Wednesday, 31 October 2012


I can't believe what happened this weekend. My Kevin got married. MY KEVIN GOT MARRIED! Also, my Lay-Ka got married.
To my Kevin.
Why are we all so OLD?

Anyways, Kevin is one of my best friends in the whole world. Our moms met in the hospital when we were just weeks old (we were both sick, poor wee babies). They would chat and Kevin's mom, Glenda, would keep an eye on me in the hospital when my mom had to go home to look after my older brothers. They lost touch afterwards, though.
About two years later, in a little town called Bracebridge, a two hour drive north of where they originally met, my mom saw, or thought she saw, Glenda in McDonald's, with a little boy about my age. My mom hesitated though, and then they were gone. Five minutes later, we ran into them again in Zellers. Friendship was rekindled. What was the likelihood of both families moving from "the city" to the small town of Gravenhurst, and then running into each other on an outing in Bracebridge? Destiny, that's what.

19 years later I'm driving in my car to McDonald's to buy Kevin a small regular coffee. I just bought him a present at GT Boutique, camo "onesie" pajamas, and next I'm headed to the LCBO for a can of Richard's Red. In my trunk I have my entire collection of beauty supplies, a black dress, grey tights, and black Toms. I get to his house, he takes a swig of coffee followed by a swig of beer. I ask him the question I already know the answer to.
"Have you eaten anything yet today?"
"I'm making you food. How about pancakes? Want some pancakes? I'm making you pancakes. Glenda, where is the pancake mix? I hope you have some because I don't know how to make pancakes otherwise. Do you want pancakes too? How about everybody else? You know what, I'm just going to make everybody pancakes! Kevin, get me a frying pan."

This pretty much sums up our friendship. I don't know how he endured my bossiness all throughout the years. I think he learned to just suffer in silence.

A few hours later I'm watching him watch his bride walk down the aisle. I'm listening to him say his vows. I'm crying because he's crying. It is taking everything that's in me not to run into the pastor's office and rip the phone jack out of the wall. I was definitely not feeling the love of Christ toward whoever chose to call the church at that moment.

There were pictures in the pouring rain, there was a beautiful reception with singing and dancing and more tears. There was delicious food and I got served first along with the bride because we were the only people gluten and dairy free (so awesome, remember that next time you go to a wedding! People with allergies get special treatment...)

So two of my dearest friends were married. I get to see my Kevin loved and cherished by a beautiful, godly young woman. I get to see him love and cherish her. Life is good... and God is better.

Monday, 22 October 2012

hope and humbling

God has been shaking my confidence lately. When God shakes your confidence, it's a frightening thing, but you come out just... better. I believe this is called "humbling". 

There are really hard things in all of our lives, and there are some really hard things in mine. I have wishes and hopes and dreams for the people around me, but I'm forced to stand by and watch as they suffer and dig themselves deeper and deeper in sin and pain. I pray for them, I try to pray with faith. I try not to be like the man in James 1, who was a double-minded unstable doubter, like a wave driven and tossed by the wind, yet that is exactly how I feel sometimes, well, most of the time. I always fear that my prayers won't be answered in the way I want them to be. We talk about praying for God's will, but I think our secret fear is that His will won't align with ours.

I was thinking about hope, and how hard it is to have hope for other people. It seems like so much of what happens in our lives is directly dependent on our own behaviour. We live in a world of sin and consequence, of work and reward, of reaping and sowing. My hopes for other people are dependent on them, that they will turn away from their sin and turn to God. My hopes for myself are based on my own self-discipline and obedience to God. The problem is, these hopes aren't fail-proof. I want something I can hope in with confidence, really believing it's going to come to pass.

I think sometimes we think of hope as being more along the lines of wishful thinking. Yet that's not the definition of hope. Webster's says it is "to desire with expectation of obtainment" or "to expect with confidence". This certainly doesn't suggest a passive wish or fancy. The bible doesn't suggest that either. 

As I was struggling and trying to figure out how to hope in faith for God to answer my prayers, I felt Him saying to me. "I have given you an everlasting hope."

Romans 8:23-25

New King James Version (NKJV)
23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

This speaks of a hope in an assured future, waiting knowing that it will happen, knowing your perseverance won't be in vain.

I realized that He is the only One worth putting any hope in at all. The words of Chris Tomlin's song "Jesus Messiah" rang in my head. "All our hope is in You. All our hope is in You" I wondered to myself, what would my life look like if I put all my hope in God? 

If I put all of my hope in the assurance of my salvation, then I would have hope that never fails. If I put all my hope in the promises of God's Word, then I would have hope that never fails.

 It takes so much trust, though, trust that God is bigger, greater, wiser, and infinitely more loving than I could ever be. If I put all my hope in that, in the promises that He makes, wouldn't I be able to live in perfect peace?

I wrote in my journal.

"If all of my hopes are placed in God, how can they ever fail? I need to fixate myself on eternal dreams, dreams that are so caught up in God that they are prophetic."

I like the word "prophetic". It means predictive, foretelling events that will happen. I believe the promises in God's Word, so I can I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will come true. How awesome is it that we can have hopes and dreams that we know will be fulfilled? If our dreams are caught up in Him, in the assurance of His Word.

So I will cling to those promises, that He will never leave me, that He desires that all should come to Him, that He will save those who turn to Him, that His justice will prevail (that's a hard one), and that His plan is better.

Personally, I think that's better than any old wishing star. 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

giggle fits, skunks, and kindred spirits

I consider myself a grown up. I am twenty-one, I have lived away from home, I have my G, I have a cheque book (blast this american spell checker! Cheque is a word. It means MONEY. A check is something completely different, like a spell check!), I love to grocery shop, and I am beginning to insist that all my footwear is supportive. These, I think, are very grown up things.
All my life I have lived in the illusion that when I am grown up I will no longer fall victim to... the giggle fit. I have realized, sadly, that this is not the case.
It was clear at 17, when my dad prayed for my girlfriends and I, thanking God  for our friendship and asking that we would continue to "pursue each other", that we were not yet over the giggle fit stage.
It was clear when we were 19, with 6 of us cuddled in a massive snuggle pile while my friend's dad prayed, that we still had not yet overcome.
It was clear to me tonight, at 21, during a very grown up bible study, without even the support of my giggly girlfriends, that I am still prone to the attack of the dreaded giggle fit.

In order to understand how this fit came on, I must relay to you an incredibly sad story.

We have a family who are very very dear friends of ours. I call them aunt and uncle and their daughter is like a younger sister to me. Recently they went on a trip and left their dog and cat with Grandpa.
One night, Grandpa discovered that the dear dog had had an accident on his carpet, well, not just one accident but several. So he sent her out into the backyard, and got down on his hands and knees and scrubbed his carpets clean. When he let the dear dog back in, she was covered in mud from the yard. He patiently cleaned her off with a towel, but, neglected her legs. Moments later he found yet another mess all over his carpet. He put her out again. He scrubbed his carpet again. When he opened the door to let her in for the third time, he must have immediately known his mistake. Arrested by the strong stench, he was temporarily stunned as the dear dog rushed passed him to again desecrate his carpet, this time infusing it with the charming odour of skunk.
That same night, Grandpa's sewer backed up and flooded his basement. And who should get lost in the basement but the lovely cat? So in addition to dealing with the dear dog, Grandpa also goes wading in the basement with a flashlight to search for the cat.

Horrendous story isn't it? Yet they laugh as they tell it because apparently Grandpa is laughing about it, too. It's either laugh or cry, right? He says "Well, I might have to burn the house down to get rid of the smell!"

So. After story time we settle down to study time. I like being around people my age, but I don't feel uncomfortable with older or younger people, in fact I think it's important to socialize and study with varying ages. That being said, I am at least 30 years younger than everyone in our study group except for said friend-like-a-sister. She sits across from me.
We are reading the scriptures laid out. It is a deep topic. "The Great Apostasy". The scriptures are intense and require great concentration. We are taking turns reading the assigned passages and I look over mine as I await my turn.

2 Peter 2: 22
"A dog returns to his own vomit" and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."

I press my lips together in a very thin line. I knit my eyebrows together. I bite my lip. I try to think about something else. I try to concentrate on the passage currently being read. I take a note. I lick my lips. I know my turn is coming. I must not look up at my friend across the room. One look at her and I will lose it. She is a kindred spirit. She will either know immediately why I look so pained or want to know and then all will be lost. It's my turn. I read the passage. The part about the dog and the sow is at the end, so I am able to feel the weight of the passage, and when I finally come to that part, I do not hesitate. I press on, perhaps speaking a little faster than usual, and... I make it through! I did. not. laugh.

The things I have discovered about giggle fits.

1) Don't start. If you start, you're done for.
2) Avoid eye contact. Don't even think about eye contact.
3) Think about something unrelated. Not something sad, because anything highly emotional could set you off at this point. Try to concentrate on what's going on around you.
4) They are not a sign of ditziness. I always associated giggles with being a little dumb or immature, but I recently read a book about a girl getting her MPhil at Oxford who openly confessed that she was prone to giggle fits.
5) Tell a kindred spirit about what made you want to giggle afterwards at an appropriate time, and have a hearty giggle about it then.
6) Forget what made you want to giggle in the first place so it doesn't come back to haunt you at an inopportune time... like during a sermon.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

health nut

Most of you who know me know that in the past years I have turned into a total crazy health nut/monster.
 Anyways I read the book the Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin and it pretty much changed my life forever. My mom read it too and she, my dad, and I try to follow the healthy lifestyle that Rubin lays out in the book. I do this not just to be healthy, but also for existing allergies and sensitivities that I have to food. Basically I don't eat dairy, gluten, and eggs. People are always shocked and horrified and say "that must be so limiting!". When you think about it, though, that still leaves a whole host of delicious and healthy foods! I eat a ton of meat including beef, chicken, and fish but excluding pork and shellfish (scavengers, ew!). We buy local grass-fed beef and are currently looking for somewhere to get chicken at a decent price. I also eat tons of vegetables, the more the merrier. It's been great this summer because we were able to get a lot of local and organic stuff at the farmer's market. We also got local honey there, which is a great alternative to sugar in tea, coffee, and baking and also helps with seasonal allergies. I eat tons of nuts, and love soaking them in warm water and salt for 8 hours (3 days for almonds, draining them a couple times a day) then roasting them at 150  until they're dry (which takes hours and hours, but they're so delicious!). I can also stomach goat dairy products, which are now carried by pretty much any grocery store, so I eat a lot of goat cheese, yogurt, and use the milk in my tea and coffee. I do eat some grain products like rice and quinoa, but not very often. We try to eat sweet potato instead of white potatoes, and we usually have them a couple of times a week. Basically, I eat TONS!

Today I made gluten, dairy, egg, and sugar-free (as in refined sugar free, there is plenty of natural sugars from the dried fruits) pumpkin muffins. I was going by memory from an ordinary pumpkin muffin recipe, and using up some ingredients we had in the house.

They're not super sweet, but I like them. The spices give them a bit of kick, and though crunchy on the outside, they're nice and moist inside. Since they're a treat though, next time I would use another 1/2 cup of dates, and not boil them for so long, because it took too much of the sugar out. The only reason I boil them is to soften them so they can be blended. If you put them in the blender with the pumpkin and the oil you might be able to get away with not boiling them.

1 cup dates
2 1/2 cups flour ( I used 1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free flour, 1/2 cup quinoa flour, 1 cup coconut flour, and 1 tsp Xanthan gum which I think was too much)
1 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup raisins - soaked for 10 minutes in warm water
3 eggs (or for me, 3 tbsp. flax seed and 9 tbsp. warm water)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
14 oz pumpkin

Boil the dates in water, drain, then shove them in the blender with the pumpkin. Mix dry and wet ingredients separately, then mix together, fill your muffin tins and bake at 400 for 15 minutes or so-ish.

Enjoy with chai tea and honey goat cheese. yum yum

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

a me novel

I have thought for some time that my life would make an interesting book. Or rather, that I could make my life into an interesting book. I've always felt, however, that I couldn't write it without knowing how certain things turn out.
Now, I'm beginning to realize how I have come full circle on some of those things. Even though I'm in a place of uncertainty in my life, there are some things of which I am very certain.
It's not time to write that book yet, but it is time to start living book two.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

I am ashamed to say, I got lost again.
Never again will I brag about my amazing sense of direction. This time I was lost for a good half an hour, driving around Barrie trying to find the mall. I had gone to Barrie to pick up my grandma, and she chatted happily in my ear the whole time, completely willing to let me drive around until I had exhausted my own patience and finally stopped to ask for directions. I must remember her example next time I'm with my dad and he gets us lost...

Today, I went to the Bala Cranberry Festival. My dad has a booth there, advertising "Straight Shooter Tops", his upholstery business. The vendors who were there from local businesses were pretty normal, but the ones who make their living from travelling around to different shows and festivals... some of them were pretty interesting. It's just so different, such a different job description from what most of us are used to. Some of the things they sell are weird too, you have to wonder how they do any business. There was this one vendor, I'm afraid of saying too much because I think he was local, he was selling possibly one of the most boring things in creation, and only that one product. He looked like a Calvin Klein model, and the way he stood made him look like he was posing, and his gaze was so aloof like "approach my booth... if you're worthy of my beauty". I never saw anyone approach his booth.

The vendor across from my dad sells jewellery. My dad says he's an absolute tyrant, sweet and flattering to his customers one minute, and cursing them the next. I guess that's one thing about being a travelling vendor, you don't really need to have a reputation with your customers.

I went to the gym this afternoon, and this song came on my i-pod.
Against the Grain - City and Colour

I really like this song. I find it encouraging and relaxing. I feel though, that this whole "follow your heart" thing that our culture and world embraces is often used as an excuse for doing whatever we want (YOLO!). God says (Jeremiah 17:9) that are hearts are wicked and deceitful... so I'm not sure they're the best compass to follow.

So I'm going to believe this with my whole heart.

Psalm 3:5 &6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

It just seems like a way better idea. My heart can be a little spastic sometimes.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

I am clearly the most faithful blogger in creation.
So... kind of a lot has happened since the last time I blogged. But since the only people who read my blogs are people who actually know me, I'm just not going to go into it. Ok? Ok.

So, we moved, and now I can walk through my backyard into a gloriously quiet, serene forest, with interconnecting trails surrounding a large pit and also one long one that takes you far far away into lands unknown.

Yesterday I went for a walk in my forest in the rain. I had my poochies, Buddy and Molly ( I knooow, most clever dog names of life, right?), with me. I have grown up in this town, and subsequently, in these woods, however I'm not familiar with all of the little trails and how they connect to each other. I have always prided myself on having a very good sense of direction. I always know the direction I have come from, and if I've been somewhere once, I can usually get there again. I can find my way around a new town as long as the streets are in grid pattern (unlike Orillia, the other week I got lost going to my orthodontist. It was my third time going there. I tried to take a different route- anyways that's another story!).

However, somehow I managed to get myself completely... turned around, let's call it. I knew where I was. I was behind the cemetery. I just didn't know how I got there. In my mind's eye there was one big pit, and I had no recollection of crossing that pit. I am pretty sure I would have noticed. I hadn't however, and even now, I still don't know how I got to the other side. My brother informs me that "the pit" is actually in the shape of a donut, but that still doesn't make sense to me, unless the center of the donut is connected and makes a bridge across the whole pit. In which case, it would not be a donut.
I digress.

I was not frightened, but there is something a little unnerving about being unsure of your way in the woods in the pouring rain. Then my dog Buddy began misbehaving. There is something extremely comical about an already rather dumb dog who is also going deaf and blind - except when it is pouring rain and you are slightly unsure of your way. Then it is annoying. Molly, our faithful black lab, just trotted along behind me happily. I ended up turning around and going back the way we'd come, only to come out at yet another familiar landmark, uncertain of how we got there. I am sure I will figure things out, but I was quite disappointed by my internal compass. Alas, pride comes before a fall.

I'm thankful for familiar landmarks. I can't imagine what it would be like to be really, truly lost. Sometimes I get confused and I'm not certain of the way, but there is always someone or something to point it out to me.

OOO so deep. Someone go make that last bit your facebook status and impress all your friends with how deep you are!