myself......"

This is the sight I woke up to this morning (minus the white car):

Tornado looked so lonely out there all alone. It's fall break today, and everyone seems to have gone home! :( Oh the life of an international student.


First time for everything.....

You know that a certain week is less stressful than the last when you find time to do this:

I dunno why..... but all of a sudden I just felt like painting my toe nails purple. My toes have never worn such a bold colour before!! (That time when my sister painted every nail a different colour not withstanding.....) It's kinda growing on me though, what do you think? :p And lookit those pasty tan lines.... attractive, no? Haha.....


Favorite time of year

I love autumn weather..... I love the refreshing change from the oppressive summer heat. I love crisp, bright, autumn days. I love that the invigorating air makes it perfect for hiking and soccer. I love the colour change in the trees.

And I really miss that about home right now.

Autumn in the Gatineau Hills

But lately we've been having our own version of autumn down here..... no crisp bright days, and no Fall Rhapsody, but it's definitely cooled off a bit. Today it was actually cold enough for fleeces and close-toed shoes, and I realized with a sinking heart that 1) I did NOT bring enough warm clothes down with me, and 2) if 15C weather has me running for a jacket, I must have acclimatized to Texan conditions far faster than I thought possible (and it's aaaaall downhill from there, I know it!). Plus it has been raining like nobody's business. But hey - no more oppressive summer heat. I'll take it.

Here are a few shots I took right outside my house on a rainy Sunday.... I love how "enchanted forest" the shots feel, and the fact that all the shooting I did was basically within a square foot (mebbe two?) area. Sure doesn't take much to entertain me, does it? *laughs*


When grad students get bored.......

..... they might do impulsive things.

..... and......

..... they can't be held liable for their actions.


*snip snip snip*

How does it look? I had to stop myself before they got way to short. :p


A first

Today, for the first time ever, I sat through a college football game. I'm hoping to go to a game one of these days while I'm here..... and it's free! But this was a good start. And considering that I never saw ANY Raven games when I was at CU (besides parts of basketball games on TV), and that I'm not much of a sports fan in general, that's saying something. It was fun to spend the afternoon with a bunch of geo friends.... and to top it off, the Bears won! First road win in years, I read somewhere. Sic 'em bears!!

ps: I've seen our mascots (we have real bears for mascots!).... they don't look anywhere as fierce as that! Cute brown fluff balls, more like. :p


And so it continues.....

I've already gotten rid of 4 of our little insect friends this afternoon.... and I am perfectly aware that there is another one in the living room at the moment, but I am choosing to ignore him.

Hannah's gone out to get Raid.


Chirp, chirp.......

I have caught and thrown out no less than 4 crickets tonight. And counting. Black, hopping, big, crickets. Hannah (my housemate) HATES the buggers, and I don't want to deal with messy bug guts, so it's up to me to catch them when I see them.

Our theory is that they've been crawling into our flat through the gap between our balcony door and the sill. We had put in a request to get that weather-stripped because we didn't want to be spending extra $$ on AC, but let me tell you: we are high-tailing it to the manager's office on Monday and making this an urgent priority! In the meantime I thought a strip of strategically-placed tape over the gap might help a little.

Ok, gotta go.... I left Crickey IV in the container where I caught him and he's chirping miserably. Guess I better go deal with him.

- 5 minutes later -

Make that 6. *SIGH*.


Losing my mind.....

Today was the day.... The day I've been waiting for all week! The day I was scheduled to apply for my social security number! That will never expire! With which I could get paid! And FINALLY get a cell phone with a plan that can call long distance! And make all my dreams come true! (Ok maybe not that last one.) The social security rep even came to campus, so that we poor souls wouldn't soujourn to their office way out in the middle of nowhere (ie, I have no idea where it is). Problem was, where she was holding application sessions on campus required a long walk from my building.... which isn't so bad (exercise, anyone?), except that being outside meant being out under the sweltering sun during the hottest part of the day.

Oh wells.

What must be done, must be done, right? Just think of the walk as exercise AND being in the sauna, all at once. Suck it up and all that. So I grabbed the reference letter I was supposed to bring (Paulette our office administrator MADE me promise I wouldn't lose it or forget to bring it), made sure I had my sunglasses, and set out. I hugged every shred of shade I could find along the way, squinting and wincing at the sun when none was to be had. Finally, sweaty and fed up with Texan weather, I made it to the teeny tiny International Studies office a few minutes before my scheduled appointment, cooled down a bit................... then realized that I had forgotten my passport in my office, AND my student visa documents at home. Plus I had a meeting to get to! So I checked with the lady to make sure she was going to be around for the entire afternoon, planned to return after my meeting, and booked it as fast as I could back to my end of my campus..... got in my car (praying the whole way that God would let me find another parking spot when I got back), sped home, grabbed my visa, and got back to school just a few minutes late for my meeting.

After our meeting, I steeled myself for yet another trip through the oven to the International Studies office. I even brought a sweater this time to shade myself a little during the walk. I got there, disgustingly sweaty but glad I was one walk closer to finishing this application (and never having to make the trip again! I was so naive....). I waited until the applicants before me finished, got in the room, sat down, got out my passport and visa forms......................................... and realized that in my haste to finish my application and return in time for my lab, I had forgotten the reference letter on my desk (that I wasn't supposed to lose or forget, remember?).


So I heaved a sigh, collected my things, apologized to the lady, and made my way back to my office - thinking the whole way:
1. what had happened to my BRAIN,
2. telling myself that one's response to adversity says much about their character (I have good character! I do I do!! Just not when things don't go the way I plan. Errrrrmmmm.... yes.),
3. wondering what lesson God could possibly want me to learn through this, and
4. why did it have to be so dang HOT out?!

Back at my office, I stuffed EVERYTHING besides my textbook and lunch containers into my backpack (Lord help me if I had to go back a FOURTH time), let my TA know that I might be late for my lab, and once more made the trek to the International Studies office. On my third try (sigh), I finally got it right. The application form was straight forward, and before long I was back in my lab, only having missed a few minutes'-worth of introduction.


Later on in the day, I ran into Dr. Joe (my supervisor) and told him my sorry tale.

"You need to be more organized," he commented.

"Yeah, maybe I need an iphone too," I joked. His iphone is his newest toy.

Meanwhile I was thinking, But you don't understand. I AM organized. Freakishly so. Just ask anyone. I remember obscure details and I have a planner that I actually use. You don't understand. This type of thing just doesn't. Happen. To. Me.

I still don't get it. Texas brainwashed me and tossed out the memory part of my brain with the wash water.

Or something.


Poll of the day

I'm trying to decide which Baylor decal to get for my car. I can't decide, so I thought I would ask all of you! Comment and let me know what you think.... pro's, con's, all of it. For you car purists (yes, you know who you are!), NOT having a decal isn't an option here. I may decide not to declare school loyalty via my car afterall, but that's a poll for another day.

Without further ado, your choices are the following:

A. A raised chrome (like your standard Jesus fish decals) "BU", on the bottom right under the fish:

B. A standard plastic, white "Baylor" decal, to go on the bottom of the rear windshield:

What do Y'ALL think? (NO I do not actually talk like that.... yet.................)


There's that word again.....

From this morning's message:

providence [prov-i-duhns] - God's intentional, hands-on acts to constantly manage people and the systems of the universe.



Just so happens....

It just so happened that on day 2....
.... it rained and poured like I haven't experienced since Leon.... and then some.
.... the wipers on the van were not working.
.... the mechanic we ended up at to fix said wipers loves Jesus (small ray of sunshine during an afternoon of hurdles!).
.... that said mechanic worked his magic so that - even without a replacement part - we were soon on the road again.
.... because of said rain, we ended up at a super nice hotel for the night, and everyone got a good night's rest.

It just so happened that when we arrived in Waco....
.... we made it just in time before the office closed to pick up apartment keys.
.... that upon entering said apartment, we discovered that it wasn't such a steal afterall. BUT it also just so happened that,
.... I hadn't yet been asked to sign a lease or put in a deposit, so we were free to look for another flat for me.
.... we chose to stay at a certain hotel that night.... the only one I was familiar with in town.

And the next day, it just so happened that....
.... we spotted an apartment/residence community across the street.
.... the community was beautiful and safe.
.... they were renting out two bedroom units by the room, and I got to choose!
.... the flat I ended up with is nicer and bigger than I ever expected I could get (it has a washer and dryer in the unit!!), and certainly nothing I would have found if I hadn't been here looking.
.... (we were admittedly a bit dissappointed at the time) the flat wasn't ready until the next week.
.... Dad was able to get ahold of Cal's friend (whom we had never met).
.... he graciously invited us to stay with him for the weekend.
.... he was scheduled to leave town the day after I could move in.
.... we made a new friend and had some great times of fellowship.
.... because we got to stay with him, we had a guide for our first few days in this new town.

Also, it just so happened that....
.... because I moved in after Ben arrived, we had his strength to move the heavy stuff. :p
.... since we had to get/bring Ben to the Houston airport, I got to tack on two trips to IKEA to get furniture.
.... because my family was here, I didn't have to find my way around and figure everything out on my own.
.... the apartment managers found me a housemate (as much as I wanted to at first, I realized that living on my own wasn't really what I wanted afterall).
.... she didn't move in (bringing her U-Haul and her family) until my family (and all their things) had left.
.... she is in Fine Arts, which will keep me sane and from drowning in science. ;)


It just so happened that on the drive down, Mum and I had been reminded of a thing called providence.

Just so happens.


From the road - day 3:

The sun shined on us all day today. :) One more day to go!


From the road - day 2:

Today it rained. And poured. And stormed. And rained some more.

We will be adding a day 4 to the drive, but it's ok.... everyone is safe and dry (albeit a few frayed nerves for some), and we are getting to see His provision and providence at work. All good things. I only wish I had gotten a couple shots of the show. ;)


From the road - day 1:

Well loved.....

..... all week. Wow, how a girl gets loved on when she's about to go away for awhile! I have been sooo spoiled. I may have eaten enough in this week alone to compensate for the starving student lifestyle that I am about to embark on (African, Mexican, Japanese, Spanish, Nicaraguan, Indian, plus home-cooked deliciousness!!), but I have loved every moment of this week spent with so many dear friends. Thank you thank you, to each one of you who took the time to hang out, chat, watch a movie, share a meal, write a note, put a present together, share a laugh..... thank you for loving me so well.

I didn't take nearly enough photos, but here is a small taste of my last week:


Farewell.... just for awhile.

I'm on my last leg here in Ottawa. We've all known that I'd be leaving for a long while now, but as always, reality takes some time to set in. Even as I type this, I don't think that I am totally convinced myself that life will not continue tomorrow (and the day after that, and the weeks and months to follow) the way that it always has.

But I suppose that my impending move has crept into our consciousness in small ways..... in the way we speak what we feel about each other a little more, in the way we plan and purchase things, and in the way we hold onto each other a little longer and tighter. Small changes that mean so much.

Tomorrow at church I will say my good-byes to all my beloved friends, aunties, and uncles; and the morning after that I will get into my car with my family and drive south, south, and more south.... until I reach a new place. A new place to put down roots. A new town to get to know, new friends, a new school, a new church. A new place to learn and many new chances to grow. "New" is going to be an important word around here for the next while!

But before all that New, first there are lots of farewells. Not Farewell For Good, of course.... but Just For Awhile, until we meet again. As part of that process there has been lots of time spent the last couple of weeks with dear ones.... lots of conversation, laughter, and (of course!) lots of good food. Many precious moments and lots of love to bring with me as I leave.

One of the things I got to do as a Farewell Get-together was spend some time with Miss Karen.... she came over after work and we cooked together - a favorite past time! It was a hot day - not the type of day you would think to cook a stew! - but it still hit the spot. As Karen said with a grin, "I am soooo happy right now!" Ah yes. This stew makes me happy too! ^-^

African Nut Stew
3 Tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce
1 onion, sliced
2 cups (500 mL) yams, diced in 1-in (2.5-cm) cubes
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 cups (1 L) vegetable stock (we used chicken broth and that works great too!)
1 15-oz (465-g) can garbanzo beans
1 15-oz (465-g) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup (80 mL) natural peanut butter
2 tsp (10 mL) curry powder
Heat 1/2 cup (125 mL) of water and the soy sauce in a large pot. Add onion and yams. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add carrot, celery, and pepper. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (At this point, we forgot to watch the clock and the veggies started to scorch, which ended up imparting a pleasant smokiness to the finished stew! But if you're more time-conscious than we are.....) Add tomatoes, stock, garbanzo beans, and cilantro after 5 minutes.
Blend peanut butter with 1/3 cup (80 mL) of water, then add it to the soup along with the curry powder. Stir, then cover and simmer 10 minutes. (Add more if needed....)
This soup freezes well. Serve with cooked grains or whole grain toast and a green salad. (We had it with garlic naan bread and it was DELICIOUS!)
**We like our meat, so we added some chicken breast to this stew. We did it by throwing some spices into a pot of water, bringing it to a boil, then cooking the chicken until it was cooked but still juicy. Then we shredded it and added it to the stew. Yummy!
Serves 8-10....... or 2-4 because everyone will DEFINITELY want seconds!


Of dragons, hearts on clearance, and noble steeds......

Hello friends (ha.... is it time that favorite phrase made a come back, D-dear?)! It's been a little while since we last rendez-vous'd. While I've been idle here, I've been busy in the *real* world.... battling dragons, sizing up options for a noble steed, and packing. Yes, packing up again.... remember this? It's crazy that in another short week, what was a mere possibility will become reality!

Of the dragon (of the Drakos calculusius type), I'm pretty sure he won the battle as well as the war, and I'd be ever so grateful if he and I never had to cross paths again. But anyway. In the spirit of dwelling on good, I'd like to leave Mr. Nasty-Beastie behind and instead tell you a little more about our trip.... something that still makes me smile when I think on it.


When we're in a community on a drill, there are two main parts of our week - drilling the well, and conducting hygiene courses for anyone that's interested. We specifically try to invite the mothers since they are the ones with direct influence on the cleanliness of their homes and little ones.

Of course, us gringos can't speak a lick of Spanish and aren't of much use when you're trying to explain what germs are and why it is so important to wash your hands, so we keep the children occupied while Yami (LWI Nic's hygiene specialist) talks to the moms.

We bring along toys like balls, skipping ropes, stickers, balloons and have a great time playing with the littles. At the end of the week, these are given to the community so that all the littles can share them. Honestly, spend
ing time with the children makes the week so much more than it would've been if we had just come in, put in the well, and left like a strike team. Running, tickling, screaming, laughing, hugging, and kissing energetic little kids with abandon..... it does something subtle yet profound to a person, don't you think? Worries and reservations slip away, and you realize that life in its essence is just all about loving and enjoying the community around you. It's refreshing! And so, so fun. :)

Karen & Rick teaching the kids a game (photo by Marie).

Adding some sparkle.... (photo by Rick).

Jean facing off with our little lion.... I mean Emily.

Long before we left for Nicaragua, Karen and Marie went shopping for things we could take down for the children. They picked up an assortment of plastic beads, frisbees, and stickers, as well as foam hearts that were on clearance from Valentine's day. They couldn't imagine what the kids would do with a pile of pink and red foam hearts, but who could resist 75% off? So one afternoon during Yami's hygiene lesson, we decided to get out the crafts for the littles to do. First came the beads....

All the kids really got into it... from preschoolers to teens, the boys as well as the girls! They loved all the different shapes and colours,
and I found it so interesting to see the different combinations each child came up with. The sweetest thing was knowing how special this simple (to us) craft was for them.... for days afterward we saw little girls proudly wearing their creations.

It didn't take long for the supply of beads to be depleted, so we brought out the foam hearts and shapes next. We showed them that the small hearts had an adhesive on the back and could be used like stickers; it wasn't long before these clearance craft supplies were being turned into the sweetest cards/hangings. We soon found out who they were for.... Mother's Day was in a fe
w days, and normally the littles would not have the materials to make anything for their mums.

We couldn't have imagined a better use for those foam stickies! I was floored by this incident (and others.... there were so many on this trip!) just how perfectly our Heavenly Father plans everything, down to the most seemingly insignificant detail. He always puts the right thing, in the right place, at the right time.... and our part is to be open to Him tugging at our hearts.

The sweeties were so very proud of their creations. :) As for me, I won't be taking construction paper and crayons for granted again any time soon.


To end, I wanted to introduce you to my very noble and trusty steed. My own black beauty! I hadn't planned on acquiring one for a long time yet.... but the move pretty much made it necessary! The process of getting him was pretty swift and fairly painless.... again: right thing, right place, right time. ;) There is still a minor thing that is taking awhile to get sorted out, but we're trying to take things in stride. He and I are still getting comfortable with each other, but I think that we will be very happy together. ^^


All up now

Save for a few more that will make their appearance along with stories here, photos from the drill trip to Nicaragua are all up! Go here to see the whole set.

Belize photos are coming soon. :) Hope everyone had a lovely Canada day!


27 years.

(One last intermission before getting back to Central America.)

Last week my parents celebrated their wedding anniversary, and since I wasn't working or in school during the day, I got to put together a simple brunch for them. I don't often put much effort into cooking breakfast/brunch (breakfast/brunch is Mum's specialty.... I am a leftovers-in-the-morning kinda girl! That, or a I'm-way-too-late-to-have-breakfast sorta girl), so this was really fun to plan and put together, and very simple to do too.

Growing up, I was taught that wedding anniversaries were days to celebrate. I thought of them like birthdays.... each year you remember the day that something special officially began. They are special enough days I guess. At any rate, I make sure to remember my parents' anniversary, if for nothing other than it was what I grew up always doing. In the past few years though, I find that this annual celebration has taken on new weight for me.

I am understanding a little more what being in this relationship actually means. What each person must pour into it to make it work. How it is more than rose-coloured glasses and happy endings. How ugly it can get when two imperfect people are to live as one unit. How the sole purpose of this relationship - as is everything else - is supposed to be a reflection of His glory (and not for my self-gratification or happiness). How it can be the greatest shaping tool that God will use to knock off the stubborn sin in our hearts, and how painful a process that is. How difficult it can be to stay together - to win together. But - oh - how sweet this hard-won victory is. Staying married is hard, but I am still convinced that there is nothing sweeter.

So yes - a wedding anniversary marks the passing of another year in a marriage. But it's so much more than that too...... it means a year of growth. It means that through the tears and the smiles, two people are still holding on to each other. It means that they have not given up - on each other, nor - more importantly - on a God that is faithful to complete the work that He starts. It is a testament to an entire year of His goodness.

27. That's alot of years. I can't wait for 50, Mum and Daddy!