September 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Sister!

It's my little sister's birthday today... I still picture us about the same age playing in Souris... but we're not. She's 28 today! We're two-and-a-half years apart - you do the math. ;)

My sister and I grew up together living in the most wonderful place on earth - Souris. A tiny little town (it doesn't even have a Tim's!) surrounded by incredible beaches. We were a beach family. A rare summer day went by when we were not at a beach... cloudy and a chance of rain? No problem - we hit the beach. We did our Red Cross swimming lessons at Red Point. I remember some of those days being so cold... but we stuck it out - us and our O'Brien friends... with the moms wrapped in blankets! :)

My sister and I grew up playing outside. Sure, we had dolls, barbies and such, but the majority of our childhood was outside in the fresh air. Climbing trees, riding bikes, digging for worms, floating boats (aka - twigs) down our rivers (aka - little ripples of water on the road after a rain), and building forts. Our closest playmates were the O'Brien siblings, so while we may not have been playing together, we were often in the same location (their house or ours... or anywhere in between!)... doing similar outdoors-y things.

If it rained - we were inside in our under-the-stairs fort/club house playing light-bright or reading books... or playing with home-made play dough. Or we may have taken over the entire upstairs hallway between the stair banister and the bookshelf and made it one long blanket fort... which meant Dad and Mom had to crawl through to get to their bedroom.

Our parents are such good sports.

Growing up, my sister was always the peace-keeper... and she was always generous. She handed out books, money, favorite shirts and time like no-one I know. My books are were my prize possessions, and I could hardly let them out of my sight, let alone loan them out... but my sister? Well, she's still missing books because of her generosity (and my mom's... she tended to give out only my sister's books because she knew she would live another day! ;))

My sister is a true explorer. She asks questions. She doesn't take much at face value but wants to know "why"...  which means she likes to learn. Her brain is far more active than mine. ;) She loves learning about the environment... I think before we had a recycling program on PEI, my sister was already advocating for waste reduction, no littering, and the use of green energy. ;) 

My sister is loyal. Once she has chosen to back you - there is no going back. I can think of many people, things and causes that she has vigorously supported over the years even when going against the grain.

My sister is an individual. Growing up she was often thought of as the quiet, passive, peace-keeping girl... and she was. But she is fiercely her own person. She's creative and unique. If she likes something, she likes it. Even if it doesn't pass the majority's approval. This shows in her cooking, her pictures, her style, her music and her interests. I think it's wonderful... because I'm not that brave.

My sister is a caretaker - especially for the underdog. If there was a kid getting bullied or picked on around the playground - my sister was there to be a friend. If there was a lonely unpopular kid in Sunday School - my sister was there to be a friend. If there is a group of people getting picked on and  discriminated against - my sister is there to be a friend and a supporter. 

She is my comfort zone... we may not talk often on the phone (I mean, hardly ever), but we can blame our dislike of phones on both our parents. ;) But if we are attending the same event - whether it's a wedding, conference, or just a get-together, I like having her close by. She knows me.

It's too bad I'm here and she's there. Our paths don't cross as much as they should.

I hope she has a wonderful Birthday - truly deserving of her. Happy Birthday S! I love you! :)

September 29, 2010

Random Fall Thoughts

Today is a beautiful fall day... sunshine and crisp air (no humidity!). The leaves are turning, creating a wonderful colour scheme. Another week or so, and those brilliant reds, oranges and golds will be turning heads! :) I love fall.

We're planning to take a few days vacation around the Thanksgiving long weekend... Where are we going? Well, we don't know yet. There are a lot of options!! High on our list is a scenic drive through the fall foliage... So, NY State, Vermont, Michigan... ? We'll see where we end up! I'm looking forward to it.

The only downside is ... we'll miss our Thanksgiving dinner... our Unionville family always includes us in their holiday activities, and it's a fun time with good food. We are beyond thankful for this family, since we live so far away from our own. God has blessed me with "adopted families" everywhere I've lived! :)

I've started another bible study on Tuesday nights. We're doing Beth Moore's study called "A Woman's Heart - God's Dwelling Place."  It's a study on the Tabernacle, and though we're only in week 2, I'm fascinated! If you have an opportunity to do this - I definitely recommend it.

Are you running out of things to pray for? (ha) I suggest you take a look at my friend's blog ... She and her husband are Christian missionaries working in South Africa, and they have lots going on right now. They definitely need our prayers!

Exciting news! After three years and 2+ months - we have finally received our wedding album! To clarify - this is not the fault of our fantastic photographers (Alex MacAulay Photographers), but the laziness of their subjects... :) Anyway, it is beautiful and we are thrilled to have it - partly to look at and reminisce; partly to finally not have it hanging over our heads! We are the world's best procrastinators... I mean, we are really GOOD at procrastinating!

So after those random disjointed thoughts, tell me, what exciting things do you have planned for your fall season? What is your favorite thing about fall?

September 23, 2010

Just a few pictures

Good morning friends :)

Since I am at a loss for anything to write, I thought I would post a few random photos from the Saturday we spent with Dad and Mom.

It started off a cloudy day...

But turned out much nicer as we drove south to walk the boardwalk at "The Beaches"...  lots of people out enjoying the fresh air. We saw a tiny little dog trotting along in a jogging suit - oh how I wish I had a picture! It may sound cute, but on this dog (with its pigtails), it was hilarious looking! :)

And it wouldn't be a a post without a shot of my handsome man :)

Next we raced the clouds that were coming in, and ended up at the
Shops at Don Mills for a visit at our favorite restaurant... Joey's. mmmm

An iPhone shot ... before we had food on our plates. :)

I hope you all have a great day! Thanks for stopping by.

September 21, 2010

Like a Vapour...

Sorry for the misleading title... there is no "spiritual snack" in the post... that's just how fast the visit with my parents went!

They arrived Thursday evening and left this morning. Unfortunately I had to work Friday and Monday, so the time seemed even shorter. Friday evening Evan and I came home to a deliciously prepared roast dinner and pumpkin pie. Talk about spoiled! We went for a walk and enjoyed a quiet evening. Saturday we had a great day together - breakfast at home, a little shopping, walking the boardwalk at "The Beaches", wandering through the Shops at Don Mills, supper at Joey's (YUMM!!!!!) and then a relaxing few hours at home before bedtime. Sunday was busy but we managed to squeeze in our Sunday afternoon naps between meetings! ;) Well, everyone but mom... she chose to make an apple pie. Poor her - lucky us!

Monday we came home to one of the best chicken recipes I've had in a long time... then again, anything with cream cheese is the best! :)  The recipe seems simple and Mom claims it's a "cinch to make"... check it out here if you're looking for a new chicken recipe. Delish.  Then another nice quiet evening just hanging out together.

I'm so thankful for the visit... but I hate goodbyes.

September 17, 2010

Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list? I didn't... but thought I'd try my hand at starting one. I guess it has never really felt like a realistic thing to do, because "who knows what tomorrow may bring?" But that doesn't mean we can't and shouldn't plan... dream... and set goals... so that's what I'm taking a stab at here.

Not all of these are "pie-in-the-sky" dreams (though some are!!), but are goals I should be actively moving toward... I think you'll be able to pick those few out... :)

It feels selfish to continually start a sentence with "I want"... so I'll just do it here at the top! ;)

I would love to...

  • live with a water view. Again. The ocean preferred, but I'm not fussy! ;)
  • take piano lessons - again.
  • play in a piano quintet (chamber musical ensemble)
  • buy a rocking chair
  • have a cozy sunlit corner to read in
  • make memorizing verses a habit. a discipline.
  • follow a reading plan and get through the bible in one year. I always give up 1/2 through the OT.
  • travel to Europe... top of my list: Austria, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, and France...but I'm not that picky. ;)
  • complete my Breaking Free study
  • travel to Nicaragua, and South Africa
  • be published. I don't have aspirations to write a book, but would love to write articles and speeches on social justice issues, ethical issues, hot health topics and feel-good community stories. I had a few articles published when I was a PR student, but would love to have it happen again.
  • run a 1/2 marathon... have done a 10k, but am currently not running. I want to get back into it, and go past my previous goal
  • so, in light of the above point, I want to run/exercise regularly!
  • go zip-lining 
  • visit a ranch and go riding... (too bad I'm allergic to horses! I love them...)
  • commit to clean eating (I am SO far from this goal, you can't even imagine! haha)
  • visit Cape Cod, Boston, NYC, Connecticut, Rhode Island... maybe in the fall - I think it would be a pretty driving trip!
  • visit CJ in Iowa.
  • have coffee with Beth Moore. :P
  • go on a "mission trip" with my man. Maybe this could tie in Nicaragua or South Africa??
  • become an early riser. and be productive in that extra time.
  • attend a symphony performance at Carnegie Hall
  • go back to the Okanagan, where we honeymooned... it was absolutely wonderful. 
  • cook/prepare a turkey dinner. (Because my Man really wants this...)
  • go sailing... in a real sailboat
  • learn how to wakeboard
  • get my motorcycle license
  • re-do the master bedroom and closet. And make it a cozy escape for us
  • have one 'red' wall in the house
  • take salsa dancing lessons with my Man
  • host a Christmas open house
  • travel to Îles de la Madeleine - otherwise known as "the Maggies"... we watched the ferry leave Souris daily every summer filled with tourists for that destination... and we always said we'd go! 30 years old, and have never been...
  • not find it stressful to entertain at home
hmm.. at least that's a start...  what's on your bucket list?

September 16, 2010


Today is a day to celebrate... despite the rainy grey depressing weather outside, and... the fact that I'm at work. :)

My Dad and Mom are arriving this evening! I got a text Monday night asking me if we'd be willing to have company for a few days...  my answer? Yes Please! 

Texting has become a favorite for our family... each of us hates to pick up the phone and use it, so this 'new' way of communicating, while brief, has allowed us to touch base much more frequently! You may think this is sad... but, it works for us! :)  Don't worry - we still use the phone sometimes.

But I digress...

Dad has to come up to visit someone, and mom wasn't really given a choice about whether she wanted to come...Dad and I both said she had to! haha  She's a homebody, but with my brother in Halifax now, she doesn't have many excuses to stay home... so we push.

I won't even pull out my list of "to-do's" for her this trip... we'll just prep her for the next time. Tantalize her with walls that need to be painted, pictures that need to be hung... she can join me in imagining what colours belong where, and how to dress up our walls. The fun stuff! :)

Maybe she can bake cinnamon rolls or something. Yes, I think we'd all enjoy that.

September 13, 2010

Loving fall...

Saturday was the perfect fall day. Absolutely perfect. And we had our ESL planning session booked... inside... we started off with brunch at Jersey Girl's home, and then cracked open the books and laptops to work on lessons for the coming weeks... but by 2pm, the sunshine beckoned us and we headed out for a break. We found this great trail within walking distance of Jersey Girl's home and enjoyed a lovely nature walk on varying terrain...  It's exciting when you find a new place to explore close to home!

This was the end of the walk...
when we left the "bush" and went through an adjacent park.

Everyone needs a little support every now and then... even trees... can you feel the love here? :)

Can you see her cute little belly???? January is going to be an exciting month!

I apologize for the quality of the pictures - I was using my iPhone. :)

After doing a bit more work on our ESL lessons, we headed down to the Shops at Don Mills for a little retail therapy (only window shopping) and supper at Joey's... we *love* Joey's!  Totally worth the drive.  mmm

... now I'm craving Joey's... great.

So yes, a fun, yet productive Saturday!

September 8, 2010

The baby moves out...

My little brother is all grown up... tonight he will sleep in his first apartment in a new city - away from home. If my heart is being pulled the way it is, I can't even imagine the pain my parents are in... sure there is pride and thankfulness that he has become such a great young man and is being diligent about his education, etc... but he has always been home. He's the last one to leave... my parents' life has now, once again, changed forever.... yes - all part of the cycle of life. But it still hurts. :)

Here are a few pictures as I'm feeling lonesome for my little brother tonight...  and praying for him as he moves on from UPEI to Dal tomorrow...On his way to an Industrial Engineer...! :)
Look how young he is... 

Not impressed with the camera following him around...

Lest I take any credit for the cool board - it's his... I was on skiis.... but we had fun! :)

Quite a few years ago...
 I was living in Halifax and they were over around Christmas time... 
and I may or may not have been a little clingy. ;)

Home for Christmas... a family game of Crokinole... 

I love this one!! so so much.

Having fun jumping PEI dunes... (yes, I *know* you're not supposed to climb on them...)

Poor kid... I went home for a week before starting University and he had to deal with me every day... and I wanted pictures... and poses... and stuff like this... this didn't happen frequently. :P

Cute, isn't he? :)

In his own world with his music... (self-taught)

More talent...

And... last one - eating at our family favorite place, Canton in Ch'town... the best eggrolls ever. 

Great. Now I'm craving Canton eggrolls and it will be Christmas before I get any!

September 6, 2010

Where are your thoughts lingering?

I heard a brief thought on Lamentations 3:20-26 in the middle of a larger message back in March... it has recently come back to me and got me thinking again, so I thought I'd share here.

If you're anything like me, we're a lot like Jeremiah (the understood writer of Lamentations, I believe) in his musings... he is discouraged and remembering all the things that went wrong... talk about falling down into a pit of despair and losing sight of hope! It is so easy to focus on the negatives - sometimes imagined, but sometimes very legitimate and real.  Sometimes it's emotional, or maybe moodiness that might come with a grey, dreary, lonely day... other times it's a real hard hit and time of testing for your faith.

Surely then it's justified to dwell on the bleakness and pain of our situation... isn't it? Those around us might be understanding and affirm our natural reactions and emotions... but our God has a higher expectation of us.

We often hear Colossians 3:2 quoted... "Set your minds on things above..."  Or 1 Peter 1:13... "Prepare your mind for action.... set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed..."  And we certainly can't leave out Phillipians 4:8 where we're given a wonderful list of things to occupy our thoughts... "Think on these things..."

So it's clear that our God desires us to spend mental energy focusing our thoughts in the right direction...

The next few verses show the outcome that can result in controlling our thoughts. Lamentations 3:20-26:

"...I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind (or recall) and therefore I have hope:  Because of the LORD's great love (lovingkindness or steadfast love) we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail (never cease, never stop). They (His compassion, His mercies) are new (fresh) every morning; GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD...."

We can let our minds wander and let our thoughts take our emotions wherever they want... or we can learn from Jeremiah here... he deliberately made a conscious effort to change his thinking pattern... he was losing hope... but went back and started to remember all the blessings from God, and the times God showed up and proved Himself over and over... he focused his thoughts on the goodness and faithfulness of his God, reminding himself that his God had never failed him... he had constantly been surrounded with God's love - even in the dark times.

Like Jeremiah, when we wake up every morning and have no clue what is ahead of us for that day, we can take comfort in knowing that God knows what we will face and He has set aside a portion of His mercy, His compassion, and His strength for us to get through that day... His mercies and compassion are new and fresh every morning... for me. For you.

Jeremiah remembered this and this caused him to burst out in praise to His God's faithfulness...  by remembering all of God's goodness, his thought process and attitude changed and his heart praised His God...  and from that praise and worship, the end result was peace in the true lasting HOPE that our God offers...  and when our hope is in God, there is a certain quietness and peace in us while we wait for Him to work things out... to direct us... to show His hand.  This isn't just for Jeremiah - it's for me and you today too.  

Maybe you can ask yourself the same questions I'm asking myself... Where do I find my hope and peace? And where do I let my thoughts linger... and what effect is that having?