January 31, 2007
Sigh. I need to prep for tomorrow.
The problem is, the easy run is a whole lot longer and steeper than the baby run that I'd been on. A whole lot. I might be able to turn, but going fast is not my favourite thing. Especially when I'm doing something new. (Like when I first started driving - I remember going 30 down Elmira, in the big van with my brother...Now, I'm hardpressed to do less than 60 on that same road.) So the big hill scared me. Quite a bit. It was hard to maintain a reasonable speed. I wiped out three times, and I think that, for those watching, they were decent wipe-outs. No rolling involved, but definitely a massive flail and slide at least once.
I went back for a second attempt. Corey was a great and patient help, and I felt slightly better about my run. Only one wipe-out this time. A spectacular finale at the bottom of the hill, right into the fence where I was attempting to go through the gate to the lift.
Final thoughts: I didn't own the mountain, but it certainly didn't own me either. I'm told it was a good showing for my first ever attempt. I would only go back if I had another patient friend to coax me down the big hill. I may be sore tomorrow.
I am delaying the serious posts because I don't want to post about serious thoughts these days. I think about them enough without putting them out here. This has been my light-hearted outlet for the last little while. Not that the rest of my life is gloom and doom. I had quite a fun time this past week. Especially at the Japanese restaurant on Thursday.
January 30, 2007
January 29, 2007
1. I have an appointment with my account manager on Wednesday to talk about RRSP's. So I've been trying to get an accurate picture of my in-out flow.
2. This has reminded me that I need to pay back my parents the 4 grand or so that I owe them for my degree. The downfall of owing parents over the bank is that the parents don't remind you and it doesn't get done. At least, this is true of my parents.
3. I am going skiing tomorrow, for the first ever time. It will probably be around $100 for lift/rental/lesson. More or less, depending on the use of a coupon owned by someone else.
4. I was informed today that the Canadian dollar is falling. True or not, I don't know. I am sad that it may affect my purchasing of British pounds for my voyage next month. I also need to purchase, before my travels, a compact umbrella and a thing-that-lets-me-plug-in-my-electronics. I forget what it would be called.
5. This is the big one: I bought a digital camera today. I am a terrible shopper. I think I'm firm in what I want, but then I go all compromising. One of my friends, actually two, recommended the camera shop I went to. She also said they don't try selling you things you don't need. I'm not sure I fully agree with that, but then again, I am too easily persuaded...I spent more than I'd planned, but I like it. It's recent, so hopefully it will not be outdated in a year. On the downside, that means its longevity and overall quality is less widely known. I also got an extended warranty which I thought was a reasonable price. I am going to read the manual tonight on my way to small group.
I generally have difficulty spending large amounts of money at once. Anything over $40, I hesitate on. This is perhaps good, but there ought to be some sort of freedom to make wise choices and investments. Or freedom to make unwise choices and learn from them. Generally, I think I need to pay more attention to my money. I seem to think I'm fairly conservative, but then I wonder where all my money goes...I've been tracking this for the past few months, and as frustrating as I find it, it's good for me. Mostly, I spend it on food. I eat out too often. And it's starting to show. sigh. But that is a topic for another day.
Anyway, Nadine "tagged" me, and wants me to do the following:
1. Grab the book nearest me.
2. Turn to page 123.
3. Read four sentences down.
4. Record the following three sentences.
5. Name the author and title.
6. "Tag" three people to do the same.
As you wish, Nadine. I sort of cheated cause the book closest to me right now isn't the book closest to me when I read the "tag." But since I don't know how these things work, maybe I'm not cheating.
"It tires me just thinking about it. Sabbath-keeping was always meant to be robust, not this picking of the bones.
There is a word you may not know, or if you do, likely never use: synecdoche."
- The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan
(for the record, I do know the word synecdoche. But since I have to stop at 3 sentences, you'll have to google the definition)
Now, I'm not usually a participater in these types of chain things. So if my tag-ees rebel and refuse to play along, I'm down with that. But I'll put it out there anyway - I think I'd like to hear what Katie, Vanessa and Jevin are reading.
P.S. I just realized I am reading a book on rest and complaining about my need for it. Hm. Maybe I should pay attention to what I'm reading...
January 25, 2007
Disclaimer: If you watch the movie, it will be a complete waste of your time. It is quite possibly the dumbest movie I've ever sat through. It is not believable or even plausible. But, if watched with the right friends, it is hilarious. On your own...that's a whole 'n0ther ball game.
"So cute! Buh-bye!"
January 23, 2007
I chickened out of aquafit tonight. Wendy is sick, and I wasn't making a solo-swimsuit appearance. Instead, I will use my exercise ball while watching House. And do laundry. That burns 100 calories or so, right?
I am neither ambivalent nor overtly-interested in the Pickton trial. It is everywhere, and I have not made up my mind on its role as what some might call "info-tainment," like a live CSI or Law & Order.
Lyrics of the night. A new song for me, by an amazing band called Leeland.
Wounded and forsaken
I was shattered by the fall
Broken and forgotten
Feeling lost and all alone
Summoned by the King
Into the Master’s courts
Lifted by the Savior
And cradled in His arms
I was carried to the table
Seated where I don’t belong
Carried to the table
Swept away by His love
And I don’t see my brokenness anymore
When I’m seated at the table of the Lord
I’m carried to the table
The table of the Lord
Fighting thoughts of fear
And wondering why He called my name
Am I good enough to share this cup
This world has left me lame
Even in my weakness
The Savior called my name
In His Holy presence
I’m healed and unashamed
You carried me, my God
You carried me
January 22, 2007
Rwanda Genocide...but this time it's in the Congo.
"At the centre of the conflict are two people groups: the Lendu and the Hema. Each is vying for power, potentially at the cost of wiping out an entire people group. Suliman Baldo, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch returned from the region last month warning of the gravity of the situation. Alarmingly, he explained, the two tribes have begun to identify themselves with the Hutu and Tutsi tribes of Rwanda. "The two groups have competed for control of the land for a long time, but these identifications and the connection they have to genocide threaten to transform the struggle into something far more devastating."
In every village, people tell of family members murdered, children kidnapped and forced to be soldiers or sex slaves. Violence is a part of daily life and forgiveness is a foreign concept. The spirit of injustice and hatred reign in this nation of 63 million people."
I guess some of us are getting a second chance to do something.
I am totally sucked in by The Office. This is a new and humbling feeling for me, being a little bit of a TV series follower. I used to take great pride in my non-addiction to TV. I might go so far as to say my disregard for most things television. Irregardless, I watched the episode that I missed on Thursday. And when Jim nodded that yes, he still had feelings for Pam, I just about lost it. But I don't watch this show just for the romance - the pranks and general staff interaction are greatly awkward and hilarious. Welcome back, Dwight. So long, annoying Andy.
My hair trim resulted in a slightly shorter cut than I'd originally planned. It's my own fault for doing it myself and thinking I'm all as good as a hairdresser, which I'm clearly not. I don't think it's butchered, by any means. Just short. And apparently short makes me look young, which I definitely needed no help with.
Last night, I had a great night of fellowship, food and small group interacting (my favourite type) with a few friends - two married couples and my also single-and-straight-girlfriend. I was anticipating a night of lighthearted games, and got an evening of deep conversations. But I appreciated it. Actually, I was caused to think more deeply than I have for awhile about what I do and why. This was good for me. We also talked about adoption and foster care, and I realized how far away those possibilities even seem. I had a moment of that "playing grown-up" feeling, where my married friends seem far more advanced than I am, by virtue of their married-ness alone. Even if they do parkour.
My pastor's message this morning, entitled "Faith or Fame" was a good addendum to last night's discussion. I am now processing, but will refrain from using this space to do so. I think some things are best processed privately, or at least in person.
I'm now officially procrastinating and should go to bed. If you want to waste some time, watch parkour videos online. Or freerunning.
January 20, 2007
I am not sure if I'm being vain, posting all these pictures. If you think I am, feel free to disregard them all. I'm definitely excited about photography these days. And desperately wishing I had any sort of zoom function on my camera.
*Katie V and I had a phone date the other evening. We opted for the cheap option of VoIP, and paid the price of cutting in and out, spending five minutes messing with volume, and generally being creeped out by the sound of voices in our heads. Was it worth it? Definitely. As I rambled away about things God has taught me and various moments in my life, I felt so inadequate to even communicate my own experiences. I don't much like that feeling, when what I say and what I remember seem to be completely separate from one another. But it was good to chat with Katie, and I'd do it again any day. Just not every day.
* Thursday was a big day on campus: our part of Expressions of Jesus week was a Story of the Soul: looking at the theme of true love through the lens of popular culture, then relating it to who God is. We watched clips from Forces of Nature and Hotel Rwanda and listened to the song As the Years Go By by Mashmakhan. After each one we had small group discussion on questions like: "As in the song, we often say "I love you" but mean something else. Why do we do that? How do we know when we really mean it?" or "What does sacrificial love look like in our society, where we are rarely called to jeopardize our personal safety?"
The night ended with a brief tie-it-all-together talk: I had the chance to bring the loose ends into a hopefully coherent explanation of how God is love, and His love alone is unconditional. Of course, we had lots of goodies to eat too. If I haven't given a clear enough explanation, or you want more depth, just let me know...it was a good night with lots of new faces and friends of students.
* After we were done, a bunch of us went to grab something to eat and nearly went into a pub hosting "erotic bingo." I have no idea how that works, and I don't want to know either. Thankfully we realized this at the door and opted out. Up to the other pub in the SUB (ha. pub in the SUB) where the Regent Gospel Choir entertained us, the marimba was played, a Zimbabwe-an danced (and coaxed others into dancing with him) and much general merriment was had. An enjoyable evening all around.
* Friday: opinion board outside of the SUB - "who does UBC think Jesus is?" We got quite the varied response: everything from "the son of God" to "a prophet of Allah" to "un mec plus chouette que les autres" to "a metaphor" or "Jesus confuses me" and even "well he sure can't walk on water like he used to - not since he got those holes in his feet." I had some great conversations with students who are at various places in their spiritual journey. Being told I had "dead hands" when I went back inside was well worth it.
There you have it, folks. You're now up to date on my life. Last night I cut my hair (oh yeah, that's what I was going to tell you, Mom!), and this morning back to the beach. Now I need to bake banana bread for a dinner party tonight. Mmmmm, banana bread.
January 17, 2007
When Wendy and I decided to go to an aquafit class (who doesn't want to start the new year with more exercise?), I was fearful that
a) everyone else would be over 60
b) it would be boring, and
c) the instructor would be either annoyingly bubbly or harshly demanding.
I was misled in all my preconceptions! There was a mix of ages, and even a couple of men. The workout was actually a good pace - not overly easy, and I felt a bit tired but not sweaty! at the end of the hour. And our instructor: cheerful and sweet. I liked her, and I think she looked a bit like my cousin, Lisa. Although I'm not sure I can picture you leading an aquafit class, Lisa...
Consensus: I'm going back next week! But I think I need a better bathing suit...the one I've got isn't exactly work-out gear. Not that it's scandalous, just wedgie-prone. Now that I've overshared on a public space...
After exercise, I had some movie screening to do (this was hard work, folks, but it had to be done for our Story of the Soul cafe on Thursday). First up: Hotel Rwanda. I watched it once in Montreal, and even though I knew what I was in for (I kept remembering what was going to happen about a scene before it did), I had trouble watching parts, and definitely felt a few tears leak out. For those of you who haven't seen it, watch it. I want to read Romeo Dallaire's Shake Hands With the Devil now too.
Between movies (the other required viewing was Forces of Nature, which I got very angry with, but thankfully it redeemed itself in the final moments), we talked briefly about the so what? implications of what we'd just seen. The genocide in Rwanda is not an isolated event. And we in the western world did exactly what Joaquin Phoenix predicted: watched it on the evening news, said "Oh my God, that's horrible!" and went back to eating our supper.
I was nine years old then, and knew little if anything about it. But now I am twenty-two, and similar genocides are taking place, as I type, around the world. But what can I do? I don't even know. If I did, would I do it? Again, I don't even know. My apathy and comfort as a North American urban-dweller may actually be to my detriment. At the end of time, what level of responsibility will I have for my inaction and the far-reaching impact it may have had? James wrote in his letter, "Anyone then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."
As Wendy said last night, "I think our apathy is going to count against us more than we think."
January 14, 2007
1. Always take extra batteries.
2. It is hard to take pictures with your mitts on.
3. If you aren't wearing mitts, your hands will get cold when you are standing under dripping icicles.
4. When you're outside, taking pictures of the same thing from many angles makes drastic changes with the lighting.
5. If you want to take pictures of people, you need a camera with a big zoom. Or you need their permission.
6. Even with a crappy camera, if you take enough pictures, you'll can still get a few good ones.
January 13, 2007
* Thursday starts with some heartfelt prayer, telling God that I needed Him to be God, because otherwise the whole idea of what I do is pretty pointless.
* I sit down in the cafeteria to do some work on my laptop. Four guys are sitting at the other end, and I catch snippets of their conversation "....God lets us choose....what about....so what if someone is religious and then isn't?..." I glance over, discreetly, but they notice. Since we both knew I was listening in, I eventually ask, "Mind if I jump in on the conversation?"
They're fine with that, and for the next half hour or so, two agnostics, a southern baptist, and a "christian-but-more-liberal-than-him" and I talk about God, what it means to be a Christian (not just going to church and not getting drunk) and how you can know something in your head and never act on it. Eventually, they ask me what I'm studying...I tell them I actually am not a student, and invite them to our Story of the Soul next week. They're interested.
The southern baptist guy sticks around for a couple minutes more and says to me, "You are an answer to prayer. Thank you." I smile, shake my head at how God orchestrates these things and then rush to finish my neglected work...
* Later, Wendy and I start a conversation with a girl...as we talk about her thoughts on whether God exists or not, we ask, "If it were possible to know God personally, would you want to?" She answers, "How would you do that?" Well, let me tell you...
* After our first weekly meeting, I go home, send a few more emails, and spend half an hour laughing loudly at the funniest show on TV: The Office. It feels good to laugh.
* Friday morning again starts with prayer, this time as a staff team. After meeting up with some girls who are going to be in my Bible studies, Wendy and I strike up another conversation. This girl is from a Coptic orthodox background, and is interested in studying the Bible with girls from other branches of Christianity.
* Prayer time #2 takes place with a handful of students in our club's office. We happen to pray for the same things that our staff team prayed for in the morning. It seems to me that I am, for once, persisting in prayer.
* Friday night is the kick-off for Expressions of Jesus week here, a collaborative effort between several Christian clubs. Prayer time #3. My first thought is I'm all prayed out. But once we start, I discover that's not fully true. Not only does the night bring students together for a time of praise and prayer, but I meet a few staff with other organizations; it's true, we're not the only ones God is using! I make my first (I think) trip to Denny's after. Fun times are had with students, I laugh and car dance on the way home.
My whiteboard is officially becoming a quote board, now that I have a Palm Pilot for jotting down notes. The inaugural quote: "Gonorrhea doesn't forgive, Beth."
January 11, 2007
Busyness kills the heart.
And then the moment of reckoning comes - when we must meet the situation with genuine, heartfelt compassion, wisdom, courage - and nothing's there, only grim resignation and a dull resentment that we got dragged into this.
Busyness makes us stop carrying about the things we care about.
And not only that. Busyness robs us of knowing God the way we might.
~ from The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan
January 10, 2007
These girls don’t know each other, but they all have two things in common. Three, actually:
1.They are my friends.
2. Today is their birthday.
3. We met through the lovely organization I now work for.
So on this day, I salute each one of these am-asian (yes, that is a contraction of amazing + asian) girls.
Peggy: my staff mentor out here in Vancouver, Peggy has been working on campus for nearly ten years. She is the mother of two lovely children (one born just last month), and is a shining example of serenity. I have heard rumours of her bearing the nickname “the peaceful Buddha” for reasons which are quite obvious. A) She is ridiculously peaceful and B) she was (but no longer is) pregnant. Hence the belly. I am privileged to work with her and confident I’ll be learning a lot from her in the months to come. And borrowing her sleeping baby to cuddle.
HiuKei: Hiuks and I met in
Karen: We met in
Bonne Fete, mes belles amies!!!
5. Eating much yummy food and feeling loved.
4. Walking from the bus in the dark & hail/snow/rain listening to Sufjan Stevens.
3. Almost falling asleep in the corner while baby Meaghan slept on my chest.
2. Three mix CDs from the wonderful Singaporean, Joy!
1. The student who wrote, "You're a day closer to being w/ Jesus!" on my card.
Thanks, all. 'Twas grand. And yes, I know the fork game.
January 8, 2007
I wanted to walk along the beach this afternoon, but didn't get a chance before it got dark. And now I don't know if it's sketchy or if I'm just a little bit paranoid. Also, it was spitting, and I'm notorious for disliking the rain. So it might be another quiet night in after all.
Thanks for the emails and e-cards (I love Hoops and Yo-Yo, so FIVE cards in FIVE minutes was wonderful, Lyds), the phone calls, two text messages (in all honesty, I didn't recognize the # of either sender, and they didn't tell me their names. But whoever you are...thanks) and the one bouquet of flowers. I was petrified as to who sent it...it turned out alright.
January 7, 2007
The lyrics don't fit perfectly with my own life, but there are two major similarities. The singer's awareness of his inability to live life on his own resonates with me, and I've found myself praying the chorus fairly regularly over the past couple of weeks.
Similarity number 2: my twenty-second birthday is tomorrow. I will note, however, that I was born on a Tuesday, not a Thursday, and people here do know about it.
Lyrics are as follows:
I wish I had what I need
To be on my own
'Cause I feel so defeated
And I'm feeling alone
And it all seems so helpless
And I have no plans
I'm a plane in the sunset
With nowhere to land
And all I see
It could never make me happy
And all my sand castles
Spend their time collapsing
Let me know that You hear me
Let me know Your touch
Let me know that You love me
Let that be enough
It's my birthday tomorrow
No one here could now
I was born this Thursday
22 years ago
And I feel stuck
Watching history repeating
Yeah, who am I?
Just a kid who knows he's needy
Let me know that You hear me
Let me know Your touch
Let me know that You love me
And let that be enough
January 6, 2007
Today, I am enjoying my solitude.
January 5, 2007
I am on hold with Bell. Surprise, surprise. I just want my bill to be delivered...
I haven't written on here much lately, and I haven't missed it as much as I thought I would. Probably because it's easy not to write about the deep lessons I'm learning. Those are things I like to keep hidden, although they should probably be something I'm most willing to share with others. More to come on that.
I raided Lydia's musical list as I had some free downloads of indie music. I am now officially a fan of: The Format, Sufjan Stevens, The Salads, and Moby (I know, not on her list). Although I like Moby's music, I don't know how fully I agree with his beliefs. In fact, I don't think we agree too closely. From what I've seen/read (and granted, I could be wrong), his approach to Christianity is to see it as a social justice program. This is partially right. Jesus was quite big into loving the outcasts and fringe people. But that wasn't the extent of his purpose here on earth, and when we limit Him to that, Christianity is no longer about a relationship with God...
Anyway, his music is fun, but you probably won't find me buying his albums anytime soon.