June 29, 2007

Rhett & Link

These guys are my new heroes. They used to work for the same peeps that I do. Rumour mill has it they are soon to host a TV show on viral videos. They're pretty much famous.

End of story - go subscribe to their podcast.

Oh, and for another hilarious video visit this friend's blog.

{I've fixed that broken link...}

June 28, 2007

Word of the Day

Sometimes in class, one of my friends and I pick words that we hear and challenge each other to try and use throughout the course of the day. They have included:

antinomy
ontological

And apparently I can't remember any of the others. Oh well.

I just looked up a word that was used in correcting one of my assignments, and am giving it official "word of the week" status. It is: hendiadys. It means:

A figure of speech in which two words connected by a conjunction are used to express a single notion that would normally be expressed by an adjective and a substantive, such as grace and favor instead of gracious favor.

I am going to use it sometime before the start of classes on Monday.

June 27, 2007

Dream Interpretation

What does it mean when you dream that you are pregnant? Is it different if you're actually just carrying a girl friend's baby for a little while so that she can have a break?

I was on a boat with a guy friend and he wanted to feel the (but not my) baby kick. The captain showed us how to release some machine in the bathroom in case we were sinking so that it would float and they wouldn't lose all the money it cost. Instead of lifejackets, we were strapped to the ceiling like bumper cars. When we went on deck, a girl I knew (but don't actually) accidentally pressed the panic button on her ring that would summon someone to the bathroom if there was a crisis. Then the boy told me that he'd broken up with his girlfriend (he doesn't have one) and I knew, although he didn't say, that he was in love with me.

What does it mean when you dream that you have lice and you let someone haphazardly cut out the ends of your hair where the lice are found?

There is more to this dream, but I can't remember it. I got the lice from a little girl. And there was something else importnat going on...but I don't know what.

I don't usually dream this vividly...

June 25, 2007

Like Icing

A sunset hike last night with Justin, Brad and Wendy was the icing on the cake of a great weekend. Such perfect weather and great company. Here are a couple of pictures from the top.
I don't know why they're all looking so silly...
I'm not sure you can fully tell from my hair, but the wind was really quite gusty on the rockface.Not only was the view great, but we met some fellow hikers - a family with three young kids and a beautiful dog who were excited to meet us and extended an invitation to come over for a bonfire sometime! I'm eagerly anticipating the details of that unfolding. It's always fun to be the unusual Canadians. Unusual in a good way, I'm quite sure.

Hiking back down was my favourite part, I think. It was much less sweaty as the breeze picked up and the temperature cooled off a bit. Also, it was going downhill (we gained 1 000 ft in elevation over 1.7 miles on the way up, which we did in 45 minutes), and every so often, in the open meadows, the moon was strong enough that you could actually see your shadows. So lovely.

June 22, 2007

Week 1

So, at the end of a week of classes, I can quite honestly say that I'm enjoying myself. I apparently missed having group discussions and doing assignments. I'm loving hanging out with people who live 3 doors down from me, and trying to figure out when pick-up frisbee is happening.

I am slightly less enthused about biking to class at 7:30 in the morning, or the bruises that must be forming on my behind from the anciet seat on my ancient bicycle. I am also slightly less enthused to discover that the money I thought would last me a long time is already dwindling away.

Other than the minor things, I'm learning lots and glad that God (and the national leadership team) know better than I and sent me here even though I really didn't want to come when I first found out.

I need to do something exciting and then have something to blog about.

June 19, 2007

Wait!

Do you ever have a moment where you think to yourself, Wait! What on earth am I doing? Why am I doing this? What am I thinking - is this a good idea or am I completely out of my mind?

I just had one of those. I hate decisions and second-guessing myself.

In other news, I am officially out of my Calgary exerciseless/bad-eating slump. Yesterday I went for a jog at the gym. Today I biked to class and back (25 minutes each way) and played a good 2 hours of ultimate. It feels good, except for the top of my foot where I got stepped on.

Can't wait for tomorrow...or the next two weeks, where I'll essentially do the same thing again and again.

June 16, 2007

10 Hours Down - 7 To Go

Montana is big and empty and beautiful. Delicious dinner at The Cracker Barrel (mmmm, goodness) and a decent sleep in my car. After a couple droplets of water, I chickened out of sleeping under the stars. Thanks to wireless at the world's first KOA, I am able to say that I am alive and well...and enjoying the sights. Here are a couple of my favourite pics from yesterday's drive.

June 15, 2007

10 Things I'll Miss

...About Calgary:

1. Sunset at 10:30pm
2. Being fed. I think I bought groceries twice in the last six weeks.
3. Watching Remington Steele with Amanda, Teen Girl Squad with Amanda, Tara & Vaness ("Grood. I mean good. And great. Great and good.")
4. Late night talks with JC and Tara.
5. Discipleship and Bible study with my girls.
6. Food group and random questions: If you had to nuke a country, which one would you pick and why?
7. Living with lots of people that I like.
8. Unpredictable weather. NOT.
9. Being in Canada (is it bad that I'm nervous about going to Stateside for a month?).
10. Watching students change and grow, even in six short weeks - who knows what the next 6 will hold!?

June 13, 2007

Roughing It In the Bush

This past weekend was our final staff to student hand-off. For a weekend away we headed out to Blue Bronna Wilderness Camp – an experience I highly recommend if you happen to be in Alberta. I had the privilege of driving in the luggage-mobile with one of our students. Here’s the view as we headed into the foothills:

I really do enjoy a weekend away from the city, from the internet and my cell phone. Sleeping in tents, eating food cooked over a fire and propane stove. Singing around a campfire in the dark. Rock climbing, rappelling. Then a trail ride. One of the highlights of the weekend was, by far, the trail ride.

I was excited for a horseback ride, especially after visiting Spruce Meadows (home of Canada’s most expensive grass and the largest jumping purse in the world) on Friday. Saturday’s horses weren’t exactly thoroughbreds, but they were gorgeous and relatively obedient. At one point, as we maneuvered our way over and under fallen trees, I found my horse going under the lower side of a fallen tree. As much as I tried to coax him to where I could duck under, he was insistent on where he was going…which left me with a wrist-thick tree pressing against my stomach, my horse refusing to back up, and me wondering how long before I admit defeat and slide off his back to avoid internal injuries.

As I was contemplating this, there came a large snap. And then another. And then…the tree fell away and my horse walked on. That’s right. With my abs of steel I broke a tree in two. Or something like that. This is the tree, about 5 minutes before I conquered it:

Highlight #2 is a bit more vague – the general fun of hanging out with all the project people, whether sitting eating meals, waiting around the campfire for our session to begin, or hanging out in our cozy tent late at night. It was great to look around and see the people God brought to Calgary, the work He’s doing in their hearts.

As we packed up on Sunday afternoon, we celebrated the fact that there had been no serious injuries – a couple falls from horses, but nothing major or permanent. Tara, Brighid and I packed up the van and headed off behind the bus. I had never driven Brighid’s van before, but she was tired from her 5am hike, so I spent the first part of the dirt roads getting a feel for it. It definitely drifted to the right, but that was no surprise, since she’d commented on the way up that the brakes needed aligning. She’d also commented that she wished she had the tools to do it herself, since she’d taken a couple autoshop courses in high school (I was notably impressed).

50 kilometres later, still on the dirt roads, I thought to myself, something feels a little funny. I slowed down to 40 (from 60ish), trying to figure out if it was the car or just a rough patch of road. We hit another series of potholes, and then I realized that even though it felt like we were on potholes, we weren’t. Something was definitely wrong. I took us around the corner and pulled over to the side of the road. Got out, checked the tires on my side, walked behind the van, and saw this:

So out we got. Brighid knows how to change tires, and surprise surprise, we just happened to have a full-sized spare and a jack in the back. Well that’s all fine and dandy, but the van was too low to get the jack under. And it was starting to rain. We waved at a car driving by, and three able-bodied men pulled over to help us out. Awhile later, with our tire changed, we were headed off to fill it up and get gas for the rest of the way home.

The whole situation reeked of God’s sovereignty – we had unknowingly missed our turn off and were headed further south than we’d intended. However, if we’d made the turn, the tire would have died roughly 70 kilometres from anything, where few people pass by and there is no cell phone reception. Instead, we were barely 5 kilometres from Crowsnest Pass, where vehicles passed by almost every ten minutes and we could easily get air and gas. Also, our good Samaritan friends (Mike, Jones and Corey), happened to have a jack with them, which we ended up needing as ours wasn’t stable. It also took two of them to loosen the lug nuts – something that we couldn’t have done on our own, even if Brighid did know what to do. And a tire as shredded as ours had to have been under some serious pressure for awhile – yet we didn’t lose control on any of the gravel roads with sharp inclines on either side. Plus, who carries a full-sizes spare tire and jack in the back of their car when they’re piling it full of luggage? Yes, God is good.

June 7, 2007

Welling Up

These past few weeks, I've had a number of moments where my eyes have, of their own accord, filled up with tears that have not quite spilled over. At first, I thought it might be some variety of monthly moodiness, but it's gone on for too long. And they've all been around a common theme - my relationship with God. For a long time, I've been praying that I would fall more in love with God, that my heart would be moved by him and that I would know him with my heart and not just my head.

And it's happening. As I talk with others about some of the things I'm learning, as I share a story from a couple years ago, as I am hit again with the depth of God's gifts for me - I actually feel it.

This afternoon, I had a nap - I felt that I should be doing some more work, but I was so tired. So I rested. When I woke up, later than I'd anticipated, I felt guilty for sleeping so long when I'm supposed to be working. But after a little while, I realized that I was feeling joyful and rejuvenated, not just physically, but spiritually. It was exactly what I had been telling JC the other night - that rest isn't something we earn, but something we get as a blessing, because God loves us and offers us rest in Him.

Hurrah for God teaching me. Hurrah for God breaking me. Hurrah for God enabling me to feel things that I know to be true (exactly what we talked about in study tonight)!

June 6, 2007

11 Km/H

11 km/h. Roughly the average speed of travel as I tried to get home from my ultimate game. Not that I even made it to my ultimate game. This was by far the worst weather I have ever driven in. I was honestly unsure that I would make it home tonight. I didn't think I would die, but I definitely had visions of drowning the car and being stranded in the far southwest of Calgary.

After 20 minutes of not even moving, the fire department arrived and turned us around and sent us up a ramp that was both under construction and intended for the opposite direction of traffic. As I was pulling my U-turn, I realized that I had been roughly 15 cars from a massively flooded underpass. At least 3 vehicles were almost completely submerged. From the turn-around (I figured at this point my game would be cancelled), it took me 2 hours to travel 20 kilometres. I like thunderstorms, and enjoyed the lightning. But after the first half hour, I just wanted to be home.

I definitely spent some of my slow-moving time praying. I don't know what else you do in situations like this. I also took some pictures. They're obviously not the greatest, but here's a taste of where I was:Coming out from the underpass just before the flooded one (although I'm sure this one was flooded before long too).
Water pouring onto the highway.

Water leaking through half finished construction and onto the road.

June 5, 2007

The Gimp

I just got an open-software photo editing program, but I don't know how to use it. And apparently the help files didn't download/install properly. I'm not sure which is more frustrating - having a great program but being incompetent, or not having a good program at all.

June 2, 2007

Fantastic Friday

Given the snow we had last week, it should be no surprise that yesterday was clear and sunny, with a high of 26. For our staff fun, we'd decided to raft down the river through Calgary - an adventure for sure with ten adults and four kids. So two high-quality inflatable rafts, lifejackets for everyone, tow ropes, bagged lunches and some sunscreen met on the shore in Bowness Park. In we hopped and off we went...

On a perfect June day, there's not much better than good company, good water, and men who offer to paddle. Not that we needed to; the current could have just carried us along like we were on Lazy Man's River, only wider and with far less tourist traffic.

As we approached our disembarking location (one hour, one lunch, and five rounds of "Categories" later), I noticed two men on the pedestrian bridge.

"Those guys have a good video camera.
Those guys are definitely video taping us."

Our approach, our landing, our coming a-shore was all video-taped. As we reach the top of the rather steep bank, they approach us - sure enough, they're with Global, doing a special on river safety before the weekend. And could they ask us a couple questions? The other girls quickly nominate me to speak for the girls, so I answer a couple leading questions about being prepared and wearing lifejackets (good thing we followed all the rules!) and what a beautiful day it is. I pretend I know what he's talking about when he mentions the province's plans to rework the dangerous part of the river a little further south. Jamie jumps in and manages to flex for the cameras - then promptly slides down the bank, which is also caught on camera.

It's too bad that we don't get Global, although I think someone taped it. I've never been interviewed for TV before, and I'm not so humble as to pretend it's not going to be the highlight of my day.

After the other boat arrives (and we realize that the keys for the car we parked here are in the car at the other end of our journey), some of us decide to go for a second leg. It is wonderful and relaxing and would only have been better if I'd had more water with me.

The day continues on a high note when dinner is delicious at food group, the company fun and weather - still great. Then off to laser tag for mandatory fun times!! I was pleased with my standings in all the games - the only downer on the day was accomplishing something I can't freely brag about. (Would you rather do something amazing and never be able to tell another soul, or always come in second (accomplish good but not great things), but everyone knows?)

A great start to a weekend with much potential. Today: volleyball tournament and asian night market. Both could be exceptionally fun or exceptionally painful. I'm rooting for fun.

(I just realized I changed tenses several times in this post. Usually I would correct that. I don't have the time nor the inclination to do so today.)