October 31, 2007

Sand & Water

All alone I didn't like the feeling
All alone I sat and cried
All alone I had to find some meaning
In the center of the pain I felt inside

All alone I came into this world
All alone I will someday die
Solid stone is just sand and water, baby
Sand and water, and a million years gone by

I will see you in the light of a thousand suns
I will hear you in the sound of the waves
I will know you when I come, as we all will come
Through the doors beyond the grave

All alone I heal this heart of sorrow
All alone I raise this child
Flesh and bone, he's just
Bursting towards tomorrow
And his laughter fills my world and wears your smile

I will see you in the light of a thousand suns
I will hear you in the sound of the waves
I will know you when I come, as we all will come
Through the doors beyond the grave

All alone I came into this world
All alone I will someday die
Solid stone is just sand and water, baby
Sand and water and a million years gone by
Aurally, I don't really like this song. I've only listened to it half a dozen times. But lyrically...it touches on these things that I think are true:
- loneliness is painful
- we want to find meaning
- we find hope in relationships
- time is inevitable and irreversible

I think my favourite is that last pair: "solid stone is just sand and water...and a million years gone by." It's a sobering thought, and possibly depressing. Makes me wonder if what I do is going to last. Because even if stone doesn't last forever, some things do.

October 30, 2007

Inspiration

I'm lacking in motivation to write blogs. Well, not motivation exactly. But it's been awhile since I've felt truly compelled to write anything. I end up thinking of random snippets on the bus - like how a guy I knew roomed with Colin Firth's step-son at university, and how it is both a big deal and completely nothing at all - but then by the time I get home, I've forgotten completely. Or partially, which is just as useless as forgetting completely.

One of my friends has been doing a series of blog entries on the Big 10. Commandments that is. I really like her style of writing and the way that she processes life, and it seems to me that this discipline of writing on specific topics for a set period of time is probably good, not just for my own thoughts, but for her ruminating and thinking about life. (deep breath) Another friend wrote a great entry on engaging culture as Christians. Both of these are things I think about on an almost daily basis.

Clearly, I can't just copy my friends' ideas or themes. But I do think I can bounce off of them. I've been thinking about it, and I had a bunch of ideas that centred around the music I listen to. I was without my mp3 player on the weekend, and I was reminded again of how much I love music, and how I associate it with different parts of my life. I have thought at times of how some day I'd like to have a blog devoted entirely to music, lyrics and the like. So here's what I'll do. For the rest of the week, I'll hit random play on my playlist. And I'll write a blog incorporating whichever song plays. This could prove interesting...hopefully it goes well.

October 27, 2007

96 Over 54

A giant tea this morning once again proves that caffeine has little to no effect on me. At blood donation time, my pressure was a mere 96/54. I'm surprised they let me give!

I love ceilidhs. Love love love them. I also love my friends. Love love love them. I also love old people. Love love love them.

I got a great deal on shoes today: $20 for $110 Privo-Clarks that will be my new rainy-weather wear.

I love the sunshine.

I am excited for ultimate.

I need to sleep.

Oh, and Jamie and Vanessa had their baby. I am ridiculously excited for them. I loved being a part of the pregnancy during the spring and early summer. I love that I was there when Vanessa first felt little Noah kick. I think they will be wonderful parents. Although, I'm sure they will have their bad days. Don't we all.

I am glad today was not one for me.

October 26, 2007

Starbucks

Waiting in line for my tea, I notice a newspaper stand at the back of the cafe. Please pay for your newspaper at the counter a sign says. I hadn't realized they weren't complimentary. I sit down at a table for two and take out my books. Bible. Journal. With Christ in the School of Prayer. A few minutes later, I look up and around - there's a homeless man out front by the newspaper dispensers. I think to myself, When I'm done, maybe I will buy him something. And I go back to my books.

A middle-aged man in a suit sits down at the table in front of me. He has a blue ribbon pinned to his suit and I wonder what he's supporting. Another man sits at the table next to him, carrying a newspaper in his hand.

"That your lunch?" he asks the blue-ribbon guy. I can't tell if they know each other or if he's just friendly.

"Yeah - my wife gives me hell for eating like this," he laughs as he holds up his purchase: a chocolate chip cookie. I tune out while blue-ribbon guy and newspaper man chat. Newspaper man has one section of the paper on his table, the rest sits on the chair across from him.

A woman in a wheelchair comes in. Someone holds the door for her, and I think, Hm. It's always nice to see people being nice.

Ribbon guy and newspaper man are still chatting. A third man is looking for a seat. Sunglasses, scarf around his neck. He takes the table next to mine, completing the square. Me. Ribbon guy. Newspaper man. Scarf. As he settles in, he reaches back and takes the newspapers off the chair.

Newspaper man doesn't seem to notice. Scarf goes through all the sections, picks the one he wants, and returns the others. Newspaper man is still chatting away with Ribbon guy. Has he noticed this thieving of his paper? Is he bothered? Does Scarf think this is a free-for-all paper?

He starts on the Sudoku and crossword page, oblivious to my disconcerted curiousity.

I look up again at the counter, and someone has brought the homeless guy in. She is buying him a drink. I realize it is my friend, who is compassionate and generous. I like that she is doing this when no one will notice - but I do! I call and wave, and we chat for a bit. She is having friends over at dinner, and then joining my housemates and I at a ceilidh. We're looking forward to it.

A girl comes in, and as I see her walk to the counter, I think, Wow, she's skinny. She's beautiful. And you know what, she's probably not content. I see her bleached hair, and the make-up, and I think, Nope. Definitely not. If only she knew. If only I knew. Why do we never think we're enough? Why are we always one step away from "real" beauty?

Ribbon guy and Newspaper man are talking about stocks and trading and saving up money after they retire. Newspaper man is offering advice and places to start to Ribbon guy. As they talk, I am reading in Luke 12:

Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

The woman in the wheelchair asks someone to get the door for her, and they gladly do. A student, who'd sat down at the table of Scarf after he left (with the uncompleted crossword in his hand), moves to the comfy chairs behind me.

The entire time that I've been there, the 2 comfy chairs in the window have been empty. I went to sit in one when I first came in, but noticed a Tupperware container and a bookbag beside one. So I didn't. The owner had yet to return, and the only solution I could come up with for the owner's identity was that it was a barrista's bag. Someone had sat down on break, left their stuff, and an hour later (at the lunch peak), no one was sitting in the best seats in the house. Until the student took action.

I took my watch off when I sat down, so I pack my Bible and books away, I pull out my cell phone and see the time. An hour has passed. One hour. One table. One journal entry that has ranged from prayers to questions to thoughts on theology to observations of strangers. One perusal of some passages from the Bible.

As I walk out, I'm not sure what I've accomplished exactly. This may not have been the most productive hour of my week. But it was peaceful. It was thoughtful. And I think it was important.

October 24, 2007

Aunt Irma

My favourite TV show at the moment is The IT Crowd. Yes, it is even beating The Office. This episode is possibly one of the funniest ever.

The best conversation starts around the 3:00 mark, and at 5:00 is a line that I will never grow tired of.

Now that I've talked it up, I hope it's still amusing.

October 23, 2007

British vs American

I discovered recently that American fork etiquette is different from Commonwealth etiquette.

If you belong to the Commonwealth, typical usage would be: to cut your food with your fork in the left and knife in the right hand. Then you spear your bite-size piece of meat, with your fork facing down, and eat - fork in your left hand still.

However, in some sort of effort to out British spies at the time of the revolution, Americans decided to do things differently. Americans will cut a piece of meat with fork in left and knife in right hand. Then they will switch the fork to their right hand, and instead of spearing, they will scoop the food on top of the fork.

I have found myself using both methods, as I've thought about this over the past few days. I have distinct memories of my parents teaching me the American style of eating, although I definitely tend toward the Commonwealth style when I'm on my own. It's faster, more convenient, and that's why a fork has tines!

For once in my life, I find an American tradition classier than a Commonwealth methodology.

A Thin Line

There is a fine line between condemning and condoning. It is a hard thing to find sometimes.

Just Before Bed

I have a lot of thoughts rolling around in my head. And they're too big for me to handle tonight. Too big to blog about in any semblance of coherent.

I will say these few things though:
a) I love my church. and I love my church small group.
b) My entire day is so different when I actually start it right. With God.
c) Even half an hour of seeing through the clouds at sunset makes me happy.
d) I really miss my family.

October 21, 2007

Rainy Afternoon Ramble

Justin Timberlake's Love Stoned was playing on the radio as I drove to get groceries. Coming out of the grocery store, it was Summer Love. JT is a secret guilty pleasure. I refuse to download his FutureLoveSexSounds album, but I love hearing his songs on the radio. It's the beats, really. Although I will gladly own that album once I'm married.

Speaking of "guilty pleasures," one of the Vancouver radio stations is called "CraveFM." Their tag lines are something along the lines of What do you crave? A song for every craving. Guilty pleasures are their version of the "way-back play-back" as another station calls them. It's interesting to see how business so easily capitalizes on the fact that we as humans have "cravings." And it's my belief that our cravings are for more than just songs.

I realized a few weeks ago, when contemplating the contest I blogged about, that if I were publishing for something other than pleasure (money, let's say, or because I had such a following that I needed to keep posting), I would put a different level of effort into what I write. I would craft my words and take the time to edit. I love editing. It is also a "guilty pleasure." It's a bit like the difference between an artist's sketchbook and their finished pieces. I feel like this is an assortment of mini sketches that for some reason I'm willing to show to anyone who walks into my art room. Welcome.

I am about to watch movie #3 of the weekend. This is what happens when it rains all day. Every day (my mother was more than willing to rub in the 23 degree sunshine she's had this weekend). It makes me want to sit inside and watch movies. Which I am more than happy to do. So far, I've seen Much Ado About Nothing and A Knight's Tale. Both are tried and true favourites. This afternoon it's Romeo and Juliet.

Last weekend was Shadowlands, an HBO movie staring Anthony Hopkins as CS Lewis. It was gripping and moving. I really, really liked it. I don't know if the quotes I found so profound were things Lewis actually said, but I hope so. Also, I may name my son Jack, after CS. It wouldn't be nice to name him Clive Staples, when he hated that name himself. Also, I am told that any four-letter name is good for a guy.

Movie is starting. More thoughts to possibly follow.

October 18, 2007

Commercials & Babies

Yesterday, I ate a Teen Burger at A&W. It was delicious! Today I saw the commercial that advertises them 2 for $6...the guy in it also does improv on Granville Island, and I've seen him there a couple times. I feel like I know someone famous.

Another commercial laments the lack of commitment in our world today, and how easy it is to go for new - a new nose, a new job, a new spouse...yet somehow, it's an ad for some sort of car. I didn't actually catch what sort.

I was reminded today of a hilarious moment earlier this fall. At lunch after our leaders' training day, a rather small child, a baby actually, needed a diaper change - badly. As someone was changing her diaper, this baby got very upset. She started screaming. Her father came in to help. She continued crying. Wailing. She wailed so hard that she started peeing. She managed, in fact, to pee on the student changing her diaper. At the time, none of us laughed. But today, as everyone was wearing clean clothes, it was a very funny memory.

One Day Early

Last night, I went to check the GlobalTV site to see what was on, since I was actually home for once. For some reason, the list for tonight's shows was on instead...I panicked for a moment, thinking I'd missed The Office - but then I realized it was just a day ahead.

It reminded me of a TV show I used to love. This guy in NY got the paper for the next day - before anything happened. Then he had to go around and prevent houses from burning down, or students from causing a fight, or stop a sting operation from going wrong...I don't remember the name of the show. But I do remember there was always a cat when the newspaper got dropped off.

October 17, 2007

You Are Mine

My newest highly-enjoyed band is Mute Math. I went to see them with "Fun City" last month, and have since been listening to their album on repeat.

They put on a sweet live show, and their lyrics are great. The song entitled "You Are Mine" is my current anthem/prayer. Knowing that these guys are Jesus-people, I know who they're talking about...but for others who listen & sing along, I wonder who it is that this refers to:

Everyone has their obsession
consuming thoughts
consuming time
they hold high their prized possession
it defines the meaning of their life

You are mine

They're our objects of affection
that can mesmerize the soul
there is always one addiction
that just can not be controlled

You are mine

October 14, 2007

Birthdays & Anniversaries

Today is a special day for 2 reasons.

Reason #1: I moved here to BC one year ago today. Happy Anniversary, Vancouver life!
Reason #2: It is my friend Laura's birthday. Happy Birthday, Laura!

I started off the day with the wonderful sunrise drive. It was fantastic. Next up: ultimate! Surprise, you get to play two games, not just one! And you get to borrow/have (hopefully keep) a real GAIA jersey. Next up: gelato as a reward. Let's put on every calorie we may have burned off... Back to the house for cleaning. Shower. Banter with roommates. Bake. Off to Laura's! Food. Laughter. Fun people. Games.

Ten selected things I love about Laura.
1. She's funny.
2. She's warm-hearted and welcoming.
3. She's wise.
4. She's musical.
5. She loves Jesus.
6. She is laid-back.
7. She knows herself.
8. She likes me.
9. She bakes delicious foods. Like tonight's chocolate mousse. Mmmmm.
10. She is confident.

October 13, 2007

Sun-what?


sunrise
Originally uploaded by bethaf.
I don't remember the last time I saw a sunrise. But this morning I drove a friend to the ferry terminal, and I was full of exclamation and awe as I watched the sky lighten. It was beautiful. It made being up at 6:30am worth it.

October 11, 2007

Diverse Discussion

Tonight was full of deep and meaningful conversation.

Dinner with my good friend Amy resulted in covering several important topics relating to faith, identity, the Bible, and sexuality. This topic has come up several times recently, and our general feeling, as single Jesus-loving women in their twenties is that "Christians" have tended to one of two extremes - either neglecting God's call to sexual purity and living in indulgence to our whims; or confusing purity with a-sexuality, refusing to recognize that sexuality is a God-given part of our design, not something that is magically made at the moment of marriage. Neither end of the spectrum is on target, but what that middle-ground looks like is not entirely sure either.

Back at home, the housemates and our cool musician friend are eating delicious Moroccan style stew. Jane and Kurt have finally met, after living in the same house (technically) for roughly 6 weeks. We sit around the table for the next two and a half hours, are joined by Wendy and one of our students, and cover topics as diverse as childbirth & pregnancy (the things I learn, having a med student around...), mental illnesses, languages, Quebec, and more childbirth. Someone's chair collapses on them when they are getting up. They end up on the floor. Whoops.

Walking my student-friend home when everyone is finally leaving the dining room, we talk about coming to terms with death (her dad has aggressive cancer and less than a month to live), and I listen as she processes the things that are going on. My heart breaks for her and her family, but I am incredibly glad that they have hope. Next month is not the end, and there is a greater purpose. This subplot somehow connects to the main thread of the story of creation and Christ, and when we read the final chapter...it's going to be a happy ending.

I am glad for the quiet walk home. And I'm thankful for a quiet room to call my own.

October 9, 2007

Horror Flicks

I don't watch horror flicks. But as we were sitting in the living room tonight, Dan commented that we (Dan, Andrew, Wendy and I - the staple members of "Fun City") could be the cast to a horror flick. As the discussion progressed, we debated who the murderer would be - apparently he/she is an outsider, not one of us - and who would survive. The three of them unanimously agreed that I would make it. Possibly one of the guys. Definitely not Wendy.

I feel honoured. And confident that I'll never ever ever have to prove them right.

October 8, 2007

Sunshine


leaves & sky
Originally uploaded by bethaf.
It might not be as warm as Ontario, but it was a beautiful sunshine-y day today. I finally went for a jog. And I finally took some pictures. I haven't taken a lot of photos since my holidays.

This weekend has been great.

First Ever Top Five

My friend Kelley hasn't blogged in a couple of months, but she used to do all sorts of "Top 5" lists, which were always fun to read. So, in honour of her (and the holiday tomorrow), my first (and quite possibly last), "Top 5" List.

Top 5 Families I'd Spend Thanksgiving With.

5. The Colleys - I think I would like Laura's family. Actually, I know I would. Plus, if she learned to make tea from her mom, I will drink tea ALL DAY. Maybe I'll even forgo dinner.
4. The MacGregors - they're pretty much second family to me. I always enjoy my time with them and the exciting new dishes that Aunt Buffy makes.
3. The Browns - of the Meredith variety. And Jillian and Benton and Jordan. And their Mom and Dad. In beautiful Haliburton. Love that family.
2. The Ayers - I actually did spend Thanksgiving with them today, and it was just fantastic. They're a great couple I've known my whole life, and I enjoyed interacting with them as an adult. Also, they are incredibly funny.
1. The Fisher/Werdens (aka my own family) - I miss them and I love them and we always have a great time playing euchre and crokinole. It's sad to be away from them.

October 6, 2007

Signage

I've always loved reading signs (it must be a part of my incredible thirst for literature - I read almost compulsively), and there were three rather smug signs on our trip to Bellingham.

Sign #1 stood in front of a farm: "FLORA - Health Products from God's Pharmacy." I also noticed three other "signs" in front of their fields: a miniature Statue of Liberty, then a large American flag, and finally some sort of light-thing that read "Old Glory." Funny how ten minutes across the border, faith and patriotism manifest themselves rather differently.

Sign #2 is visible as you wait to cross into Canada: "British Columbia - Canada." But not until you're at the border can you read the side banner. It proudly proclaims, "The Best Place On Earth!" I love BC, and it’s really a great place to live. But for a people who generally find Torontonians (and all Ontarions) too big for their britches...well, it's highly amusing to me, who’s a bit from both worlds.

Sign #3 surprised me, small and brown and just after the "Host of the 2010 Olympics" boards. It took me back, because as it stated what I consider the obvious, it made me wonder if perhaps I am naive in the way I perceive the world - especially my own country. You see, I live in "Vancouver: A Nuclear Weapons Free Zone."

October 5, 2007

Lynsenator

I really like my roommate Lynsey. Today is a day off, and we are going to the States. Hurrah for Kohls and Ross and Target!

Also, when I told Lynsey about the super-annoying bathroom ad, she did a dramatic reenactment of another ad she'd seen. One with a man gutted by a pole and with blood coming out his mouth...

I thought she was joking. Or exaggerating.

Turns out she's not. The guy is sitting on a construction site, speared through the stomach by an iron rod. And there is blood coming out of his mouth.

WorkSafeBC really wants us to be safe. So they're grossing us out while we try to empty our systems...Very helpful. I no longer have any desire to be a construction worker. Oh wait, I never did.

October 4, 2007

Saliva Should Be Neither Seen Nor Heard

If I had a Blackberry, I could blog about my witty thoughts as soon as I think them and not rely on my ability to remember them later. I often don't. Unless I'm in a meeting with someone. Which is actually when most of my ideas occur - mid-conversation when I can do nothing about it.

Behind me, there are kissy noises interspersed with talking. I am assuming a couple is sitting there, but I am not exactly looking. I do not like kissy noises. I am grossed out by any sort of noises in which you can hear saliva. These include: people talking with ill-fitted dentures, kissing noises, chewing with the mouth open, chawing on gum, and Sarah's scratching of the roof of her mouth (how her mouth gets "itchy" is beyond me).

It Never Rains But It Pours

Ok, so clearly this is my third post in roughly 3 hours. Lucky you.


Sometimes when I hear news, it doesn't really surprise me. It's almost as if I already knew. Or that it just seems right - even if it's not easy news. Like when my childhood pastor decided to leave our church, or the news that my parents are trying to sell the house, or the friends that have dated on and off and decided in August to get married in December.

But sometimes, news takes you by storm, and even though it's not surprising, you weren't ready for it. I hate news like that. Correction. I don't hate the news - I hate that my heart will not respond graciously and humbly when I want it to. And I realize that what I said I felt in my heart and what I do feel are not the same. Which means I have either been lying to myself or I don't even know myself. Possibly I have been lying to myself because I don't want to know myself.

Which is more unpleasant: not knowing myself, or knowing myself and not liking what I know?
I'm not sure.

October 3, 2007

Contest

I was recently made aware that CBC is running a contest/game thing and I'm now rereading 2.5 years of blogs to see if I have anything worth entering. If you have a favourite entry...let me know. If I enter it and win, I'll go halvsies with you on the winnings. Or invite you over to watch satellite TV with me.

Actually, come to think of it, I don't actually care to win the prizes. I just want to win. I want to be "famous. " I want to be the best in Canada at something.

I wonder what sort of categories I could even compete for the "best in Canada" award...or what "best in Canada" awards I would give to people I know.

A List

of things that made me happy today:

  • listening to my ponytail swishing against my jacket, because it means that my hair is getting long.
  • spending a little $ on long-distance phoning, because it means I got to talk to Heather.
  • laughing with Sarah and Lynsey, because we're friends, not just coworkers.
  • sitting on Vanessa's couch, because I didn't have to shout over the hordes in the caf for her to hear me as we talked.
  • knowing there are leftovers in our fridge, because I made a deliciously creamy sweet-potato yesterday. (Sweet potatoes. Yams. I never know which is which, and I don't know why they're called by one name in one country, and switched around in other places. For the record, I consider the orange vegetables sweet potatoes, and the pale yellow ones to be yams. Also, I am probably missing the most delicious sweet potato casserole ever, made by my Uncle Les, as I spend my first ever Thanksgiving away from home.)
  • looking at the flowers I bought myself for no reason at all.
  • planning, for a few brief moments, a spontaneous trip to Peru this weekend. If I had looked 3 days sooner, I would be going.
  • laughing, in my head, as I think about what I'd write on here today if I could select the readers (largely, if I could share stories with only my female audience).

October 1, 2007

Exciting Times

On Thursday, I had the incredible experience of helping walk someone through the decision to make Jesus a part of her life. It blew my mind (literally) to see what God has been doing in her heart and to be so priviliged as to encourage her to take this step of faith. I nearly cried. The friend I was with nearly cried. My new friend did cry.

Then there was our student retreat. This is a big deal in my line of work, and it went off without any major hitches. There are always slight hiccoughs (yes, I am spelling it the British way), but overall, a smooth time. What the results will be...will only become apparent in these coming weeks.

Last night, my first couchsurfing guest arrived. Again, a risky thing to do - inviting a stranger to stay and visit and generally be in your house. But what a great risk! I am loving our Tasmanian-born Australian musician friend who is currently recording somewhere in North Van. Last night was a great time with housemates and guest. Laughter, music, The IT Crowd, sleeping in for a morning off - who could ask for anything more?